A personal journey of discovery.
From Healthkeepers Magazine, Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Spring, 2006)
"Ask an Herbalist" – Philip Fritchey, M.H., N.D., CNHP
Q: After three years of struggle with a debilitating condition that caused me to quit my job and virtually all my activities - and caused many of my friends to quit me - I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease. So far, after 3 months of IV antibiotics, I am having some limited improvement. I have been temporarily pulled from that treatment, though, because it caused my liver enzymes to go crazy. One of my true stand-by-me friends heard about an herb called Teasel, but my local herb shops don't have it, or any information about it. What can you tell me about this plant and Lyme. I need some hope tonight!
A: Lyme is not a disease for sissies, to be sure, and the symptoms of mental fog, chronic joint and muscle pain, and unrelenting fatigue can be very hard for those around you to appreciate or deal with. I have personally been struggling with Lyme disease for some time now. It has been almost six years since my encounter with the tick. The condition has been a roller-coaster experience that has served to humble my smugness, challenge and re-empower my Faith, and impress me with a sense of precious value for health of body and mind that I never could have imagined - and always took for granted.
I have tried most every rational protocol that I could find. In spite of occasional temporary reprieves, the bug took such hold of me through the Spring and Summer of last year, I truly felt that the fatigue and mental "fog" would force me to stop teaching and writing. I stopped seeing clients personally, and I could barely muster the energy to keep our skin care business going. The joint and muscle pain was so intense that gardening, field forays, and exercise in general seemed impossible, and, as a result, I put on nearly 30 pounds. It was not a pretty sight.
I had discussed the situation with some students from one of my Herbology classes in Tulsa last Spring, and in September, I received a letter from one of them. He had run across a section in Matthew Wood's really excellent book, "The Book of Herbal Wisdom". Wood recorded his limited but positive experience with Lyme, using the root of Teasel (Dipsacus spp.), an herb completely unfamiliar to me. A little internet research showed he was not alone, so I tracked down some of the tincture. (It is not easy to find. One species of the plant is used in Chinese medicine, but traditional Western herbal history is virtually silent on its use.) Whether from hope or desperation, Wood's short discourse on it was sufficient to get me to try it.
At the risk of melodrama, I can only say that, so far at least, the result has been nothing short of miraculous. Within three days of starting with the very small dosage recommended by Wood (1 - 5 drops, 3 times daily), the fog lifted, the fatigue melted away, and though it took longer, the joint and muscle pain subsided, and has continued to improve since. I feel like my life has been given back to me.
Recommended reading for those dealing with Lyme Disease and related conditions:
The Book of Herbal Wisdom, by Matthew Wood & Healing Lyme, by Stephen H. Buhner
Tincture of Teasel Root may be purchased by directing your Internet browser to:
Philip Fritchey, N.D. 850 Raymond Shedden Ave., Newnan, GA 30265