Bamboo leaf tea for healthy skin, hair, and nails

I believe that diet is central in healing from Lyme. Every person I’ve interviewed for our Success Stories series has mentioned its importance. Every Lyme-educated doctor we've consulted reaffirms that what we put into our bodies counts—maybe even crucially, when it comes to healing from Lyme. But are there nutrients that stand out in importance, that we should be paying closer attention to? Turns out there is. Silica is one amazing mineral to get more of.

Many (perhaps most) dermatologists deny that nutrition plays any role in our healing. But that's just not true in my experience, and in that of pretty much every doctor and Lyme patient I've talked to. Nutritionists I listen to, David Wolfe, for example, talk about the importance of the trace mineral, silica, in our daily diet. This interests me, because in recent years Americans have been encouraged to add more calcium to our diets. This lack of calcium has been blamed for all sorts of health conditions, including osteoporosis. But now the word is that it’s not the lack of calcium, but silica, that is the key to achieving a healthy calcium balance. When silica is present in the body it will take the amount needed to produce the correct amount of calcium, no more.

Silica is a common and abundant element found in the earth’s crust. It’s in many plants, most notably bamboo and horsetail reed, the latter which is touted by many health and beauty companies and said to promote healthy skin, hair, and nails. Most of us would recognize silica in the form of quartz crystals, but you may not know how commonly it is used to create many items we take for granted, from microchips to glassware. Molten silica dioxide is cooled rapidly to make glass.

We need to get more silica in our diets, to restore and regulate the amount of collagen in our bodies. Our fingernails, toenails, hair and skin are constantly sloughing off cells, and require nutrients to grow healthy replacement cells. In addition, Lyme bacteria eats away the collagen in our joints and skin, aging us and contributing to the debilitation of our youth and strength. Being sick is tough enough on your hair and nails, and so are antibiotics. I remember days when washing my hair depressed me, because of the clumps of it that would come out in my hands. When I found a way to get more silica into my diet, I started feeling better about my appearance.

Bamboo, a high source of silica, has a reputation for strength, grace, and beauty. Bamboo is 70% silica. In Asia, it is used instead of steel as scaffolding for constructing high-rise buildings. It is lightweight, abundant, and highly sustainable. The construction industry has long been aware of bamboos many benefits. Now, the billion-dollar health and beauty industry is taking note. Horsetail reed, long used in products claiming to give us glossy skin, nails, and hair, pales when compared to bamboo. Bamboo is 5 - 8 times higher in silica than horsetail reed.

I’ve added bamboo leaf tea to my diet. Over the past few years I have experimented with various ways to prepare it. Fortunately, my house is inside a bamboo grove, so I enjoy the process of picking and cleaning the fresh leaves, then lightly roasting and grinding them for a pot of tea.

Bamboo tea has a light, grassy fragrance. I've given it to many of my friends and family members, and everyone so far says they like it. It has a clean and pleasant taste that combines well with other teas. I especially like it blended with Jasmine green, but I often just brew a pot all by itself. I've also blended it into a powder and added it to smoothies.

Silica is definitely a trace mineral worth looking into. If you can't find bamboo leaf tea, you can find it in many foods, such as strawberries, leeks, garbanzo beans, mango, cucumber, celery, and asparagus. It's also found in Fiji Water and other waters that have been leeched through volcanic rock. Silica is also available in trace mineral supplements.

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