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Healing Lyme Disease Naturally - A book review Part Two

Teaser: Natural options to treat Lyme symptoms

When the author was bitten and contracted Lyme disease, it was real enough though. However, having already had bad effects from using antibiotics for Dengue fever in the past ( a viral disease), he chose not to go that route and cited his road to cure using more ‘naturopathic’ methods, including plenty of sleep, fresh air and sunshine, exercise, good food, immune supporting herbs and giving enough time for himself.

He describes the value of sleep and the affects of the sun in quasi-mystical ways, steeped it seems in the philosophy of Rudolph Steiner and other kindred spirits. He also discusses the health effects of direct sunlight on the body, especially the effect on the hypothalamus and its effect on brain chemistry and body function. He also discusses the necessity for exercise and how sweating while exercising can help those with Lyme disease.

He mentions Lymph cleansing plants – Viscum album, Scrophularia nodosa (commonfigwart), Gallium aparine (cleavers), Gallium verum (lady’s bedstraw), etc. and also mentions Agnus castus and American mountain ash (Sorbus americana) and others for their healing properties including Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset). He discusses also the value of good food and general common sense approach to feeding the body well.

He mentions a Dr. Orth, a biochemist who became a healer and used herbs to cure himself after meningitis. He took a product called Multiplasan H 33 and Multiplasan H 17, which is available in Germany and used on horses. M H 33 consists of Anise seeds (Pimpinella anisum), caraway seeds (Carum carvi), fennel seeds (Foeniculum vulgare), Juniper (Juniperis communi), Peppermint (Menthe piperita), Restharrow (Ononis spinosa), stinging nettle (Urtica urens), sweet flag, or calamus (Acorus calamus). Also it has alkaline mineral salts – bicarbonate of soda, salt, glaubers salt (natrum sulph) and magnesium carbonate.

M GL 17 acts as a laxative and stimulates the function of the spleen, liver and gallbladder. It contains Agrimony (Agrimonia eupatoria), Angelica (Angelica archangelica) artichoke leaves (Cynara scolymus), beckbean, bogbean, marsh trefoil (Menyanthes folium, M. trifoliate), Blessed thistle, holy thistle (Cnicus benedictus) root, Calamus root, Chamomile, Dandelion roots and leaves (Taraxum off.), Fennel, Gentiana lutea, grape sugar, greater celandine, milk thistle, peppermint, Valerian and yarrow.

He says that Liv 52 (an Indian liver tonic) is as effective as Multiplasan and he lists its ingredients: Capers (Capparis spp, Hindi kanthari or kapra), Chicory (Cichorium intybus), black nightshade (Solanum nigrum), arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) Cassia, coffee senna (cassia occ)., medicinal ashes as well as other herbs in smaller amounts.

Dr Orth recommends also taking one quart of goldenrod tea a day, either European goldenrod (Solidago virgaurea), Canadian goldenrod or giant goldenrod. Then he mentions a strange homeopathic combination remedy based on a rather esoteric theory called Pelomorphism, something to do microorganisms taking on various different forms in their life cycle. He also mentions using essential oils, rubbing into the hollow of the knees and inner side of the elbow 3 times a day. This mixture is made of 3 parts of olive oil and 2 parts essential oil (mixing in juniper, peppermint, calamus, anise seed, rosemary, geranium, caraway, fennel, eucalyptus, lemon, lemon balm, sage, lemongrass, thyme, cinnamon, clove and lavender).

Another theory is that the symptoms of Lyme are not only due to Borrelia but neurotoxins that stimulate the release of inflammatory cytokines. The biotoxins also interact synergistically with heavy metals and environmental poisons, causing autoimmune reactions. Antibiotics fight the Borrelia but not the fat soluble neurotoxins they produce. Neurotoxins are fat soluble and are recycled through the body and therefore are hard to remove and is thought to be the cause of a majority of Lyme symptoms. He mentions the work of some researchers in reducing fat soluble toxins by giving synthetic lipid sinkers by using natural herbs such as Bitters and roughage, artichoke, milk thistle, turmeric, Great Celandine (Chelidonium), burdock, coriander, psyllium, avena sativa, garlic, jerusalem artichoke, cats claw, Chitosan (made from the waste of crab fishing) and Green clay.

The author quotes a Native American idea that for every ill there is a plant medicine and that the ills of humans are due to an imbalanced relationship with the plants and animals of the earth. Abused animals wished certain illnesses upon humans to repay the harm done but when they were suffering, some plants took pity on humans and offered their help. They said that the smallest of creatures, ticks, mosquitoes, and worms were particularly angry, having been so abused. Whatever the cause, the knowledge of plants as healers was common to all cultures of the world and even syphilis could be cured with a combination of herbs (guajacum officinale) and hot sweatbaths, strenuous exercise and diets. However, when Syphilis founds its way to Europe, afflicted sufferers didn’t use the same methods, or at least not to the same degree as Native Americans and therefore didn’t get cured of the disease. The author concludes though that a similar strategy could be used for treating Lyme - another spirochete disease - as that of Syphilis. Both Borrelia and Syphilis are inactivated over 107.6 degrees F. (42 degrees C). However, apparently good Guajacum is hard to find and he came across the work of Matthew Wood who was recommending the use of Teasel (Dipsacus asperoides or Japonica) and understood its use in Traditional Chinese Medicine. Teasel supports yang energy. However, in Chinese medicine and some parts of western herbal medicine, herbs are normally used together to address the complexity of symptoms that may be apparent in any one case. However, Matthew Wood often uses single herbs and in the case of Lyme, has used Teasel with success.

There are 12 types of teasel, although Dipsacus sylvestris is the species of teasel that the author used on his own Lyme. However, it can be surmised that the other species of teasel would have a similar action. More has been written about teasel’s therapeutic powers in ancient and medieval texts than in more modern times, although it is known more in Chinese medicine. Teasel can be taken as a tea, tincture or powder. Powder is better for kids as the tea may be too bitter and the tincture has alcohol in it. Also, water from the venus basin of the plant can be taken. The author quotes a case of a child with Lyme treated effectively this way.

“The latin name for the plant family, Dipsacus comes from the Greek dipsan, meaning thirsty, because birds drink the water in the leaf basin. The water was also used on the face for beauty, to clear the eyes and as a cure for freckles and age spots. Like other doctors of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance, Nicolas Culpepper believed in the cleansing faculty of this ‘Venus Water.’ “Matthew Wood sees the signature of the kidneys and bladder in the so-called Venus basin.”

In a crude homeopathic proving of teasel, the author and friend had the experience of sharp barbs of energy shooting from the inside of the body out toward the periphery, from the inner organs toward and beyond the skin. The author felt the energy to be similar to barbs and pricks found on the plant.

Dosage is dependent on individual factors as well as philosophical disposition. Wood gives 3 drops, 3t daily, more in line with homeopathic dosages. However, the author points out that less sensitive people could take more, maybe a tablespoon 3t daily.

The author suggests using Teasel 3 times a day. Borrelia activity peaks every month or so. Therefore, any cure should be at least for one month, and then gradually reducing the dose in the following month. Another suggestion was to take 3 drops of tincture on the 1st day and then add one drop daily until one has reached 30 drops, 3 times a day. This approach helps to make a possible Herxheimer reaction milder. The process is then reversed.

Supportive Therapies

Supportive Therapy during the Teasel Cure is the title of Chapter Nine in the book. In this chapter, a discussion of the overfocus on simply the bacteria is mentioned, as an over simplistic view of any disease in seeing it as the sole causal factor. “The conventional medical view, of only seeing disease within a narrow biological framework, ignores the broader ‘socio-cultural, economic and environmental circumstances’”.

The author states the need to work on all levels at the same time, physical, mental and spiritual and discusses the various natural methods that can be used to support a teasel cure.

Heat therapy is one of the therapies used, as has been done for generations by all cultures. The author discusses the many forms of heat therapy, from sweat lodges to saunas, steam baths etc, and their historical use. Also, the quality of food and the necessity of having an alkaline pH of the blood is important to maintain health. He mentions how in some cultures, only white food is allowed when sick, as those who are sick are removed from daily life, belonging in another realm during that time. White food is like “ghost food”, whereas red meat and other colorful foods represent life in another dimension. Shamans in training only eat “ghost food” or no food until they are fully initiated.

The authors state how some Europeans with syphilis would go to America and subject themselves to cures by the native people, involving drinking concoctions of Guajacum, eating only white food and sweating copiously. They had to do strenuous activity, inducing yet more sweating. Apparently some 3,000 Spanish syphilitics were cured this way.

The author makes the case that Borrelia, especially when it has invaded the whole system, especially with neurological symptoms cannot be cured by simply killing the pathogen. There is a need to stimulate the “endogenous self-healing forces” in order to cure it. Antibiotics cannot reach them when they have taken on the “encapsulated cystic form” or when they retreat into tissue which is not well supplied with oxygen. Antibiotics only work when the infection is very new. Doctors often are not able to observe the outcome of treatments as patients go from one doctor to another in order to try and get better.

A woman the author met in Germany had been using teasel root as a therapy for many years, including for Lyme disease. She would make her patients fast in the first week, in which they can take bitter, unsweetened teasel root tea, taking small sips at a time over the whole day. After the 1st week, patients can then eat lightly again but continue taking the tea for the rest of the month. In Lyme cases, she will get them to do a “tea cure” one weekend a month for the following next year as the bacteria tend to surface monthly.

The author studied the use of teasel through the ages and found in European herbal practices, that a decoction of teasel root has been used as cleansing and detoxifying for arthritis, rheumatism, dropsy, dermatitis, boils, gallbladder, weakness, hepatitis, and acne.

He also discusses other people’s protocols in treating Lyme disease, including that of Dr Dietrich Klinghardt, who has been specializing in Lyme disease. Klinghardt bases his therapy on four pillars:

  • Psychological stress opens the door to the condition and needs psychological treatment, for example with psycho-kinesiology.
  • Regulating and harmonizing the immune system.
  • Detoxification and the flushing out of toxins and acids.
  • Combating viruses, bacteria, and germs that cause disease.

Klinghardt suggests that heavy metals, fillings, environmental poisons etc need flushing from the system, which he does with various substances given intravenously, a form of chelation therapy. He also gives many other therapies, which on the surface look rather overwhelming, including auto-urine therapy, a nosode therapy, lymph drainage and intestinal irrigation and other treatments. The author says that Klinghardt prefers plants that work antibiotically and orthomolecular substances (minerals) to fight bacteria and parasites, including the following herbal remedies: Cats claw (uncaria tomentosa), Noni (Norinda citrifolia), garlic, teasel peppermint tincture, Mellite injections and Niacin.

Cats claw has been known for some time and is part of the Rubiaceae family, the same as Quinine (China officianalis). It is more closely related though to Gallium aparine. Cats claw was used by Indians in the jungles of Peru and only became known to the west in the 1930’s. Its popularity grew in the 1980’s and 1990’s. It has shown immune-stimulating effect and has been used for the treatment of cancer, AIDS, arthritis and Lyme disease.

(For most homeopaths and herbalists too, Klinghardt’s methods may seem overwhelming in their number and complexity. The author does not dwell on this but it is interesting to observe the variety of therapies being offered. Also, from a holistic approach, there would seem to be an emphasis on cleansing the body as well as attempting to kill the bacteria and other toxins. However, not so much emphasis is given to stimulating the body’s own immune system on a direct energetic level).

Removing toxins

Another well-known natural health practitioner, Dr. Hulda Regehr-Clark is then discussed by the author. Her work is based on the idea of toxins being the cause of most illnesses, including her idea that an intestinal leech causes cancer. Therefore, the focus of treatment is in intestinal cleaning, dental cleansing, nutrition and also an electrode therapy using 380 volt electrical impulses, which are directed into the diseased tissue one to three times daily for 5 minutes at a time. The author then mentions briefly the use of the Rife machine, which works with frequencies that are not harmful (for more information see Katina Makris’s book, Out of the Woods; Healing Lyme Disease, Body, Mind and Spirit) and Beck electrification, which claims to kill spirochetes with low frequency voltage.

Then a therapy using a mixture of salt and Vitamin C powder is given, in the amount of 12 grams for a person weighing 75 kg (165 lbs) with fresh lemon juice added. To alleviate any Herxheimer reaction, one should take enough minerals, Vitamin B complex, active cola or healing earth to bind toxins, dead bacteria and excessive acids, eat healthy food, salt water baths or brine baths with magnesium sulfate and algae (chlorella or spirulina). This therapy can be used with electrode therapy. The idea is that the increased salt extracts the water from the cells of the spirochete which then die off, as do other microbes which cause certain co-infections, but apparently not the beneficial bacterial flora in the intestines.

The phytotherapy of Stephen H. Buhner is then mentioned. Buhner is an author of a book on Lyme disease, called Healing Lyme: Natural Healing and Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections. He bases his therapy on four points.

  • Eliminating the spirochetes as much as possible. He uses plants for this.
  • Modulate the immune system and build up the defense system. He uses three clinically proven plants for this, which reduce the spirochetes and strengthen the immune system.
  • Green chiretta (Andrographis paniculata) an Indian plant used in Ayurvedic medicine as a blood-cleansing, immune stimulating and has an antispirochete effect. It is also used for malaria and chronic fatigue. The dose is 14-40 ounces of the powder 3 times a day.
  • Japanese knotwood.
  • Cats claw. He recommends 1-4 capsules of 500mg (17 ounces) three times a day over a period of eight to twelve months. He advises starting with a smaller amount and building up to the above amount.

Two other plants are also recommended:

  • Astragalus (Astragulus membranaeceous) Chinese huang qi. It is used in Chinese medicine and in Lyme it strengthens the immune system. It is also antiviral, antibacterial anti inflammatory, liver detoxifying and heart strengthening, as quoted by Buhner. It is taken in the early stages of Lyme disease but not in the later phases. The dose is twice daily 1000 mg (35 ounces), which can be multiplied by four and taken four times daily.
  • Smilax or sarsaparilla (Smilax glabra, S aristolochiaefolia). It has been used by the Chinese in spirochete diseases. It is antibacterial, and with spirochetes also has anti inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It binds endotoxins in the blood. It strengthens and protects the liver and eases Herxheimer reactions, strengthens the immune reaction to the Borrelia, protects the nerves and reduces fatigue – according to Buhner and as quoted in the book. He gives 500 mg) 17 ounces of the powdered root taken three times a day.

(The broad action of Sarsaparilla is well known to homeopaths, where it is used particularly in urinary conditions but which has been known to antidote mercurial poisoning, is anti-syphilitic and anti sycotic, affects the bones, treats venereal diseases, kidney conditions etc)

The following list is taken from Murphy’s Nature’s Materia Medica.

   PHARMACY - Sars. Sarsaparilla officinalis. Smilax. Wild Liquorice. The rhizome of several species of Smilax. N. O. Smilaceae, by some classed as a sub-order of the Liliaceae. Triturations and tincture of the dried rhizome. Historical dose: Tincture and all potencies, first to sixth potency. Planets: Venus, Saturn.

     HERBAL - The dried root or rhizome of Sarsaparilla, as imported is of the thickness of a goose quill, many feet in length, reddish brown, scent less, mucilaginous in taste, feebly bitter, faintly acrid. According to Mile it is diaphoretic tonic, alterative. It is given in scrofula and secondary syphilis and the concomitants of these diseases, such as ulcers, cutaneous eruptions, nodes indurated glands, decay, necroses, joint swellings and rheumatism often improve under a protracted course of it. Some think it a kind of restorative after an exhausting course of Mercury.

     This well summarizes the ancient reputation of Sars. as a “blood purifier,” which Hahnemann’s proving has amplified and put on a fixed scientific basis. Sars. is “restorative” after over-dosing with Merc., because it is a homeopathic antidote to Merc.

     Sars. has cured fig warts and those needing it have a marked tendency to emaciation, moist eruptions about the genitals or between the scrotum and thighs, retraction of nipples in those of cancerous inheritance or constitution.

   HOMEOPATHIC -- Sarsaparilla was used as a restorative and blood purifier after exhausting course of mercury. It covers the syphilitic, sycotic and psoric constitutions. Sars. chief center of action is on the genito-urinary organs, skin, bones, right lower extremity. Kidney colic, marasmus and periosteal pains due to venereal disease. Urinary symptoms well marked.

     Marasmus, emaciation. Parts feel screwed together. Nightly bone pains. Pains shoot in different directions and are accompanied by depression and anxiety. As if salt were put upon the wound. Very sore gouty nodes. Rheumatism. Clears the complexion. Eruptions following hot weather and vaccinations, boils and eczema. Scratching causes itching to begin in another place, causes eruption on forehead to become humid.

     CLINICAL - Asthma. Bedwetting. Bladder disorders. Bones disorders. Breast, scirrhus. Bright’s disease. Stones. Menopause. Constipation. Dysmenorrhea. Dyspepsia. Dysuria. Eruptions. Eyes disorders. Faintness. Glands, enlarged. Gonorrhea. Gout. Gravel. Hands, chapped. Headache. Hernia. Herpes of prepuce. Hiccough. Intermittents. Kidney colic. Marasmus. Masturbation, effects. Melancholia. Mercury, abuse. Mycosis. Nipples, retracted. Plica polonica. Cracks skin. Rheumatism, gonorrheal. Seborrhea. Spermatic cords, swelling. Spermatorrhea. Strangury. Syphilis. Ulcers. Warts.

     Constitutions - It is both anti-syphilitic and anti-sycotic. It is suited to children with faces like old people and enlarged abdomens to dark-haired persons to lithic or sycotic diathesis. It is suited to thin, frail, shriveled, old looking persons, especially children with enlarged abdomen.

  • Support and rebuild structural proteins. “The Borrelia spirochete take nourishment from the collagens, protein from the binding tissue, tendons, fascia, ligaments, cartilage and nerve sheaths, as well as from the cerebrospinal fluid and eye fluid.” In healthy people this may easily be replaced but with a more virulent bacteria and compromised immunity, this is not the case. Therefore Buhner makes the case for supplements to support these tissues, including:
  • Vitamin C
  • Zinc picolinate with copper
  • Silicium
  • Glucosamin sulphate
  • Pregnenolene (a precursor to all steroid hormones of the human body.
  • DHEA (anti ageing hormone, produced by the adrenal gland. A forerunner of the sex hormones.
  • ALA (alpha lipoic acid).
  • Selenium
  • Vit B complex
  • Vitamin E.
  • Symptomatic treatment of particular afflictions.
  • During the first acute phase, Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus, Chinese wie-jia). It belongs to the Araliaceae family, and is anti depressive, lessens stress and increases the number of defense cells.
  • For facial paralysis and ocular Lyme disease, he suggests Stephania root (stephania tetranda; S. cepharntha, Chinese hang-fangi). This plant reduces nerve and arthritic inflammations, reduces edema and is antibiotic.
  • For flushing out neurotoxins, Japanese Knotweed (Fallopia japonica) is recommended.
  • For arthritis in the joints, Fang ji (Stephaniae tetrandrae radix) teasel root (Dipsacus) and Vitamin A. Other herbs also are recommended for general arthritic symptoms, including turmeric, devils claw (Harpagophytum procumbens) and an arthritis tea.
  • For memory lapse, Japanese knotwood and Lycopodium and Periwinkle (Vinca minor)
  • Angina pectoris and other Lyme related heart problems, hawthorne (Crataegus spp.) and other plants.
  • Eye problems, blurry vision, black spots, Stephania root, periwinkle, Vitamin C and zinc.
  • Itching and twitching muscles: magnesium and Vitamin B complexes.
  • Swollen lymph channels: New Jersey tea (Ceanothus americanus)
  • Weak muscles and general weakness: tinctures of American ginseng or wild sarsaparilla
  • Chronic fatigue: Siberian ginseng, Green chirayta (Andrographis paniculata) or astragulus root.
  • Headache: Japanese knotwood.

(For some practitioners, this would seem a rather piecemeal and more atomistic approach to prescribing, as opposed to finding at least one remedy to cover a number of conditions, or even a herb like teasel that may address more broadly the whole situation. However, given the complexity of treating Lyme cases and the different conditions that can coexist, a detailed knowledge of these herbs can bring benefit)

Japanese knotwood, according to Buhner has been used for many conditions for a long time in Asia and is now widely found in Europe and is mostly seen as an invasive plant in Europe. Buhner considers it one of the most important means of treating Lyme disease. It has resveratol and transreserveratol in it, amongst other ingredients. Buhner suggests taking 9-30 grams a day.

For co infections with Babesiosis, or Babesia, which is a protozoa with similar symptoms to malaria and found with Lyme disease, he suggests using Artemesia annua (annual mugwort) which is the main ingredient in the conventional malarial treatment called Artemesinin as part of the combination therapy ACT. He also suggests Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset) in a tea form and Ceanothus (New Jersey tea) when fevers are present.

For co-infection with Erlichiosis, Buhner prescribes Astragalus as well as Colchicum autumnale (meadow saffron).

For co-infections with Bartonella, Japanese knotwood, boneset tea and tincture from New Jersey tea are recommended.

The author then lists a number of other therapies that are used to treat Lyme disease, including Colloidal silver, Artemisinin, Goldenseal, Olive leaf extract, Mistletoe, Rizol therapy (ozonated oils), unsaturated fatty acids in borage seed oil, hempseed oil, evening primrose oil and salmon oil and rockrose.

An overview of Homeopathic Theory, with reference to a Miasmatic understanding of disease

The author then gives an overview of homeopathy, giving a good historical and scientific perspective, mentioning some of the research which validates the potentization process. He then talks of Hahnemann’s miasmatic theory and focuses on syphilis, which makes sense, given its connection to Lyme disease. He attributes a broader miasmatic view of syphilis to Hahnemann, whereas it is after Hahnemann’s life that the miasmatic view of syphilis was developed but he does quote someone who when experimenting with homeopathic teasel tinctures felt it “dampened psychosomatic auto-aggression.” He gives a good insight into the many manifestations of the syphilitic miasm and how suppression of this merely leads it to manifest in another condition, e.g. AIDS, violence etc.

Lyme disease, like Syphilis, has 3 stages. The 1st stage is the eruption (erythema migrans). In syphilis it is the chancre. The 2nd stage brings muscle, joint and bone pain. Both diseases are masters of deception, capable of imitating a large variety of illnesses. In the 3rd stage the nervous system is affected. “Nervous breakdowns leading to the point of pyschosis, schizophrenia or even complete mental derangement and apathy are all possible.”

Because of the syphilitic connection, the author then considers Mercury as a possible remedy, given its connection to homeopathic syphilitic miasm. He outlines the picture of Mercury, weaving in the mythological aspects of the substance. The author makes a comparison symbolically of the behavior of the spirochete and that of the mythological character of Hermes, the quicksilver “quickmoving, evasive and barely tangible”.

The author then discusses homeopathic remedies for Lyme, beginning with the nosode from Borrelia, suggesting it can be used immediately after having been bit, as much for prevention. Also another nosode, Tick borne fever nosode can be given to protect against ESME (meningo-encephalitis). He then mentions Ledum and Aurum arsenicosum, after the work by Peter Alex.

When discussing the development of syphilis at the end of the 16th century, he makes the comparison with Lyme disease and the confusion surrounding how it developed and why suddenly at that point in European history did a disease so ravage so many and so terribly. Was it some kind of biblical revenge? Theories were everywhere. One more modern idea is that syphilis mutated from Yaws, a disease found in the Caribbean and passed on via insect bites or close skin contact. Yaws is clinically and serologically indistinguishable from syphilis.

As no cures were available in Europe, some people went back to the new world and found cures there, by the native people who understood how to treat it. Guajacum was used, a tree originating in the Caribbean, which is well known in homeopathy. Twigs from the tree were boiled and then large quantities were taken daily, along with strenuous exercise and strict exercise. When the wood was exported to the west, it was the main wood that was used, with mixed results. The local people however, used the resin, extracted from the living branches by burning it, forcing the resin to escape. This was done at night as in the day, the affect of sun reacts with the resin, making it lose potency. The resin was gathered and turned into pills and then pounded into powder and dissolved in hot water. However, for maximum affect, the other factors needed to be done, the diet, the sweats daily and the exercise. This was not done when it was taken to Europe.

Therefore Guajacum was abandoned and another treatment, made from Ungentrum saracenum (Saracen salve), named as it was used in the Crusades. However, it was quite toxic and its effects limited. Then in the search for another treatment, Mercury came to be found. The author makes the interesting observation that it was the beginning of “chemotherapy”, the use of mineral based substances instead of plants, plants falling out of favor as Mercury was seemingly so effective, in spite of its toxicity. Certain toxic plants were still used, including foxglove, poison hemlock, Ipecac, and monkshood (all good homeopathic remedies).

The author gives a lurid history of syphilis and its treatment by Mercury and also discusses the number of popes afflicted with the disease, indirectly leading Martin Luther to begin the Reformation as a reaction against the moral and physical decline of the Catholic Church.

Syphilis and the development of the mechanistic view of life

The author makes an interesting point, seeing the syphilitic theme or miasm develop in the 16th century, the epidemic erupting at the time of mass burning of witches in Europe and bringing in a shift of perception of reality within a whole culture, and its relationship to all aspects of social functioning and to the environment at large. He quotes the philosopher Thomas Kuhn, who states that a paradigm shift is a change in the model by which a society explains reality. It is a change in the cultural construct of reality. The author states that “this was also the time in which a paradigm shift took place, from the intuitive, mystical-magical, visionary worldview to the rule of objective, reductionistic-materialistic science of today.”

The shock of the disease made people begin to perceive nature as threatening. Nature was no longer seen as the divine feminine soul of all creation… Suddenly nature seemed to be a treacherous witch full of malevolent power that needed to be controlled. Francis Bacon, the great scientist was born in 1561 and not only was he a state prosecutor in witch trials of the day, he laid the grounds for an objective science, dissecting nature in a cold and detached way. He was followed by Rene Descartes, born 1596, who further banished the world of magic and nature belief from the consciousness of man, in spite of being an ordained Jesuit priest.

This was the beginning of the mechanization of life, seeing all livings things purely from the view of their physical functionality. Nature was only something to be studied, dissected and used, separate as it was from humans and subordinate to it. “The new disease (syphilis) poisoned the innate trust between men and women.” The first witch hunts involved men and women, but after Syphilis took hold, it became focused nearly totally on women. The author takes it one step further and says “Men then concerned themselves with big cannons and rapid firing rifles, with which they penetrated and deflowered foreign worlds. Colonialism and imperialism can thus also be interpreted as a consequence of western ‘syphillization’.”

It wasn’t’ until the end of the 18th century when this began to change, which is when Goethe and Hahnemann were alive and well. Goethe “rebuked the cold-hearted experimental science of Francis Bacon”. This then further led to the romantic age, with philosophers like Rousseau having a big influence. He quotes from the physican Christoph Willhelm Hufeland (1762-1836), who around the same time as Hahnemann was saying very similar things, and whose book “Macrobiotic, or the Art of Extending Human Life” was a bestseller when published in 1796.

The author then philosophizes about the possible impact of Borrelia and whether it will be as significant as that of Syphilis. Even syphilis is having a comeback now after being more or less contained with antibiotics for over half a century. He says “Lyme disease, is telling us that the age of antibiotics is coming to an end. It challenges us to search deeper.”

These last two chapters are a wonderful and very holistic analysis of the broader social, cultural and spiritual impact of a disease and explores the deeper reasons of its existence and impact on human culture. His understanding of homeopathic miasmatic theory, cultural anthropology and herbology allows him to weave a nuanced story of syphilis and connecting it to Lyme disease today.


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