Pokeweed, Lyme, Arthritis, Mastitis

Pokeweed Project: 11 weeks long ends. I posted the photo above just before boxing them up for storage. There are many uses for Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana) and although it’s  worthy of much praise, I will not indulge as many knowledgeable herbalists have done so more thoroughly than I ever could. I do prefer to share my personal experience, and so what follows here will be my observations during these past 11 weeks.

First, if you missed my posting of when I first began by harvesting some beautiful Poke roots before the soil froze, take a look here. For background information on what my motivations were to make and take these herbal preparations peruse this article Connecting the Dots by Christine McCue.

I met a young woman who had just finished chemotherapy for breast cancer. I can easily identify with anyone who brushed up against death and survived. She was naturally worried that she was completely out of the woods and was making many changes to reinforce her continued recovery. As she was telling me her story my mind swirled through lists of herbs I had read about but in the end I failed to offer anything intelligible. It bothered me that I could not recall what I read and of course, it was about Pokeweed.

So I re-read everything I had collected and researched even more. Then I made Poke root infused coconut oil. Made another batch of Cayenne infused olive oil. I mixed the two in equal amounts, filled a roll-on bottle and applied to bunions on both of my feet. I did this three times each day. Nothing about joints are “normal” to anyone who has Lyme disease. If you have it, then you know. If you don’t, then your solution is custom orthotics and comfy shoes. My feet felt more flexible and less painful within a two weeks. Within a month, the width of my foot dropped a half size. I could comfortably wear shoes I hadn’t been able to for years. After the first two weeks of roll-on use, I began to take Poke fresh root tincture 3 ugtt (microdrops; 4 of which equals one drop) per day, 1 ugtt in the morning, 1 ugtt at dusk and 1 ugtt at bedtime. So although there was some benefit from the roll-on use alone, there was dramatic improvement once sublingual administration of the tincture began.

I had read that Poke root salves, ointments, oils and glycerites should be applied topically over the lymph glands surrounding the affected area.

A dear friend suffered a terrible burn to her breast from boiling water and had been treated medically at the time, complained that some two years later, her breast “never felt right afterward” and that “it feels like there’s something in there” and was always tender with scarring that still looked fresh. She began applying the roll-on Poke/Cayenne oil for two weeks then also began the take sublingual microdoses of Poke root tincture. Her recovery was truly remarkable and one of the enchanting wonders of Pokeweed. Her breast reddened, the nipple swelling twice is diameter and than began to ooze serum through the milk ducts. This was a most dramatic effect. Changing padding  many times a day, her breast seeped fluids for about two weeks. Then the nipple swelling subsided, the seepage stopped and most remarkably, the appearance of her burn scars improved greatly. Thereafter when she massaged her breast she could find no tenderness or hard spots below the surface. Her Poke tincture dose increased every two weeks for eight weeks ending at 1mL twice/day, morning and night. She applied the roll-on over her entire breast and the adjacent area below her armpit on the same side.

As my Poke use increased, I too experienced cysts seeping fluids. First along the inside arch of both feet. Later under the armpits and then behind the knees. These cysts always formed in line with each other as if they followed a subcutaneous vessel. The fluid was clear with a slightly yellow tinge but dried red and was not pus like. If there is a more powerful lymphatic herb I have yet to learn of it. The most dramatic effect for me occurred after two months of use. I was by then applying the Poke/Cayenne roll-on on all the major lymph gland areas, armpits, behind the knees and the groin. Pokeweed effects glands. It seems to be doing cleaning here. I wonder now if I had damaged tissue in my testicles perhaps from previous infections because at this point my nearly sixty year old gonads began to perform like a sixteen year old. Without embarrassing myself more, if this explanation intrigues you, it might be worth investigating with a Naturopath or Herbalist. I suggest you add Copaiba essential oil, topically and orally, to your regimen if you are working below the belt.

Finally the side effects. I noted sinus congestion. Not entirely filled or impacted but more like a bubbling feeling, not unlike the onset of a cold. This was most noticeable upon rising in the morning. Nothing really of much concern there. There was a groggy or spacey feeling at times. The major concern and here consider it a firm warning – Pokeweed is used at very low doses for a very short time because it can damage the kidneys. I noticed a slight tenderness in my lower back and that marked the end of my Pokeweed use. As always, contact me if I can answer any other questions.

Suggested Reading:

Susun Weed on Pokeweed

Corinna Wood on Poke & Lyme Disease

Mountain Medicine by Tommie Bass & Darryl Patton search for notes from my reading of this book on goodreads.com

Connecting the Dots by Christine McCue

Essential oils and Lyme disease

I love the plants and herbs my husband has been sharing. It’s been an essential part of of our healing process from Lyme disease.

What he hasn’t spoken too much about is how this journey began. We’ve both always loved plants and flowers… he has always been an avid gardener and purveyor of plants and seeds…and I owned florists for many years.

And so the journey began long before we knew that it would be these very things that would accelerate the healing process of Lyme to full recovery. And YES…I mean a FULL RECOVERY……From an ICU bed to a life surrounded by plants and essential oils. He seems to forget that part …and maybe it’s because he was laying in a bed in ICU sedated that he doesn’t remember me applying Frankincense and then Helichrysum to his body and massaging it into a severely injured and damaged liver area.

What happened that day and the days that followed opened my eyes to a world I didn’t even know existed… the therapeutic value of essential oils.

What was the most relevant part to me was that they contained no insecticides, heavy metals or chemical fertilizers, all of which are neurotoxins, and we were already dealing with advanced stage 3 Lyme disease that had caused not only lesions in the brain and left sided paralysis, but also a body that was atrophying before my eyes.

We couldn’t afford any further injury or stress to his neurological system. We couldn’t afford ANY further insults. I had NO experience  with essential oils… I had no experience with using them therapeutically. The only thing I had was a blind trust and no other options.

Sometimes things are given to us when we are ready to receive them, and sometimes things just happen and we watch our experiences come full circle.

So yeah… herbs are great. They’re amazing. I place a high value on herbs and their abilities.

BUT for me…the most eye opening revelation was essential oils…. herbs and plants that were CONCENTRATED…. free of toxins… free of heavy metals…. and it brought my two worlds together… nursing and my background of owning florists and loving my plants and flowers. Now I had flowers – herbs in little bottles that were CLEAN and PURE and they assisted the body in healing itself.

mysterious Lyme disease
connecting the dots

And the dots connected…. little by little.

Liver and Lyme Herbs

Herbs: Chronic Liver Disease and Neurological Lyme Disease

If you have read some of my praise of Burdock, you might have a good idea of how effective this herb can be. What may be more significant is my own personal history with what my doctors called “chronic liver disease“. As a result of industrial metals poisoning (copper, chromium, nickel), alcohol and aspirin abuse and Lyme disease (neurological phase 3) I found myself laying before a surgeon hearing the “liver transplant” speech after draining six liters of fluid from my abdomen.

Although the gory details which preceded the speech might be useful to some, I still don’t like to talk about those dark days. What I believe is more important, is to carry the message that it may be possible for others to recover from such a condition just like I did.

First, I am very fortunate and grateful to have had wonderful doctors. With advisement and precautions they followed my herbal journey and encouraged me to continue my regimen as long as I was examined and tested regularly. So it went and within two years I received the liver panel blood test results which made my gastroenterologist laugh out loud, pat me on my back and with a warning like Cinderella’s fairy godmother tell me “make sure you CONTINUE to do what you’re doing”.

So what did I do? I began by dietary changes. The doctors suggested “simple” proteins as they are more easily digested, so I eat very little red meat, only a little white meat and a lot more fish, nuts, seeds, particularly hemp and yogurt. Whole grains and raw fruits and vegetables make up the majority of my diet. Afterall, Hippocrates himself said “Let food be thy medicine and medicine thy food”.

I became a serious organic gardener of herbs, a careful student and avid researcher of nutrition. I read “Alpha Lipoic Acid” by Dr. Burton Berkson, July 2000, Better Nutrition. I immediately began taking Alpha Lipoic Acid, Milk Thistle, CoQ10 and vitamin C. All of which are included in doTERRA’S Life Long Vitality supplements. Then instead of planting more tomatoes and lettuce I began planting the herbs suggested as beneficial for my condition. At that point I just wanted to see what these live herbs looked like. They fascinated me at the time but now I can understand how generations of people came to revere them as sacred. The language herbalists used to describe their actions and their “signatures” pulled me deeper.

Once I realized how rare the turnaround of my liver condition was I thankfully credited these brilliant doctors and generations of herbalists who accumulated this knowledge. If they could work so dramatically on my liver, what could they do for my Lyme disease? One good thing led to another. My gardening passion turned into hardcore herbalism which brought me to Permies and Paul Wheaton who asked us to help herbalist Deb Soule of Avena Botanicals to get a new dishwasher for her business through a kickstarter campaign. My small donation was acknowledged with an unexpected gift, a book called Healing Lyme Naturally by Wolf D. Storl. The foreword was written by herbalist Matthew Wood who has since become my favorite herbalist and who’s wisdom I abide.

Teasel is an herb which is the foundation of my Lyme disease success. Had not I had been open to new ideas and become willing to try alternative treatments I might have become yet another medical ping pong ball or worse, have my original body parts hacked off. The horror stories about Lyme are as bad as liver disease. The hair on the back of my neck crawled when I heard The People’s Pharmacy podcast What You Need to Know About Lyme Disease.

The takeaway from this post I hope will be, not to despair, not to give up, stay positive and find your path. In my present liver regimen I now include the herbs Burdock, Dandelion, Yellow Dock and Agrimony, each of which is worthy of separate discussions.