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The Importance of Minerals September 2007

Minerals are amazingly prevalent in our world and have a great relevance to life of all forms. Most minerals exist in the natural environment of the sea, where life arose and are also present in the rocks and soils of the earth. One of the worst results of commercial farming is that the minerals are extremely depleted in our soils. For example, in the records kept by the USDA over the last century, an apple grown in 1914 had 13.5 mg of calcium, 45.2 mg phosphorous, 4.6 mg iron, and 28.9 mg magnesium. Now a commercial apple has less than 7mg. calcium, 7.0 mg phosphorous, 18 mg iron and 5.0 mg magnesium. We would have to eat 20 apples to obtain the same amount of minerals that were in one apple in 1914! So at one time, an apple a day could have kept the doctor away!

Minerals seem to play a subtle but important role in sustaining life on the planet for all life forms.

As a class of nutrients, minerals have three major roles in the body:

They provide structural materials for the bones and connective tissues.
They allow electrical impulses to move along the nerves.
They act as catalysts or support the role of enzymes in physiological processes such as the replication of DNA or the manufacture of proteins.

Catalysts and enzymes promote the transformation of one thing into another just like the spark plugs in your car act as catalysts when they initiate the transformation of gasoline into energy. Your digestive enzymes promote the transformation of the food you eat into components that can be absorbed in the intestine. Because minerals play such a vital role in our health, this may account for the devastating effects their deficiencies have on us. For example, magnesium participates in more than one hundred enzymatic reactions in the body and a deficiency in this mineral can lead to dozens of health problems.

Let’s take a closer look at the role magnesium plays in our health and well being. Magnesium activates the B vitamins and plays a role in protein synthesis, muscle excitability, and energy release. It is mainly found in the mitochondira, the energy centers of cells. Magnesium regulates the absorption of calcium and add to the integrity of the bones and teeth. Magnesium deficiency can lead to bone abnormalities including brittle bones and osteoporosis. The parathyroid gland, which regulates blood calcium levels, also needs magnesium to function normally.

Concentrated eighteen times greater in the heart muscle than in the blood stream, magnesium regulates the hearts’s ability to beat. It decreases blood coagulation and acts as a calcium channel blocker, helping the heart pump more effectively. If magnesium is deficient in our systems, we may feel anxious, tired, and have muscle spasm.

Men between the ages of 19 – 50 need - 500 mg per day.      51 and older - 600 mg per day.

Women between the ages of 19 – 50 - 450 mg per day.   51 and older - 550 mg per day.

This is just one mineral that is needed when in fact there are dozens of minerals that are needed for well being of body and mind.

One of the best ways that I have found to reinstate the healing benefits of minerals in the system is to make an herbal tea blend with many high mineral herbs. Often times if we concentrate on just taking one mineral supplement we can put out of balance the other minerals. When we take a blend of various herbs then we are more assured of absorbing many of the minerals without putting the body into undue stress.

Here are some of the herbs that have high contents of calcium/ magnesium/potassium in them. They have many other minerals as well but space does not permit an inclusive list:  (milligrams of minerals per ounce of herb)

Alfalfa – calcium 299 mg,   Magnesium 76,   Potassium 400

Burdock - calcium 244,   Magnesium – 179,    Potassium 560

Horsetail - calcium – 630,   Magnesium 145,   Potassium 520

Licoreice rt - calcium 292,   Magnesium 321,   Potassium 380

Nettle leaf - Calcium 966,   Magnesium 286,   Potassium 583

Kelp and other sea vegetables also have high mineral content – milligrams is per ounce: 1013 mg calcium, 289 mg magnesium, and 730 mg of potassium. Sea vegetables can be cooked in food or taken as supplements in capsules or pill form.

Here is a high mineral tea blend that you can take on a regular basis. Purchase one ounce of the following herb and blend them together in a jar.

Alfalfa, burdock root, horsetail, nettle leaf, oatstraw, and chamomile. Add one half ounce each of licorice root, and marshmallow root. If you want to add other high mineral herbs for a taste variation you can also add raspberry leaves and / or peppermint leaves to the above formula.

Take two heaping tablespoons of the combination and put them in a wide mouth quart jar. Pour hot water over them until the jar is full. Let them steep for 20 minutes with the lid loosely on. Strain the herbs out and drink at least three or more cups per day.

What I have found with my clients who take a tea blend like this is that their nervousness is lessened, spasms decrease and cramping is abated. There is greater cognitive clarity, deeper sleep, and a greater sense of strength and wellbeing.

Give this a try and see what the results are. But remember if you are very depleted like most people are, it is best to take the herbal tea on a regular basis for a least a month to get the maximum results.

For those of you who are not inclined to drink herbal tea, then try some of the great mineral supplements that the coop carries. You can get them in pill, capsule or liquid form. Ask the HABA department for some guidance with this.

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