An obscure trace mineral, found in many healing herbs, may prove to be the missing link in even the most well informed wellness program. It is claimed the organic form of this mineral can boost the immune system, normalise high blood pressure and cholesterol and protect the body against harmful cellular aberrations and abuse. It is also claimed to provide pain relief, alleviate rheumatoid arthritis symptoms and generally normalise physiological functions. This multi-function marvel is germanium.
"Defensive eating", is the term I have coined to describe an approach where the medicinal value of certain foods is recognised and fully utilised, to maximise immune competency and associated resilience. It involves simple strategies like eating by colour, where it is considered wise to make every meal a rainbow on your dinner plate. The greater the variety and intensity of the colours on your plate, the more medicinal the outcome. Why? Well, colours are pigments and pigments are antioxidants that help protect the plant from pests and UV radiation. Thankfully, these plant pigments also serve as powerful antioxidants for people. The more intense the colour, the more potent the antioxidant effect. Each pigment offers a different form of antioxidant protection (fat soluble, water soluble etc) so the more the merrier.
Defensive eating can also involve the regular inclusion of plants with proven protective capacity like pawpaw, ginger and garlic. It may also involve the daily use of fresh medicinal herbs. The best way to achieve this is via a high powered blender that can liquefy any food while retaining maximum benefits. These devices have long been the darlings of the raw food brigade but I am convinced that they are an essential wellness tool for all of us. A green smoothie each morning can include fruits like kiwi fruit, pineapple and grapes with power packed greens like kale and spinach. A handful of herbs like parsley, chives and dandelion can be combined and their taste is masked by the fruit flavour. The most potent herbal additive is a plant called Herb Robert which is one of the highest known sources of a mineral called germanium.
Germanium – A Study in Overreaction
Germanium was first discovered in 1880 but it was not initially recognised that this new trace element could be toxic in its inorganic form. It was soon discovered that remarkable cancer benefits were linked to the mineral and it was abused and eventually outlawed in many areas. The inorganic form, germanium dioxide, was responsible for over 30 deaths, so all forms were banned. There is no evidence that the organic form of germanium has ever exhibited any toxic side effects. There are several other examples of regulatory over-reaction in the history of nutrition. In each case, valuable nutrients have been removed from the marketplace due to ill informed decision making. The amino acid, tryptophan is a prime example. This nutrient has been shown to outperform anti-depressants in several studies and has tremendous potential to help the millions mired in this plague of sadness. However, a genetically modified version of this amino acid injured dozens of people a couple of decades ago and the response was to ban natural and synthetic versions. This draconian ban remains to this day in many countries. This has been good news for the makers of anti-depressants but bad news for those who could have relieved their symptoms without the side-effects.
Germanium – The X factor
Japanese researcher, Dr Kazuhiko Asai, was intrigued with the content of germanium he measured in coal. He reasoned that, as coal is derived from ancient plant material, there might be some point in analysing a wide variety of plants for their germanium content. He found that many of the world's most medicinal plants contained high levels of germanium. These included ginseng, shitake mushrooms, aloe vera, comfrey and garlic. Russian shelf fungus, traditionally used for cancer, was highest. This recognition that germanium may be the X-factor in these healing foods led to his research into the organic form of this mineral. In 1967, Dr Asai, was able to synthesise the first organically bound form of germanium, germanium sequioxide (Ge-132). Numerous studies have since confirmed both the safety and exciting potential of this organic form. Many researchers now suggest that, in the near future, germanium will be considered "the great oversight", particularly in relation to immunity. This is why The International AIDS Convention recently approved organic germanium for large scale testing.
The Power of Oxygen
Germanium works at the cellular level, enhancing energy production by raising the cell's oxygen supply. One of my favourite medical journals, "The Townsend Letter for Doctors", states, "its oxygenation phenomenon allow greater organism function with reduced oxygen intake". Oxygen, or vitamin O as it is often called, is the single most important element. It is required to release energy from food via oxidisation and cells die within minutes in its absence. This is effectively what happens during a stroke (the third largest cause of death). Many diseases are linked to a lack of cellular oxygen, including cancer. Dr Otto Warburg won a Nobel prize for discovering the link between a lack of cellular oxygen and cancer. Russian and German researchers have pioneered oxygen treatments (often involving ozone) as a primary anti-cancer tool.
The Balancing Act
Balance is the single most important process in soil, plant, animal and human health. Living systems require balance on every level. A balanced system is a system at ease, where complex processes work like clockwork (as they were designed to do). An unbalanced system involves a loss of ease and that associated perfect function. In fact, imbalance sponsors disease. Cell biologist, Dr Parris Kidd, has shown that a key quality of gemanium is its capacity to return a cell to homeostasis (biochemical balance). He has repeatedly shown that this trace mineral can restore deviant blood parameters back to the normal range. These include pH, glucose, the minerals sodium, potassium, calcium and chlorides, triglycerides, cholesterol, uric acid, haemoglobin and leucocytes (white blood cells).
Detox with Germanium
In a world with 74,000 registered chemicals and a host of other environmental contaminants, we need all of the detox help we can get. Germanium, like vitamin C and Coenzyme Q10 is an adaptogen – a substance that indirectly normalises bodily functions. Some scientists believe that germanium's chemical structure may help the mineral bind or chelate toxic substances and remove them. Dr Asai reported astonishing success with mercury and cadmium poisoning and the removal of PCBs with germanium. There are a variety of Japanese detox food pads featuring germanium now on the market and this mineral has also become the basis of popular mineral detox baths at health spas. Hair testing specialists who include germanium amongst the mineral spectrum tested, claim that 95% of people are deficient in this trace mineral.
Germanium and Immunity
A virus is a cleverly disguised enemy which invades our cells and uses the cells reproductive processes to clone itself. The immune system mobilises T and B lymphocytes, macrophages and natural killer cells to protect against the virus. Interferon is a protein which blocks proteins from entering cells and is critical for immune function. Germanium significantly enhances the body's production of interferon. Japanese research published in "The Journal of Interferon Research", shows that Ge 132 restores immune function to immune suppressed patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis and cancer. Dutch researcher, Dr Schuitemaker states "germanium is involved as a catalyst in the supply of oxygen to oxygen poor tissue such as cancerous growths ….it lessens the peroxidisation of fatty acids thus establishing the role of germanium in free radical pathology".
Growing Your Own Germanium
Isabell Shipard, author of "How Can I Use Herbs in My Daily Life?" lists Herb Robert as the No 1 most beneficial herb. She refers to a veritable arsenal of anti-oxidant, antiviral and antibiotic effects associated with consumption of this herb. Herb Robert (Germanium robertianum) or Cranesbill is one of the highest plant sources of gemanium. The pink flowers and fragile, fern-like leaves should be a feature of every home garden and the leaves can be added to salads or they can be an invaluable, pleasant tasting inclusion in a green smoothie or herb tea. The plant will self-seed and spread around the garden via a seed pod that looks like a bird's beak (hence cranesbill) that bursts and ejects the seeds up to five meters. In her blog entries, Isabell cites considerable feedback from cancer patients reporting remarkable results.
Germanium is obviously a trace mineral with multiple benefits and the fact that the vast majority of us appear to be deficient in this nutrient should trigger a call to action. In the midst of a plague of degenerative diseases we need these kinds of tools. There is no need to invest in supplements to access germanium therapy. It is as simple as throwing some seeds into your garden and remembering to harvest and consume the leaves on a regular basis. This simple strategy can boost your immune system and deliver all-important oxygen to your cells. Proactive protection is possible in your own backyard. So, plant some Cranesbill now!
Disclaimer: Professional medical advice should be sought prior to taking any additional supplements.