Please forgive the abrupt headline, but it’s needed to debunk a dangerous myth out there in the Lyme world.
During the countless hours I’ve spent scanning Lyme forums, I’ve seen dozens of posts from people saying they think treating Lyme and its coinfections with herbs can’t be working because they can only tolerate a drop or two of tincture without feeling too sick to continue.
Personally, I wasn’t sure if small doses could slay one of these dragons. Until recently.
What changed was a webinar I watched hosted by Dr. Marty Ross. Ross, a well-known Lyme literate medical doctor based in Seattle, has treated thousands of Lyme patients over the past two decades. He explained that he has seen some of his patients get over Lyme or a coinfection taking as little as a drop or two a day of an herbal tincture.
“People need to move out of the idea that you need so many drops,” Ross said. The key, he continued, is to have a dose that is killing the bugs. For most people that dose is 30 drops or more. But for those who are extremely sensitive to herbs and medicines in general, it can be a fraction of that.
Ross uses both traditional antibiotics and antimicrobial herbs in his practice. Usually, he lets the patient choose.
Sometimes in his webinars, he can be seen pulling one of master herbalist Stephen Buhner’s books out of his desk drawer. He bases his herbal protocols on Buhner’s books.
For example, the primary herbs he uses to treat Bartonella are Houttuynia and Sida Acuta. His standard dose of each is 30 drops twice a day for 4-6 months. But if a patient can only tolerate a small dose, he finds they can still overcome the infection in 6-12 months. In all cases, he suggests patients gauge their progress after a couple of months, and ask themselves if the treatment is working. If it isn’t working, it’s time to try something else.
He says he’s not sure why some people can’t handle large doses, but thinks it’s because their bodies are having difficulty detoxifying. As a result, the herb isn’t removed from the body as quickly as would normally be the case. Because of this, the level of herb in the body stays high and retains a good killing effect.
Since treating Lyme and co-infections varies so much from one individual to another, two drops twice a day in one person could have the same effect as 30 drops twice a day in someone else.
Take me for example. I am treating Bartonella. I started at one drop of Houttuynia once a day, then added a drop of Sida Acuta. Slowly, over the course of two weeks, I moved it to two drops of each twice a day.
Then I started to feel impatient and wonder if I could tolerate a lot more. I suspect many in the ranks of those highly sensitive to herbs and other meds can relate to this. “What would happen if I just tried a normal dose?” I asked myself.
Fortunately, I kept the increase to three drops of each twice that day, making a total of four extra drops. Predictably, I woke the next day feeling like I had a hangover. It took about eight hours to wear off, enough time to convince me to keep further increases to a drop a day at a time.
Even that has been a challenge. After going back to the two drops of each twice a day for a few days I decided to dip my toe back into the pool. An extra drop of Sida Acuta and I woke the next morning feeling totally spaced out for an hour or so.
Okay. Back to two of each twice a day. A few days later I tried an extra drop of Houttuynia. That produced a night filled with nausea.
So, I’m back at two drops twice a day. It’s been nearly a month since I started treating the Bartonella, and I have seen some improvements like less foot pain, fewer rashes, and better mood. So, I choose to believe Dr. Ross. I’ve watched dozens of his webinars and he clearly knows his stuff. And I will try very hard not to lose my patience again. It’s not much fun getting hangovers, especially when you haven’t had a drop to drink.