***This article is a general overview of how to keep our bones healthy. There will be a description of osteoporosis to help illustrate the importance of a well-balanced nutritional approach to keeping our bones healthy. We do not attempt to prevent, diagnose, or cure any diseases or conditions. More knowledge is acquired every day by the scientific communities and we encourage you to use this website as a starting point in your research rather than a final conclusion.***
We tend to start paying attention to our bones and joints if we start experiencing pain, stiffness, or impaired mobility. Many of these types of problems have likely been in the making for quite some time. As with most physical problems, our best bet is to take care of ourselves before we develop a problem. But once bone and joint issues make themselves known, the key is to take care of them right away.
Our bodies are a combination of majestic beauty combined with a million strokes of engineering genius. Human bone is one of the strongest natural substances known to man. For decades upon decades we run, walk, jump, and dance as much as we want without even thinking about it.
All day every day, the marrow deep within our bones continues to produce critical components for our health and survival. And our bones themselves respond to localized trauma, constantly rebuilding themselves after incurring the damage we unwittingly create as we go about our lives.
But if we don’t care for them, that fateful day comes when our joints don’t feel like they used to. It begins as a nagging distant discomfort, but can progress to full-blown pain that keeps us up at night. Some of us might even develop osteoporosis. It’s then that we realize we need support to keep our bones and joints healthy.
The good news is that there are herbal formulas for many different kinds of bone and joint support needs. But be fore we get into herbs that are good for our bones, we want to discuss how we view the skeletal system in relation to the rest of the body, give an overview of osteoporosis, and talk about the role that herbs can play in strengthening our bones.
Taking Care Of Our Bones
Our bones are organs. And just like every other part of our body, they are intricately connected to the health and well being of our entire system. If other body systems are struggling, the bones can be robbed of essential nutrients.
For example, Vitamin D is an essential component of bones, but before it can be used for bone structure, it must be modified by the liver and kidneys. Calcium is only useful if it can be absorbed via the small intestine, and our body’s overall acid-alkaline balance can trigger changes in body chemistry that also effect the bones. These are just a few examples of the complexity involved with forming and maintaining healthy bones.
Therefore it is of critical importance to address the overall health of the body before trying to pinpoint an exact method for specifically strengthening our bone structure. Adopting an active lifestyle and a diet rich in a variety of whole plant foods and herbs is the best measure against future bone problems. We all know this simple truth, but unless we embrace it and live it, just knowing is not enough.
Below are some tips to support the health of our bones and joints.
- Healthy digestion and elimination goes a long way in preventing arthritic issues. Take care of your digestive system and eliminative organs to get a leg up on the aging process.
- Avoid caffeine with osteoporosis; it is thought that caffeine interferes with optimal calcium levels. Herbalist Susun Weed writes that women who drink 2 – 3 cups coffee daily increase their risk of getting osteoporosis by 69%; higher consumption increases the risk
- Eating dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens helps the body stay more alkaline, and provides many important minerals for bone and joint health. Excess acidity can cause calcium to be released from bones to neutralize the acid.
- Avoid build-up of uric acid in the system by eating plenty of celery, celery seed, and dark red cherries
- Increase the intake of all dark fruits, berries, and vegetables
- Drink lots of nutritive herbal infusions; the herbs contain many minerals, vitamins, and gently support detoxification. Nutritive herbs include kelp, alfalfa, nettle leaf, dandelion leaf, oatstraw, red clover, violet leaf, peppermint, chickweed
- Avoid modified dairy products such as homogenized, pasteurized, or low fat/fat free dairy products
- Avoid soda – it takes 2 gallons of water to neutralize the phosphoric acid in 1 single can of cola
- Avoid excessive sugar intake. Easier said than done in many cases, but worth looking into, especially anyone who had an elderly relative fall and die of a broken hip.
- Keep protein consumption at moderate levels; certain popular diets that advocate huge amounts of protein and minimal to zero carbs are a very bad idea for anyone who wishes to maintain long term health
- Rather than eating low fat and fat free, indulge in healthy organic fats from olive oil, avocado, coconut, even real organic butter, and full fat yogurt; minerals are absorbed with the help of fat soluble vitamins; lack of healthy fats in the diet can lead to a host of problems, including bone loss
- Do not use vitamin and mineral isolates without medical guidance
When it comes to exercise, we need to learn how to strike a balance between proper movements that support the joints, and repetitive movements that wear away at the joints over time. Moderate weight bearing exercise is a great way to encourage bone density, mobility, and joint health without overdoing it.
Osteoporosis (porous bone) is a condition that is characterized by lower than normal bone density. It is most common in post-menopausal women but can occur in anyone if nutrient deficiencies are present.
The breakdown of bone in the human body is a natural process. At any given time, up to 10% of our bone structure is being reformed. There are cells that initiate the breakdown of bone, and cells that rebuild bone. In cases of osteoporosis, this break down is happening faster than the rebuilding process. The result is an increasingly frail and delicate bone structure that increases the risk of bone fractures.
To make matters worse, when a fracture happens the body’s ability to repair the damage is impeded in someone with osteoporosis. This is one of the reasons that repeated fractures in the same place are a common occurrence.
In general terms, allopathic treatments for osteoporosis aim to interfere with the breakdown of bone tissue so the rebuilding process has time to catch up. Doctors may also prescribe calcium supplementation to increase the rate of bone reformation.
How To Strengthen Our Bones
About 80%-90% of bone structure is calcium and phosphorous. Additional nutrients that are critical to healthy bone structure include protein, zinc, copper, fluoride, magnesium, iron, and Vitamins D, A, C, and K.
While it is helpful and interesting to learn about the nutrients that contribute to strong and healthy bones, it is a mistake to single out or isolate specific nutrients and stop there.
It is well established that a supplementation regimen that begins with Calcium is critical. The mistake that gets made is in assuming that this is enough. Calcium supplementation is the foundation upon which an effective nutritional approach can be built. Not the entire nutritional strategy itself.
For instance, a lack of protein can inhibit collagen production while a lack of magnesium can interfere with calcium absorption and healthy bone metabolism. These are just a couple examples that are part of a very intricate matrix of nutritional, metabolic, and environmental factors that impact bone and joint health. We do realize we said this earlier in the article. We can not stress enough how critical it is to understand this point
An excess of certain nutrients can be just as damaging as a deficiency. This concept may seem counterintuitive but the fact is that some nutrients can block the absorption of others.
This is yet another reason why a comprehensive approach of a diet rich in multiple plant foods, weight bearing exercise, and low to moderate consumption of non-nutrients such as alcohol, caffeine, and other substances is so important.
How To Use Herbs To Strengthen Bones
Scientific research into the effectiveness of herbs in halting or reversing the effects of osteoporosis is still very limited. This makes sense, given the complexity of bone formation. Our herbal approach to supporting healthy bones is to fortify the body with a wide spectrum of nutritive herbs without overdoing it on any particular nutrient. We also aim to support the body’s ability to detoxify, absorb nutrients, and maintain optimal circulation.
If there is anything we want you to take from this article it is the single unifying point that we reiterate in all of our writing: eating a wide variety of whole plant based foods and prudently supplementing with whole organic herbs while minimizing non-nutrients in the diet is the most effective way to achieve optimal health.
The following herbal formulas will work best when used as a complement to your whole plant food based diet and moderate exercise program. They are formulated to support the body in its ability to maintain bone health under a variety of conditions.
***For optimal results, speak with one of our herbalists about an herbal consultation. These formulas can be customized to suite your personal constitution and needs.****
Chakra 4 Herbal Formulas
For Bone & Joint Health
Body Prime capsules
Tonic and rejuvenating herbs for 35+. Includes herbs that improve circulation, support connective tissue and the liver, as well as herbs that are rich in anti-oxidants.
Ingredients: Turmeric, Gotu Kola, Hawthorn berry
Bone Density capsules
Mineral-rich formula for bone and connective tissue health. Use if bone density is a concern or if you engage in high impact activity.
Ingredients: Oatstraw, Horsetail, Gotu Kola, Kelp, Raspberry leaf, Nettles, Shatavari, Amla, Camu Camu
C-Weed Vitamin/Mineral Tonic
Mineral-rich sea vegetables with herbs high in vitamin C. Highly antioxidant and nutrient dense.
Ingredients: Amla, Camu Camu, Rosehips, Bilberries, Alfalfa, Dulse, Kelp, Bladderwrack, Irish Moss
The C of Wonder
Herbal vitamin C formula.
Ingredients: Amla, Camu Camu, Acerola, Orange peel, Lemon peel
Joint Lube capsules, tincture
Arthritis anti-inflammatory formula. Good for someone experiencing joint pain that is tied to inflammation.
Ingredients: Yucca, Devil’s Claw, Turmeric, Wild Yam
Strong And Supple Hair And Nails capsules
Herbal support for healthy skin, nails, hair, connective tissue. Good for anyone who is concerned about thinning or greying hair. Best results come from long term use.
Ingredients: Horsetail, He Shou Wu, Gotu Kola, Bhringaraj, Bilberry, Rehmannia, Amla, Kelp, Bladderwrack
Reduces inflammation in joints and soft tissue.
Ingredients: He Shou Wu, Yucca Root, Devil’s Claw, Wild Yam, Turmeric, Ginger
Connective Tissue Support tea
Herbal mineral formula to support connective tissue. Great for active individuals for tissue repair.
Ingredients: Bilberries, Gotu Kola, Horsetail, Oatstraw, Comfrey leaf
Fibromyalgia Relief tea, tincture
Herbal support for immunity and pain relief.
Ingredients: Eleuthero root, St. John’s Wort, Astragalus, Ginger, Prickly Ash
No Gout About It tea, capsules
Herbal gout formula for this very specific type of arthritis. Contains herbs that have been historically used to expel excess uric acid.
Ingredients: Celery seed, Nettle leaf, Red Clover, Meadowsweet, Thyme, Safflower
Painus Interruptus – Arthriticus tea
Arthritis support tea. Addresses pain as well as helping the body eliminate build up in the joints. Also contains anti-inflammatory and diuretic herbs. Best for individuals with arthritic pain accompanied by water retention.
Ingredients: Nettle leaf, White Willow bark, Ginger, Devil’s Claw
Reclaim Your Spring Tea
Formula for increasing mobility, detoxifying the liver, reducing inflammation. Excellent for those suffering from both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Can also help with joint pain resulting from toxicity and/or obesity.
Ingredients: Sarsaparilla, He Shou Wu, Ginger, Turmeric, White Willow bark, Solomon’s Seal, Ashwagandha, Yucca, Wild Yam