When we talk about herbs, we usually think of adding flavor and aroma to our dishes, but herbs are used for far more than that. They not only make your food taste delicious naturally, but they also benefit your well-being. The foods you eat affect your body’s pH level, making it acidic or alkaline. The alkaline diet helps boost the pH level of fluids in the body to reduce acidity (inflammation and mucus), thereby improving your health. Increasing alkalinity in your body helps boost your overall health and reduce your risk of chronic disease. By eating more alkaline plant-based foods, you reap health benefits that include the prevention of chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, gout, arthritis, anemia, high blood pressure and even cancer
High Alkaline Herbs
Normal pH is around 7.0, or neutral. The time of day or foods you eat may effect your body’s pH level, making it either more acid or alkaline. Natural health advocates recommend consuming more alkalizing foods to ward off diseases such as cancer. Herbalists teach that all herbs, especially bitter herbs, are considered alkalizing. Consult your health care provider before using herbs for medicinal purposes.
Cayenne pepper is used as both food and medicine. It can be eaten fresh or found in capsule form. It is a pungent herb with natural anti-inflammatory properties. Herbalists use it to treat pain and inflammation, arthritis, headaches and as a weight loss aid. Chi Machine International lists it as highly alkaline and useful against cancer. However, these claims have not yet be validated scientifically. Consult your medical doctor before trying herbal cayenne.
Although considered a weed by most, dandelions are highly valued by herbalists. The greens are consumed fresh and are considered highly alkalizing and anti-carcinogenic. The roots are used as a natural diuretic and to treat kidney stones. Dandelion leaves can be added to salads or made into an herbal tea. Dandelion root extract may be found in tincture or capsule form. Talk to your health care provider before trying dandelion for medicinal use.
Turmeric is an Eastern spice used in curries. It has been studied extensively as a natural anti-inflammatory and cancer-fighting agent. Like other pungent spices, it is highly alkalizing to the body and may be used as both food and medicine. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center turmeric may be used in the treatment of arthritis, colitis, ulcers, cancer, diabetes and atherosclerosis. It can be found in both powder and liquid extract form. Consult a health care professional for proper use of turmeric.
Garlic is one herb that is valued by herbalists and chefs alike. It is considered highly alkalizing and anti-carcinogenic. The University of Maryland notes that it is also naturally antioxidant, antibiotic, anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-parasitic. It is best consumed fresh. However those who cannot tolerate fresh garlic may find it in capsule or tablet form. Talk to your doctor regarding appropriate use of garlic.
Wheat grass is simply young wheat plants that are juiced and used for medicinal purposes. It is typically consumed as a beverage or added to smoothies. It is extremely alkalizing and used by natural health enthusiasts to prevent and treat many common diseases, including cancer, inflammation, infection, gout, bronchitis, coughs and the common cold. It is generally taken fresh, although it can be found in extract form. Talk to your health care provider regarding proper use of wheat grass.
Acidification of the Body and the Benefits of an Alkaline Diet with Herbal Support
Today most of us create a very acidic environment for our bodies by leading the
lifestyle we do. Too much to do in combination with foods that increase the metabolic acid load in the body creates a breeding ground for inﬂammatory diseases and bone density loss, two very real consequences of a high metabolic acid load.
Acidosis, where the arterial PH falls below 7.35, is the most dangerous case of
acidiﬁcation of the body as this affects the PH of the blood plasma.
In this article I will look at the different ways a high metabolic acid load affects our health and how we can use an alkaline diet and alkaline herbs to help counteract this.
Acid or Alkaline
We need about twenty amino acids, dozens of sugars and fatty acids, roughly forty vitamins and over one hundred minerals and trace elements to function optimally and all of these components can be divided into either acid or alkaline. What we mean by a food being acidic is that acids are released in the body during the
It is possible to divide foods into acid or alkaline forming by looking at their mineral content. A few examples of acidic and alkaline minerals are:
Acidic: sulfur, iodine, phosphorus, ﬂuoride, chlorine, silicon
Alkaline: sodium, magnesium, calcium, copper, cobalt.
Research shows that the body thrives on a slightly alkaline diet1, so what does it mean for us when most of us feed ourselves mostly acidic foods1
Acidity puts pressure on the liver, kidneys, pancreas and other organs as well as creates oxidative stress which can damage cells and sometimes even lead to cancer2. The eliminative channels (kidneys, lungs, respiratory system and skin) can only take so much, but after years of an overly acidic diet this will begin to have an impact on our blood. To understand how this works, we need to look at the bodys PH regulating system.
The body always wishes to be in balance and in a neutral PH of about 7 (actually 7.36-7.42, which is slightly alkaline). The highest state of alkalinity on the PH scale is 14, where no more hydrogen ions are freed.
The PH scale works logarithmic-ally, meaning that the values separating each number is not of equal value but multiples of 10 at each unit in either direction
from the mid-point of 7. This means that the closer you are to 7 on the scale the less a shift in either direction really means. The further you go in either direction,
the more extreme of a difference each incremental point is.
There are many foods that can increase the metabolic acid load of the body. An
oversimplify ed rule of thumb is that starches and proteins increase acid while fruits and vegetables are alkalising – this is not altogether true as some fruits and vegetables (tomato being one) are acidic, but it is an easy way of thinking about it.
Animal products such as meat, eggs and dairy especially increase the acid load for the body. The connection between a higher metabolic acid load and animal
products was established as early as in 19203 and is a known fact today4. Animal protein contains more sulfur-containing amino acids which, when digested,produce the acid-forming sulphate ion which must be excreted by the kidneys (which is partially why a diet high in animal protein is stressful for the kidneys).
Gluten is also particularly acidic for the body, which is why a gluten or low-reﬁ Ned starch diet is often prescribed to those suffering from GERD5.
In order to regulate the PH of the body so that it can operate most efficiently, our
human bodies draw on mineral reserves to achieve balance.
The PH of the blood particularly must remain very stable or you will ﬁnd yourself in the potentially life threatening situation of acidosis6. Because of this the body will go through extraordinary lengths to maintain the pH of the blood, sometimes at the expense of other organs and systems.
One easily accessible and very alkaline mineral is calcium. When the metabolic acid load is increased, the body draws calcium from the bones which is a very effective alkaline mineral for PH balancing. This is how, over time, a high metabolic acid load can lead to issues such as bone loss and osteoporosis. In the West we are often taught to drink milk for our bones, but although dairy milk may be calcium rich it increases the acid load of the body7 and can contribute to bone loss.
In addition to this, a higher metabolic acid load has also been shown numerous times to promote excretion of calcium in the urine by as much as 800% 8 9 10 and this means double trouble for the internal PH.
Therapeutic use of Alkaline Minerals
If your body is harboring too much acid and has dropped below an optimum PH level you will need to take a high dose of alkaline in order to “buffer” acids stored
in body tissues. Remember, as the body always wishes to remain in a near-neutral PH state, the high alkaline intake will force the body to excrete stored acids from body tissues to restore balance in the internal PH – we are essentially doing the opposite of what the Standard American Diet is doing every day.
If the diet and lifestyle has been particularly acidifying for some time there are a lot of acids stored in the body and simply switching to fresh fruits and vegetables for some time may not be enough to draw the acids out. This is where sea vegetables and powerful alkaline herbs come in handy as these can help bring the PH up.
The most alkaline forming foods are: chlorella, spirulina, coconut water,
wheatgrass, dulce and other sea vegetables, alkaline herbs (see below) lemons, limes, pineapple, sweet potato, yams, and tangerines. Common cooking herbs such as coriander, parsley and mint are also supremely alkaline – and delicious.
I try to add sea vegetables to my good as often as I can as these are rich in alkaline minerals. Sea vegetable sprinkles are lovely and salty and can be used as a salt substitute in most dishes, while other sea vegetables such as kelp and nori can be used in cooking.
Irish sea moss is a particularly alkalising sea herb that can be had as a warm drink with mylk and cinnamon.
Bladder-wrack is another sea herb that is a natural diuretic and helps alkalis the body.
Then there is Iceland Moss, a herb found in the moist tundra of the northern hemisphere. It is a herb which is both anti-inﬂ ammatory and toning for the gut in addition to being alkalising and has been used as cancer treatment in European folk medicine11.
Dandelion greens, a common weed found in most gardens, is a highly alkalising herb that can be used as a herbal tea, a tincture or simply added into salads and soups.
Dandelion roots can also be used as a herbal tea – it actually tasted a lot like coffee! So if you’re looking for an alkaline replacement for your morning coffee this alkalising herb is worth exploring.
Burdock root contains traces of more than 102 minerals and acts like a “magnet” for other minerals and is wonderful on combination with iron rich herbs to combat fatigue and anaemia.
I am sure I have missed some – there is a wonderful world of herbal support out there and the Seed Sistas are incredibly knowledgeable in matters like these.
The most effective way to draw on stored acids and begin from a clean slate is by going through an alkaline cleanse where one increases the alkaline mineral intake to near 100% of the diet which forces the body to draw on stored acids. This can be monitored by doing litmus tests regularly thought the day and trying to bring the PH up to 7.5 or 8 for a couple of days. Note that performing an alkaline cleanse is best done with the support of a practitioner.
When it comes to maintaining optimal health, one of the best ways is to eat a high alkaline diet. On the pH scale, 7 is neutral, while anything below 7 is acidic and above 7 is alkaline. Our bodies naturally function best in a slightly alkaline state – 7.4 on the pH scale. And alkaline diet benefits are hard to ignore. It’s proven that eating alkaline foods can help stave off tons of diseases and illnesses, and even be an effective form of fighting cancer. Mostly because these foods are also anti-inflammatory.
In fact, you can boost your health by adding herbs for pH balance to your diet. There are many high alkaline herbs out there, but here are 5 potent alkalizing herbs to rev up your body.
5 High Alkaline Herbs to Turbocharge Your Health and Diet
One of the best alkalizing herbs is dandelion root. It’s anti-inflammatory properties help flush out toxins from your liver, kidneys, and gallbladder. It’s also anti-carcinogenic. You can brew a strong cup that tastes surprisingly like coffee. Try swapping your morning acidic brew with an alkalizing tea.
Garlic is one of the best high alkaline herbs. It’s renowned for its amazing benefits since it’s anti-carcinogenic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal… To name a few. Fresh garlic is best, minced and cooked to add delicious flavor to your meals. But, if you don’t like the strong smell or taste of garlic, you can take it as an encapsulated powder.
Turmeric is the golden spice taking over the world. It’s become popular as an herb for fighting off inflammation, cancer, ulcers, arthritis, balancing blood sugar… It’s a super-food herb. It also makes one of the best alkaline tea recipes: golden milk. This delicious tea brews several super herbs to make one potent alkalizing recipe. Add a pinch of black pepper for extra absorbency of the turmeric.
Yellow Dock Root
Yellow dock root is a blood purifier, skin detoxifies, and alkaline herb. It’s rich in antioxidants and helps bring pH balance to the skin, blood, and liver. Make it as a tea (it tastes best blended with something else, like dandelion or rooibos), or steep it as a tincture in 100 proof alcohol for several weeks.
Burdock root is an alkalizing herb that helps strengthen the lymphatic system. It’s another herb for pH balance in the blood stream, and it’s one of the richest herbs for vitamins and minerals the body needs. Steep it as a tea on its own, or try it in our Purify handcrafted tea. Purify combines burdock root with dandelion, nettle, ginger, and peppercorn to boost absorption and balance the body’s pH.
Alkalize with Herbs
Boosting your body’s alkalinity with herbs is as easy as steeping a tea! While acidic foods, like fruit, aren’t bad for you, it’s good to maintain a balance and these herbs will help you do just that. Shine on!
One way to determine the alkalinity of foods is to burn the food and test the ash for pH. This method is commonly used.
A simple way to find the relative alkalinity of foods is to divide their calcium (Ca) content by their phosphorus (P) content. The higher the Ca/P ratio the greater alkalinity. Many of the acid foods have a ratio below one. This is the method used below.
Another method, that maybe more accurate, would be to divide the Ca content by the sum of the P and the sulfur (Su) contents.
An artifact of this process is that the ratio of maple syrup is infinite since there is, reportedly, no phosphorus in maple syrup. dividing any number by 0 becomes infinity.
The 8 Most Powerful Herbs to Detoxify Your Body
This is the third post in a series about alkaline foods. Check out the posts on the top nutrient-dense foods and 10 ways to optimize your water intake.
When we think of herbs, we usually think of adding flavor and aroma to our dishes, but the truth is, they add far, far more than that.
You’re going to be shocked and amazed to find out that herbs are some of the most alkalizing and detoxifying foods you can put into your body.
As a raw chef, I absolutely love herbs.
They not only make your food taste delicious naturally, they also add big nutrition in a tiny package.
So today, I’m sharing my favorite herbs, their powerful health benefits, and how to cook more with them.
Let’s start with the general health benefits of the most commonly used herbs.
Parsley, cilantro, chives, basil, dill, sage, bay leaf, rosemary, and thyme are all excellent sources of fiber and the following vitamins and minerals:
To dive further, let’s take a look at the some of the astonishing abilities of individual herbs, starting with the herb that came in at number 8 on the 41 most powerful foods list that I shared a few weeks back…
Who knew that one serving of parsley could provide you with 62% of your daily-recommended value (DV) of vitamin C?
That’s more vitamin C than oranges!
But that’s nothing compared to its vitamin K content.
Parsley has an unbelievable 574% of the DV of vitamin K. It also has twice as much iron as spinach.
No wonder it’s a top powerhouse food. One study showed that it dramatically inhibited the growth of breast cancer cells.
Did you know that cilantro and coriander are one in the same?
Coriander is the plant and cilantro is the leaf.
Cilantro supplies 225% of the DV of vitamin A, but its real super power is its antioxidants and essential volatile oils. C
ilantro is a blood cleanser and chelator, and not only helps your liver clean-sweep toxins out of the body, the herb may have a role in fighting off Alzheimer’s and cancer.
Ranking at number 14 on the 41 most powerful foods list, chives are also packed with the nutrients listed above.
Amazingly, chives are anti-inflammatory, antibiotic, antibacterial, antiviral, anti fungal, and antimicrobial.
Anyone who suffers from low-grade inflammation or arthritis should eat basil regularly because it contains eugenol, which counteracts inflammation.
Eugenol is one of the powerful volatile oils in basil that also stop bacteria from growing in food and in the body.
The antioxidants in oregano are so potent, one study found the herb to be a better source of the free-radical fighters (aka ACID fighter!) than berries, other fruits, or vegetables.
Studies have shown oregano decreases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
An impressive supplier of calcium, one tablespoon of dill seed contains more calcium than one-third cup of milk.
The volatile oil in dill actually helps neutralize the carcinogens we come into contact with daily, like second-hand smoke and car exhaust. Studies have also found that dill has an anti-fungal effect.
Sage has long been known to include powerful oils that have been used to treat everything from muscle aches to memory loss for centuries.
The antioxidants in sage have been known to fight asthma, bronchial infections, and inflammation in the lungs.
It also contains a flavonoid called salvigenin that may help prevent cardiovascular disease.
The Journal of Medicinal Foods ranked thyme as one of the top disease preventing herbs and spices.
Thyme has been proven to have antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antibacterial properties, even fighting infections like staph and E. coli.
As a result, thyme actually has a greater effect on acne than benzyl peroxide, the chemical in most over the counter acne medications.