Natural Substances to Protect Ourselves From Radiation

Originally Published Online March 16, 2011

The entire world is watching in horror as events continue to spin out of control in Japan. The country remains in a state of emergency after the devastating earthquake and tsunami struck and appears to be facing what could potentially be the worst nuclear crisis in human history. All eyes and ears are now focused on the very real threat of radiation poisoning traveling around the globe. As events at the Fukushima nuclear plant escalate dramatically by the hour, people all over the world are scrambling for potassium iodide tablets and sea vegetables to protect themselves in case the radiation particles come their way.

Yet, in our everyday lives we seem oblivious to the impact of radiation on our health. Many of us are swept up in the euphoria over an endless parade of wireless devices. We actually seem addicted to radiation and completely unconscious of the jack-hammering effect it has on human cells.

Today 285 million Americans have mobile phones and 83 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds are “wired” all the time and sleep with their cell phones next to their heads.

Mounting scientific evidence suggests that non-thermal radio frequency radiation (RF)—the invisible energy waves that connect cell phones to cell towers and power numerous other everyday items—can damage our immune systems and alter our cellular makeup and eventually lead to cancer, even at intensities considered safe by the FCC.

It has been know for a decade that RF/microwaves from cell phones and tower transmitters cause damage in human blood cells that results in nuclei splintering off into micronuclei fragments. The development of micronuclei heralds the development of pre-cancerous conditions. Many victims of Chernobyl developed blood cell micronuclei that rapidly turned into full blown cancers.

Numerous animal studies have demonstrated that mobile phone radiation quickly causes DNA single and double strand breaks at levels well below the current federal “safe” standards. A six-year industry study showed that human blood exposure to cell phone radiation had a 300 percent increase in genetic damage in the form of micronuclei.

In addition, industrial activities, mining, and nuclear power activities all release relatively large amounts of usually unseen toxic metals into our air, water, and our food crops on a daily basis.

Radioactive medical wastes are increasingly a source of radioactive metal poisoning and we are exposed to radioactive isotopes released into the air by way of gaseous emissions as well as radioactive substances released into cooling water from nuclear facilities around the world.

A huge pile of research has confirmed that non-ionizing communications radiation in the RF/microwave spectrum has the same effect on human health as ionizing gamma wave radiation from nuclear reactions. Injuries resulting from radioactive radiation are identical with the effects of electromagnetic radiation. In the U.S., deadly high frequency radiation is now blasting from tens of thousands of cell towers and rooftop antennas all over the country. What all this means is that you don’t need to wonder if the radiation from the Japanese catastrophe is going to reach us. It’s already here from numerous ongoing sources.

So in light of these combined threats from radiation poisoning we all face on a daily basis, I‘d like to share with you some proven ways we can protect ourselves and our health and detoxify our bodies.

Rosemary Rosmarinus officinalis – Rosmarinus has been revered for its protective qualities down through the ages. It’s now been found that two compounds in this wild Mediterranean plant, Carnosic and rosmarinic acids, naturally deter radiation poisoning.

In a study published this year in the British Journal of Radiology, February 2 edition, scientists in Spain reported finding that nothing fights radiation damage to micronuclei as well as rosemary. The fact that these compounds found in rosemary are fat soluble allows them to provide highly significant protective anti-mutagenic activity. Even the most powerful water-soluble antioxidants lack the capacity to protect against gamma ray induced damage.

In another study published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology, the generation of radiation induced cellular DNA damage to skin from free radicals was the focus. The researchers sought to demonstrate that rosmarinic acid from rosemary would act as a photo-protector both by acting as a scavenger of free radicals and as an inducer of the body’s own endogenous defense mechanisms. They found that formulation of toxic production was delayed by the use of rosmarinic acid, and the protection factor was 3.34 times greater than for other compounds studied, as measured in micronucleus testing.

So, how can we use rosemary to protect ourselves from radiation damage? I’d suggest taking 30 drops of rosemary tincture once to three times daily in a bit of water, depending on your level of exposure. Rosemary infused oil, applied to the skin will also be effective. Use dried rosemary often in your cooking, and drink rosemary teas and infusions.

Foods containing Caffeic Acid – In a study done in India, and published in the 2008 Journal of Biochemical and Molecular Toxicology scientists investigated the radio-protective potential of caffeic acid against gamma radiation-induced cellular changes. Lymphocytes were pre-incubated with caffeic acid and controls were not. All the lymphocytes were exposed to different doses of radiation and then genetic damage and biochemical changes were measured. Gamma irradiated control lymphocytes showed a radiation dose-dependent increase in genetic damage and a significant decrease in antioxidant status. Caffeic acid pretreated lymphocytes positively modulated all radiation induced changes. There was no damage caused to the cells whatsoever.

So which foods and herbs contain caffeic acid? Apples (An apple a day…I love the way these “old wives tales” continue to reveal their truths over the eons.) all citrus fruits, and the entire Brassicaceae family of plants, which contain vegetables such as broccoli, mustard, cabbage and cauliflower.

You might consider that a daily bowl of any of the following greens or roots is indispensable for ensuring your good health and protection from all forms of radiation: radish, turnips, shepherd’s purse, bok choi, napa, Chinese cabbage, broccoli rabe, kohlrabi, mustard greens, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and cress.

Members of the Brassica family offer uniquely important health-promoting properties. In addition to the wide array of necessary vitamins and minerals they provide, Brassica vegetables also contain a number of especially potent health enhancing and protective phytonutrients.

For instance, certain compounds in these vegetables known as glucosinolates reduce the potential of carcinogens through their ability to stimulate liver detoxification enzymes. These phytonutrients inhibit enzymes that normally activate carcinogens and induce other enzymes that help to dismantle active carcinogens.

All the vegetables in this family are sulphur rich – they contain Sulforaphane, which is actually formed when these vegetables are chopped or chewed. It, too, is known to trigger the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer-causing chemicals.

Remember that most of these bioactive compounds are water-soluble; during heating they leach into the cooking water. Because of this, it is recommended to cook these vegetables in the minimum amount of water (as in steaming) in order to retain their nutritional benefits and drink the liquid.

Seaweeds  Phaeophyceae

Brown Algae such as the Laminaria and Saccharina, Fucus, Sargassum muticum.

Regular seaweed consumption should be a part of our daily diet and especially noted for their radiation protective qualities are wakame, kelps and bladderwrack.

The negative health effects of radiation poisons can be prevented or suppressed by regular consumption of algin-rich brown seaweeds which slow the bioaccumulation of neurotoxic metals.

Shep Erhart, who runs the Maine Seaweed Company in Franklin, Maine, has been eating, harvesting, working with and enjoying seaweeds for the past thirty years. He taught me that sea vegetables contain the broadest range of minerals of any food – the same minerals found in the ocean and in human blood, such as potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron, and iodine.

A few summers ago Shep took me and a small group of apprentices to one of his favorite seaweed gathering spots on the coast of Maine. One of the seaweeds we found in abundance on that day was Luminaria longicruris, or kelp, a beautiful brown seaweed that grows 4 to 8-foot-long broad golden fronds.

Kelp offers exceedingly high amounts of these minerals, and is an unparalleled source of other essential trace nutrients, particularly iodine. “Our cells and those of seaweed are both bathed in a similar ocean of dissolved mineral matter. The ratio of sodium to potassium is nearly the same in blood and saltwater.” Shep said.

Kelp has been found to have a normalizing action on the thyroid and parathyroid glands, which are especially vulnerable to absorbing radioactive poisons from the environment. A healthy, functioning parathyroid gland means you can absorb all those minerals to your best advantage.

Numerous researchers have discovered kelp’s ability to bind with radioactive isotopes in the body, thus allowing them to be safely excreted. Consuming kelp regularly will offer protection to the cells in your body during and after radiation treatments, after any routine x-rays and most notably during and after any kind of radiation poisoning.

Studies also suggest that kelp has a positive effect on the balance of healthy flora in the intestinal tract, actively destroys cancer cells, and stimulates T-cell production in our immune systems. All sea vegetables are strongly immune enhancing.

Kelp is a versatile seaweed and there are many ways to integrate its use into the daily diet. It is superb when lightly toasted or fried; it can be pickled in brine or simmered in soups; it’s great sautéed; and it’s indispensable in bean dishes, as it helps to tenderize beans, shortens the cooking time and aids in digestion.

You don’t even have to eat it to benefit from its radiation protective and health nourishing properties…just soak in a seaweed bath. The sea greens help to balance body and skin chemistry. Electrolytic magnetic action of the seaweeds releases excess body fluid from congested cells and dissolves fatty wastes through the skin, replacing them with depleted minerals, particularly potassium and iodine. The vitamin K in sea vegetables helps regulate adrenal function, thus a regular seaweed bath or rub helps ensure well balanced hormones and a more youthful physical appearance, in addition to offering its radiation protective benefits. The mucilaginous fiber in seaweed helps to prevent the reabsorbing of radioactive strontium 90.

“Following the bombing of Nagasaki, a group of surviving macrobiotic doctors and their patients avoided radiation sickness simply by eating brown rice, miso and seaweed.

Another excellent source of high quality seaweeds can be obtained from Larch Hanson in Stueben, Maine. Larch gathers his seaweeds from pristine places along the coast of Maine as well.

Adaptogens – those all important natural substances that help the body adapt to stress. In order to meet the criteria as defined by the word adaptogen, a substance must be non-toxic, produce a nonspecific response in the body which boosts the ability to resist multiple stressors, and exert a normalizing influence on physiology. By definition, adaptogens strengthen the immune, nervous and glandular system, increase metabolic efficiency and reduce susceptibility to illness and disease.

Many of these substances have a history of use that extends for hundreds and thousands of years and a huge body of experience has been accumulated and recorded regarding their therapeutic application. Three of my favorites are reishi mushrooms, American ginseng and Baltic amber. You can rely on all three of these substances to offer you protection from radiation poisoning.

Baltic amber – In my experience natural Baltic amber is one of the most indispensible, as well as perhaps the most universally applicable, of the known adaptogens. Warming, stimulating, aromatic, bitter, it is both a potent medicine and an amazingly protective substance and has been revered as such for millennia.

Baltic Amber is proven to act as a shield, providing protection from harmful radiation emitted from computers, cell phones and wireless devices, microwave ovens, electrical appliances as well as radiation emitted from industrial accidents.

In fact, the succinic acid found in the amber cortex, or outer layer of the stone, is employed by European scientists and military doctors to bolster the body’s immunity to radiation from industrial accidents. It is touted in Russia and other European countries for its and cell rejuvenating properties and is commonly used in anti-aging formulations and to aid recovery of cancer patients after undergoing conventional medical treatment. It has been shown to strengthen immunity to ionizing radiation, infections, alcohol and other toxins.

Though not especially well known and rarely spoken or written about in American herb culture, Baltic amber actually has a long and illustrious history of medicinal use in China, India, the Middle East and all of Europe, from the northern Boreal forests to the Mediterranean Sea many people are not only well aware of, but also make regular use of, the vitality boosting and energetically protective qualities.

What is Baltic Amber? Baltic amber is a fossilized resin produced by coniferous trees from the Pinaceae family which grew in Northern Europe around the Baltic Sea 40 million to 200 million years ago.

As atmospheric change occurred and the climate warmed, the conifer trees began exuding large amounts of resin in an effort to adapt to the changing earth environment. As the millennia progressed, these exudations sank to the Baltic Sea floor and gradually, over the eons, became stable through oxidation, the action of micro-organisms and other processes.

Extensively traded since remote antiquity, natural Baltic amber was worn as a protective amulet by the ancient Nordic and Scandinavian peoples, as well as by the Celts, the ancient peoples of the Mediterranean: the Phoenicians, Greeks and Etruscans, the Arabs, Egyptians and the Chinese, all of whom knew and used Baltic amber (succinite) many centuries before the Common Era.

Baltic amber’s considerable electrostatic properties are an essential part of its health boosting abilities. This substance has long been respected as a natural ionizer; it possesses the ability to produce negative ions, known to help to ease pain, boost over-all immunity and stimulate the healing process.

Negative Ions and our Health – Extensive research has shown that our good health is in large part dependent on the amount and quality of the negative ions in the air around us and in our bodies.

The human body consists of billions of cells, each enclosed by a membrane. This cell membrane performs many important roles, such as the absorption of nutrients and elimination of waste. The function of the entire cell and its membrane is enhanced when there are enough negative ions within and outside the cell. This electrical material exchange revitalizes cell metabolism so that optimum nourishment is absorbed and waste material is eliminated efficiently.

According to results of research on negative ions conducted at the Nanzandoh Medical Clinic in Japan, negative ions help speed recovery from illness, slow the aging processes and offer protection from the harmful effects of environmental stressors such as electromagnetic fields and radiation.

And, while this negative ion producing property of Baltic amber’s is nothing short of amazing, it’s not by any means the only thing responsible for its potent healing effects. There’s more!

Succinic acid – Baltic amber has high concentrations of a unique substance known as succinic acid, and with from 3% to 8% succinic acid by weight, is one of the most important natural sources of succinic acid in the world.

It has long been believed that by wearing raw or polished natural Baltic amber against the skin, a “homeopathic dose” of succinic acid is absorbed into the body, enough to exert its analgesic, anti-inflammatory, immune enhancing, protective and vitality boosting influence.

Since the thyroid gland is very susceptible to absorbing radiation poisoning, wearing a Baltic amber necklace or pendant over or near this gland is especially important. I am never without mine. You’ll find more about the many uses and benefits of Baltic amber in another post on this blog.

Potassium iodide – The US government, military, hospitals, etc. stock Potassium Iodide, which is the ingredient added to your table salt to make it iodized salt, in case of a nuclear accident. They suggest that to protect against the negative health effects of nuclear radiation exposure, this substance be taken orally in very small quantities 1/2 hour to 1 day before radioactive iodines are swallowed or inhaled. According to reports doing so will prevent approximately 99% of the damage that would otherwise occur to the thyroid gland. Potassium iodide blocks the thyroid gland’s uptake of radioactive iodine and thus could help prevent thyroid cancers and other diseases that might be caused by exposure to airborne radioactive iodine dispersed in a nuclear accident.

Potassium – carries an electrical charge and is “wed” to sodium in many of the electrical/chemical balancing chores it performs in our bodies. Adequate intake of potassium is critically important when exposure to radiation is a threat because abundant potassium in the blood stream will block rapid absorption of Cesium-137. Food sources of potassium include potatoes, avocado, raisins, sardines, flounder, orange juice, winter squash, banana, apricots, cantaloupe, tomato, milk, salmon, beans, sweet potato, beef liver, peaches, steak, haddock, pork, lamb, turkey, tuna, and chicken. Herbs with high levels of potassium include sage, catnip, hops, dulse, peppermint, skullcap, kelp, and red clover. You’ll also find it in horsetail, nettles, borage, and plantain.

Liver nourishing roots such as American ginseng, Panax quinquefolius, dandelion Taraxacum officinale and burdock, Arctium lappa. are loaded with mucilaginous properties and assist with the elimination of toxins out of the body…they act as a kind of magnet, pulling these radioactive elements to them and helping you excrete them through the eliminative organs.

Additionally Panax quinqeufolius, is proven to be radioprotective; it specifically protects human DNA from damage due to radiation particle ingestion, protects human peripheral lymphocytes from radiation induced stress, prevents radiation induced illness and protects against Cesium-137 exposure. 30 drops of tincture in water, once to three times daily should be an effective dose of any of these roots. Adding them to soups and stir fries and making water-based decoctions and/or syrups are all effective ways of using them.

Buckwheat is high in rutin and helps to protect against radiation and also stimulates new bone marrow production.

Research on animals indicates that curcumin, an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound found in turmeric, may help protect against radiation-induced damage to the skin.

Other research has shown that Ginkgo biloba may act as a shield against organ damage resulting from radiation therapy.

Aloe vera is a natural remedy for radiation-induced skin changes, preventing or minimizing radiation-induced skin reactions.

Immune modulating medicinal mushrooms such as, Reishi, Turkey Tail, Matiake, Shitake and Chaga are all very important and well documented to enhance over-all immunity, protect against cellular changes and act as effective protectors against radiation poisoning as well as all manner of toxins that we ingest through out environment. I prefer consuming my medicinal mushrooms in a water base, often decocting them and then adding half of the volume in raw honey, turning it into an optimally absorbed food/medicine. A tablespoon or so of a well made syrup of any of these mushrooms taken once or twice daily, or simply adding these mushrooms to any soups you make, will provide a great deal of reliable protection.

Reishi  Ganoderma lucidum and Ganoderma applanatum In addition to its ability to protect us from radiation poisoning, Reishi has long been believed by the Chinese to protect the Spirit and to nurture the growth of intelligence, wisdom and spiritual insight. These are qualities we all need living in the modern day world and facing disasters that appear to be occurring ever more frequently. Reishi is a superb anti-stress herb and its effects seem to be cumulative, gradually strengthening the nerves and actually changing how we perceive life. It is routinely used by mountain hermits, monks, adepts and spiritual seekers throughout Asia because it is believed to help calm the mind, ease tension, strengthen the nerves, improve memory, sharpen concentration and focus, build will power and, as a result, help to develop wisdom. Reishi helps to improve the quality of life by improving the inner life of a human being.

Use reishi mushrooms on a daily basis to assist in developing wisdom, to deepen your connection to our great, abundant and oh, so precious planet…and then take it upon yourself to share your growing wisdom in whatever means you have available, for the benefit and healing of all peoples, plants and animals and for our Mother Earth herself.

I hope you’ve found at least some of this information to be useful to you. My prayer for all of us today is that we focus on all that is good and beautiful, that we radiate light, peace and calm and remember that Great Mother is holding us all in her loving and protective embrace.

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