By Anna Selby, author of Water Secrets The Simplest Way to Health and Beauty.
It's National Water Day this Friday so maybe this is a good moment to think about this wet stuff and why it's so important to us. So why? Perhaps because it's synonymous with purity - every one of the world's great religions uses water symbolically as purification. Or because of its magical adaptability - transmuting from liquid to solid to vapour before our very eyes. Or the fact that we are 75% water ourselves. And then there is the fact that so much of the world has so little of it that they can use although the planet is composed more of sea than land.
The healing properties of water were recognised by the Greek physician Hippocrates (c.460-377BC) but were known and used long before then. King Solomon (c.1015-977BC) and the Queen of Sheba built palaces on the shores of the Dead Sea to benefit from its therapeutic powers, while Cleopatra used its water and mud as part of her beauty regime. The Romans, of course, built baths over thermal springs everywhere they went. In the eighteenth century, spas - from Baden-Baden to Bath - became all the rage and anyone who could afford it went to "take the waters".
And water is essential on the inside, too. We can go for weeks without food but without water we die in just a few days. Even a little dehydration is injurious to our health. The Volvic Hydration Report undertaken on employees in 1000 workplaces in 1999 found that we begin to feel thirsty at 1% dehydration. At 2% our ability to work starts to diminish. At 4% we start to feel lethargic, apathetic and bad-tempered and more vulnerable to stress, with feelings of nausea. Death occurs at 20%.
So for the sake of your liver, kidneys, immune system, digestive system and skin, on World Water Day, raise a glass (or preferably seven) of nature's champagne.
Anna Selby is the author of Water Secrets The Simplest Way to Health and Beauty published by Endeavour Press Ltd.