Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Teachings of Lyme

As a Lyme literate shamanic herbalist, I am faced with the prospect of Lyme's existence having a greater purpose in the scheme of reality. This is not a popular concept. When broaching this subject with clients, western medical practitioners, and the average every day Jane and Joe, they usually screw up their faces in dismissive distaste or their jaw slightly drops with astonishment. I can almost hear the voices in their heads saying, "Are you crazy?! This is a disease that causes great pain and suffering! Lyme is the enemy we are trying to eradicate!" Yet every day that I work with my own personal health and relationship to Lyme, let alone with my clients', I can not dismiss the fact that I am experiencing profound teachings. What if Lyme is here to help humanity right its relationship to itself and the beautiful planet we live upon. At a recent board of health town meeting here on Nantucket Island, I brought up the question of Lyme being Mother Nature's way of attempting to bring into balance the most invasive species on the planet, humans. We are a part of nature. We are not the controlling force. No matter how hard we try to convince ourselves otherwise, we are a part of the great ebb and flow. And when she is out of balance, Mother Nature will make adjustments. When people ask me why I think Lyme is so virulent at this point in humanity's existence, my answer is that we are out of relationship to our environments: our own internal environment and the natural environment that surrounds us. When we eat processed foods and drink coffee, when we ingest antibiotics, when our sugar intakes are through the roof, when we do not get enough quality sleep, when we do not exercise, when our stress levels are out of control, and we have no deep connection to our spirits, our internal environment can not maintain a healthy balance. This is the optimum condition for Lyme and the Co-Infections to thrive. It is not their fault that we have given them the perfect environment. When humanity poisons the earth with pesticides, rips it apart with fracking and digging for oil, when larger mammals have no place to roam and can not survive, when we deforest the surface of the planet, Lyme ends up in our back yards because it has no place else to go. Once again, it is not their fault that we have given them the perfect environment in which to thrive. Every day I continue my studies with Lyme and every day I am in awe of its capabilities and beauty. Yes, I said it, beauty. The first time I saw how a spirochete moves within the human body I remember staring with my mouth open and thinking, "How gorgeous!" There are very few beings that can rotate their DNA structure at will. There are very few beings that can adapt at their level. There are very few beings that work together as effectively as they do for their collective betterment.'s the truly interesting part, if our health is in balance, they live symbiotically with us. No muss, no fuss. It all comes down to the fact that those of us who have Lyme can not easily blame an outside force. We need to start by taking a long hard look within. If you have Lyme or one of the Co-Infections, think about what your life was like in the year prior to your symptoms showing up. Were there any stressful conditions you had been dealing with? How was your diet? Had you been pushing to the point that your health was starting to deteriorate already? Did you have healthy boundaries with your body, your work and your relationships? For most people with Lyme, there is a tipping point and most can identify it once they answer the above questions. It is the place where you have to start in order to rebuild your relationship with Lyme. I often say to my clients that Lyme is one of the greatest gifts that I have ever received.  I have learned to put my money where my mouth is. I have had to rework my diet, my stress levels, my relationships to people and work, build a deep and loving connection to my spirituality, and have been given the opportunity to help others bring balance to their relationships with personal, public and universal environments. There is no drug or herb on the planet that will help bring Lyme into balance unless the above categories have been addressed. The reworking of the diet alone, can reduce symptom pictures from 40-80%! Lyme is giving humanity the opportunity to take responsibility for its actions and make a change. And yes, Lyme can be an unforgiving teacher. If you don't make a change, it hurts. It can really really hurt! But once you do make the changes, there will be a day where you will wake up and realize who you have become because of the gift that Lyme has given you.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Honoring The Pain

I am sitting here on the couch dealing with pain. Many women experience this once a month as I do. Menstrual cramps that are challenging. As an herbalist, I do all that I can to connect and support this part of being female. I take reproductive tonics throughout the month and have the herbs for the acute cramping ready to go. I also breathe. A lot.

I fall into the category of spastic dysmenorrhea. For those of you women out there who have not read Amanda McQuade Crawford's book "Herbal Remedies for Women," I highly suggest it. She breaks down menstrual pain and cramping (dysmenorrhea) into two categories: 1) congestive and 2) spastic. It is important to know the difference in order to support your process effectively. Congestive is more of a "cold" condition while spastic is more of a "hot" condition. Somehow I feel comfort and pride while embracing my hot spastic self :)))))

There are times when I can push through this discomfort the way society wants me to. Grit my teeth, go to work, shove the pain into the back of my mind, and earn my daily pay.

And then there are days like today.

Simply put....I can't do it. My body and mind refuse to comply to anything outside of what it needs in the moment. So I crawl onto the couch with a heating pad, a good book and I release into the process of facing the pain.

When I take the time to allow for what my body needs, I can feel the rhythm that this type of pain provides. I note that there are waves that I can ride if I stay truly present. This pain is not constant. And I begin to trust in the fact that this is temporary and that I can endure if I believe in my body's inherent ability to handle this experience. It is tiring, emotional and uncomfortable. As many parts of life are. But as I sit here, I am not afraid of this pain. I trust in its process.

Americans in general are terrified of pain and discomfort. They run to the nearest drugstore or practitioner so that they do not have to take on the responsibility of "dealing" with what is happening. They want anything that will make it go away. The magic bullet or herb that will make it all better. Now there are times when we do need this kind of help. But what of the times when we don't? Are we doing ourselves justice by skipping the opportunity of building endurance and trust in the slow and steady process that our bodies are trying to teach us?

There is something strengthening about taking the time out to support what my body needs at this time of the month. Every time I do this, I am stating that I believe in me. I believe in my body. I believe in the cycles of life. And I will honor them.

Funny how when I simply curl up on the couch and honor my process, the pain subsides in response and love.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

When you get bit by a tick!!!!!!

I can not tell you how many times in the past three months I have received panicked texts, phone calls, or emails that go a little something like this......."Holy @#!*^&%$!!!! I've been bit by a tick! What do I do!"

So I have decided to let you know exactly what I would do. Now please understand that I am an herbalist and I am not a big proponent of antibiotics. In fact, I won't use them unless I am on my death bed. And of course, I am not a doctor....once more folks.....I am not a doctor. The FDA requires me to say that so they don't come knocking on my door. So if you try this protocol, you are on your own....even though I find it incredibly effective and suggest it to my clients. What am I supposed to say now...hold on....wait for it....

*This statement has not been evaluated by the FDA. This product or advice is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. 

Phew!!!!! Don't we all feel better now.

This personal protocol would need to be adjusted for a child. This is meant for a full grown adult with no serious autoimmune conditions. Now with all of that we go.

Everyone should own one of these little beauties....The O Tom Tick Twister. You can pick one up on Amazon.
Please do not yank, squeeze, squish, burn, or cover the tick in vaseline. All of these methods will cause the tick to regurgitate what is in its stomach, namely lyme spirochetes and a whole host of other co-infections right into your blood stream.You need to gently slide the prongs on each side of the tick where it is inserted in your body, lift ever so slightly and turn it in a clockwise motion about 2 or 3 turns. It should easily lift right out. If it doesn't, turn it counter clockwise about 2-3 turns. Place the tick in a ziplock baggie with a moist cotton ball or a small piece of wet paper towel and send it to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation for free testing.

After the removal of the tick

Step 1: clean the tick bite site and your hands with 2 or 3 drops of tea tree oil or myrrh tincture.

Step 2: The fun and slightly messy step. Take an activated charcoal capsule and open it up onto a small dish. 

Step 3: Add just enough andrographis tincture and 3-5 drops or oregano essential oil to the activated charcoal in order to make a paste that when applied to your skin will sufficiently stick. I use a toothpick for this process.

Step 4: Smear the activated charcoal/andrographis paste onto the bite site and about an inch to 2 inches around it. Tape a piece of gauze over it and let it sit for an hour.  Remove the gauze and rinse with warm water. Your skin will be stained. Don't worry, that will go away and it's well worth it.

Step 5: Repeat steps 2-4 three times a day for the next three days. Please note that if your skin is sensitive or becomes irritated, only do this procedure once a day. My skin pretty much can handle anything. So three times a day is perfect for me. And Oregano oil is really strong. This is why it is so effective for an initial tick bite.

Step 6: Take 15 drops of andrographis tincture in water (oh you are going to want it in water my friends...there is nothing more bitter on the face of the planet. But don't forget, the more bitter, the more powerful, and that's what we want at this moment. So just pinch your nose, buck up, and chug it down) 3 times a day, for the next month.

Step 7: Take 1 dropper full of astragalus tincture, in water, 3 times a day, for next 3 months. If you live in a region that is endemic with Lyme....take it for the rest of your natural born life with some breaks here and there. No joke. And in reality, I personally feel that astragalus is one of the best immune foods out there. I'm sure elderberry and medicinal mushrooms (yes I am an absolute rebel and used the word medicinal when referring to a plant) gives it a run for its money, but my heart is with astragalus! Please refrain from using astragalus if you are in third stage Lyme or have a serious autoimmune condition. If you do or are, please consult your trained herbalist or naturopath before taking astragalus. 

If for any reason, you get a bulls eye rash, or a weird flu like fever with a potential splitting headache, swollen or painful joints, or any really odd symptoms that you have never had before.....please, please, please, please get into a Lyme literate practitioner as fast as your little legs can carry you.

Well there it is my friends. Please let me know if you found this helpful or what your experiences are with this protocol.

In the mean time....
               Green Blessing to you all!!!!!

Monday, October 17, 2016

Root Digger

This past weekend was the final class of my first level herbal apprenticeship at The Boston School of Herbal Studies. And as you can tell.....we became root diggers! Now as a shamanic practitioner, I watch for the messages within all processes. Especially harvesting herbs. Is the process easy? Is it difficult? Did you feel like giving up? Was it joyous and full of song? Did it start raining on your head? Everything that happens is a message from spirit. So here I was, on a gorgeous fall day, with a shovel in my hand standing in front of a row of elecampane plants at least 6 feet tall. I was ready. I had just spent the past week harvesting japanese knotweed at home on Nantucket. I knew how hard this process could be. So I took a deep breath, and plunged the shovel into the dirt. I did what I was supposed to. I was at least a foot away from the stem. I worked my way around in a complete circle wiggling the shovel back and forth to loosen the dirt. I plunged my hands into the earth to feel where the roots were growing. I thought I had it. I began to pull and nothing budged. I plunged the shovel back in, working my way around the base of the plant repeating the entire process....a second time....a third time.....a fourth time.....and on and on. I was sweating, covered in dirt, scratched all over and still nothing was moving. A class mate of mine was putting her effort in as well. We had all three teachers come over at different points marveling at how much effort this was taking. Pictures were taken, additional tools were offered, and moral support bestowed. I moved into the zone..... me, the earth, the plant, the sunshine, the sweat and the process. Nothing but focus upon what needed to be done. I could hear a voice in my head saying, "Just keep know what to do. Just keep know what to do." It took persistence, patience, faith, strength, focus, confidence, and belief in myself. When the root finally released itself from its earthy embrace, I turned to hear my class mate's and teacher's verbal accolades. I'm not good at receiving praise. It's something that I constantly have to work on. However, at this moment, I said my obligatory "thank you," and simply walked around the corner to where the rest of the class was chopping up the other roots that had been gathered. Another teacher took one look at me with my hands black with dirt and my hair falling out of my pony tail all around my face and said, " Wow! Goddess! My guess is you don't go easy on yourself."  I stood there and thought, "No. I guess I don't." Sometimes this is an amazing feature. Sometimes this is not. But it is who I am. And on this day, I was reminded of the effort it takes to do what needs to be done in one's life. I am an herbalist on Nantucket Island who specializes in helping people with Lyme Disease. I opened my practice in January, left a second job in order to dedicate more time to developing it, am in the process of doing the Nantucket shuffle as far as offices go, and crossing my fingers every day while asking my helping spirits for guidance. Being an herbalist is joyous and unbelievably challenging. You can't just say "I love herbalism" and hope clients simply drop out of the sky. You have to market, study, defend your right to be who you are, worry that the FDA is going to come calling, and figure out how to provide for yourself while supporting your clients as they go through the tremendous ups and downs of their own processes, while staying connected to the joy of why you got involved with herbalism in the first place. Not easy people....not easy at all. So as I stood there with my teacher's words echoing in my ears and thought back to what I just went through, I knew that the spirit of the elecampane plant gave me the lesson I needed at that moment. I could here elecampane saying, "You will have to dig deep now, you will have to work hard, sacrifice, hurt, heal, stay focused, use your knowledge, and not give up. will have those who will help, guide, and cheer you on."