Role of Detoxification
in Healing: Dr. Lee Cowden, M.D.
W. LEE COWDEN, M.D., University of Texas Medical School, is board
certified in internal medicine, cardiovascular disease, and clinical
nutrition. Dr. Cowden is currently teaching seminars to help medical
practitioners treat their patients with Lyme disease. He is collecting
data and information from patients using his protocol with the aim of
publishing so that more doctors can learn that there is a
less toxic and more effective treatment for Lyme disease. I spoke with
Dr. Cowden in August, 2006.
talking today with Dr.
Lee Cowden, and we're very excited to have you as a guest here. We
would love to know about your protocol for Lyme disease. Currently,
what is the protocol that you are using with patients?
Yes. Thanks for having me on your program, first of all. I would say
that since we did the Lyme pilot study back in 2003, we've learned a
lot of new important things about Lyme disease that weren't obvious
from the study. I guess the most important thing we've learned is that
if you don't continue to work on getting the physical toxins out of the
body, the few remaining microbes that can survive the aggressive
therapy with herbals or pharmaceuticals, or whatever is used, those
surviving microbes will usually regrow and form a completely new
population of Lyme-related microbes in the body because of the toxins
stimulating their regrowth.
So, it's so critically important, in my opinion, to work as hard on
getting the toxins out of the body as on working on getting the
microbes out of the body.
When you say toxins, could you say what you mean by that?
Yes, I will. The worst culprits usually are the heavy metals, it takes
the longest amount of time to get the heavy metals out of the body. The
most common source for heavy metals that I see usually is
mercury from the silver mercury amalgam fillings in people's teeth. And
usually, if they continue to have the silver mercury amalgams in their
teeth then you can't make any good progress on getting the mercury out
of the body, because every time you chew you release more mercury back
into the body. And mercury does stimulates the growth of Borrelia and
several other microbes. And it also blocks the release of other toxins,
including other metals and other pesticides and solvents, herbicides
and so on.
So, it's so important, in my opinion, to find and find a dentist that's
knowledgeable in the proper technique to get the mercury
amalgam fillings out of the teeth, and to go through that process in a
very cautious and methodical way. And then once the mercury's out of
the teeth, to then gear up the detoxification for mercury, so that the
mercury can be removed from the body over time.
That detoxification varies from patient to patient. For children,
usually if they have mercury fillings it is not as strong a treatment
as the treatment for adults who've had it in their teeth for forty or
fifty or sixty years. We'll sometimes use a peptide chlathrating agent
for children, it's a clear spray that you spray in the mouth. You do
that daily for several months to try to get the mercury out.
Back in 2001, I co-developed a technique to get the toxins out using
the principle of complex homeopathy and laser, ecolaser therapy, and
that's been a great advent in getting the toxins out of the body, and
the doctors I've taught how to do that are very impressed about the
results that they can get. Unfortunately, there are so few doctors in
the country that are trained in that protocol, that there are more
people wanting it than doctors who can deliver it. I'm now in the
process of giving seminars to doctors to learn how to do that, so that
we can have faster detoxification. We have a seminar coming up in
November in Scottsdale, Arizona, to teach doctors that technique.
Anyway, the mercury is one major issue that blocks the ability to clear
Borrelia from the body in the first place, and other Lyme-related bugs.
And it also makes it easier to get the Lyme-related bugs back.
Mercury is just one part of the challenge. Some people are loaded with
other man-made toxins, other metals, for example, aluminum, from
underarm deodorants and antiperspirants, and from eating food out of
aluminum pots and aluminum dishes, or from even their toothpaste. A lot
of the toothpastes in the United States are made from boxite, and
boxite is primarily aluminum oxide salt. So you have to be aware of
those things, and change to different types of tooth care so you don't
continue to load your body up with more and more aluminum. Once you
stop putting the aluminum in you can start getting the aluminum out,
with chelators and with the laser detox technique and so on.
The pesticides are an issue. A lot of people have switched over to
eating organic vegetables and fruits, but they continue to eat
conventionally-produced meats, failing to realize that there are five
to twenty times as much pesticides in non-organic meats as there are in
the non-organic fruits. So they're not spending their money in the
right place, they need to change where they spend their money. Buy the
organic meats first, then if there's money left over, then buy the
organic fruits and vegetables.
All those are detoxification issues. Don't use pesticides inside your
house, there are natural things that can be done to get rid of pests
inside your house where you don't have to poison yourself and your
family. Just have awareness about things that we put in our body and on
So many patients I see are loaded down with petroleum by-products that
are poisoning their system and predisposing them to microbial growth.
And a very common source for that is skin care products, chapstick,
other types of lip balms, lipsticks have a petrolatum base, petrolatum
by-product base. Creams and lotions and stuff like that have a lot of
that petroleum stuff in it from some companies.
Some companies don't have that. So you seek out the companies that
don't have petroleum base, and you stop loading your body up. Once you
get a lot of that toxic load out, then it becomes easy to get rid of
What we found on getting rid of the microbes is that if a person has an
acute Lyme disease infection, like in the first three to six weeks
after exposure, that antibiotics do seem to work fairly well in a lot
of patients. But, if they've had the illness for longer than six weeks,
the chance of antibiotics getting rid of the infection, in my
experience, is pretty unlikely, pretty remote. So, they're basically
just guaranteeing that they'll stay on antibiotics for the rest of
The problem with staying on the standard pharmaceutical antibiotics
longterm is that you kill off the friendly bacteria in your gut, and
you cause an overgrowth of fungus in your gut, so then you trade one
problem for another. Fungal overgrowth can be just as bad a problem as
Lyme disease in the first place. A lot of the treatment that we've been
using to get rid of the bugs in patients with chronic Lyme disease,
don't tend to cause that problem because they kill the funguses as much
as they kill the Lyme disease and the Lyme-related bacteria and
protozoa and whatnot, without, in many cases, killing the friendly
bacteria in the gut. So it's more of a fine-tuned antimicrobial
In the study we did the Samento, quite a bit, and we still use that
some. But we've found that there are some other herbal therapies that
have been brought from Peru by Nutramedix that work just as well or
better than Samento.
Cumanda is an extremely powerful anti-Lyme treatment, as well as an
excellent anti-fungal. And also is a pretty good antiviral, and
anti-parasitic. So you eliminate a lot of different bugs with one
therapy. It's a different philosophy than the philosophy used by
conventional medicine, which is one bug, one drug. So if you have six
bugs, you have six drugs.
I don't like that approach because it destroys a lot of the friendly
microbes in the gut. Then people end up with other problems, the
inability to absorb and many allergies because of leaky gut, created by
the funguses poking holes in their gut wall.
The other thing we've learned since the study, is that the enzymes that
we were using in the study are critically important in breaking up the
fibrin that covers over the bugs and hides them from the immune system.
The fibrin is a protein produced by the body in response to infectious
illnesses. And those bugs can hide very well if the fibrin is coating
them over, but if you give a proteolytic enzyme about thirty minutes
before food with water only, a couple of times a day, enough of that
enzyme gets absorbed and breaks down the fibrin coating on the surface
of the bug so that the immune system can find them and get rid of them.
In addition to that, the fibrin that is being produced gets plastered
up against the capillary walls, the blood vessel walls and restricts
the movement of oxygen into the tissues. So the tissues become oxygen
starved, and start producing lactic acid and go into anaerobic
metabolism and create all kinds of other trouble from that. So the
proteolytic enzymes have been very helpful to resolve that.
I use now, bromelain, as a proteolytic enzyme, bromelain is derived
from pineapple. And also use carnivora, which is derived from Venus
Flytrap. These two seem to be fairly well-tolerated and not likely
contaminated and not very allergenic. A lot of the other enzymes that
are on the market are either contaminated or allergenic. But those two
work really well.
I usually rotate those, I'll give even days one of those products, and
odd days of the month, the other type of product, so that the person's
less likely to develop an allergic reaction.
One other important thing we discovered about antimicrobials, besides
Cumanda we have Banderol, which is a very powerful herbal antimicrobial
from Peru also through Nutramedix company, and Quina, which
has been used in Peru for many centuries for treatment for malaria, but
is also an excellent anti-Lyme treatment as well as a pretty good
anti-fungal and anti-parisitic.
We've found that if you rotate remedies, that you're less likely for
the microbes to develop a sensitivity or resistance to the treatment,
and less likely for the patient to develop an allergy or sensitivity to
So what we're doing now is we're giving one of those remedies for
twelve and a half days and then we stay off for a day and half, and
then go back on a second one for another twelve and half days, and then
come off. And we might even go onto a third one, for another twelve and
half days, and we just keep that rotation going. The bug can never
really figure out what's hitting them because you're changing so often.
The day and a half off during a two week period is just as important as
the twelve and half days on because during the day and a half off, the
microbes think that the coast is clear, so they start transforming from
the granule forms, 4-form, L-form, cyst-form, or other hiding forms and
come back into the spirochetal form and start trying to invade cells.
When they do that, that's when you hit them again with another round of
a different antimicrobial, so you knock out a whole bunch of additional
microbes that previously were hiding.
So pretty soon there's no more hiding forms left. They've all been
hatched, if you will, and killed off in the adult form.
How long does that type of treatment go on for?
It varies from patient to patient. We've had a few patients who were
treated four as little as four or five months, and then came off those
antimicrobials and never had a relapse. But during that time we were
aggressively detoxifying them and giving them the enzymes, giving them
plenty of detox support with Burbur. Burbur's been a great advent since
the study because during the study we were using five different
substances to try to assist the detoxification of the carcasses of the
dying microbes in the patients. But the Burbur was able to replace all
five of those.
is in an effort to
keep the detox from creating such an uncomfortable situation?
Yes, it's to avoid the Herxheimer reaction. What we do on the Burbur in
the beginning when they're first starting out at a low dose on the
antimicrobial and building up, if they start feeling a Herxheimer
reaction they change from taking three or four doses of Burbur a day to
taking it every ten or fifteen minutes until the symptoms resolve.
After the symptoms have been resolved they go back to taking it three
times a day.
In most cases, with advanced, chronic neuroborreliosis, where it's gone
into the brain, especially, we start with just one drop of whichever
one of those herbal antimicrobials that I mentioned, Cumanda, Banderol,
Quina and Samento, and then every day or two, add another drop. So it
takes maybe a month or so to build up to full dose, depending on how
fast you can tolerate building up. Then once you get up to a full dose,
then you start doing that cycling process that I mentioned a while ago:
twelve and a half days on, one and half day off, twelve and half days
on a second product, twelve and half days off, and so on.
So you're talking
about alternating between all four of those.
What I do practically, in patients, when the patient is able to be
tested energetically, we can actually test to see which ones are going
to be effective against the microbes that they have, using energetic
testing. Either electrodermal screening or some type of kinesiology,
will predict fairly reliably, over ninety-five percent predictive
accuracy, which herbal antimicrobials are going to work best for that
patient, so you don't have to guess. You do exactly the one that that
patient tests best for, or the two or three or four, and you rotate
them, depending on what the energetic testing suggests. That's how
we've been able to get the best results.
really impressed and
excited to hear about this protocol. But I'm wondering how people who
don't have you as their doctor go about getting help. Are there other
doctors who have been trained this way, or is this a unique system that
Yes, we have doctors who have come to our seminars, there's not a lot
of them yet, unfortunately. But hopefully, if the people who are
listening to your program can tell their doctor that there is another
possibility, another way that works, then maybe some of their doctors
will come to our seminars and learn these ways so that there will be
more and more doctors scattered through the country, that can help
That's what we really want, is to try and get as many doctors as
possible familiar with these protocols. They're working well, they're
non-toxic, they're not giving the adverse reactions like a lot of
people see, with the fungal overgrowth from standard antibiotics. And
the patients are getting well and staying well even though the basic
protocol is stopped at some point. You don't see that with standard
antibiotics. With standard antibiotics, unless you start treating the
infection during the first three to six weeks, the patients tend to
have to get repeated rounds of antibiotics longterm, for years and
years and years.
I've noticed that.
What would you say to the patient who has been tested positive for
Lyme, and has been told that their problem was all in their head. I
know you've probably come across patients who've been told that by
Unfortunately, a lot. But just because a doctor doesn't have the
knowledge to understand what causes the condition doesn't make it a
psychiatric illness, doesn't make it an idiopathic illness. Idiopathic
is the Latin word that means “cause
unknown.” One of my patients was told that he had
an idiopathic illness. And the patient responded to that physician,
“Well, doctor, does that mean that you're an
idiot?” The doctor didn't like that, but unfortunately
there's some truth to it.
Most illnesses have a cause, unfortunately a lot of times conditional
medicine doesn't know the cause yet, but energetic medicine does often
time get at some of the causes that underlie a disease, so that you
start working those causes so that the label, the condition that the
patient is labeled with, goes away. And that's what I think more
doctors should be moving toward, is don't spend so much time time
trying to give the patient a label, just try to figure out what the
underlying causes of that condition are so that you can start resolving
the causes systematically so that finally the condition goes away.
I was wondering about people who may suspect they have toxins, either
from mercury fillings, or use of aluminum pans, or whatever it is, what
should they do if they suspect that they have a toxic overload and that
it's exacerbating the problem or making the Lyme worse. How do they get
tested for that? Are there home tests available? Or should they go to a
doctor for those?
Sadly, a lot of the mercury that comes out of the teeth goes into the
brain and is tightly bound there, and if they do the wrong kind of test
to look for the mercury, it won't show up in their body. It won't show
up in their bloodstream, for sure. It might show up in their hair, if
they've done a detoxification for a time, trying to get the mercury out
of their body, sometimes it will get mobilized from the brain and end
up going out in their scalp hair, and a hair analysis for heavy metals
will show it up. But if they haven't been doing a detoxification for
heavy metals it won't show likely show up in the hair analysis either.
Sometimes the only way that you can find the mercury in the body, is to
do what's called a challenge test. But if the person still has mercury
amalgams in their teeth, the challenge test has some risks, because you
also start mobilizing some of the mercury off the fillings that are
still in the mouth, into the bloodstream, and some of that ends up
going into the brain, in the wrong the direction. So, it can become a
challenge to try to prove that that's a problem.
In the Alternative Medicine Definitive Guide that I
contributed to back
in 1993, and also the update that came out in 2002, the Alternative
Medicine Guide had a section on dentistry and the effects on
And there was a chart in there of 1500+ patients whose mercury amalgams
were removed, and the results of that were reported to the FDA. They
found that well over eighty percent of the patients had a
significant improvement in a variety of symptoms, just by having the
mercury amalgams out. A lot of those had had the tests done, to look
for mercury in their body before they had the mercury out of their
teeth, and the tests were negative, but they persisted anyway and got a
dentist to take the mercury out of their teeth.
In a lot of states if a dentist tells the patient that they're toxic
from the mercury amalgam in their teeth, the dentist can lose their
license. So, in some states you have to take the mercury out for
cosmetic reasons, because you don't like the look of that nasty black
gray stuff in your mouth. And that's okay as long as you get the stuff
out in the right way. I usually have my patients take chlorella, which
is a cracked algae, before the dental procedure, and during, and after
the dental procedure to try and keep the mercury from moving from in
the mouth from where it's being drilled out into the bloodstream and
into the brain. And that works pretty well.
Chlorella in large doses?
Well, yes, you if you've had mercury amalgam in your teeth for a long
time you start by taking just one capsule per day and you build up,
adding another one every day as long as you're tolerating it well, and
until you get up to about 1,500 – 2,000 mgs of chlorella per
day, and you keep doing that during the dental amalgam extraction
process, and for several months thereafter.
A lot of dentists are not familiar with the proper techniques to get
the mercury amalgam out, so they will take a large burr or a large
drill bit, if you will, and kind of pulverize the whole mercury amalgam
filling in the tooth and convert it into liquid and gas, and that's the
wrong way to do it because then the maximum amount of loading
of the mercury into the body occurs. But if you use a very fine burr,
and make a tiny crease in the amalgam, and then put an instrument in
there and pop those chunks out one at a time, and dispose of them into
a bio-hazard container where they belong in the first place, then you
don't have the problem as much with it getting worse, with the amalgam
Mercury amalgams are about 55% mercury, and the government makes
dentists handle them like nuclear reactor material before it goes into
the mouth, and when it comes out of the mouth they have to handle it in
the same way, in a bio-hazardous container. But the American Dental
Association still tells the dentists and the patients that it's safe
when it's inside your head. And I think that's oxymoronic. It doesn't
even make sense.
means that our heads
are considered bio-hazard containers.
There's a device called a mercury vapor analyzer, that device that can
be stuck in your mouth after you chew a piece of gum, and it can show
you how much mercury is coming off your gum every time you chew. But a
lot of people who use that vapor device find that the mercury content
in their mouth exceeds the Environmental Protection Agency's
recommendation for safe
percentage of Lyme
patients, if you just want to take a guess, have this mercury amalgam
There are a lot of patients who have mercury in their body, who don't
have any mercury in their teeth. I see patients, even adults, who have
a massive amount of mercury, and I ask them, well do you eat fish?
Which is another source of possible mercury. No, I don't eat
fish. Did you ever play with mercury with your hands? No.
Did you ever live
close to a smelter? No. Did you ever live close to a
place where they
burned coal for fuel? No.
And so, when we trace it back we find is that a lot of those patients,
that the mother had so much mercury amalgam in her teeth, that while
she was pregnant with that patient of mine, the mercury moved from her
teeth, into the bloodstream and into the patient while they were in the
womb, and so they The mother had so much mercury in her teeth, that
born with a load of mercury, because they can't find any other source
of mercury from their history or from their environment. So it doesn't
have to be in your own teeth, it can be in your mom's teeth.
just doesn't go away.
No, mercury is bound by the tissues and it doesn't leave easily. So,
it's so important to start taking things like the chlorella, that bind
the mercury and if you have mercury in your teeth, if you have it in
their teeth. Because I don't see patients who are leaving the mercury
in their teeth getting well from Lyme disease. They continue to have to
take treatment on an ongoing basis. But those who have made the
decision to get the mercury and the other toxins out of the body, are
getting to the point where they can stop treatment and
getting well. And that's the goal, is to not have to take treatment for
the rest of your life.
There's one more thing that helps to get the mercury out of the body
after you get the mercury out of the teeth. That's a plant called
algas. Algas helps to energetically shake mercury from the cells.
Patients who have had chelation therapies, when they start taking
algas, the mercury starts coming out, more than before they started
It's an algae taken from off the coast of Peru that's been extracted in
a certain way and energetically imprinted with energies to help
mobilize mercury and other heavy metals. So that's particularly helpful
product. And a lot of patients I see with Lyme disease have brain fog,
and there's a great product for help for that, that's called Pinella.
It's another Peruvian herb that's been used for a long time, for
detoxification of the brain.
Yes, they have the Algas and the Pinella as well. You know, that's been
one of the main focuses for the Nutramedix company over the last two or
three years, trying to come up with solutions for Lyme sufferers. It's
an epidemic in this country, well over half the population are
infected, and maybe a quarter of them are having symptoms from it. It's
a big problem.
You could probably talk about this for a long time, but what do you
think about the way Lyme is spread? Since you just said that half the
population of the country has been infected. How do you think we're
Only a very small percentage of those have contracted Lyme disease
through a tick bite, the way conventional medicine
thinks. I think the most common way of
spreading it is through sexual intercourse. But I think it's also
spread, and is proven in peer review medical literature, to be
spread by mosquito bites. It's likely spread by drinking
unpasteurized milk from mother's breast, or from the cows or goats, and
it's probably contracted by consuming poorly cooked meats, as well.
Vertical transmission from the mother to the fetus through the
placenta has also been documented, as well.
to thank you for
sharing your knowledge and information with us today, this has been
really fabulous. I hope that many more doctors come and study with you
so that people start to get well.
Yes, I hope so too. We're very interested in trying to do what we call
multi-center clinical trials. Basically, just treating
patients the right way, evidence-based medicine and treatment-based
medicine, and collecting information from the patients as they're going
through the process, and pooling that data, if you will, so articles
can be written, and so that more and more doctors can see that there is
another way, and learn that way. That's why I'm so interested in
teaching whichever doctors who want to come to our conferences.
By the way, I should tell any of your listeners that want the contact
information for our conferences. The ways that you can learn about the
conference, is through http://www.abeim.net/ that stands for the
Academy of Bio-Energetic and Integrated Medicine. And they can also
contact my assistant, Susan, at (480) 361-8320. Or they can send her a
fax at (480) 361- 8725. Or they can send her an email:
some of the
patients will be able to convince their health practitioners to check
into this and learn that there are other ways to help their patients.
Lyme disease causes so many symptoms, and it's probably a root cause
for a lot of diseases that are considered incurable by conventional
medicine, like autoimmune diseases, and neuro-degenerative diseases,
and cardiovascular diseases, cardiac-arrhythmias, gastrointestinal
diseases, MS, ALS, Parkinson's, ADDHD, autism. Most of them have some
kind of Lyme component. And so I've found that if you can start working
on the Lyme and the toxins, then a lot of these labels go away.
I feel better already, just knowing there is hope. That there is some
kind of real, empirically proven, or being proved, anyway, herbs,
materials and medicines that we can take, not just the typical
I just recently saw one of my patients that was in the Lyme study,
starting in January of 2003. Before she came into the study,
she was eighteen years old, she'd been housebound since three years of
age, she could not dress herself, she had to walk with a walker, she
was having frequent anaphylactic allergy reactions, which all
endangered her health. A lot of challenges with Lyme disease.
Anyway, during the course of the study she got to a point where she
could actually go out of the house on dates with a boyfriend. She just
recently married, she went off to college by herself in less than four
years, and worked twenty-five hours a week to put herself through
college. So this just shows you that you don't have to stay sick just
because you've been sick.
Good for her! I'm so glad to hear that. What a great model, and a great
image to end our conversation with. Very hopeful. Thank you so much, I
hope we can speak with you again. We'll keep up with you and keep up
with your studies.
I'd be glad to speak with you again. I hope that everyone who is
listening and has Lyme disease can take hope from this, and not be
discouraged, and just keep seeking answers and move forward.
speaking with you today. Many blessings to you!
And to you.
Suzanne Arthur ©2006 Lyme Disease Research Database