Yet Another – Newly identified structure in lymph nodes was ‘hiding in plain sight’ – ScienceDaily

For the first time in decades, researchers have identified a new ‘micro-organ’ within the immune system — and they say it’s an important step towards understanding how to make better vaccines.
— Read on www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/08/180822101319.htm

Brain discovery could block aging’s terrible toll on the mind: Faulty brain plumbing to blame in Alzheimer’s, age-related memory loss — and can be fixed — ScienceDaily

Aging vessels connecting the brain and the immune system play critical roles in both Alzheimer’s disease and the decline in cognitive ability that comes with time, new research reveals. By improving the function of the lymphatic vessels, scientists have dramatically enhanced aged mice’s ability to learn and improved their memories. The work may provide doctors an entirely new path to treat or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, age-related memory loss and other diseases.
— Read on www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/07/180726085721.htm

This comes as no surprise to me. There are two posts here which are related to this BigPharma “breakthrough”. The first, my experience with Pokeweed (Phylaccto americana) and neurological Lyme disease and thus brain trauma. The second post that relates is the embarrassing “discovery ” of the “interstitial”.

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

Pokeweed – Phytolacca americana

A personal experience with American native Pokeweed.

These magnificent Pokeweed roots were harvested, rinsed and displayed side by side to show the developmental differences one year can make. The darker root on the left is two years old. Importantly, it has overwintered sucessfully and is now much more powerful than the tender yearling on the right.

Pokeweed Root
2 year old Poke on left next to 1 year old

All precautions should be taken when handling or working with either root, but from personal experience, and I am not one to over exaggerate warnings of any type, I suggest an abundance of caution with this plant. I ingested a 1gm dose of the fresh two year old root on the left and and suffered for three days. A primative and ill-advised assay easily avoided by patiently testing topicial application and careful observations. Poke had some instantaneous effects but most develop over several days. Keep your notebook handy and clock your observations. Micro dosing is advised. I found Susun Weed’s advice most accurate.

For starters this a good source of general information on Pokeweed https://www.naturalremedies.org/pokeweed/

Henriette’s list of Poke classics https://www.henriettes-herb.com/search/node/poke

You may ask, Oh but why would you want to? in my case – rheumatoid arthritis. I’m now testing a roll-on. I prepared coconut oil infused with dried Poke root 48 hrs. @ 90°F mixed half/half with olive oil infused with dried Cayenne fruit 48 hrs. @ 90°F

drug free arthritis help
roll-on oil infused with Pokeweed & Cayenne and a high mileage foot

When the berries are ripe I have to fight the Catbirds, Cardinals and Mockingbirds for them. Everyone says the berries are good mountain medicine. Old timers in Appalachia swear they’re good for joints. They say you can make a permanent ink by adding ammonia to the berry juice and that in fact, the US Declaration of Independence was scribed in Poke ink on hemp paper. The government has been against hemp since the companies took over America. Anyone remember The Truman Show?

Ripe inky Pokeweed berries in August
Ripe Pokeweed berries

Bitters are Better

A bitter truth. I know quite a few people who have had their gall bladder surgically removed. Why is that? Some of them talk about their excised organ as if it was just worn out and they are better off without it since afterall “you can live without it”. Of course the real reasons are different. Excruciating pain being the prime factor for the patient but then there’s the curiously high, even staggering rates of gall bladder surgeries promoted by the medical profession.

Evaluate your options.

“I have seen many hundreds of patients who have had their gallbladders removed and I don’t recall anyone ever telling me that their surgeon advised them to do something to compensate for removing this important organ. Just about every one of them was told they didn’t need their gallbladder and that it was perfectly fine to have it removed. This is reprehensible ignorance as it condemns the patient to a lifelong deficiency of essential fatty acids.” Dr. Joseph Mercola

Not everyone finds this acceptable or necessary. For those not ready to accept the notion of disposable body parts, herbal solutions are often possible.

I believe it is nearly criminal what traditional medicine is doing to the public when it comes to managing this problem. It is RARELY ever necessary to remove someone’s gallbladder. If one ignores warning symptoms and does not address the reasons why their gallbladder is not functioning properly, than the disease can progress to the point where the pancreas is inflamed or the gallbladder is seriously infected and may have to be removed to save a person’s life.

However, it is important to have a proper perspective here. Nearly ONE MILLION gallbladders are removed every year in this country and it is my estimate that only several thousand need to come out.

So, not only are surgeons removing these organs unnecessarily, but also in their nutritional ignorance they are telling patients that their gallbladders do not serve any purpose and they can live perfectly well without them. Dr. Joseph Mercola

Thing is – it’s bitter! Can you handle that?

my bitter wild friend
Wild Lettuce – Lactuca virosa

I’m told bitterness is the least favorite taste. I suspect, bitterness has become the least favored to the modern western palette and not too long ago either. Most industrially farmed crops have been bred relatively recently to taste less bitter. Iceberg lettuce the most commonly used salad green in the USA is nutritionally worthless and bears little resemblance, in any way, to wild lettuce. People eat gadzillions of megatons of it. Many actually consider it a vegetable!

Ask yourself how big of a role do advertisers and marketers have in making you want what they have to sell. Then peek into the world of agricultural research and read with your own eyes how through “recombinant inbreeding” bitterness has been deliberately removed from lettuce due to “consumer choice”.

Salads should contain bitter greens and be served before the main course of a meal for optimal digestion. Alanna Kellogg of A Veggie Venture has a good list of bitter greens. Modern dietary “innovations” all have the same thing in common: they’re blander, sweeter, softer and whiter than what was eaten years ago and never ever bitter. We have evolved baby mouths.

slightly bitter companion
Russian Red Kale

There are so many naysayers who deride vitamin supplements with the now standard claim that “if you eat a wholesome diet, supplements are unnecessary and wasteful”. This might be true if what was sold in supermarkets was only truly wholesome foods and we actually bought and consumed them within the correct ratios. Naw, that’s not happening anytime soon. Free choice is a bitch. Example: with the rise of consumer capitalism in China came rising obesity rates and worsening nutrition. So much for the free market diet. I am guessing there will be fewer bitter greens for the Chinese too.

Bitters do remain in the apéritifs, like Vermouth, Absinthe or Chartreuse all made with Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium), and the bitter greens like Kale, Chicory, Endive or Dandelion. Without going into the chemistry involved suffice it to say our ancestors were much smarter then we realize today. The bitter taste is the critical thing. The thing we avoid. The thing we need. We need bitters because of the fascinating connection between our taste buds and our liver, gall bladder, pancreas, stomach, etc… to, forgive me, the bitter end of the alimentary canal. No, de-bittering a bitter doesn’t do the same thing. If you love your friends and family, make it a bitter love.

The short story is, if you don’t “like” bitterness, you probably really need to eat more of them. The even shorter story is, if you eat more bitter foods, your digestion will improve and so will your immune system and oddly enough, the more bitters you eat – the less bitter they taste. Bitter taste triggers hormones and nerves which direct the the release of bile by the gall bladder, acid by the stomach and several enzymes by the pancreas. All this from a bite of the bitter thing many people avoid with unreasonable dread.

I emphatically recommend Carmen Lynde Medical Herbalist’s presentation. It is perhaps the most important thing you can do to understand the role of bitter herbs in your diet.

Insufficient release of any of these juices causes all kinds of problems. Instead of suppressing stomach acid with chemicals or surgery many more people should be eating their bitters. Alternatively you could chew a pinch of bitter herbs. How about a sprig of Mugwort? or Sage? not so bitter. Or a squirt of Barberry or a drop of Wormwood tincture in a shot of water before a meal?

Burdock just prior to root harvest

Burdock seeds

Burdock seeds possess a slight “diffusive” quality, producing a “tingly” sensation on the tongue when chewed or taken as an extract; this indicates that some of its virtues are quickly taken up via the nervous system and put to immediate action.

I have not seen burdock’s true virtue more clearly or beautifully captured than by herbalist Matthew Wood, who wrote:

“On a psychological level, Burdock helps us deal with our worries about the unknown… which lurk in the dark woods beyond our control. It seizes upon deep complex issues, penetrates to the core and brings up old memories and new answers. It gives us faith to move ahead on our path, despite the unknown problems that might snare us on our way. It helps the person who is afraid become more hardy, while it brings the hardy wanderer back to his original path. It restores vigor and momentum.”

Burdock why?

If, after you read Dr Axe’s run down of the many substantial benefits of Burdock you’re not impressed, there’s more personal reasons to consider experimenting with this powerful herb. These are my personal observations and experiences:

  • tastes kinda like roasted potatoes to me
  • it’s a tonic and a medicine, meaning:
    • tonic you can and should take every day for continuous nutritive value and preventative care, especially for digestive health
    • medicine, usually in higher doses in tincture form for brief periods of time when ill
  • prevents many toxic chemicals, particularly metals from causing tissue damage, this is especially important for the liver and/or if you have been over exposed to metals, compounds in Burdock chelate metals
  • I noticed the first, most obvious effect on my skin within the first week and in my scalp and hair during the following week from eczema and it’s good for acne and psoriasis too
  • modulates blood sugar levels and once my digestive system healed, eliminated cravings and thus poor eating habits
  • many Burdock products including fresh root are available in good Asian markets
  • so easy to grow your own and just as good for your garden’s soil as it is for your gut and works in much the same way, deep in the soil as it does – deep in your gut, providing a suitable environment for good bacteria to thrive

Dr. Axe on Burdock

Source: Burdock Root Detoxes Blood, Lymph System + Skin – Dr. Axe

Speaking of Burdock

a handful of fresh Burdock roots

I am surely a Burdock evangelist. Those plants which are now in their second spring go through a selection process right now, still early spring here in New York City, USA. Burdock is a biennial, so it reaches full maturity at the end of it’s second year of growth. Each healthy plant then begins to send up a mighty flower stalk from the center of the plant. All docks grow from a basal whorl – basically a circular arrangement of leaves  growing close to the soil.

So the selection decision is between whether to harvest the root in the spring or wait until autumn and harvest the seed. Both parts are powerful medicines. If the plant is allowed to continue to grow throughout the summer it’s root will be consumed in order to produce flowers and seed. I generally only need one large Burdock plant to go to seed. From that one plant I will harvest all the seed for next year’s planting as well as enough for two pints of Burdock seed tincture.

Most of the Burdock I grow will be harvested for the roots. These are chopped first with pruning shears and then shredded in a blender with a little water and tinctured 1:2 (wt. of root: vol. of menstruum) at 45% ethanol.

vicious 3 bladed Ninja

I’ll get into the details of why Burdock is one of the most important medicinal herbs in another post. Gut and liver health is what I cherish Burdock for so it’s value will depend upon the user. Many herbalists say it’s a “blood purifier” which upsets many medical pros since technically – no it doesn’t. What does purify blood is the liver and Burdock acts upon the liver to support and enhance it’s proper function. It also supports all the beneficial gut bacteria which are the prime agents of good health.