The Alchemy of Mr. Hyde

Findings suggest that populations which drink pure water of high quality experience greater longevity of life.  The question is: what is pure water and where can it be found?  What is the safest form to ingest it and what can we do to make sure we are adequately nourished by it?  Water, one of the most nourishing elements on this Earth, has taken on such toxic properties with the pollution of our environment that it has become the Mr. Hyde of what it could be: an evocative fountain of youth.

He looked down into the rushing water, into the transparent green, into the crystal lines of its drawing, so rich in secrets.  …With a thousand eyes, the river lookedat him, with green ones, with white ones, with crystal ones, with sky-blue ones… Love this water!  Stay near it! Learn from it!  …He who would understand this water and its secrets, so it seemed to him, would also understand many other things, many secrets, all secrets. 

-Hermann Hesse, Siddartha

In trying to obtain pure water we must first understand the assessment of quality of water which is carried out by marking three factors:

photo credit: Bengal Amateur Radio Society

  • pH- expresses the relative acidity or alkalinity (the concentration of hydrogen ions and the number of protons present).  Our bodies generally fare better with ingesting more alkaline substances, particularly given the highly acidic nature of the typical diet and chemicals contained in it, but in the case of water, high alkalinity can also present as an issue with the presence of chlorine or bacteria contamination harming the body.
  • rH2- expresses the number of electrons present in a liquid.  Oxidation occurs with the loss of electrons whereas reduction occurs with their gain.  Reduction corresponds to higher water quality.
  • Resistivity- pure water measures at 20,000 Ω (ohm).  Water above 6,000 Ω is generally considered of excellent quality.  This measurement signifies the number of free mineral ions (charged molecules), or electrolytes, in solution.  Tap water can measure at anywhere from 1,000 – 5,000 Ω.  Areas of the world with high resistivity have been linked with increased longevity of local populations.

These indicators are important because they provide a frame of reference for how the water will interact with our bodies, which, at the atomic and cellular level, already have a specific charge to maintain in order to maintain balance and, thereby, health in the body.

Water purity may vary from city to city and it is important to seek out an adequate water source, perhaps installing a water filter that matches your needs accordingly and speaking with a professional concerning the pros and cons of each type of filter.  Some bottled water or drinks can be detrimental to the environment given the presence of xenoestrogens which mimic estrogens in the body but cannot be properly cleansed out by the liver.  Some plastics (those marked with number 7 recycle code) still contain polycarbonate from which chemical Bisphenol A (BPA) can leach into the water, particularly in high temperatures (think left out in the sun or in the car) when the plastic would melt directly into the water.  These molecules have been linked to a variety of reproductive disorders including lowering sperm count in men and potentially causing breast cancer.  If  you choose to consume bottled food or water, it is generally considered safe to consume those manufactured from polyethlene terephthalate (PETE, recycling code 1) and high density polyethlene (HDPE, recycling code 2) which have no known health risks and have not been shown to leach any chemicals into their contents.  On the other hand, nalgene bottles and inexpensive water filter pitchers may be the true culprit with some still containing toxic BPA.

photo credit: Mark Mawson

So where can you get your water and healthy water at that?  Besides looking into investing in a water filter and avoiding plastic bottles, water can be obtained from organic, pesticide and herbicide-free fruits and vegetables.  Some fruits and vegetables such as watermelon, cucumber, and celery have a high water content.  Along with the water, you would also be getting the vitamins and trace minerals that are essential for your body to function optimally.  Another thought is to consume seaweed (it can be prepared in very tasty ways!) and to save the soak water which contains abundant beneficial minerals for cooking.  During the summer many of these fruits and vegetables will have an energetic cooling effect on the body, keeping you cool, balanced, and nourished.

In the meantime, another safe and financially friendly option is to look into a copper container for your water.  In many Indian households, individuals will filter the water and then place it in a copper container (at least overnight) for storage.  This practice stems from the tradition of Ayurveda which notes that all metals have particular energetic properties and can thereby be used accordingly to create balance in the body-mind.  Copper has an oligodynamic effect, potentially destroying harmful and unwanted bacteria.  In Ayurveda it is considered to energize the water and prevent aging.   Additionally, research shows this water may be beneficial for the liver, spleen, and lymphatic system.

photo credit: foodIblog

Stay tuned for next week- an exploration of the therapeutic properties of water and how they are harnessed in different areas of the world!