Oxalate Content of Herbs
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Michelle Marchiano
Posted on: August 30, 2006

Before I can place an order I need to know if you can tell me the oxalate levels of the vitamins and herbs I am currantly using. If not, do you know where I can get that info?

Oxalates and their acid form, oxalic acid, are known as mineral chelators because they bind to minerals such as calcium and magnesium. When oxalic acid or oxalates are present at high levels in our diet they can cause bone loss over time. For example, in France where sorrel soup is a popular tradition, excessive bone loss is a problem among those who take the soup over many years. If you are suffering from or are at risk of suffering from bone loss diseases such as osteoporosis you need to watch your oxalic acid and oxalate intake.

The well-known research scientist and author of several authoratative books on herbs, Dr Jim Duke, developed a phytochemical database when he worked for the United States Department of Agriculture. His database is available online at:

http://www.ars-grin.gov/duke/highchem.html

When searching the database, enter "oxalic acid" and "oxalate" in separate searches in order to get the complete picture. Oxalic acid and oxalate are just different forms of the same thing and are usually present in both forms in plants even if they are not always analyzed separately.

According to the database the popular spring wild green, lamb’s quarters (Chenopodium album), is by far the highest in oxalic acid (300,000 parts per million) and oxalate (86,100 parts per million). Although oxalic acid is a hundred times lower in sorrel (Rumex acetosa) leaves, sorrel’s 3,000 parts per million is still enough to cause bone loss if large amounts are ingested over many years. Spinach (Spinacea oleracea) should be watched also as its oxalic acid (6,580 ppm oxalic acid) is more than twice as high as sorrel.

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