Alkaline foods and beverages are important parts of the diet because they balance and neutralise the acidity in many of our everyday foods. Fish, meats, chicken, eggs, cheese, nuts and many grains, including rice and whole-wheat bread, are acid-forming foods. Most fruits and vegetables are alkali-forming, and milk, butter, white sugar and vegetable oils are considered neutral. The ideal ratio of alkalis to acids in the body is about four parts alkali to one part acid. Most green and herbal teas are somewhat alkaline. Teas that are highest in alkalis are dandelion, ginseng, bancha, kombucha and alfalfa.
Dandelion is used as a blood and liver purifier and as a digestive aid. It is also traditionally used to alleviate cramps, rheumatism, anaemia and constipation, as well as a diuretic. Dandelion tea is made from the flowers of the plant. To make this beverage, boil 4 c. of water and pour it over 1 c. of dandelion flowers that you have washed and mixed with 1 tsp of orange zest in a second pot. Cover and let the tea steep for 15 minutes.
Ginseng is an energising herb used to help the body recover from illness and is a traditional cure for sexual dysfunction. To make this alkali-rich tea, ask a health-food store clerk or herbalist to grind the hard root into powder. Combine 1 tsp of ginseng powder with 1 c. of water, bring to a boil, steep and strain. Add honey to sweeten the tea if you like.
This Japanese green tea is brewed from the older stalks and leaves of the tea plant. The bancha leaves are picked late in the growing season, in the summer and autumn. Bancha leaves are yellow-green and make a strong, hearty tea that is not only high in alkalis but in fluoride as well, and is therefore good for the teeth.
Kombucha, a fungus that looks like a flat, brown mushroom, has become popular in the United States in recent years. It has long been a favourite drink in Asia and parts of Europe. It is said to help the immune system and to provide energy. Kombucha tea must be brewed through a complex process that involves using a kombucha culture, water, black or green tea and sugar.
According to some sources, alfalfa is the herbal tea highest in alkalis. This is because it has deep roots that extend up to 25 feet underground; therefore, the roots absorb minerals and trace elements from deep within the earth, unlike many other plants. To make this nutrient-rich tea, steep 1 tsp of alfalfa leaves in 2 c. of boiling water. Let it steep for at least 10 minutes.