Food as Medicine—Alzheimer’s
Alzheimer's is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by severe memory loss, unusual behavior, personality changes, and a decline in mental function.
People who have Alzheimer’s have been found (too late for them) to have high concentrations of mercury in their brain tissue, on autopsy. Risk factors include exposure to aluminum, head injuries, nutritional deficiencies and genetic tendencies--such as a defect in the “apolipoprotein” gene that transfers cholesterol.
For those who may be at risk for Alzheimer’s, I recommend a diet rich in the natural antioxidants found in ginger, fennel, cumin and turmeric. I agree with H.J. Roberts, MD, whose research shows that ingesting food and drink with aspartame can be neurotoxic. This is the primary sweetener used in “diet” sodas. The British medical journal, The Lancet, published a study showing that smoking more than doubles the risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
The National Institute of Health says that “The drugs currently available to treat the disease have limited effectiveness…Ayurvedic medicinal plants have been the single most productive source of leads for the development of drugs, and over a hundred new products are already in clinical development.” This interest by medical researchers into Ayurvedic plant medicine has unfortunately only been used to create drugs which do not have of the efficacy of the plants, yet have many side effects. Here are some of the plant medicines I make in Ayurvedic formulas to help people halt the onset of Alzheimer’s. http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/c4/NERVOUS_SYSTEM.html
“Ashwagandha is used extensively in Ayurveda as a nervine tonic, and helps the body adapt to stress. A recent double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled study of the effects of Ashwagandha on stress found that it reduced symptoms of stress and inability to concentrate and reversed forgetfulness.
Shankhpushpi is used in various formulas as a nervine tonic for improvement of memory and cognitive function. Primarily, shankhapushpi is used as a brain tonic. It is one of the best and prominent natural medicines that help in improving memory. The whole plant of shankhapushpi is used in medical treatment.
In the Ayurvedic system of medicine, gotu kola is one of the important rejuvenating herbs for nerve and brain cells and is believed to be capable of increasing intelligence, longevity, and memory. Studies have shown that the constituents, asiatic acid and asiaticoside, reduce hydrogen peroxide-induced cell death, decrease free radical concentrations, and inhibit beta-amyloid cell death.
Jatamansi root has a rich history of medicinal use in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. The Bible later mentions it as “spikenard”. Jatamansi is used to restore memory in older individuals as well as in patients with age-associated dementia.
Guggulu contains ferulic acids, phenols, and other non-phenolic aromatic acids that are potent scavengers of superoxide radicals. The gum resin has been used for thousands of years in the treatment of arthritis, inflammation, obesity, and disorders of cholesterol metabolism.
Turmeric is anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial and has long been used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine. It helps detoxify the liver, balance cholesterol levels, fight allergies, stimulate digestion, creates more synovial fluid in the joints, and boosts immunity. Turmeric tends to bind iron and copper rather than zinc, which may contribute to its protective effect in Alzheimer's disease. You can find the original Ayurvedic recipe for the best use of turmeric, Golden Milk, on the Recipe page of curanderahealing.com and make your own Golden Milk. http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p72/Organic_Turmeric_Powder_with_Piper_Longum_powder.html
The experience and wisdom of elders is precious. Helping them retain their mental abilities informs our generations.
Asthmatics tend to breathe at a rate two to three times faster than normal. Over-breathing like this actually robs our cells of the oxygen we need, because even though we do take in more oxygen; we breathe out too much carbon dioxide. This causes the CO2 levels to be low so that the hemoglobin that carries oxygen through the blood becomes “sticky” and doesn’t release sufficient oxygen to the cells.
Starved for oxygen from over-breathing, the body takes drastic measures to slow breathing so CO2 can build back up to safe levels. This produces the classic symptoms of an asthma attack: smooth muscles tighten around the airways, the body further constricts them by producing mucus and histamine (which causes swelling) and we’re left gasping for breath. Asthma may be induced by aspirin, pollutants, and may be worsened by alcohol and exercise. Other influences that aggravate it include pollen, dust, animal dander, insects, anger, stress, chemical fumes, cold air and smoke.
The medical response is usually to prescribe the drug Albuterol.
While providing some symptomatic relief, Albuterol mimics the effects of adrenaline on certain cells, and triggers the transport of potassium out of the blood. Consequently, taking albuterol can lower your potassium levels. This may make your muscles weak or cause muscle spasms, and it can also cause an abnormal heart rhythm. Other symptoms of hypokalemia include fatigue, constipation and the breakdown of muscle fibers. It is known to cause hyperthyroid and to actually worsen the symptoms of asthma if taken over years.
As an Ayurvedic physician I provide those with asthma natural therapies and food as medicine that do not have side effects. These include; a diet specific for this imbalance, Arjuna, Chyvanprash, datura and mullein leaves to smoke during an attack, and instructions on exercises to achieve healthy breathing through the nose. You can find these remedies at this link: http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p136/Asthma_Package.html.
Arjuna has been used in Ayurveda for thousands of years to help people heal from asthma. Ingesting it stimulates the circulatory system.
Chyavanprash is particularly good for the lungs because it nourishes the mucous membranes and helps to keep the respiratory passages clean and clear. For thousands of years it has been used in India for lung problems. Chyavanprash is made from whole herbs and spices into a tasty, sweet jam you can put on bread or crackers.
Datura has also been a part of Indian Ayurvedic medicinal history for centuries. It contains atropine which causes the paralysis of the pulmonary parts of the lung. This eliminates the spasms that are responsible for causing asthma attack. You can see why this would be extremely dangerous for anyone not having an asthma attack. In fact the poisonous properties of Datura have killed or incapacitated many. Yet, in the 18th century a British general stationed in India by the name of Gent, passed along part of the Ayurvedic treatment to a Dr. Sims and it was widely and successfully used in England and America. Proust wrote about the efficacy of smoking Datura and many other asthmatics took up the practice until the fad of ingesting chemicals instead of plant medicine made it seem old-fashioned.
Healing from this imbalance with diet, herbs and breathing exercises takes some effort for the asthmatic, but with some consistency it can bring a person back into a healthy state without dangerous side effects.
Peter Bongiorno writes for Psychology Today “anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications are among the most prescribed in the United States - and possibly the most dangerous. According to a report in the 2010 Canadian Journal of Psychiatry, people who use anti-anxiety medication…are almost 40% more likely to die than people who do not use them. Yikes”
“Klonopin is prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and seizure disorders. Common side effects include drowsiness, dizziness, weakness, unsteadiness, depression, loss of orientation, headache, sleep disturbances, problems with thinking or memory, slurred speech, dry mouth, sore gums, runny nose, loss of appetite, diarrhea, constipation, and blurred vision. If Klonopin is discontinued abruptly after long term use, it may lead to seizures, tremors, muscle cramping, vomiting, and/or sweating.” (From RX list, the Internet Drug Index). A new study in the American Journal of Public Health found more dramatic side effects than these; the number of deadly overdoses from those drugs quadrupled between 1996 and 2013.
Researchers from India have proven in a randomized clinical study using international protocols that an ancient Ayurveda remedy for anxiety outperformed the benzodiazepine drug Clonazepam (Konopin) in relieving anxiety. http://www.realnatural.org/ancient-ayurveda-beats-clonazepam-in-clinical-trial-for-anxiety-disorder/
There are many natural therapies that can help relieve anxiety without causing side effects. Practicing yoga and walking more is helpful for most people. Here is one Ayurvedic remedy you can try at home.
Natural home remedies
Soak 8-10 almonds in water overnight
Peel off the skin in the morning
Blend 1 tsp of crushed almonds in 1 cup warm milk
Add a pinch of soaked saffron
Add 1 tbsp of honey
Drink once a day
As an Ayurvedic physician and a curandera I find those with anxiety do well with an Ayurvedic formula to help bring their body chemistry into balance. It includes the following herbs:
Shankhpushpi is a prominent memory improving plant, a psychostimulant and tranquilizer. Research shows it promotes better--memory, sleep and concentration abilities. Shankpushpi increases protein synthesis in the hippocampus region of the brain that can be related to enhancement of memory function.
A clinical trial in 2008 of 35 subjects diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder found that Tulsi (Ocimum sanctum) significantly reduced anxiety. The researchers concluded: “Therefore, it may be concluded that O. sanctum may be useful in the treatment of General Anxiety Disorder in humans and may be a promising anxiolytic agent in near future.”
Another Ayurvedic plant, Bacopa monnieri, is widely used to improve brain function, to reduce anxiety, to treat epilepsy, and as an antioxidant. Modern research has shown the presence of several alkaloids; monnierin, brahmine, bacosides and phytosterols.
The ever popular Ashwagandha is a memory enhancing and anti-ageing herb. It is used for many imbalances, but in this context for its calming effect. Ashwagandha promotes growth of dendrites and branching of nerve-like cells suggesting nerve cell-to-cell contact and communication. It has anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory activity.
Susto is described in the folk-healing of Mexico as a "fright sickness" or soul loss. The cause can be any frightening or dangerous experience such as an accident, a fall, witnessing a relative's sudden death, going to war etc. This kind of anxiety is more intense and is synonymous with PTSD. Oral remedies can include teas of orange blossom, brazil wood or marijuana. These are most effective with the limpia, or barrida. This is a technique of energy work that removes the wound from the soul.
Combining natural therapies to treat this issue is a viable alternative to drugs. An Ayurvedic formula to combat stress can be found at this site here http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p107/Stress_Away_Formula.html
Athena Wolf is an Ayurvedic physician and curandera practicing in Mimbres. You can contact her with questions at curanderahealing.com
The aroma of roasting green chilies in the fall is part of New Mexican culture. Green chiles are very rich in Vitamin C, which plays an important role in the absorption of other vitamins in the body. It’s dietary fiber is important for a healthy digestive system, and it has high levels of other vitamins and minerals.Chile is a part of New Mexican culture, cuisine and health. The use of peppers has been a part of the Ayurvedic tradition for thousands of years. According to Agrocrops.com India is the world's largest producer, consumer and exporter of chili peppers. It is a tradition that we share.
A recent series of laws passed in our state seem designed to control who owns chile seeds, and to regulate how it is grown, shared or sold.
The bill enacted in 2012 defines “New Mexico chile” as including all types of peppers such as jalapenos, Italian sweet peppers, yellow hots, etc. In 2013, the NM legislature passed an amendment to the Chile Act which criminalizes any grower who uses the name of any city, town, county, village, pueblo, mountain, river or other geographic feature or features located in NM, unless the grower is registered with the NM Department of Agriculture.
In August 2014, the New Mexico Chile Association trademarked the term “New Mexico Certified Chile” for use only by their members. You no longer have the right to refer to your chile as New Mexican, or to call it by its varietal name, unless you register by paying the annual $500 fee plus kickbacks on every pound sold. A verification form must follow every sale a NMCA farmer makes. Now anyone can report a ”suspect” chile grower by calling an NMDA inspector who has the legal right to come onto our place to inspect records related to the chile. There are six inspectors available at an annual cost to taxpayers of about $525,000.
The NMCA lobbied vigorously against the GMO labeling bill presented in 2013 by senator Peter Firth. Why would this organization do this? The make-up of its members may give us a clue. The NMCA is comprised of large chile industry processors. In 2006 it became a nonprofit organization that asks for government and public funding.
Board members include Gene Baca, also vice president of Bueno Foods. Bueno Foods “is asking consumers to demand ‘New Mexican grown chile’ from restaurants and grocers” (Daniels Fund Ethics Initiative). Lou Biad, of Rezolex. Rezolex farms in NM, Texas and Arizona. Dino Cervantes. Cervantes foods reports annual revenue of $20 to 50 million. All three companies import chile from outside the US as well as what is purchased here. Border Foods, and Farm Credit of New Mexico are also members.
The NMCA is working with New Mexico State University’s (NMSU) Agricultural Experimental Station to create GMO chile. Greenfire Times reports that “A lack of transparency, with evidence that, outrageously, tobacco settlement funds have been used to fund a GMO chile… the idea that our limited tax dollars are going to develop a patented seed for a staple crop that will be owned by a state university and international biotech companies is beyond comprehension.”
Jaye Hawkins, executive director of the NMCA, said the state is in danger of losing its chile because farmers will not be able to grow the crop due to the rising labor challenges and foreign competition. "We're chipping away at the problems, and this is just one alternative," she said of the genetic research. This genetically engineered chile seed may be available for commercial farmers to plant within the year. Save NM seeds.org says that the NM state legislature has been funding the development of a genetically engineered chile since 2006.
While this statement on the NMCA’s website assures us that “Some fringe groups have slandered and libeled our members by implying they are currently using GMO chile, despite the fact that none is available at this time.” The rest of this webpage goes on to list advantages of using GMO seeds.
Who can forget Monsanto’s battle with Percy Schmeiser and other small farmers. When NMSU has its GMO pepper seed ready, will small growers face patent lawsuits if crops become contaminated by GMO seeds? We still don’t have labeling of genetically modified organisms. Our traditional chile varieties could be altered forever from GMO crops, and recent legislation seems to be preparing for that. by Athena Wolf
The National Research Committee concluded this year, that there is no evidence proving Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) foods are a risk to human health. The Nation, Common Dreams, Food and Water Watch explain this conclusion by the NRC “More than half of the invited authors of the new NRC study are involved in GMO development or promotion or have ties to the biotechnology industry—some have consulted for or have received research funding from, biotech companies. NRC has not publicly disclosed these conflicts.”
There are actually many studies disproving the NRC contention. Here are a couple.
Multiple toxins from GMOs were detected in maternal and fetal blood in a study done in Canada. Monsanto’s Bt toxin was one of the pesticides found according to a study published in the Journal of Reproductive Toxicology in 2011 .
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0013935100942294 shows that exposure to herbicides during pregnancy induces a variety of abnormalities. This and other research may be why so many believe that it is herbicides causing microcephaly in Columbia and Brazil—not Zika virus.
There is now enough evidence that it is considered proof, that in eating GMO food, “DNA fragments carry complete genes that can enter into the human circulation system” by the Public Library of Science, a respected peer-reviewed scientific journal. In other words, eating a meal of genetically modified foods can actually change human DNA as well.
Gluten Disorders Affecting 18 Million Americans
The Institute for Responsible Technology (IRT), found that GMO foods correlate to five conditions that may either trigger or worsen gluten-related disorders,
· Intestinal permeability
· Imbalanced gut bacteria
· Immune activation and allergic response
· Impaired digestion
· Damage to the intestinal wall
Why is this? Glyphosate blocks the action of our bodies’ enzymes. People that have been exposed to glyphosate (Roundup) have a drop in amino acid tryptophan levels and are missing the signal of the neurotransmitter serotonin. This has been associated with weight gain, depression and Alzheimer’s disease.
In November 2012, The Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology published a study that links GMO corn, treated with Monsanto Roundup herbicide, to rat tumors.
Published in the journal, Organic Systems. It was found that GMO animal feed can cause severe stomach inflammation and an enlarged uterus in pigs. What does it do to humans?
GMOs have been banned in 38 countries so far. These include: Germany, France, Denmark, Poland, Scotland, Switzerland, Peru… In America, however, people do not even know if they are consuming a GMO product. We are not allowed to have labels stating this.
To this day, Monsanto continues to advertise its products as “environmentally friendly” and claims that neither animals nor humans are affected by GMOs or glyphosate. My husband, who suffers from the typical severe health problems after exposure to Agent Orange in Viet Nam, says the containers of this herbicide (made by Monsanto) said the same thing.
Food as Medicine—For Weight Loss
Americans are not the most obese people in the world. That dubious title goes to the people of Nauru. After the environment of this small country was destroyed by mining operations they were unable to grow any food so imported processed food, high in fat and sugar, now makes up the diet of these islanders.
The French eat food high in fat; in Germany and England meat is eaten at every meal; Italians enjoy a diet rich in wine, bread and pasta, yet all four countries have low rates of obesity. American weight gain has accelerated in the past 20 years. Why is it that Europeans don’t have this problem?
One answer may be that American culture focuses more on what to eat with little attention on when and how to eat. The practices of counting calories, reducing fats, increasing proteins, eating less, cutting out carbohydrates and experimenting with every new diet has not resulted in healthy Americans. The National Institute of Health reports that 99 percent of those who go on a diet gain all the weight back in three to five years.
When we compare our eating habits with those of Europeans we find some similarities to the Ayurvedic philosophy of dining. Ayurveda is India’s traditional system of medicine based on living a balanced life in harmony with the changing cycles of nature. In this system it is recognized that there are many factors contributing to a healthful diet. The simplest are to consider what, when and how you eat. There may be other reasons for being overweight of course, such as a weak digestive system, thick bile, low thyroid or dehydration.
Eating With the Seasons
In Ayurveda it is suggested that our best medicine is food harvested in season. In Europe, and many other countries, people buy foods at local farmers markets, which ensures that these foods are seasonal.
In the winter Nature provides us with an antidote to the cold weather — soups, stews, meats, grains and fats. It is the time of year to eat more protein and healthy oils.
In the spring we can eat foods that are low-fat and mucous-reducing such as leafy greens, sprouts, berries, root veggies and grapefruits. These foods are fat-burning and detox foods.
In hot summer months, we can harvest cool fruits and veggies to help keep us from getting overheated and dried out.
To begin the weight loss process, try eating three substantial meals a day without between-meal snacks. This will begin to nudge your ability to make energy last from one meal to the next. In between meals, your body burns fat, which is your stable, non-emergency fuel. If you are stressed, your body sends the signal to store fat and crave sugar — our cultural epidemic.
Before 2:00 pm the digestive process is strongest. So having your most substantial meal in the middle of the day can help afternoon cravings to disappear. As your blood sugar becomes more stable, notice how your hunger level in the evening will become less voracious. You can begin to eat an earlier and lighter supper.
How to eat
Eating while driving, in front of the TV, or on the phone, creates a stressful situation for digesting food. When you are relaxed, the digestive process is more effective. The mind and body are nourished, and you can experience the taste of the food and assimilate the mental, physical and spiritual benefits of a balanced meal. In slimmer countries people sit down for every meal. They relax, dine and enjoy well-prepared food in a relaxed social setting. Try making meal time a sacred event.
Ayurveda recommends a couple of formulas to help those that already have an unhealthy amount of weight. This package of Shardunika, Optimum Weight formula and an Ayurvedic Determination of Constitution, can empower you to gradually change your diet and lose weight in a healthy way. http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p12/Weight_Loss_Program.html
This herbal formula used to balance the blood sugar should only be used with the supervision of your health practitioner. http://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p12/Weight_Loss_Program.htmlhttp://www.curanderahealing.com/store/p22/Diabetes%2C%C2%A0Ayurvedic_Tradition%C2%A0cert._organic.html
Athena Wolf is an Ayurvedic physician practicing in Mimbres. You can contact her with questions at curanderahealing.com.
This is an imbalance in which the stomach takes too long to empty its contents. The stomach usually has regular contractions to move food down into the small intestine. When the vagus nerve is damaged, the muscles of the stomach and intestines don’t work normally and food moves slowly or stops moving through the digestive tract. This can cause lack of appetite, feeling full after a couple of teaspoons of food, heartburn, pain in the upper abdomen, nausea, vomiting of undigested food (sometimes hours after a meal), weight loss due to poor absorption of nutrients or low caloric intake, abdominal bloating, fluctuating blood sugar levels, gastroesophageal reflux, and abdominal spasms.
Diabetes is the most common cause of gastroparesis. The high blood sugar of diabetes can cause damage to the vagus nerve. People may also develop gastroparesis from some medications, after surgery on the stomach, from viral infections, from eating fast foods frequently, thyroid problems, anorexia or bulimia. Sometimes though, a cause is not apparent.
The American College of Gastroenterology advises that “At the present time there are few medications available or approved to treat gastroparesis and their use can be limited by undesirable side effects and limited effectiveness.” These are those medications.
Metoclopramide acts on dopamine receptors in the stomach, intestine and in the brain. Use of this medication often causes agitation, restlessness, insomnia, depression, painful breast swelling and nipple discharge in both men and women. It is not recommended that this medication be taken long term.
Erythromycin is a commonly used antibiotic that binds to receptors in the stomach and small intestine. The beneficial effect of erythromycin can be short lived as individuals who use it frequently develop tolerance to it. There are side effects from most antibiotics that disturb the digestive system.
Cisapride can improve gastric emptying. It was taken off the market in the 90’s due to heart and kidney problems that developed in patients who were using this drug. It has been made available again anyway.
Diet changes are essential, along with the help of herbs, homeopathic remedies, and cell salts. Be sure to eliminate tobacco, alcohol, coffee, black tea and sodas as well as fast food. Drinking aloe vera juice (just the inner fillet) 20 minutes before meals is very helpful.
Herbs for Gastroparesis
Peppermint – stimulating and improves digestion
Ginger – stimulates digestion and helps nausea
Lavender – digestive stimulant as well as nerve calming
Melissa – digestive stimulant as well as nerve and cardio protective
Cell Salts to Help Gastroparesis
#3 Calc sulph 6X – pain, burning, weakness in stomach
#9 Nat mur 6X – feels empty, burning, belching
#10 Nat phos 6X – over acidity
#12 Silicea 6X – pressure in pit of stomach, sour vomiting
Gastroparesis Homeopathic Remedies
Homeopathic remedies are non-toxic natural medicines safe for everyone including infants and pregnant or nursing women. Most remedies will have a description of symptoms on the bottle so that you can match them with your symptoms.
Acupuncture has been shown in randomized trials to be effective for gastroparesis. A study published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology & Hepatology in May, 2008, found that ginger accelerates gastric emptying. Another natural remedy that may prove useful is Swedish bitters - an herbal concoction. Sometimes hypnosis and music therapy can be helpful.
The Ayurvedic formula for gastroparesis includes these herbs prepared in a specific way: Ajamoda, Marica, extract of lemon, Jiraka, black salt, Jangha Haritaki, and Hingu.
Many people do not know there are natural ways to bring the body into balance from gastroparesis. Since you know now it may seem worthwhile to try some of these more gentle treatments before resorting to drugs.
Athena Wolf is an Ayurvedic physician practicing in Mimbres. You can contact her with questions at curanderahealing.com or 575.536.9335. Please see your health practitioner for health problems. These brief articles are not meant to be used to diagnose, treat or prevent any disease.
Food as Medicine—Is Salt Helpful or Not?
The cold and dryness of winter can chill the body and de-stabilize the nervous system of some people. Salt regulates the fluid balance of the body, maintains acid/base level, provides for nerve conduction and blood pressure. In Ayurveda it is understood that salt is more grounding and helpful in the winter than at any other time. Does this mean salt is always good for us?
Salt purchased at the grocery store or on restaurant tables is not just salt. The chemicals added to it can include synthetic sodium aluminosilicate, iodide, sodium bicarbonate, fluoride, anti-caking agents, potassium iodide, aluminum derivatives, white sugar, and monosodium-glutamate. Natural salt is not usually white. Table salt is white because it has been bleached. So where does this salt come from? Much of it is made from the flaky residue of oil drilling. Crude oil is one substancey table salt is refined from.
When this kind of table salt is eaten regularly, the excess sodium outside of cells osmotically pulls out the water with potassium, calcium and magnesium from the cell. This can cause a severe state of cellular dehydration that cannot be slaked by drinking water. In my practice I have seen many people with cancer whose potassium levels are depleted, sometimes by eating too many salty foods.
Winter is called Vata Season in Ayurveda. Salt has been a staple in the diet of humans for at least 6000 years. The salt that we seem to be genetically dependent on is raw, unrefined salt. Unrefined salt was a primary delivery food for essential and trace minerals in the body — which play a lead role in almost every bodily function. In Ayurveda there are some formulas, such as the tonic, Chyvanprash, that use salt in this way.
Unrefined mineral salts, such as Celtic Sea Salt, Utah’s Redmond Salt and Pink Himalayan Salt, provide the body with up to 80 essential and trace minerals. Refined white table salt is devoid of these essential minerals and provides only sodium to the body, which can disturb the body’s electrolyte balance.
Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function, and other important processes. The most common electrolytes are calcium, chloride, magnesium, phosphorous, potassium and sodium.
Sodium concentrates in the fluid around the cells. Potassium concentrates inside of the cell helping it to hold water. There is a delicate balance between the two. I have found that in people with cancer this balance is usually disturbed and there is not enough potassium in the diet.
People with high blood pressure are usually told to stop eating salt. Using too much table salt causes us to retain waters and other fluids. Chronic imbalances such as diabetes, gout and obesity can be worsened or even partially caused by excessive intake of salt.
In terms of the three doshas, or constitutional tendencies, salt is best suited to the vata or air-type person (who tends to be cold, dry, thin). Salt will help stimulate the digestive secretions, retain moisture and help ground a person who is too flighty.
Ayurveda warns against the excessive use of any kind of salt as it can “provoke pitta,” which causes too much heat or inflammation in the body, thirst, loose teeth, decreases fertility, impairs the function of sense organs, contributes to premature wrinkles, grey hair and baldness. It can also cause blood and skin disorders, acidity, gout, baldness and other problems. For Kapha-type constitutions too much salt can lead to excessive water retention, bloating and puffiness and more serious problems.
Therefore, unrefined salt in moderation is good for Vata people, Pitta people need very little salt and Kapha people should eat no salt. You can find out what your constitution is from any Ayurvedic physician or online from the Market page of my website “Determination of Ayurvedic Constitution.”
Here is some salty wisdom for the cold months.
“The fact that salt is a powerful emetic as well as a potent laxative should convince the most skeptical that it is not meant to form an important part of the human diet.”
― John H. Tobe
“My love is like a slug. Don’t you go pouring salt on it.”
― Jarod Kintz
“Nobody likes having salt rubbed into their wounds, even if it is the salt of the earth.”
― Rebecca West
“The laboratory evidence that carbohydrate-rich diets can cause the body to retain water and so raise blood pressure, just as salt consumption is supposed to do, dates back well over a century”
― Gary Taubes, Good Calories, Bad Calories
“Like some winter animal, the moon licks the salt of your hand,
Yet still your hair foams violet as a lilac tree
From which a small wood-owl calls.”
― Johannes Bobrowski
Athena lives in the Gila Wilderness with gratitude and awe for the power of Spirit, and channels ceremony and healing for community.