-- by Marie Goodwin
I've been fascinated by the concept of inflammation in the body and all of its associated ills. Lately, inflammation has been the "it" reason for almost every illness, and -- truthfully -- I believe it might actually be a significant symptom of multiple ills. Inflammation happens.
What causes it? Well, there seem to be a multitude of reasons for runaway inflammation: stress, Omega 3:6:9 imbalance, processed foods, leaky gut, exposure to chemicals and heavy metals, childhood trauma, allergies of all kinds, inflammatory foods, an imbalance of gut bacteria, dehydration, poor sleep. You name it.
What does it do? Metabolic syndrome (diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure), arthritis, Alzheimers, low immunities to colds and the flu, chronic pain, depression, candida overgrowth, and is a driver of all kinds of auto-immune disorders. I'm sure tomorrow a new study will show that it causes the "terrible twos" and midlife crises. I wouldn't be at all surprised.
(I would provide links for all of these symptoms and causes, but you can Google just like I can. Information about all this is easily and readily available. Here's a link to get you started.)
When, one by one, my family members were bitten by ticks and came down with Lyme (welcome to SE Pennsylvania!), managing long term the inflammation issues associated with this spirochete safely was a goal. I, of course, turned to Stephen Buhner's herbal protocol as a main guide. I spent a few years experimenting with a single tincture that would address chronic Lyme inflammation to manage my persistent joint soreness, overall fatigue, as well as my rosacea -- an auto-immune disorder that I inherited from my father (Thanks Dad!)
It worked well for me, and then when my husband had chronic back pain and then an almost fatal motorcycle accident, this tincture became a mainstay in his ability to stay off opiod-based pain-killers yet manage the pain (somewhat... there's no killing the pain of an 8" incision from your diaphragm to your groin, not even with opiods.) The proof was in the pudding when he had to quit the tincture for surgery, and in the ten days between ceasing his daily dose and the surgery for his disk rupture, his pain increased from (in his words) "manageable to unmanageable."
So, what is this stuff made of? Here is a guide to making it at home.
Powerful Anti Inflammatories:
Cat's Claw Bark
Japanese Knotweed (This is where I get mine... I know these folks and they are the real deal!)
Oregon Grape Root
Fresh Turmeric Root
Fresh Ginger Root
Healthy Bitters: Supports Liver function as well as supporting other Anti-Inflammatories
Roasted Dandelion Root
For Taste, Anti-Inflammation, and Herbs that Aid Bioavailability of Other Herbs:
Pepper Corns (Black is best) or ground pepper.
Optional: Meadowsweet: (a pain killer)
Optional: Eleuthero Root (to increase energy)
I'm not going to tell you what size container to use. I use varying size containers when I make it. Lately I've been using the jar pictured below. It holds two gallons.
5 Parts: Ginger, Turmeric
2 parts: Cat's Claw, Japanese Knotweed, Oregon Grape Root, Cinnamon, Dandelion Roots, Burdock Root, Birch Bark. Meadowsweet (if you are using it), and Eleuthero Root (if using it.)
1 part: Black Pepper, Star Anise, Saffron (or however much you have)
4 or 5 whole nutmegs if you have whole ones OR 1/2 part ground nutmeg (or less depending on taste).
I use fresh turmeric root (not powder) and ginger. Slice the turmeric and ginger into the thinnest slices you can muster. There is no need to skin the ginger and turmeric, but rather just make long, thin slices out of the fresh root and place it into the jar.
Add all the other ingredients. It will look like the photo on the right when you are done.
Your next ingredient is vodka. I use mid-range vodkas (you can really taste the difference between crap vodka and better vodka). This tincture tastes, um, like medicine anyway... why make it worse with crappy vodka?
The vodka should cover all the ingredients by about an inch.
Mix the herbs and the alcohol thoroughly and then set into a corner of your kitchen with no natural light. Do not put it in the fridge! Mix it daily or whenever you remember to do it.
Wait a week, then strain through a thin mesh strainer or coffee filter. I often use a turkey baster to "prefilter" the mixture into a wire tea strainer, eliminating big chunks and leaving them in the jar. I then strain the mixture into small bottles with droppers, but you could just as easily store it in a mason jar. Just make sure you tell the kids it isn't iced tea in there...
You can use these ingredients up to three times with new alcohol, but the tincture will get less strong each time you do this.
I am experimenting with, at the end of the process, using a masticating juicer to extract everything out of the ginger and turmeric root slices and then using that "juice" in future tinctures.
This is always tricky. People weigh different amounts, people respond differently to pain and pain-killers. This is something you have to experiment with. My husband is 6'2" and he was requiring a "shot" of this stuff 3x a day to manage acute pain. Your needs may be less. I would start with 2 tablespoons three times a day for a week and see how your particular pain/inflammation is responding, and then adjust accordingly. Always use your own responses to the herbs as a guide. Check in often with yourself.
Of course, if you are on any kind of medication at all, you should talk to your doctor about contra-indications. Also, you MUST terminate using this stuff ten days before any surgery.
I'm not a doctor and don't even play one on TV, so I'm just sharing my own experience and not telling you what to do or how to treat illness. Do your own research!