Natural Therapy for Osteoporosis
Answered by: Susan Eagles
Question from: name not given
Posted on: September 19, 2000

I am 50 years old and have been diagnosed with osteoporosis (severe). My physician has told me I am at great risk for spinal and hip fractures. I have a cholesterol total of 211. My "good" cholesterol is 74 and the "bad" is 123. My triglycerides are very low. My question is: Are there any alternatives to taking Evista? I do not have any other symptoms, such as hot flashes,etc. I am concerned about the side effects of Evista although this drug seems to have less than most. However I have read that certain herb combinations help. Can you give me any information please?

Osteoporosis is progressive bone loss and decreased bone density, due to loss of calcium from the bones. Calcium absorption requires adequate dietary vitamins and minerals. Consumption of calcium-rich foods along with other nutrient-rich food helps to promote bone strength.

You can improve absorption of calcium with a diet high in raw fruit and green vegetables, nuts and seeds and legumes (peas, beans, lentils).

A diet that is high in meat and dairy promotes an acid condition in the blood, causing calcium to be pulled from the bones and excreted. Other foods that should be avoided, because they promote calcium loss are: sugar, salt, caffeine, alcohol, phosphorus rich foods especially soft drinks, fats, bran, excess whole grains, tomatoes, spinach, rhubarb, potatoes, eggplant and peppers. Refined flour and processed foods should be avoided because they are nutrient-poor.

Chronic stress depletes calcium levels. If stress is a factor, look at relaxation exercises such as yoga, tai chi and meditation.

Some drugs interfere with calcium absorption: antacids, cortisone, diuretics, thyroxine and tamoxifen.

Weight-bearing exercise is essential in promoting bone growth and repair by encouraging calcium to lay down into the bones. Examples of good weight bearing exercise are one half hour daily of brisk walking, dancing or jogging. Lack of exercise promotes osteoporosis.

Allowing sunlight on your skin daily allows your body to create vitamin D, which is essential for calcium absorption.

Seaweeds contain the micronutrients necessary for bone strength. Dried seaweeds, available at health food and oriental stores, can be used in cooking.

Wild Yam creams that contain progesterone derived from natural sources support bone repair and decrease bone loss in post menopausal women.

Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) contains minerals required for bone strength and repair, and supports the absorption of calcium. To make a tea, simmer one teaspoon of dried horsetail herb in a cup of water for 5 minutes. Drink one cup a day. Because its high mineral content can cause kidney strain, Horsetail should be taken only for one month, followed by a break of one week.

Herbs that are helpful in providing calcium are: alfalfa, chamomile, dandelion leaf, oat straw, parsley, plantain, stinging nettles. Estrogenic herbs discourage calcium loss from the bones: oat straw, alfalfa, calendula, sage, hops, wild yam, ginseng and licorice. Herbs that support the liver and the digestive system improve calcium absorption. Dandelion root is especially effective in supporting the production of hydrochloric acid, which is required for mineral absorption. It can be taken before each meal as a tincture or "Dandelion coffee", available at health food stores.

Some of these herbs, such as oats and parsley, can be included in your diet. You can make a tea by combining some herbs from each of the above categories. Use only one part of parsley to two or three parts of each of the other herbs, as parsley can be toxic in large doses. Use only 1/4 part licorice root in your mixture, because high doses of licorice cause sodium retention. Steep 3 tablespoons of the mixed, dried herbs in four cups boiling water for 4 hours or overnight. This long infusion time is required to extract the minerals. Strain and drink two cups a day. Store unused tea in the refrigerator for no longer than 2 days. Note: if you are using dried roots, such as dandelion root, ginseng and wild yam, these should be simmered for 15 minutes before adding the other (leaf, stem and flower) herbs.

For more information, please go to our website at http://www.richters.com, choose "Q&A" from the main menu choose, then choose "Medicinal Herbs and Their Uses" and search for the item "Preventing Osteoporosis".

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