DISCLAIMER : This document is not intended to diagnose, prescribe, or give medical advice for any medical condition. Medical Doctors are "authorized", and licensed, to do that. This document is providing you with information from which you may make your own, free-will health care choices.
The basic Buhner Core Protocol herbs are Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidata), Cats Claw (Uncaria tomentosa), and Andrographis paniculata. After speaking with other herbalists from New England, and from my own knowledge of plant medicines, I have added the following herbs to my basic formula, Lyme 2 : Prickly Ash bark (Xanthoxylum clava-hercules, Red Root (Ceanothus americanum), and "Siberian ginseng" root (Eleuthrococcus senticosus)
Here is a brief description of these herbs in relation to Lyme Disease :
Buhner, pages 105 through 107 :
"FUNCTIONS IN LYME DISEASE: A broadly systemic plant, Japanese knotweed enhances and modulates immune function, is active against a number of bacteria…, is anti-inflammatory for both bacterial and arthritic inflammations, protects the body against endotoxin damage, helps reduce Herxheimer reactions, and is a cardio-protector.
Polygonum cuspidatum's constituents cross the blood-brain barrier where they exert actions on the central nervous system: anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory, as protectants against oxidative and microbial damage, and as calming agents. The herb specifically protects the brain from inflammatory damage, microbial endotoxins, and bacterial infections.
Knotweed enhances blood flow, especially to the eye, heart, skin, and joints. This makes it especially useful in Lyme as it facilitates blood flow to the areas that are difficult to reach to kill the spirochetes."
Remember this ! it facilitates blood flow to the areas that are difficult to reach to kill the spirochetes.
Cats Claw :
This bark of a South American vine is getting more "press", or media time, than other of the Core Protocol herbs. That does not mean that it is the superiour plant medicine. But it is a very important part of the synergy of the protocol.
From Stephen's "Healing Lyme" book, pg. 90 :
"Actions in Lyme Disease : immune potentiator. Immune stimulant. Anti-inflammatory, analgesic (Ed: That means PAIN RELIEF, folks!). For central nervous system enhancement, cognitive impairments. Specific for arthritis and muscle pain in Lyme Disease. As a general tonic for enhancing overall system health and sense of well-being."
And he goes on...
READ THE BOOK
Andrographis paniculata :
This is one bodaciously BITTER buckaroo, Betsy!! But bitter is what spirochetes and parasites fear more than Kryptonite!! These Super Bugs start corkscrewing backwards at the mere thought of this extreme bitterness. Punish the wretches!! Blast 'em with Bitter ! Herbalists have always said that "bitter is better". Plants and foods that are bitter build your immunity, enhance your digestion, help you to lose weight rationally (!), and build your resistance to poisons.
So here is what Stephen Buhner says about this plant medicine (page 78) :
"Andrographis is perhaps the best primary herb to use in the treatment of Lyme Disease. It is anti-spirochetal, enhances immune function, protects heart muscle, is anti-inflammatory (helping with arthritic symptoms), crosses the blood/brain barrier where it is active both as an anti-spirochetal and calming agent; enhances liver function and protects the liver; helping clear infection from the body."
Because Andrographis has shown significant protective effects against inflammation-mediated neurodegeneration in the brain, it is essential to use in Lyme Disease. It easily crosses the blood/brain barrier and accumulates in significant quantities in central nervous system tissues-- brain, spinal chord, and cerebral-spinal fluid.
THE IMPORTANCE OF BITTER :
"In the developed world we have decided that our diet should be free of uncomfortable foods-- foods that are wild, bitter, fibrous, weedy, or otherwise challenging . (p. 135)
We know that the problem (of too much sugar and "sweet") exists. Our guts are weaker and more hypersensitive; our carbohydrate intake has contributed to epidemic rates of obesity, diabetes, and cardio-vascular disease; and our environment is being saturated with poisons whose effects we can't escape." (Guido Mase, p.142)
Bitter herbs stimulate a good liver and digestive function, and to actually EXPERIENCE this bitter taste, instead of masking it with something sweet, is to amplify the medicinal effect. When we improve liver function, we improve detoxification, and that means the detoxification of what those nasty spirochetes leave in our bodies !
And an added benefit to so many overweight people in our present world, is that bitter also helps us to lose weight when taken regularly before meals.
THUS-- Andrographis, being a very bitter medicinal plant, will give greater benefit if taken as a "digestive" twenty minutes before meals.
Prickly ash bark:
Similar to this "deep-seeking" power of Japanese knotweed, I still remember listening to highly-skilled and well-known American herbalist Amanda McQuade Crawford speak of Prickly ash (PA) as a "deep driver". She was studying herbal medicine in London, and because the climate there is so damp, dank and outright miserable in the late fall, winter, and early spring, she would often suggest PA to help with persistent arthritic pain by driving--and "conducting"-- anti-arthritic herbs deep into the muscles and joints. For these reasons-- it's "warming" characteristic or "energetic", it's ability to drive deeply, and it's consequent pain-relieving ability-- I decided that it would be a 'most-excellent' addition to my Lyme formula.
Red Root :
It is an important herbs in that it helps facilitate clearing of dead cellular tissue from the lymph system. When the immune system is responding to acute conditions or the onset of disease, as white blood cells kill disease pathogens they are taken to the lymph system for disposal. When the lymph system can clear out dead cellular material rapidly, the healing process is increased, sometimes dramatically. The herb shows especially strong action wherever any portion of the lymph system is swollen, infected, or inflamed. This includes lymph nodes, tonsils, (entire back of throat), spleen, appendix, and liver. There is some evidence that Red root's activity in the lymph nodes also enhances the lymph nodes' production of lymphocytes, especially the formation of T (killer) cells. It is especially effective in reducing inflammations in the spleen and liver from such things as excessive bacterial garbage (dead spirochetes!!), white blood cell detritus in the lymph, and red blood cell fragments in the blood in diseases like babesiosis. (Buhner, p. 185)
"Tonics come to us, unadulterated, from the ecosystem. They are used in conditions of weakness, deficient energy and immunity, dementia and exhaustion, as much as conditions of cancer, inflammatory heart disease, allergies, and asthma…. Their effectiveness against modern, chronic diseases is beyond dispute, especially when treatment is started early on. It is even possible that the chronic diseases are more widespread than they should be, because of an absence of these vital plants."
* cited from Guido Mase's excellent and very new book, "The Wild Medicine Solution: Healing with Aromatic, Bitter, and Tonic Plants"
"HERBALISTS TREAT PEOPLE, NOT DISEASES"
This has (basically) been the reason for the divergence of paths between Naturopathic practitioners (herbalists, acupuncturists, homeopaths, nutritionists, etc) and Medical Doctors (MD's). Therefore KNOW that this Protocol is imperfect : it is what is called "poly-pharmacy" or the "shotgun approach" to dealing with a health issue. Ideally, each individual person should be treated with a protocol that is attuned to their UNIQUE constitution, their unique co-infections, their unique symptoms/manifestations of ill-health.
This Protocol is intended to slow or stop the severe "cytokine cascade" that makes Lyme so devastating to so many people. It is intended to BEGIN taking control of the situation, so that a subsequent, personally-formulated program can then be undertaken to produce further, positive results.
I NEVER USE THE WORD "CURE", either in my practice, or in my Herbal Apothecary. It is a dangerous concept, and not a part of Nature or natural cycles! Health is a PROCESS, and has no beginning and ending points. We ALL have cancer cells in our bodies at all times, yet we are not all dying of cancer. Our body's OWN resources keep the cancer controlled, and allow us to lead a normal, productive life. (It is, in my personal opinion, foolish to consider "finding a cure for cancer" via some "magic bullet". But it makes certain people a LOT of money to convince you that it can be done…). It is perhaps also true that we may never rid our body of spirochetes completely. The goal of Naturopathic Practitioners is to help the body itself to bring about the healing, and a "normal, productive life".
"Suggested use" : As with many strong herbs, it is best to begin with a small amount (1/2 tsp. 1 or 2 times for 2 days) and build to a larger amount (increase by 1/2 tsp. each day til you get to 1 tsp. 2 or 3 times per day). In this way we are able to monitor any adverse events at the very first sign. When you begin to kill spirochetes, their dead bodies and toxins therein, are poisoning your blood. This is called the Herxheimer Response, and it generally means that the medicine is doing exactly what it is supposed to do-- kill pathogens and get them out of the body! But those toxins in the blood can make you feel worse until they are eliminated. This may take days, weeks, or months, depending on the person and the degree of "die off".
IF you begin to "Herx", then simply stop the formula, or reduce substantially, UNTIL YOU ARE NORMALIZED. Then begin again to take the formula, increasing slightly each day until you reach your optimal amount.
This Protocol should be used aggressively for a MINIMUM of two months, but very possibly-- depending on the severity and tenacity of your infection-- for many months. I was bitten over two years ago, and I continue to stay "tuned up" (or "toned up") by taking moderate doses several times each week. As well as an effective agent in World War Lyme, it is also an exceptional daily tonic and digestive bitter, helping our immunity, digestion, de-toxificalion, weight loss, and blood-sugar control.
Ok-- that's it for now! In the next Episode ( go to www.greatcape.com ) I will be sharing one of our most successful battles in WWL : a young woman who had actually collapsed, was immobile for days, and disabled for months with severe pain and little ability to use her mind…. STAY TUNED !
As always--Help one another. Recycle/reuse/rebuild. Be conscious. Eat well. Know who your plant friends are--get to know them. Love health and one another-- Stephan