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Acidosis is a state in which the body has become overly acidic and alkaline reserves have been depleted. Why is this a threat to well-being? Because the body will have to make up for the excess acid by taking minerals from bone and other body tissue and by putting extra strain on the bowel, kidneys, skin, and respiratory system as it tries to eliminate the excess acid. Also, with an imbalanced body chemistry, the body is less able to absorb nutrients.
Overtime, acidosis can lead to skin problems, arthritis, poor digestion, insomnia, ulcers, respiratory problems, and potentially serious chronic illnesses. The natural treatment of acidosis focuses on the most frequent cause of this condition — an improper diet. Learn how to balance body pH with foods, as well as beneficial herbs that have an alkalizing effect on the body.
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An Alkaline Diet
The typical western diet can easily contribute to an overly acidic body chemistry. Red meat, flour, milk, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and beer are all acid-forming foods. Many grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables are considered to be acidic or slightly acidic as well. To treat acidosis naturally it is important to make the bulk of the diet, about 75 to 80 percent, consist of alkaline foods.
The following are examples of high acidic forming foods which should only be a very small part of the diet or eliminated altogether:
- Sour berries and cherries
- Ice cream
The following foods are acidic and should be a small part of the diet:
- Soy milk
- Pumpkin seeds
The following foods are alkaline and should make up most of the diet when treating acidosis:
- Sweet berries and cherries
- Citrus fruit
- Sweet potatoes
- Wild rice
- Goat cheese
- Herbal teas
- Olive oil
After about three weeks of really focusing on alkaline foods your body chemistry should change. Do not return to an acid-forming diet, but feel free to be more liberal with what you eat.
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Herbal Therapy for Acidosis
Drinking herbal teas is a simple, natural way to help correct body chemistry. Herbs are not a substitute for dietary changes — it is essential to eat an alkaline diet to treat this condition naturally. They can act as effective healthy therapies to balance and encourage the removal of toxins from the body. To make an herbal infusion, steep one to two teaspoons of any of the following herbs in one cup of boiling water for ten minutes. Drink one to three cups daily.
- Fennel seed
- Slippery elm
- Elder bark
Another beneficial herbal treatment for acidosis is a ginger compress applied to the kidneys. This will support the elimination of toxins from the body. Make a strong infusion with ginger, using 4 teaspoons of the dried root in one cup of boiling water. Soak a clean cloth in the infusion and then apply to the kidney area.
These herbs are safe for general use, except for hops which should not be used if suffering from depression. If pregnant, nursing, or on any medication talk to your doctor before using any form of herbal medicine.
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Acidosis is often caused by an acid-forming diet, but stress, anger, obesity, anorexia, ketosis, and problems with the kidneys, liver, and adrenals can also be contributing factors. You can do a simple self-test at home to check your own body pH. Pick up an inexpensive litmus paper kit at your drug store. Before eating, drinking, or even smoking anything for the day, apply a strip of litmus paper to the saliva or urine. When acidosis is a problem the paper will turn red.
Simple safe techniques that anyone can do to support the natural treatment of acidosis include deep breathing, walking outdoors, and cool, rather than hot showers. If you are too acidic, you can safely use the alkaline diet, but it is also important to see an alternative medicine practitioner who is familiar with natural treatment methods, such as a naturopathic doctor. As severe cases of acidosis can have serious negative effects on long-term health, correcting this condition is very important. Also, a health care professional can help determine the possible causes of this condition beyond diet.
This condition can be an underlying cause of many health problems, but recognizing it and being aware of your body chemistry can also be a huge leap towards reaching optimal well-being.
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Page, Linda. "Healthy Healing: A Guide to Self-Healing for Everyone." Eleventh Edition (Traditional Wisdom, 2003).
Balch, Phyllis A. " Prescription for Nutritional Healing." Fourth Edition (Penguin Books, 2006).
Health & Herbs <http://www.healthherbs.com/conditionitem.php?id=2>
"Understanding Acidosis." Mary's Herbs <http://www.marysherbs.com/heal/heal-aciP.htm>
photo by Kevin Dooley (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/pagedooley/2778522837/sizes/m/in/photostream/>
photo by: Clairity (CC/flickr) <http://www.flickr.com/photos/clairity/143368932/sizes/m/in/photostream/>
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