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detoxing

Matthew Wood tells how teasel works

I feel great! It could be the sunshiny weather, or the fact that I am not Lymie anymore, having survived a recent herx. But I think what really lifted my spirits was talking with herbalist Matthew Wood, about the effectiveness of the herb teasel on Lyme and co-infections. I got a major energy boost from listening to him describe the way teasel works. After our conversation I immediately went to Amazon and ordered his book, The Book of Herbal Wisdom: Using Plants as Medicines which has a comprehensive chapter all about this strong herbal medicine. I can't wait to learn more about it.

Teasel is considered a common weed that can frequently be found growing alongside highways. It is not an herbal antibiotic. Matthew explains that instead of killing the bacteria itself, it actually changes the environment in the body in order to engage the body's own capabilities to kill off Lyme bacteria. By warming the cells and muscles, it invites the Lyme bacteria into the bloodstream, where the body can then detox.

The detox or herx reaction from teasel is apparently a force to be reckoned with. In Matthew's experience, people using it as a part of Lyme treatment notice this reaction starting in about the second week of use. Only a very few drops of this powerful herbal tincture can cause reactions. He is well-known in herbalist circles for recommending low dosages, and tells about a woman who called him after treatment with the happy news that she could tell the teasel was working at a very deep level of healing.

Matthew's latest book was co-written with Wolf D. Storl. Wolf is a German man who writes about healing himself of Lyme disease using teasel, in Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis, and Treatments. It is due out from Amazon in April and can be pre-ordered.

Matthew lives and practices in Minnesota, and teaches about herbal wisdom all around the world. He is a Registered Herbalist and holds a Master of Science degree from the Scottish School of Medicine at the University of Wales.

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Darryl Crews' Olympic Gold-style healing tips

Darryl's interviews are among our very favorite stories here at the LDRD. This guy walks his talk. When it comes to beating Lyme, he is as inspiring to me as any Olympic Gold medalist. Please listen to his updated story, if you haven't already heard it.

Some of you asked him to comment a little more about what it takes to get well. Here's what Coach Darryl has to say.

To me, getting well is a compilation of the following things:
 
1.  PATIENCE, DETERMINATION, WILL POWER, DEDICATION, DISCIPLINE: Your chances of recovery are good if you happen to possess these qualities.

2.  MEDICATION: Treat all known infections thoroughly with specific antibiotics. Treat aggressively until infection load is reduced to a point where the immune system can take over. Consider IV if you have neuro symptoms or fail to respond to orals. Learn to embrace herxes and avoid under treating at all costs.

3.  DETOX: Address die-off daily to decrease toxins and reduce herx intensity. Consider using supps/herbs, sauna, Epsom salt baths, coffee enema, colonics, etc.

4.  SLEEP: There's no such thing as too much. Quality deep sleep is a vital part of healing. Lyme causes fractured sleep. Auto CPAP is my all-natural sleep-aid of choice.
 
5.  SUPPLEMENTS/HERBS: Daily support is required to assist the body with balancing nutrients, detoxifying and boosting your immune system.
 
6.  EXERCISE: Thick blood harbors infections and toxins. Daily exercise will keep the blood flowing. Keep it basic for 10-15 mins twice a day (calisthenics, walk, cycling, swim, stair climbs or yoga.)
 
On another note…Be sure to tune into the Olympics for a bit of Visual Sports Therapy. Olympic athletes have overcome so much to get where they are and their stories are very motivating and inspiring. Beating Lyme requires the same drive.
 
Thanks for the kind wishes…all the best and full recoveries to everyone!

Darryl


Please also note: For further info about Darryl: WrongDiagnosis.com: Read about Darryl's misdiagnosis

And in addition, here's where Darryl goes for VO2 Exercise testing on his bike: Useful info throughout site.
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Anti-inflammatory diet for Lyme

I've been under the impression that medical practitioners, such as GP doctors and nutritionists, were familiar with the notion that inflammation is at the core of many diseases. However, it looks like the study of inflammation, and what to do about it, is newer than I thought. According to an Aug 17, 2009 article in the LA Times, Battling inflammation, disease through food, by Shara Yurkiewicz, medical practitioners are just beginning to put two and two together when it comes to inflammation and chronic disease.

"[Chronic inflammation] is an emerging field," says Dr. David Heber, a UCLA professor of medicine and director of the university's Center for Human Nutrition. "It's a new concept for medicine."

The article continues: "The theory goes that long after the invading bacteria or viruses from some infection [such as Lyme bacteria] are gone, the body's defenses remain active. The activated immune cells and hormones then turn on the body itself, damaging tissues. The process continues indefinitely, occurring at low enough levels that a person doesn't feel pain or realize anything is wrong. Years later, proponents say, the damage contributes to illnesses such as heart disease, neurological disorders like Alzheimer's disease or cancer." LA Times article, 8/16/09

When you get a splinter, or a mosquito bite, or suffer an injury such as a broken bone, your body's immune system instantly responds to the pain and offense by sending more blood to the wounded area. The tissue swells and reddens while the healing work gets underway. While it's fairly easy to see a mosquito bite or detect a broken bone, chronic silent inflammation inside the body, which is what Lyme disease may cause, may go unnoticed for years because, as the article states, it occurs at a low level and doesn't hurt. The immune system doesn't switch off.

What can be done? Although more studies are necessary to determine the results scientifically, many people (including me) believe that their eating habits affect their health and can even help bring down chronic inflammation. Choosing foods rich in antioxidants is probably smart, and may even help you feel better while healing from Lyme infection. Antioxidants may slow down or inhibit the tissue damage caused by free radicals at the sites of inflammation.

The Mediterranean diet, for example, is high in antioxidants, including dark green leafy veggies, whole grains such as steel cut oats, nuts, oily fish such as salmon, and bright-colored fruits such as blueberries, pomegranates, dark cherries and raspberries.

Following an anti-inflammatory diet also means eliminating, or at least reducing food that can cause inflammation. Such foods include those with saturated fats, trans fats, corn and soybean oil, refined carbohydrates such as white sugars, red meat and dairy.
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Support while detoxing

With all the talk about Swine Flu, there's an abundance of common sense about how to stay healthy making the rounds on the Internet, such as washing your hands regularly and supporting the immune system. Immune support is as central to keeping the flu bug away as it is in healing from Lyme disease. And one important step in keeping healthy is detoxification. Detox is part of the one-two punch in Lyme management (along with antibiotics) that RN Ginger Savely describes in our experts interview series. But what happens when you try to detox too quickly?

Anyone dealing with Lyme is painfully familiar with stressful "Herxheimer Reactions," which occurs when toxins - Lyme bacteria - in the body die off faster than the organs of elimination can handle. Learning how to manage Herxes is important yet tricky business. Essentially experienced as an increase in symptoms, Herxes can include nausea, headaches, brain fog, vertigo or mood swings, bringing more stress to an already stress-loaded system.

Some experts and patients say the Herx just comes with the territory, that it's unfortunately one of the crummy things that Lyme patients must endure in order to get better. However, others claim that painful Herxes are more likely to occur when the organs of elimination lack sufficient support. For example, Jean Reist, RN, claims that the intensity of a Herx can be reduced and in some cases eliminated altogether. How? By supporting the lymph system, an important part of the immune system and a major player in elimination. The lymph must be maintained in order to carry toxins away from the cells. An act as simple as drinking plenty of water each day and routinely jumping on a mini-trampoline can help move the lymph, and reduce the effects of a Herx.

The organs of elimination include the liver, the bowel, kidneys, skin and lungs. Yes, deep breathing, which is used in meditation and yoga practice, is a way to remove toxins from your lungs, so remember to support your body in healing by taking a deep relaxing breath.
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Herxing and finding the balance

How do you tell the difference between a herx and Lyme symptoms? A herx, aka Herxheimer reaction, is many things to many people. When you're suffering, it doesn't seem to matter whether the cause is a herx or symptoms that are acting up. You just want them to stop. When you are infected with the Lyme bacteria, your body is loaded with toxins that react within your body's multiple systems and make you sick.

You have to kill the bugs and get them out of your body. Detoxifying, therefore, is a primary aim in healing from Lyme, but unfortunately, detoxing can also make you sick. When you're healing from Lyme you must try to find the balance between killing the bugs and keeping the herxes under control, so it doesn't feel like they are trying to kill you. Finding that balance is like surfing a giant wave. You must be hypervigilant, sensitive to your environment, and able to react as elegantly as possible to the perpetual changes that encompass you and carry you along. Although, as anybody who has ever suffered the stress and pain of Lyme symptoms or herxes would say, I'd rather be surfing.

It seems that herxing (often accompanied by a rash) can be triggered by a number of different factors. Stress, change of medication type and an increase in medication dosage (either herbal or pharmaceutical medications) are a few examples. Those in the Lyme community (albeit, an unwilling yet blessedly generous group of humans) deal with herxes in a wide variety of ways. That's the subject of my next post.

Until then, hang ten.
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