Some stuff I put together as I researched what foods to eat to help my body instead of taking pill supplements. I thought I'd share with those interested in these types of things. I've seen the changes in my family and am quite happy.
(Urtica dioica) builds energy, strengthens the adrenals, and is said to restore youthful flexibility to blood vessels. A cup of nettle infusion contains 500 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of bone-building magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, and zinc. It is also an excellent source of vitamins A, D, E, and K. For flexible bones, a healthy heart, thick hair, beautiful skin, and lots of energy, make friends with sister stinging nettle. It may make you feel so good you'll jump up and exercise. Oatstraw
(Avena sativa) reduces high cholesterol, increases libido, and strengthens the nerves. A cup of oatstraw infusion contains more than 300 milligrams of calcium plus generous amounts of many other minerals. Its steroidal saponins nourish the pancreas and liver, improving digestion and stabilizing moods. Oatstraw is best known, however, for its ability to enhance libido and mellow the mood. Do be careful whom you share it with, or you may find yourself sowing some wild oats. In Auryuvedic medicine, oatstraw is considered the finest of all longevity tonics. Red clover
(Trifolium pratense) is better in every way than its cousin soy. It contains four phytoestrogens; soy has only one (isoflavone). Red clover infusion has ten times more phytoestrogens than soy "milk," fewer calories, more calcium, and no added sugars. Red clover is the world's leading anti-cancer herb; soy isoflavone encourages the growth of breast cancer cells in the lab. Red clover improves the memory; Japanese men who ate tofu twice a week doubled their risk of Alzheimer's disease. Soy beverage can contain up to 1000 times more aluminum than milk, according to Sally Fallon, lipid researcher and fat specialist. She believes that "the highly processed soy foods of today are perpetuating . . . nutrient deficiencies. . . ."
(Symphytum) leaf is free of the compounds (PAs) found in the root that can damage the liver. I have used comfrey leaf infusion regularly for decades with no liver problems, ditto for the group of people at the Henry Doubleday Research Foundation who have eaten cooked comfrey leaves as a vegetable for four generations. Comfrey is also known as "knitbone," and no better ally for the woman with thin bones can be found. And, don't forget, comfrey contains special proteins used in the formation of short-term memory cells. Its soothing mucilage adds flexibility to joints, eyes, and lungs.
I cannot find the radio interview about the very old lady who got the energy of a 40 yr old and reversed her bone density .www.mountainroseherbs.com
is where you can get them if you are interested in trying this method. Im not sure if it matters if you use the powder vs the chopped plant. I picked the chopped plant because the powder cannot be strained unless you have a teeny strainer.
From what Ive read & watched on YouTube, drink only one of the above a day, but, out of laziness, I mix them together and have noticed results. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7pKpe_YGUUw&feature=related
Other articles Ive found about bones/osteoporosis from Susun Weed
that makes a lot of sense thru all the research I've done on my own and still had questions about estrogens and bone density, etc. I've combined bits & pieces from her website into this one article for my own reading:
"Did you know that your bones are always changing? Every day of your life, some bone cells die and some new bone cells are created. From birth until your early 30s, you can easily make lots of bone cells. So long as your diet supplies the necessary nutrients, you not only replace bone cells that die, you have extras left over to lengthen and strengthen your bones.
Past the age of 35, new bone cells are more difficult to make. Sometimes there is a shortfall: more bone cells die than you can replace. In the orthodox view, this is the beginning of osteoporosis, the disease of low bone mass. By the age of forty, many American women have begun to lose bone mass; by the age of fifty, most are told they must take hormones or drugs to prevent further loss and avoid osteoporosis, hip fracture, and death.
Women who exercise regularly and eat calcium-rich foods enter their menopausal years with better bone mass than women who sit a lot and consume calcium-leaching foods (including soy "milk," tofu, coffee, soda pop, alcohol, white flour products, processed meats, nutritional yeast, and bran). But no matter how good your lifestyle choices, bone mass usually decreases during the menopausal years.
For unknown reasons, menopausal bones slow down production of new cells and seem to ignore the presence of calcium. This "bone-pause" is generally short-lived, occurring off and on for five to seven years. I noticed it in scattered episodes of falling hair, breaking fingernails, and the same "growing pains" I experienced during puberty.
I did not see it in a bone scan, because I didn't have one.
The idea behind bone scans is a good one: find women who are at risk of broken bones, alert them to the danger, and help them engage in preventative strategies. There's only one problem: bone scans don't find women who are at risk of broken bones, they find women who have low bone density.
I would like to help you let go of the idea that osteoporosis is important. In the Wise Woman Tradition, we focus on the patient, not the problem. In the Wise Woman tradition, there are no diseases and no cures for diseases. When we focus on a disease, like osteoporosis, we cannot see the whole woman. The more we focus on one disease, even its prevention, the less likely we are to nourish wholeness and health.
Focusing on osteoporosis, defining it as a disease, using drugs to counter it, we lose sight of the fact that postmenopausal bone mass is a better indicator of breast cancer risk than broken bone risk. The twenty-five percent of postmenopausal women with the highest bone mass are two-and-a-half to four times more likely to be diagnosed with breast cancer than those with the lowest bone mass.
1 And that hormones which maintain bone mass also adversely affect breast cancer risk. Women who take estrogen replacement (of ten given to prevent osteoporosis), even for as little as five years, increase their risk of breast cancer by twenty percent; if they take hormone replacement, the risk increases by forty percent.
2 Focusing on bone mass, we lose sight of the fact that a strong correlation between bone density and bone breakage has not been established, according to Susan Brown, director of the Osteoporosis Information Clearing House, and many others. We lose sight of the fact that women who faithfully take estrogen or hormone replacement still experience bone changes and suffer spinal crush fractures.
Bone-pause passes and the bones do rebuild themselves, especially when supported by nourishing herbs, which are exceptional sources of bone-building minerals and better at preventing bone breaks than supplements.
3 The minerals in green plants seem to be ideal for keeping bones healthy.
4 Dr. Campbell, professor of Nutritional Biochemistry at Cornell University, has done extensive research in rural China where the lowest known fracture rates for midlife and older women were found. He says, "The closer people get to a diet based on plant foods and leafy vegetables, the lower the rates of many diseases, including osteoporosis."
5 Women who consume lots of calcium-rich plants and exercise moderately build strong flexible bones. Women who rely on hormones build bones that are massive, but rigid.
Hormone replacement regimes do not increase bone cell creation; they slow (or suppress) bone cell killers (osteoclasts). There is a rebound effect; bone loss jumps when the hormones are stopped. Women who take hormones for five years or more are as much as four times more likely to break a bone in the year after they stop than a woman of the same age who never took hormones. Women who build better bones with green allies and exercise nourish the bone cell
creator cells (osteoblasts).
Hormone or estrogen replacement, taken as menopause begins and continued for the rest of your life, is said to reduce post-menopausal fracture rates by 40-60 percent. Frequent walks (you don't even need to sweat) and a diet high in calcium-rich green allies (at least 1500 mg daily) have been shown to reduce post-menopausal fractures by 50 percent. The first is expensive and dangerous. The second, inexpensive and health promoting. It's easy to see why more than eighty percent of American women just "say no" to hormones.
It is never too late to build better bones, and it is never too soon. Your best insurance for a fracture-free, strong-boned cronehood is to build better bones before menopause. The more exercise and calcium-rich green allies you get in your younger years, the less you'll have to worry about as you age.
"A woman has lost half of all the spongy bone (spine, wrist) she'll ever lose by the age of 50, but very little of the dense (hip, hand, forearm) bone. Attention to bone formation at every stage of life is vital; there is no time when you are too old to create healthy new bone." -American MD
"Osteoporosis is much less common in countries that consume the least calcium. That is an undisputed fact." -T. C. Campbell, PhD. nutritional biochemistry
Calcium is, without a doubt, the most important mineral in your body. In fact, calcium makes up more than half of the total mineral content of your body. Calcium is crucial to the regular beating of your heart, your metabolism, the functioning of your muscles, the flow of impulses along your nerves, the regulation of your cellular membranes, the strength of your bones, the health of your teeth and gums, and your vital blood- clotting mechanisms. Calcium is so critical to your life that you have a gland (the parathyroid) that does little else than monitor blood levels of calcium and secrete hormones to insure optimum levels of calcium at all times.
When you consume more calcium than you use, you are in a positive calcium balance: extra usable calcium is stored in the bones and you gain bone mass (insoluble or unusable calcium may be excreted, or stored in soft tissue, or deposited in the joints). When you consume less calcium than you use, you are in a negative calcium balance: the parathyroid produces a hormone that releases calcium stores from the bones, and you lose bone mass.
To insure a positive calcium balance and create strong, flexible bones for your menopausal journey, take care to:
+ Eat three or more calcium-rich foods daily. See Appendix 3.
+ Avoid calcium antagonists. See page XX.
+ Use synergistic foods to magnify the effectiveness of calcium. See page XX.
+ Avoid calcium supplements. See page XX.
Nourish and tonify . . .
o What do we need to make strong flexible bones? Like all tissues, bones need protein. They need minerals (not just calcium, but also potassium, manganese, magnesium, silica, iron, zinc, selenium, boron, phosphorus, sulphur, chromium, and dozens of others). And in order to use those minerals, high-quality fats, including oil-soluble vitamin D.
o Many menopausal women I meet believe that protein is bad for their bones. Not so. Researchers at Utah State University, looking at the diets of 32,000 postmenopausal women, found that women who ate the least protein were the most likely to fracture a hip; and that eating extra protein sped the healing of hip fractures.
Acids created by protein digestion are buffered by calcium. Traditional diets combine calcium- and protein-rich foods (e.g. seaweed with tofu, tortillas made from corn ground on limestone with beans, and melted cheese on a hamburger). Herbs such as seaweed, stinging nettle, oatstraw, red clover, dandelion, and comfrey leaf are rich in protein and provide plenty of calcium too. Foods such as
tahini, sardines, canned salmon, yogurt, cheese, oatmeal, and goats' milk offer us protein, generous amounts of calcium, and the healthy fats our bones need. If you crave more protein during menopause, follow that craving. CAUTION: Unfermented soy (e.g., tofu) is especially detrimental to bone health being protein-rich, naturally deficient in calcium, and a calcium antagonist to boot.
o Bones need lots of minerals not just calcium, which is brittle and inflexible. (Think of a chalk, calcium carbonate, and how easily it breaks.) Avoid calcium supplements. Focus on getting generous amounts of calcium from herbs and foods and you will automatically get the multitude of minerals you need for flexible bones.
o Because minerals are bulky, and do not compact, we must consume generous amounts to make a difference in our health. Taking mineral-rich herbs in capsule or tincture form won't do much for your bones. (One cup of nettle tincture contains the same amount of calcium - 300 mg - as one cup of nettle infusion. Many women drink two or more cups of infusion a day; no one consumes a cup of tincture a day!) Neither will eating raw foods. I frequently come across the idea that cooking robs food of nutrition. Nothing could be further from the truth. Cooking maximizes the minerals available to your bones. Kale cooked for an hour delivers far more calcium than lightly steamed kale. Minerals are rock-like, and to extract them, we need heat, time, and generous quantities of plant material.
~ Green sources of calcium are the best. Nourishing herbs and garden weeds are far richer in minerals than ordinary greens, which are already exceptional sources of nutrients.
~ But calcium from green sources alone is not enough. We need calcium from white sources as well. Add a quart of yogurt a week to your diet if you want really healthy bones. Because the milk has been changed by Lactobaccillus organisms, its calcium, other minerals, proteins, and sugars (no lactose) are more easily digested. This carries over, enhancing calcium and mineral absorption from other foods, too. (I have known several vegans who increased their very low bone density by as much as 6 percent in one year by eating yogurt.) Organic raw milk cheeses are another superb white source.
~ Horsetail herb (Equisetum arvense) works like a charm for those premenopausal women who have periodontal bone loss or difficulty with fracture healing. Taken as tea, once or twice a day, young spring-gathered horsetail dramatically strengthens bones and promotes rapid mending of breaks.
CAUTION: Mature horsetail contains substances which may irritate the kidneys.
~ Beware of calcium antagonists. Certain foods interfere with calcium utilization. For better bones avoid consistent use of:
+ Greens rich in oxalic acid, including chard (silver beet), beet greens, spinach, rhubarb.
+ Unfermented soy products, including tofu, soy beverages, soy burgers.
+ Phosphorus-rich foods, including carbonated drinks, white flour products, and many processed foods. (Teenagers who drink sodas instead of milk are four times more likely to break a bone.)
+ Foods that produce acids requiring a calcium buffer when excreted in the urine, including coffee, white sugar, tobacco, alcohol, nutritional yeast, salt.
+ Fluoride in water or toothpaste.
+ Fiber pills, bran taken alone, bulk-producing laxatives.
+ Steroid medications, including corticosteroids such as prednisone and asthma inhalers. (Daily use reduces spinal bone mass by as much as ten percent a year.)
+ Restricted calorie diets. Women who weigh the least have the greatest loss of bone during menopause and "neither calcium supplements, vitamin D supplements, nor estrogen" slow the loss. Among 236 premenopausal women, all of whom consumed similiar amounts of calcium, those who lost weight by reducing calories lost twice as much bone mass as women who maintained their weight.
o Although chocolate contains oxalic acid, the levels are so low as to have only a negligible effect on calcium metabolism. An ounce/3000 mg of chocolate binds 15-20 mg of calcium; an ounce of cooked spinach, 100-125 mg calcium. Bittersweet (dark) chocolate is a source of iron. Recent research has found chocolate to be very heart healthy. (See page XXX) As with any stimulant, daily use is not advised. Chocolate is an important and helpful ally for women. Guilt about eating it damaging to your health and interferes with your ability to hear and respond to your body wisdom. If you want to eat chocolate - do it; and get the best. But if you're doing it every day - eat more weeds.
o Excess phosphorus accelerates bone loss and demineralization. Phosphorus compounds are second only to salt as food additives. They are found in carbonated beverages, soda pop; white flour products, especially if "enriched" (bagels, cookies, cakes, donuts, pasta, bread); preserved meats (bacon, ham, sausage, lunch meat, and hot dogs); supermarket breakfast cereals; canned fruit; processed potato products such as frozen fries and instant mashed potatoes; processed cheeses; instant soups and puddings.
~ To avoid phosphorus overload and improve calcium absorption:
+ Drink spring water and herbal infusions; avoid soda pop and carbonated water.
+ Eat only whole grain breads, noodles, cookies, and crackers.
+ Buy only unpreserved meats, cheeses, potatoes.
+ Avoid buying foods with ingredients; they are highly processed.
o Excess salt leaches calcium. Women eating 3900 mg of sodium a day excrete 30 percent more calcium than those eating 1600 mg.1 The main sources of dietary sodium are processed and canned foods. Seaweed is an excellent calcium-rich source of salt. Sea salt may be used freely as it contains trace amounts of calcium. Salt is critical for health; do not eliminate it from your diet.
o Increase hydrochloric acid production (in your stomach) and you'll make better use of the calcium you consume. Lower stomach acid (with antacids, for example) and you will receive little bone benefit from the calcium you ingest. Some ways to acidify:
+ Drink lemon juice in water with or after your meal.
+ Take 10-25 drops dandelion root tincture in a little water before you eat.
+ Use calcium-rich herbal vinegars in your salad dressing; put some on cooked greens and beans, too.
Step 5a. Use supplements . . .
o I really wish you wouldn't use calcium supplements. They expose you to dangers (see page XX) and don't prevent fractures. A study in Australia that followed 10,000 white women over the age of 65 for six and a half years found "Use of calcium supplements was associated with increased risk of hip and vertebral fracture; use of Tums antacid tablets was associated with increased risk of fractures of the proximal humerus."2
o If you insist on supplements, go for calcium-fortified orange juice or crumbly tablets of calcium citrate. Chewable calcium gluconate, calcium lactate, and calcium carbonate are acceptable sources. Dolomite, bone meal, and oyster shell are best avoided as they usually contain lead and other undesirable minerals.
o For better bones, take 500 mg magnesium (not citrate) with your calcium. Better yet, wash your calcium pill down with a glass of herbal infusion; that will provide not only magnesium but lots of other bone-strengthening minerals, too.
o Calcium supplements are more effective in divided doses. Two doses of 250 mg, taken morning and night, actually provide more usable calcium than a 1000 mg tablet.
o Even if you take hormone therapy (ERT or HRT) you must get adequate calcium to maintain bone mass, according to researchers at Columbia University. That's 1200-1500 mg a day (a cup of plain yogurt, two cups of nettle infusion, a splash of mineral-rich vinegar, plus three figs is about that). As you increase your intake of calcium-rich foods/herbs, gradually cut back on your hormone dose if you wish.
o Bone density tests are frequently used to push women into taking hormones or drugs. If your bone density is low, use the remedies in this section and schedule another test (for at least six months later) before agreeing to such therapies.
How to make a nourishing herbal infusion
Buy (or gather and dry) at least one ounce of nettle leaf or oatstraw or red clover blossoms or comfrey leaf. Place the ounce of dried herb in a quart jar. (One ounce equals one full cup of dried herb.) Fill jar to the top with boiling water. Cap tightly and allow to brew for at least four hours. Overnight is fine. Strain and drink 2-4 cups a day. Most menopausal women prefer their infusion iced, but you can drink it hot or at room temperature. A little mint or sage may be added to change the flavor.
More info on menopause herbs:
The weeds of the ocean have so much to give us. Let them help you:
Prevent and relieve osteoporosis
Maintain strong, flexible bones
Seaweeds contain lavish amounts of every mineral needed to create and maintain solid bone mass. Kelp is an exceptionally rich source.
Lower blood pressure and cholesterol, increase cardiac efficiency
Eliminate varicose veins and hemorrhoids
Japanese research confirms the cardiotonic and hypotensive effects of seaweeds.
Maintain healthy thyroid function
Relieve incontinence, vaginal dryness, and persistent hot flashes
Nourish the glandular and urinary systems
Seaweeds are superb sources of the nutrients most needed by the endocrine, circulatory, and immune systems. Regular use helps maintain adequate production of all hormones, especially thyroid hormones. Lavish use may reverse hypothyroidism.
Increase immune functioning
Minimize the effects of stress, chemicals, and radiation
Lengthen life span
Algin in seaweed escorts damaging compounds harmlessly out of the body. Free radicals are also eliminated. Vitamins E, C, and A are found abundantly in seaweeds. I use seaweed to protect myself from air pollution, chemicals in my food, and the thinning ozone layer. It can be used freely for several days before and after any X-ray, from dental ones to mammograms.
Restore sexual interest and enjoyment
Ease sore joints
Bring a glossy glow to hair and skin
As befits denizens of the ocean, seaweeds are especially good at nourishing juices: digestive juices, joint juices, emotional juices, erotic juices. Seaweed helps them all flow.
All seaweeds are edible, so you can gather your own, if you wish. Kelp, wakame, khombu, dulse, hijiki, and arame are sold at Oriental and health food stores.
Dosage: As a vegetable, 1/2 ounce/15 grams dry weight, weekly.
As a condiment, unlimited daily use.
CAUTION: The iodine in kelp may aggravate hyperthyroid conditions.
Urtica dioica, Urtica urens
Some post-menopausal women tell me stinging nettle is so nourishing and energizing they find themselves unexpectedly having a normal menstrual flow after regular use of it.
The more usual effects of nettle are to:
Nourish, strengthen, rebuild kidneys and adrenals
Ease and eliminate cystitis, bloat, and incontinence
Rehydrate dry vaginal tissues
Nettle has a miraculous ability to heal and restore adrenal/kidney functioning. Stories continue to make their way to me of women who have avoided dialysis, gotten off dialysis, and so repaired their kidneys that replacement surgery was canceled, thanks to sister stinging nettle. Nourish your post-menopausal adrenals with nettle infusion and they'll produce enough estrogen to keep you looking and feeling juicy.
Nourish and energize the endocrine glands
Nourish and rejuvenate the cardiovascular system
Ease and prevent sore joints
Relieve constipation and reduce hemorrhoids
Nourish supple skin and healthy hair
Nettles' super supplies of vitamins, minerals, proteins, and micro-nutrients nourish every bit of you, encouraging optimal functioning in all aspects of your being. Nettle influences hormones through its wealth of lipids (triglycerides, fatty acids, tocopherols, sterols, galactosyl-diglycerides) and restores health to the cardiovascular system burdened with cardiac edema and venous insufficiency.1
Create strong, flexible bones
Nettle infusions, vinegars, and soups are fantastic sources of calcium, magnesium, potassium, silicon, boron, and zinc: the strong bone sisters. Nettles are also a source of vitamin D, a crucial nutrient for flexible, healthy bones.
Stabilize blood sugar
Rich in chromium, manganese, and other nutrients restorative to glandular functioning, nettles, I suspect, help prevent adult-onset diabetes.
Reduce fatigue and exhaustion; improve stamina
Nettles nourish your energy at the deepest possible levels with intense supplies of iron, chlorophyll, and copper.
Reduce and eliminate headaches
Nourish and support the immune system, prevent cancer
Nourish and heal the digestive system
Nourish and strengthen the nervous system
Nettles are an optimum source of the vitamins critically important for health: vitamin B complex (especially thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin), carotenes (vitamin A), and vitamin C (ascorbates and bioflavonoids).
Enjoy cooked nettle greens all spring, but be sure to harvest and dry enough for winter-time infusions, too. I pick nettles only before they flower. Fresh leaves steeped in olive oil impart a rich taste and innumerable healing qualities to the oil. Nettles make a great vinegar, too.
Dosage: Infusion of dried herb, 1-4 cups/250-1000 ml, a day.
CAUTION: Do not use flowering nettle for food or medicine.
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