Note to Readers

Dear Readers,  Thank you for being loyal followers.  I have enjoyed publishing to you for quite a few years – 14 years for those of you that started with me via Mason County News.

I will be taking a long and necessary break as I send my only son off to college.  I will hopefully resume sometime in the late summer early fall.

Warmest Regards,

Margaret Durst



Kidneys and Bladder – A Natural Perspective

KIDNEYS are the organs that maintain our water balance and help manage the pH of our bodies.  While we generally think of kidneys as organs that get rid of water, they actually conserve water by filtering waste products into urine while returning the rest to the blood stream.  Approximately 100 quarts of liquid are filtered through the kidneys daily with only 1½ quarts passing out of the body as urine.

High protein diets are hard on the kidneys.  URIC ACID, a by-product of protein metabolism, must be eliminated by the kidneys.  If too much protein is consumed, the kidneys get overloaded with waste which can result in high blood pressure, joint problems, and fluid retention.  Many of the herbs used for kidney conditions help to neutralize uric acid so that it can be eliminated.

GOUT is a condition that results from too much uric acid.  It is a very painful condition that happens when the uric acid crystallizes – usually in the extremities like the big toe. Supporting the kidneys with cherry juice and herbs to strengthen the kidneys and neutralize uric acid can be very helpful.

Traditional Chinese medicine views the kidney as a major ENERGY CHANNEL or meridian in the body.  Imbalances along this energy channel tend to affect other parts of the body related to this energy channel.  Accordingly, kidney imbalances may relate to dry mouth, lung congestion, low back or hip pain, knee and ankle pain or proneness to injury, and/or hemorrhoids, hernia or tailbone pain.  Working with kidney-strengthening herbs can help alleviate symptoms along this energy channel.

KIDNEY STONES and calcification in the kidneys are problems partially caused by excess calcium in the urine.  This excess calcium can be from a magnesium deficiency, a potassium deficiency, inadequate water consumption, high sodium intake, high calcium intake from unbalanced sources such as antacids, high oxalate intake from foods such as chocolate, coffee, spinach and beans, and high intake of acid-forming foods such as sugar, coffee, sodas and animal protein.  If this reminds you of my articles on pH and bone health, you are following along perfectly.  It’s all related.

URINARY TRACT INFECTIONS are problematic if you aren’t drinking enough water, if you have yeast/fungus, or if your bladder is prolapsed or blocked.  There are so many good, natural ways to manage this tendency.  I like colloidal silver to help knock the infection back.  However, if the problem is recurring, it’s important to figure out why and address the underlying cause.

One of the best ways to help your kidneys is to DRINK WATER.  Good quality water is the best, most natural drink for your body.  Adding lemon juice to your water is also helpful for the kidneys as the lemon juice is alkalizing, helping the kidneys eliminate acid waste.  Unsweetened cranberry juice is another good addition to water to break down toxins and help the kidneys eliminate them.

HERBS that are useful for kidneys fall in several major groups.  Diuretics such as parsley and dandelion help with water retention.  Antiseptics such as juniper, buchu, uva ursi and cranberry fight infection.  Demulcents such as marshmallow leaf and corn silk have a soothing action.  Anti-lithics such as parsley, hydrangea and gravel root help remove stones.  Herbal tonics that strengthen and tone the urinary system include buchu, uva ursi, juniper and dong quai.  In looking for an herbal remedy for kidneys, there are many good blends that combine several of the herbs listed above.


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Get Healthier with Daily Habits

The QUEST FOR HEALTH is universal.  Throughout the ages, there has been a desire to find the one pill or potion that would restore our health and hopefully our youth – at least some of it.

Think of the resources and effort behind our modern health care system.  Think of the “MIRACLE” DRUGS that have been developed.  Think of the modern technology and sophisticated tests that we now have access to.

Yet ARE WE HEALTHIER?  I actually think we are not.  Statistics show that as a nation we aren’t healthy.  Health problems that used to be found in 50 and 60 year olds are now common in 30 and 40 year olds.  More and more people are diagnosed with cancer every day.

BEYOND the diagnosable diseases, think of how many people take blood pressure medicine or cholesterol medicine.  How many people do you know that take a medicine and actually get well?   It seems more common that people take one medicine and then another, and then another and then they get really sick.

What if the ability to GET REALLY WELL was right in front of us?  What if it was something accessible to all of us, not just the wealthy, or those with insurance?  What if the answer was not found in a simple pill you could take, but in the food that you eat?  What if the answer to good health was not something additional that you do, but something that you need to quit?  Would you quit?

Ninety percent of the time, our health problems are caused by our DAILY HABITS over time.  Many times I hear the phrase “it’s my genes”.  In a small percentage of cases, it really is the genes; however, most of the time it is the inherited lifestyle and diet that cause the problems.

When dealing with a chronic health problem, the most PROFOUND CHANGES almost always come from diet and lifestyle changes.  From my own personal experience in dealing with health problems, the best and longest lasting results came from diet and lifestyle changes.

So what do these diet and LIFESTYLE CHANGES really mean?  I am going to borrow some tips from Dr. Julian Whitaker’s book “Shed 10 Years in 10 Weeks”.  The FIRST TIP is to eat 5 to 8 servings of different vegetables each day.  Wow, that’s a lot of vegetables, and it’s certainly a lot more than most of us like, much less eat.  (I have to take vegetables in a pill form – not ideal, but it is the best way I have found to be consistent.)

The SECOND TIP is to drink 8 glasses of water per day.  Many health conditions involve dehydration.  Good water (not chlorinated) is the best cellular rejuvenator.   Plus the water should replace some of the drinks that contribute to certain health problems such as sodas, tea or coffee.

The THIRD TIP is to eat the right kind of carbohydrates.  This means whole grains, beans, and fruits and vegetables.  This does not mean things made from white sugar or white flour.  Starchy vegetables like corn and potatoes should be limited to 2 to 3 servings per week.

The FOURTH TIP is to eat three servings of fruit each day.

The FIFTH TIP is to exercise regularly.  There is lots to say about exercise, but I am out of space.

These health tips have the ability to DRASTICALLY CHANGE your health and they are available to you and to every one.  The first time I followed this plan, I did just the first 2 tips and lost 10 pounds in 3 weeks. Try them for yourself and see how you feel.

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Blood Cleaners – Old Time Herbs That Still Work

 BLOOD PURIFIERS are one of my favorite classes of herbs, and one that truly is at the heart of herbalism.  Blood purification is an old fashioned classification of herbs that are good for just about anything – including acne, arthritis, eczema, cancer and more.

Many things in our modern life lead to BLOOD IMPURITIES – these include stress, poor diet, and exposure to many chemicals in our daily environments.  The human body is designed to clean and heal itself.  Herbs help this process; while many of the drugs used in conventional medicine interfere with this process.

Any herb will have MULTIPLE PROPERTIES and any of the herbs that support the liver and kidneys will also clean the blood.  Most of these herbs will help restore alkaline balance to the body.  Two blood cleaners that I often recommend are dandelion and burdock.  Both of these will help to purify the blood, and both to some degree also support and clean the kidneys and liver.

DANDELION is very helpful for teenage acne.  And it is included in many popular herbal liver and kidney cleaners.

BURDOCK is another herb that is a blood cleaner – I recommend it most commonly for the lymphatic system, but it works for the kidneys too.  One of the more useful properties of burdock is that it will help clean both the kidneys and the joints, softening and removing excess calcium.  Burdock is included in many of my horse formulas because it is very gentle, yet effective (and tasty if you are a horse.)

ECHINACEA is a well-known blood purifier.  It is both a blood and lymph cleaner.  And it also stimulates the immune system.

The are several BLOOD CLEANERS that are used in traditional herbalism when the body is seriously out of balance in conditions such as cancer.  These include burdock, sheep sorrel, red clover, galangal, blood root, pau d’arco and graviola.  These herbs are useful for removing impurities and alkalizing the body.  These herbs are part of an alternative and/or complementary approach to health as the underlying assumption is that the body can heal itself if the blood is “clean”.

Here are some of the BLOOD CLEANSING FORMULAS.  Essiac, a well-known formula of several blood cleaning herbs, has been studied clinically and is known for helping to shrink tumors.  The Hoxey formula is still used in some of the cancer clinics in Mexico.  This is a blood purifying formula that contains red clover.  And, there are also the Native American herbs that are blood cleaners.

FORMULAS like these have fallen out of popularity as they are not understood by most people.  We tend to look for remedies that I call “one hit wonders” that are supposed to cure everything.  All of these blood purifying herbs and formulas can be useful depending on the challenges facing the body.  But, remember that they are are just one step in restoring health to the body.

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