August 2000 Volume 1 Issue 4
Editors: PSpatches, Lymechat, Borrelias
Assistants: LutzDM, ROWDEEGPSY, CCCooks,
Welcome to Lyme Matters!
This newsletter will serve two purposes: To provide timely and accurate information regarding Lyme Disease and Lyme related issues, and to serve as a means by which members of the Lyme community can voice their opinions and concerns.
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In mid summer of 1988 I noticed a rash that looked exactly like hives all over my upper torso. I had a 15 month old and 3 yr. old at the time so didn't think too much about it as I was so busy. (Dumb) Started with my hands aching and headaches -- terrible headaches and stiff neck. This went on for a few months. Finally got smart enough to go to a Dr. and he did tests for everything. Lyme titer came back positive. Was treated with IV Anti's for few weeks and then oral Amoxicillan for 6-8 months.
I have now lived with Lyme Disease for over a decade. Wow, that's amazing. The first few years were the absolute worst. Having small children to care for made it even more difficult. I know now that I got through it by my unusual capacity for perseverance. I just kept going. Living in a very rural area I had no resources -- just a small country Dr. who luckily kept giving me antibiotics.
My symptoms back then were different from now. Then I had terrible headaches, awful stiff neck, the bottoms of my feet were sore for years, hand and feet aching. If I did anything too strenuous it felt as though my brain was rattling around in my head.
I am writing though to let some of you know there is hope. I do feel better. I'm not the way I used to be, but I am better. I still suffer from vision weirdness (no eye doctor can find anything), some headaches and some aches. My hands bother me the most but not bad enough to really go in to detail. GET HEALTHY - the only way I keep this at bay is to watch what I eat, how I sleep and AVOID STRESS!!!!!!
Seriously, sugar and caffeine are the worst things - I can't think if I've had too much of either. Avoid stress -- it really gets the spiro's jumping. I know a lot of you can get through it, you need to push yourself like you've never pushed. Exercise and rest. I know, I know. Exercise when you have the energy, and rest when you're tired.
GO TO A HOMEOPATHIC DR - PUT YOURSELF ON VITAMINS. IT REALLY HELPS. DRINK AN ENDLESS AMOUNT OF WATER. SLEEP WELL. AVOID ANYONE NEGATIVE.
Don't give in to the attitude that this is the end of a normal life. If you're mind thinks that it will tell your body that, don't. Tell yourself you will get through it and your body will respond. I have not talked to anyone about my Lyme Disease for years, most people I know don't even know I have it - I choose to fight this by myself and not listen to anyone tell me how awful it is. Perhaps it is, but I choose to tell my body that Lyme Disease will not change my life. It affects it, but doesn't change it. I won't let it.
Email address withheld by request.
Editor's note: Good for you! If you can do it...do it! Positive attitude helps.
Hello, and a very good August to all of you! Before we get started on this month's Natural Alternatives, I would like to address a few issues which have been raised regarding supplemental amino acids, and nutritional supplements in general.
One reader E-mailed to say that she was allergic to the supplement L-glutamine, and asked if I would mention exercising caution prior to using this supplement. Please allow me to go one step further by stating that caution should always be exercised when beginning any nutritional supplements, to ensure that no allergic reactions occur from their use. (We are all different, and supplements that may be fine for one person may not be safe for another.) Nutritional regimens should also be adjusted periodically to derive the greatest benefits from them.
There is an incorrect and dangerous assumption being made by many consumers in this country, that because nutritional supplements do not need FDA approval, they are safe to take in any combination or quantity. This, however, is far from the truth, as nutritional supplements cannot only interact with one another, but also with prescription medications. In addition, taking more then the recommended amount of a particular supplement can overload one's liver, leading to toxicity.
So please treat natural supplements as you would any prescription medications, and consume them based on the directions listed on the bottle. After all, these directions exist for your safety.
Another reader was interested in knowing if certain amino acids were more compatible with the human body then others. The answer to this question is yes, and a brief explanation of amino's is necessary to understand why. With the exception of the amino acid, glycine, amino acids are available in two different forms.
The first form "D" refers to dextro (meaning Latin for right). The second form "L" refers to levo (meaning Latin for left). Both of these terms are in reference to the rotation of the spiral that comprises the chemical structure of the molecule; i.e. "D" means that the spiral is rotating to the right, while "L" refers to a spiral which rotates to the left. Supplemental amino acids can be manufactured from either the "L" / "D"/ or "DL" ( a combination of both "D" and "L" amino's) forms of amino acids.
The "L" forms of amino acids (Except for phenylalanine which is a combination of "D" and "L" ) are responsible for the production of both plant and animal tissue, and are consequently the most compatible forms for human consumption. The most desirable of these amino's are referred to as free-form, which means that they are in their purest state and able to bypass the digestive process altogether; they are instead absorbed directly into the bloodstream.
If you would like to learn more about the different types of amino acids and their functions, you can access the November and December of 1998, and January of 1999 issues of Natural Alternatives at the following Web site: Back Issues *** To locate these issues click on one of the aforementioned months and then scroll down until you've reached the Natural Alternative's column for that month.
This month we'll be discussing three natural food supplements ( desiccated liver, sea cucumber and citrin ). In "The Herb Corner" we'll be covering the following herbs: American ginseng, angelica, clove, chaste tree, FO-TI and suma. As always, if you have questions regarding any of the information contained within this column, please feel free to E-mail me.
Natural Food Supplements
This supplement is rich in vitamins A, B complex, C and D, as well as the following minerals: copper, phosphorus, iron and calcium. Desiccated liver is useful in the treatment of anemia, as it contributes to the production of new red blood cells. It has also been used to help treat disorders of the liver and as an energy enhancer.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this supplement, people using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to desiccated liver. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this supplement, discontinue use of it immediately.
This species of edible shellfish is not only rich in amino acids and enzymes, but also trace minerals (minerals which are needed by the body in minute amounts but without which, the body could not survive). This supplement helps benefit the endocrine, lymphatic and cardiovascular systems. It is also useful in the treatment of both skin and burn wounds.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this supplement, people using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to sea cucumber. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this supplement, discontinue use of it immediately.
Citrin (Indian berry)
This herbal extract which is derived from the Garcinia cambogia plant is quite useful for those dieting, as it inhibits the synthesis of fat in the liver. It also functions as an appetite suppressant. There's also some evidence that it may help to prevent atherosclerosis. Citrin is used as an ingredient in many different food products.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this supplement, people using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to Citrin. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this supplement, discontinue use of it immediately.
In last month's column we discussed the Chinese version of American ginseng which is known as panax ginseng. American ginseng is manufactured in the United States, in the state of Wisconsin. In fact, Wisconsin is internationally known as one of the largest producers and exporters of American ginseng in the world. While American ginseng is very similar to its cousin (panax ginseng) it is in some ways more preferred by the Chinese, as it's considered to be a bit milder then its cousin.
This supplement does include many of the same benefits of panax ginseng, including helping to prevent the formation and growth of cancerous tumors. Moreover, it's useful in boosting one's energy levels as well as helping to calm the body in times of stress. Furthermore, American ginseng helps to reduce LDL cholesterol in the body and in doing so lowers the risk of heart disease. The root of this plant can also be used to relieve nausea.
American ginseng can be taken in either capsule or powder forms. Capsule: Take from 1 - 3 capsules daily; Powder: Mix from 1 - 2 teaspoons in warm water. A tea can also be made from the leaves of this plant.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this herb, those using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to American ginseng. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this herb, discontinue use of it immediately.
Angelica is a very useful herb which can be taken internally or used externally. Taken internally, this herb is an excellent remedy for indigestion. It's also a fine expectorant and hence useful in relieving the phlegm associated with upper respiratory problems. Angelica also helps to improve the body's circulation and as such, is useful to those who suffer from poor circulation of the hands and feet. Because it also functions as an antispasmodic, angelica is helpful in relieving the pain caused by menstrual cramps and when taken externally, the pain associated with inflammatory conditions such as rheumatism. It can also be used to remove skin lice.
Angelica is available as an extract. To take internally, mix from 10 - 30 drops in water from one to three times a day. To use externally, apply the extract directly to problem areas of the skin.
*Caution -- This herb should not be used during pregnancy. Also, make sure to stay within the recommended dose, as exceeding it may result in problems with blood pressure and heart function. Moreover, those using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to angelica. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this herb, discontinue use of it immediately.
Aside from its use in seasoning certain foods, this herb which has been used in China for more then two thousand years, has two primary functions. The first is as a source of relief for toothaches and the second is its ability to be able to stop one from vomiting. While its uses are not as wide ranging as many other herbs, it is unsurpassed in the two aforementioned areas.
To use clove as a toothache remedy, rub oil directly on the tooth or teeth that are in pain. To stop vomiting, mix two to three drops of clove oil in a warm cup of water.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this herb, those using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to clove. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this herb, discontinue use of it immediately.
(Chaste Tree) Vitex
This herb is especially useful in the treatment of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). Not only does it relieve PMS symptoms, but it also is purported to help maintain hormonal balance in the body. Chaste tree continues to be used by many European homeopaths as a natural alternative to estrogen replacement therapy. Moreover, they have also used this herb in the treatment of fibroid tumors.
Chaste tree can be taken in either extract or capsule forms. Extract: mix from 10 - 30 drops in water from 1 - 3 times daily; Capsule: take up to three capsules a day.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this herb, those using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to chaste tree. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this herb, discontinue use of it immediately.
As is the case with clove, this herb has also long been used by the Chinese to cure various maladies. The Chinese believe that fo-ti or hou shou wu as it's called in China, can slow the aging process. Not only do they believe in this herb's ability to prevent hair from going gray, but some of their Research studies have shown that it prevents certain types of cancerous tumors in animals.
Because this herb also appears to be able to lower blood pressure, the Chinese have also claimed that it is useful in keeping the heart healthy. FO-TI is available in capsule form. Take from 1 - 3 capsules daily.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this herb, those using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to fo-ti. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this herb, discontinue use of it immediately.
Suma is known as the South American version of ginseng. As such, South Americans see this herb as a panacea in the treatment of many illnesses. Here in the United States, herbalists have used it in the treatments of both CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and the Epstein Barr virus, because of its ability to boost the immune system and enhance energy levels. It has also been used to treat cancer, AIDS, high blood pressure, and liver disease.
Suma is available in either capsule of tablet forms. Take from 2 - 6 capsules or tablets daily.
*Caution -- While there are no warnings regarding this herb, those using it should be aware that they may have, or may develop an allergy to suma. Should you develop a rash or experience any other odd symptoms while using this herb, discontinue use of it immediately.
***Caution should be taken when using herbal supplements. Many of these while harmless at their recommended dosages, can become dangerous when taken in larger amounts. In addition, some people may have or may develop allergies to an herb that has had no prior reputation for causing allergic reactions. If you feel that you need to increase your daily intake of a particular supplement, please speak with either your physician or someone who is knowledgeable with regard to pharmacognosy (the study of drugs derived from plants).
Until next month!
Jim : )
Submit your Questions
More than fifty of you have requested additional information regarding the usage of cholestyramine in the treatment of Lyme Disease. As a result I will share some information from The Lyme Out-Reach T.V. series in which Dr. Ritchie Shoemaker has been a guest on two occasions within the past three months.
Questions, Comments for Steve