Archive for the ‘Herbs’ Category

Artemisinin From Sweet Wormwood Inhibits SARS-CoV-2 & Two New Studies Test Quercetin And COVID Outcomes

Artemisinin From Sweet Wormwood Inhibits SARS-CoV-2

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked

Story at-a-glance

  • An antimalarial treatment made from the plant Artemisia annua (Sweet Wormwood) shows promise as a COVID-19 treatment
  • The drug artesunate — which contains two compounds found in Artemisia annua: artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin — is a first-line treatment for malaria
  • In a recent in vitro study, both pretreatment and treatment with artemisinin extracts, synthetic artemisinin and the drug artesunate were able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection. However, artesunate was the most potent in terms of treatment, and from a clinical perspective may be the only one worth pursuing
  • Artesunate’s mechanism of action against SARS-CoV-2 is as yet unknown, but artemisinin does have confirmed antiviral activity
  • The World Health Organization has come out in opposition to artemisinin-based products, warning their use can bolster drug-resistant strains of malaria parasites. For this reason, people living in malaria-prone areas should be cautious about using this plant remedy

This article was previously published January 4, 2021, and has been updated with new information.

A second antimalarial treatment is now being seriously considered and evaluated for its efficacy against COVID-19. The treatment is made from the plant Artemisia annua, which most people know as Sweet Wormwood. Other names for this plant include Annual Sagewort and Sweet Annie.

Research over the past few decades has revealed multiple health benefits from this medicinal herb, which has a centuries-long history of use in folk medicine. In 2015, Chinese scientist Tu Youyou received a partial Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of artemisinin and dihydroartemisinin,1 both of which have potent malaria-fighting properties.

As reported by the University of Kentucky,2 “The popular malaria drug artesunate was developed from those compounds and is still used as a first-line treatment for the disease today.”

Artemisinin — A Viable COVID-19 Remedy?

Interestingly, in addition to having a long-standing history of being used as a highly effective antiparasitic, it also has anticancer properties. Additionally, artemisia annua has antiviral activity that might be helpful against SARS-CoV-2.

In an April 8, 2020, SEC filing, Mateon Therapeutics reported3 that “Artemisinin is highly potent at inhibiting the ability of the COVID-19 causing virus (SARS-CoV-2) to multiply while also having an excellent safety index.”

After testing the plant’s antiviral effects in a laboratory setting for a couple of years, University of Kentucky researchers are also exploring its use for the treatment of COVID-19,4 as are researchers in Denmark and Germany.5 According to the University of Kentucky:6

“Surprisingly, results showed that the plant’s leaves, when extracted with absolute ethanol or distilled water, provided more antiviral activity than the actual drug itself — meaning that an Artemisia annua-blended coffee or tea could possibly be more effective than taking the drug.”

Based on these findings, researchers have decided to test artemisinin in patients diagnosed with COVID-19. Some of the first human studies, set to investigate both the extract blended into coffee and tea, as well as the drug artesunate, were implemented by UK HealthCare.

University of Kentucky researchers have founded a company called ArtemiFlow to develop and manufacture the drug, in collaboration with the Kentucky Tobacco Research & Development Center.7 A sister company, ArtemiLife, is marketing Artemisia tea and coffee to raise research funds.

Mechanism of Action Remains Unknown

As for its mechanism of action, such details still remain to be discovered. C&EN explains:8

“When countering malaria, artemisinin exploits the parasite’s taste for hemoglobin in its host’s blood. As the parasite digests hemoglobin, it frees the iron-porphyrin heme complex from the protein.

Because this heme is toxic to the parasite, the organism normally converts the complex to a more benign crystalline form. ‘But artemisinin corrupts this heme-detoxification pathway,’ says Paul O’Neill, a medicinal chemist at the University of Liverpool.

If artemisinin does have any effect against SARS-CoV-2, though, it likely relies on a completely different mechanism than the one it uses against the malaria parasite, Harvard’s [malaria researcher Dyann F.] Wirth says.”

In Vitro Study Reports Positive Results

An in vitro study9,10 looking at the efficacy of artemisinin-based treatments against SARS-CoV-2, posted on the prepublication server bioRxiv, October 5, 2020, report promising results.

The study was a collaboration between researchers from Germany, Denmark and Hong Kong, led by Kerry Gilmore, Ph.D., from the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces in Potsdam, Germany.

Three artemisinin extracts, as well as pure, synthetic artemisinin, artesunate and artemether were evaluated. During the initial screening for antiviral activity, a German SARS-CoV-2 strain obtained from Munich was used.

Later on, during the concentration-response phase of the trial, they used a Danish SARS-CoV-2 strain from Copenhagen. These two strains are said to be “more closely related to the majority of SARS-CoV-2 strains circulating worldwide than the Wuhan strain.”11,12

In summary, they found that both pretreatment and treatment with artemisinin extracts, synthetic artemisinin and the drug artesunate were able to inhibit SARS-CoV-2 infection of Vero E6 cells and human hepatoma Huh7.5 cells. That said, artesunate was the most potent in terms of treatment, and from a clinical perspective may be the only one worth pursuing.13,14

World Health Organization Warns Against Its Use

While the world is eager to add another remedy to its COVID-19 treatment list, the World Health Organization has come out in opposition to artemisinin-based products. In a May 27, 2020, article, C&EN reported:15

“One of the most high-profile advocates for using the herbal remedy against the novel coronavirus is Madagascar president Andry Rajoelina, who has been touting Covid-Organics, a tonic containing A. annua that the Malagasy Institute of Applied Research developed …

But health officials are deeply concerned about the promotion and use of these herbal remedies for three principal reasons. First, no evidence exists that A. annua extracts can prevent or cure COVID-19 …

Second, A. annua preparations such as teas, tonics, or herbal capsules also contain a cocktail of bioactive compounds in addition to artemisinin that can have side effects such as dizziness, hearing problems, and vomiting.

Third, and perhaps most worrying of all, widespread use of A. annua herbal extracts could bolster drug-resistant strains of malaria parasites such as Plasmodium falciparum.16

For people living in regions where malaria is endemic, exposure to subtherapeutic doses of artemisinin in A. annua may be enough to kill off some of the parasites in their bodies, but not all of them. Clearing out weakling parasites leaves more room for drug-resistant siblings to proliferate, rendering vital ACTs [artemisinin-based combination therapies] ineffective.”

According to Pascal Ringwald, who heads up the drug resistance and response unit of the WHO Global Malaria Program, artemisinin resistance is a significant problem in Southeast Asia, where Artemisia readily grows and is commonly used.17

That said, this risk is bound to be slight for Americans and people in many other Western countries where malaria is exceedingly rare. According to C&EN,18 “Scientists interviewed by C&EN agree that although this use is against WHO recommendations, it does not risk accelerating resistance because there are so few cases of malaria in the U.S.”

– Sources and References


Two New Studies Test Quercetin And COVID Outcomes

Analysis by Dr. Joseph Mercola Fact Checked
quercetin improves covid outcomes
Story at-a-glance
  • Two recently published studies confirm quercetin is useful as an adjunct therapy in the early outpatient treatment of mild SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • In one study, COVID patients who received quercetin in addition to analgesics and an antibiotic cleared the virus faster than those who only received analgesics and antibiotics, and a greater number of patients reported reduced symptoms
  • In the second study, daily quercetin supplementation for one month reduced the frequency and length of hospitalization, the need for noninvasive oxygen therapy, intensive care and deaths
  • Quercetin has antiviral, anti-blood clotting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, all of which are important in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection
  • Quercetin also inhibits binding of specific spike proteins to your ACE2 receptors, thereby blocking the virus’ ability to infect your cells. It’s also been shown to directly neutralize viral proteins that are critical in the replication of SARS‐CoV‐2

In an August 21, 2021, newsletter,1 Dr. Michael Murray discussed the use of quercetin for respiratory infection symptoms. In November 2020, he’d suffered a “very mild and brief bout of COVID-19.”

He also recounts an anecdotal story of a friend who developed suspicious respiratory symptoms. His friend had been taking a number of supplements said to offer protection, but was still feeling awful.

As it turns out, the one thing he’d not taken was quercetin, and as soon as he did, that same day, his symptoms started to dissipate. This experience, Murray says, “is consistent with the results from two clinical trials” that were recently published.

Quercetin seems to be a safe, far less expensive, and easier-to-obtain and it works by a similar mechanism, driving zinc into the cells to stop viral replication.

Statistical Improvement in Clinical Outcomes

In the first study,2 42 COVID-19 outpatients were divided into two groups. One group of 21 patients received standard medical therapy consisting of analgesics and an antibiotic (acetaminophen 500-milligram (mg) to 1,000-mg dose if body temperature was higher than 37.5 degrees C — 99.5 F — with a maximum daily dosage of 3 grams, and 500 mg azithromycin for three consecutive days).

The other group of 21 patients received standard therapy plus the equivalent of 600 mg of quercetin per day (divided into three doses) for seven days, followed by another seven-day course of 400 mg of quercetin per day (divided into two doses).

The quercetin was used with sunflower lecithin, which has been demonstrated to increase absorption in the gut by as much as 20 times, compared to pure quercetin formulations.

The main outcomes being evaluated were virus clearance and symptoms. After one week of treatment, 16 of the 21 patients in the quercetin group tested negative for SARS-CoV-2 and 12 reported that all symptoms had diminished.

In the standard care group, only two tested negative and four had partially improved symptoms. By the end of Week 2, the five remaining patients in the quercetin group tested negative. In the standard care group, 17 of the 19 remaining patients tested negative and one had died.

“These results are impressive and hopefully additional studies will be conducted on hospitalized patients to see how quercetin might be helpful in more severe cases,” Murray wrote in his newsletter.

Can Quercetin Reduce Hospitalizations and Deaths?

The second study3 — a prospective, randomized, controlled and open-label trial — gave 152 COVID-19 outpatients a daily dose of 1,000 mg of quercetin for 30 days to evaluate its adjuvant effects in the treatment of early symptoms and the prevention of severe infection. According to the authors:

“The results revealed a reduction in frequency and length of hospitalization, in need of non-invasive oxygen therapy, in progression to intensive care units and in number of deaths. The results also confirmed the very high safety profile of quercetin and suggested possible anti-fatigue and pro-appetite properties.

QP (Quercetin Phytosome®) is a safe agent and in combination with standard care, when used in early stage of viral infection, could aid in improving the early symptoms and help in preventing the severity of COVID-19 disease. It is suggested that a double-blind, placebo-controlled study should be urgently carried out to confirm the results of our study.”

Mechanisms of Action

As noted in the first study4 above, quercetin was chosen based on the fact that it has antiviral, anti-blood clotting, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, all of which are important in the treatment of SARS-CoV-2 infection. In the second study, more detailed mechanisms of action are reviewed. According to the authors:5

“SARS-CoV-2 proteases, like 3-chymotrypsin-like protease (3CLpro), papain-like pro-tease (PLpro), RNA-dependent RNA polymerase, spike (S)protein and human angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (hACE2) are considered possible targets for developing effective anti-COVID-19 drugs.

Recently, molecular docking studies have suggested the possible binding interaction of quercetin with the 3CLpro, PLpro, and S-hACE2 complex. Some recent results, obtained by biophysical techniques, appear to support the results of the molecular docking studies.

Quercetin, a flavonol not naturally present in the human body, is the most abundant polyphenol in fruits and vegetable and is widely used as a dietary supplement to boost the immune system and promote a healthy lifestyle.

Quercetin is characterized by three crucial properties: antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory. The combination of these actions allows quercetin to be a potential candidate to support all unhealthy conditions where oxidative stress, inflammation and immunity are involved.”

Initially, quercetin gained attention because it’s a zinc ionophore, meaning it shuttles zinc — which has well-known antiviral effects — into your cells just like the drug hydroxychloroquine.

Some proposed the primary reason hydroxychloroquine and quercetin worked was because of this feature. Of course, you also had to take zinc along with either of them. To effectively act as a zinc ionophore, the quercetin also needs vitamin C.

Since then, other studies, including the two reviewed here, have shown quercetin has other actions that makes it useful against SARS-CoV-2 as well. As reported by Murray in his newsletter:

“In particular, quercetin exerts significant inhibition on the binding of specific spike proteins to ACE-2 receptors, thereby blocking the ability of the virus to infect human cells. Quercetin has also been shown to directly neutralize viral proteins the are critical in the replication of SARS-CoV-2.”

In some studies, quercetin has also been shown to inhibit the release of inflammatory cytokines, which could help alleviate infection-related symptoms and suppress excessive inflammatory responses from occurring. Its antioxidant effects may also help prevent tissue damage caused by scavenging free radicals, thereby aiding in the recovery process of viral infections.6

Quercetin’s Antiviral Properties

Quercetin’s antiviral properties have been attributed to three main mechanisms of action:

  1. Inhibiting the virus’ ability to infect cells
  2. Inhibiting replication of already infected cells
  3. Reducing infected cells’ resistance to treatment with antiviral medication

For example, research7 funded by the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), published in 2008, found it lowers your risk of viral illness such as influenza and boosts mental performance following extreme physical stress, which might otherwise undermine your immune function and render you more susceptible to infections.

Here, cyclists who received a daily dose of 1,000 mg of quercetin in combination with vitamin C (which enhances plasma quercetin levels8,9) and niacin (to improve absorption) for five weeks were significantly less likely to contract a viral illness after bicycling three hours a day for three consecutive days, compared to untreated controls. While 45% of the placebo group got sick, only 5% of the treatment group did.

Quercetin Works Against Many Common Viruses

Before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, several studies had highlighted quercetin’s ability to prevent and treat the common cold and seasonal influenza.10,11,12,13,14,15,16,17,18 By attenuating oxidative damage, it also lowers your risk of secondary bacterial infections,19 which is actually the primary cause of influenza-related deaths.

Importantly, quercetin increases mitochondrial biogenesis in skeletal muscle, which suggests part of its antiviral effects are due to enhanced mitochondrial antiviral signaling.20 Quercetin also works against other viruses, as demonstrated in the following studies:

A 1985 study found quercetin inhibits infectivity and replication of herpes simplex virus type 1, polio-virus type 1, parainfluenza virus type 3 and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).21

A 2016 animal study22 found quercetin inhibited mouse dengue virus and hepatitis virus.

Other studies have confirmed quercetin’s power to inhibit both hepatitis B23 and C24 infection.

A March 2020 study25 found quercetin provides “comprehensive protection” against Streptococcus pneumoniae infection, both in vitro and in vivo, primarily by neutralizing pneumolysin (PLY),26 one of the toxins released from pneumococci that encourages S. pneumoniae infection to blossom in the first place.

Streptococcus pneumoniae is responsible not only for pneumonia, but can also be involved in some ear and sinus infections, meningitis and certain blood infections.27 As reported by the authors of this study:28

“The results indicated that quercetin significantly reduced PLY-induced hemolytic activity and cytotoxicity via repressing the formation of oligomers.

In addition, treatment with quercetin can reduce PLY-mediated cell injury, improve the survival rate of mice infected with a lethal dose of S. pneumoniae, alleviate the pathological damage of lung tissue and inhibit the release of cytokines (IL-1β and TNF-α) in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid.

Considering the importance of these events in antimicrobial resistant S. pneumoniae pathogenesis, our results indicated that quercetin may be a novel potential drug candidate for the treatment of clinical pneumococcal infections.”

How Quercetin Combats Inflammation and Boosts Immunity

Aside from its antiviral activity, quercetin is also known for boosting immunity and combating inflammation. As noted in a 2016 study29 in the journal Nutrients, mechanisms of action include (but is not limited to) the inhibition of:30

  • Lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced tumor necrosis factor α (TNF-α) production in macrophages. TNF-α is a cytokine involved in systemic inflammation, secreted by activated macrophages, a type of immune cell that digests foreign substances, microbes and other harmful or damaged components
  • LPS-induced mRNA levels of TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-1α in glial cells, which results in “diminished apoptotic neuronal cell death”
  • The production of inflammation-producing enzymes
  • Calcium influx into the cell, which in turn inhibits pro-inflammatory cytokine release, as well as histamine and serotonin release from intestinal mast cells31

According to this paper, quercetin also stabilizes mast cells, has cytoprotective activity in the gastrointestinal tract, and “a direct regulatory effect on basic functional properties of immune cells,” which allows it to inhibit “a huge panoply of molecular targets in the micromolar concentration range, either by down-regulating or suppressing many inflammatory pathways and functions.”32


While quercetin does have potent antiviral effects, in order for it to work effectively you need sufficiently high dosages to raise the level of quercetin in your body’s tissues.

The relatively low absorption rate of quercetin is why a sunflower lecithin formulation was used.

Research33 published in the July-December 2021 issue of the Journal of Natural Health Products Research, found a quercertin matrix has the same total absorption rate as quercetin phytosome — and higher peak blood levels.

“Since both of these forms of quercetin produce similar blood levels, they should produce the same effects at equal dosages based upon quercetin content,” Murray wrote in his newsletter, adding:

“My dosage recommendation as part of a nutritional supplement program to support immune function is 250 mg twice daily.

And in patients with active Infection, my recommendation is … six capsules twice a day providing a total of 3,000 mg of quercetin. This high dosage should be taken for at least 10 days and then reduced to a maintenance dosage of 250 mg twice daily …

[This] high dosage may not be necessary. But my dosage calculations are based upon likely tissue concentrations needed to exert the strongest antiviral effects. And given the safety of quercetin, there is no harm at this level.”

Protocol Using Quercetin

One doctor who early brought quercetin into the limelight was Dr. Vladimir Zelenko. As hydroxychloroquine became difficult to obtain, Zelenko switched to recommending quercetin instead, as it’s readily available as an over-the-counter supplement. For a downloadable “cheat sheet” of Zelenko’s protocol for COVID-19, visit

Other Health Benefits of Quercetin

There are also other lesser known benefits and uses for quercetin, including the prevention and/or treatment of:34

High blood pressure35,36
Cardiovascular disease37
Obesity38 and metabolic syndrome39 (a cluster of conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar, high triglyceride levels and fat accumulation around the waist that raise your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke)
Certain kinds of cancer, in particular leukemia, and to a lesser degree breast cancer40
Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD)41
Mood disorders44
Aluminum-induced neurodegenerative changes, such as those seen in Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).45
Longevity, thanks to its senolytic benefits (clearing out damaged and worn-out cells)46,47

Research has also highlighted quercetin’s epigenetic influence and ability to:48

  • Interact with cell-signaling pathways
  • Modulate gene expression
  • Influence the activity of transcription factors
  • Modulate microRNAs

MicroRNAs used to be considered “junk” DNA. But far from being useless, research has revealed so-called “junk” DNA is actually microRNA and plays a crucial role in regulating genes that make the proteins that build your body.

The microRNA function as “on/off” switches for the genes. Depending on the microRNA input, a single gene can code for any of more than 200 protein products. Quercetin’s ability to module microRNA may also help explain its cytotoxic effects, and why it appears to improve cancer survival (at least in mice).

– Sources and References

[#MeAgain] From Crippling Pain to Living Life: Trish Laube’s Battle With Lyme

[#MeAgain] From Crippling Pain to Living Life: Trish Laube’s Battle With Lyme

By Lindsey Shaffer
Posted 9/29/21

“At the beginning, I had crippling pain. My joints were so bad that I couldn’t get up and walk to the bathroom.”

In the summer of 2016, after spending much of the spring and summer months in her garden, Trish Laube began experiencing strange and painful symptoms. “I kept pointing to my feet, asking people, ‘Can you see anything crawling there?’” she explains.

Trish was no stranger to challenging health circumstances. In 2004, she was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a rare, progressive eye disease, which left her legally blind. But these new symptoms were unlike anything she’d experienced before. After doing some research, Trish began to suspect she was dealing with either some type of cancer or Lyme disease. “I felt like I was going to die,” she remembers.

“I told him I wanted to be tested for Lyme, and he fought me on it”Trish visited her doctor and told him about the symptoms she was experiencing. “I told him about the neurological problems and about my extreme fatigue,” she says. “I would wake up and race to get something done before my eyes shut again, but I couldn’t. I was forced to take a nap and then get back up and try it again.”

Trish’s doctor wanted to send her for a three-month-long sleep study, but Trish knew her symptoms would only continue to worsen during that time. “I told him I wanted to be tested for Lyme, and he fought me on it,” Trish says.

He sent her for an ultrasound, which came back negative. Next, she underwent an X-ray and was diagnosed with spinal stenosis. “The neurologist diagnosed me with some type of migraines, and the doctor said I had chronic fatigue syndrome, but I wanted a test for Lyme,” Trish explains.

Trish holding a child while sitting on a benchFinally, Trish’s doctor agreed to the test. While she waited for the results, Trish began researching Lyme disease and possible treatment paths. “I started looking up natural remedies, natural holistic care, and Dr. Rawls’ website came up,” Trish explains. “I read everything on there, I watched every video, and I learned more than I would’ve ever known I could learn in three weeks.”

Sure enough, Trish’s Lyme test came back positive. And her doctor said she was his first patient with Lyme disease. “The doctor said, ‘you were right; you are positive for Lyme, and I called in a prescription for you,’” says Trish. “But I told him I wasn’t going to take it.”

Instead, Trish told her doctor she would try Dr. Rawls’ herbal protocol. “Within six months, the only things I had left were pressure in my head, which caused balance issues, and a lingering salty taste in my mouth,” she says.

“I think the only prevention is keeping our immune system as strong as possible”Trisha began adding other therapies into her treatment protocol as well, and following a professional lymphatic drainage massage, the constant salty taste resolved permanently. She also incorporated Epsom salts baths, jumping on a mini trampoline, portable infrared sauna sessions, and toxin binders like bentonite clay and chlorella. A few months later, the head pressure was gone, too.

Trish has been symptom-free as of August 2018, and she got there by taking full doses of the herbal protocol. She also uses Dr. Rawls’ recommended herbs for gut health every three months to keep her digestive tract working as efficiently as possible.

Trish at taekwondo, dressed in uniformTrish has no intentions of slowing down. “I think the only prevention is keeping our immune system as strong as possible, and Dr. Rawls’ herbal protocol does that for me,” she says. “I don’t plan on ever coming off of it. Keeping my immune system strong is my best form of defense.”

Trish’s diagnosis hasn’t kept her indoors or held her back from living her life. “I’m back in my garden. I’m finally able to ride on the back of my husband’s motorcycle with him. I’m out walking again every day. I lost 120 pounds in 14 months,” she says. “I don’t let fear run my life. I’m back out doing everything I’ve ever done.”

Additionally, Trish is hugely passionate about helping the chronic illness and disability communities live life to the fullest. Most days, you can find her actively answering other patients’ questions on online Lyme forums. She also started her own group, VP Members Rise above Challenges, to connect with others and help people turn their hobbies into an income from the comforts of their own homes.

“Being disabled since 2004 helped me a lot because I had already lived through many of the experiences that Lyme would bring about,” she says. “The main message I want people to understand is not to give up. Know that you can come out on the other side of all of this.”



Warning: people respond quite differently to treatment protocols and while I’m ecstatic when I hear success stories, please know every case is different.

Further, one of the most experienced doctors told me that cases in the 70’s could be resolved within a couple of months to a year but that cases now are taking over 3 years to resolve.  It appears coinfections are playing a larger role and patients often struggle with numerous pathogens as well as things like mold, MCAS, and other issues that cause more severe cases.

Please don’t let this story dishearten you if you have to continue to fight a hard battle.  Chin up and keep going.  Don’t quit.

For a comparison, it took my husband and I 5 years of treatment using every thing under the sun before we stopped treatment.  We’ve relapsed 3 times since then, requiring treatment for 2-3 months to get us back.  For us, we seem to relapse with Bartonella – so sometimes it isn’t even Lyme that keeps you down.  Keep an open mind, keep learning, and again – never, ever quit.

For more:

These Five Substances Protect Your Liver

These Five Substances Protect Your Liver

© [Aug. 20, 2021] GreenMedInfo LLC. This work is reproduced and distributed with the permission of GreenMedInfo LLC. Want to learn more from GreenMedInfo? Sign up for the newsletter here //

In a world rife with toxic exposures, you must protect your liver as if your life depends on it — because it does. Here are five substances that can help keep your hardest working organ humming

Your liver is one of the hardest working organs in your body, regulating an array of biological processes that are critical to health, such as metabolism, blood sugar, plasma and cholesterol production, and the removal and breakdown of toxins in the blood, to name only a few.

Liver diseases, also called hepatic diseases, are among the most serious threats to human health.[i] Adding to the risk is the lack of safe and effective treatments,[ii] as most synthetic drug-based interventions carry black-box warnings of potentially serious adverse side effects.

Five Hepatoprotective Substances

With modern life producing more pollutants than ever before and the standard American diet supplying a deluge of sugar and ultra-processed foods, it’s no surprise that your liver may benefit from an occasional boost of gentle nutritional support.

We’ve identified five of the top hepatoprotective substances on the planet to make it easy for natural health enthusiasts to stock their herbal medicine cabinets. In fact, a few of them may already be in your kitchen pantry. Adding therapeutic doses of these five foods is not only simple and convenient, they can also supply a boost of nutrients to keep your liver nourished and protected while it’s protecting you.

1. Curcumin

One of the active polyphenols in the spice turmeric, curcumin has numerous scientifically validated health benefits, including providing liver protection.[iii] Curcuminoids are responsible for the bright yellow color of turmeric and are also believed to deliver many of this spice’s beneficial properties, among which are powerful antioxidant effects.[iv]

Oxidative stress can cause a host of inflammatory injuries that damage healthy cells. A Chinese research team explored the use of curcumin to alleviate damage to liver cells caused by exposure to ethanol, the intoxicating ingredient found in many alcoholic beverages.

In the study, rats that were pretreated with curcumin before exposure to ethanol demonstrated less oxidative damage through measured enzymatic activity. Researchers concluded that oxidative damage to liver cells was significantly ameliorated by curcumin treatment.[v]

2. Coffee

While it’s common knowledge that consuming excessive alcohol can damage the liver, eating a primarily processed food diet may be just as hepatotoxic in the long-term. Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a global health concern affecting people who drink little to no alcohol. In the U.S., NAFLD is the most common form of chronic liver disease,[vi] likely owing to the sad state of the standard American diet.

When it comes to popular dietary habits, there is perhaps none more enduring than morning coffee, and fortunately for coffee’s many fans, it may also help protect against liver disease.

A 2016 meta-analysis compared the risk of NAFLD for individuals who did and did not drink coffee. It also compared the risk of liver fibrosis, the excessive build-up of proteins that occurs in many liver diseases, between NAFLD patients who did and did not drink coffee. The analysis showed a significantly decreased risk of NAFLD among coffee drinkers, as well as a significantly decreased risk of liver fibrosis among patients with NAFLD who drank coffee on a regular basis.[vii]

3. NAC (N-Acetyl Cysteine)

N-acetyl cysteine, or NAC, is a precursor of the amino acid L-cysteine that acts as a potent antioxidant. While L-cysteine is found in foods like poultry, eggs, yogurt and sulfur-rich vegetables, NAC can only be obtained in supplement form.[viii] NAC works by scavenging free radicals, especially oxygen radicals, making it a potentially powerful ally in the treatment of oxidative stress, a crucial factor in liver diseases.[ix]

The prescription of high-dose acetaminophen (APAP) for mild-to-moderate pain management is still commonplace, though it is increasingly recognized as high-risk. As a result of data revealing unintentional overdoses, in 2011 the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) asked pharmaceutical companies to limit the amount of APAP used in prescription pain relievers owing to risks of severe, even lethal, drug-induced liver failure.[x]

NAC has demonstrated significant promise as a hepatoprotective substance partly due to its ability to efficiently block acetaminophen toxicity. A 2015 study showed that administration of NAC within eight hours of APAP overdose effectively mitigates hepatotoxicity, advising that this over-the-counter supplement “can provide a convenient and effective way of preventing toxicity associated with large dosage of APAP.”[xi]

4. Ginsenosides

Responsible for the pharmacological effects of ginseng, ginsenosides play a critical role in the body’s inflammatory and disease responses and have shown impressive potential in the prevention and treatment of liver diseases. Clinical studies have shown the ameliorative effects of ginsenosides against acetaminophen-induced hepatotoxicity.[xii],[xiii]

Another recent study demonstrated that the anti-inflammatory power of ginsenosides promotes the healthy metabolism of fat by the liver and may alleviate liver injury in patients with fatty liver disease.[xiv]This potent polyphenol comes in supplement form as an extract of the Panax ginseng root and makes a great addition to a smoothie or nutritional shake.

5. Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble nutrient found in many foods, including wheat germ, nuts, seeds and green vegetables. Important for eye health and the quality of blood and tissue, vitamin E’s antioxidant properties also play a role in healthy liver function. A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials found that vitamin E supplementation significantly improved liver function and the quality of liver cells and tissues in patients with NAFLD.[xv]

Vitamin E also protected the liver against oxidative damage caused by exposure to formaldehyde.[xvi] Formaldehyde is one of the most common home and industrial toxins in use today, found in products like carpeting, curtains, wood cabinets and furnishings, and products such as glues, paints, pesticides, cosmetics and detergents.[xvii]

Protecting Your Liver — For Life

In our modern, chemical-filled world, a healthy liver is essential to stay ahead of the toxic curve. Protect yours naturally — your life depends on it. To learn more about liver diseases and naturally hepatotoxic substances, consult’s research databasefor up-to-the-minute science-based natural health information.


[i] Shamsi-Baghbanan H, Sharifian A, Esmaeili S, Minaei B. Hepatoprotective herbs, avicenna viewpoint. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014;16(1):e12313. doi:10.5812/ircmj.12313 [PubMed]

[ii] Shamsi-Baghbanan H, Sharifian A, Esmaeili S, Minaei B. Hepatoprotective herbs, avicenna viewpoint. Iran Red Crescent Med J. 2014;16(1):e12313. doi:10.5812/ircmj.12313 [PubMed]

[iii]Hewlings SJ, Kalman DS. Curcumin: A Review of Its Effects on Human Health. Foods. 2017;6(10):92. Published 2017 Oct 22. doi:10.3390/foods6100092 [PubMed]

[iv]Curcumin: From ancient medicine to current clinical trials. H. Hatcher, R. Planalp, J. Cho, F. M. Torti, S. V. Torti. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Jun; 65(11): 1631-1652. doi: 10.1007/s00018-008-7452-4. PMID: 18324353

[v] Wei Bao, Ke Li, Shuang Rong, Ping Yao, Liping Hao, Chenjiang Ying, Xiping Zhang, Andreas Nussler, Liegang Liu. Curcumin alleviates ethanol-induced hepatocytes oxidative damage involving heme oxygenase-1 induction. J Ethnopharmacol. 2010 Jan 18. Epub 2010 Jan 18. PMID: 20080166

[vi] Mayo Clinic, Diseases and Conditions, Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease,

[vii]Karn Wijarnpreecha, Charat Thongprayoon, Patompong Ungprasert. Coffee consumption and risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Eur J Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2016 Nov 7. Epub 2016 Aug 7. PMID: 27824642

[viii]WebMD, Diet, Health Benefits, NAC,

[ix]Mokhtari V, Afsharian P, Shahhoseini M, Kalantar SM, Moini A. A Review on Various Uses of N-Acetyl Cysteine. Cell J. 2017;19(1):11-17. doi:10.22074/cellj.2016.4872 [PubMed]

[x], Drugs, Drug Safety and Availability, FDA Drug Safety Communication: Prescription Acetaminophen Products to be Limited to 325 mg Per Dosage Unit; Boxed Warning Will Highlight Potential for Severe Liver Failure,

[xi]Solomon E Owumi, James P Andrus, Leonard A Herzenberg, Leonore A Herzenberg. Co-administration of N-Acetylcysteine and Acetaminophen Efficiently Blocks Acetaminophen Toxicity. Drug Dev Res. 2015 Aug ;76(5):251-8. Epub 2015 Aug 7. PMID: 26250417

[xii]Jun-Nan Hu, Zhi Liu, Zi Wang, Xin-Dian Li, Lian-Xue Zhang, Wei Li, Ying-Ping Wang. Ameliorative Effects and Possible Molecular Mechanism of Action of Black Ginseng (Panax ginseng) on Acetaminophen-Mediated Liver Injury. Molecules. 2017 Apr 21 ;22(4). Epub 2017 Apr 21. PMID: 28430162

[xiii]Shen Ren, Jing Leng, Xing-Yue Xu, Shuang Jiang, Ying-Ping Wang, Xiao-Tong Yan, Zhi Liu, Chen Chen, Zi Wang, Wei Li. Ginsenoside Rb1, A Major Saponin from, Exerts Protective Effects Against Acetaminophen-Induced Hepatotoxicity in Mice. Am J Chin Med. 2019 Dec 2:1-17. Epub 2019 Dec 2. PMID: 31786947

[xiv]Yunhe Hou, Danshan Gu, Jianzhi Peng, Kerong Jiang, Zhigang Li, Jing Shi, Shikun Yang, Shude Li, Xiaoming Fan. Ginsenoside Rg1 Regulates Liver Lipid Factor Metabolism in NAFLD Model Rats. ACS Omega. 2020 May 19 ;5(19):10878-10890. Epub 2020 May 5. PMID: 32455208

[xv]Ken Sato, Masahiko Gosho, Takaya Yamamoto, Yuji Kobayashi, Norimitsu Ishii, Tomohiko Ohashi, Yukiomi Nakade, Kiyoaki Ito, Yoshitaka Fukuzawa, Masashi Yoneda. Vitamin E has a beneficial effect on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Nutrition. 2015 Jul-Aug;31(7-8):923-30. Epub 2014 Dec 24. PMID: 26059365

[xvi]Mukaddes Gulec, Ahmet Gurel, Ferah Armutcu. Vitamin E protects against oxidative damage caused by formaldehyde in the liver and plasma of rats. Mol Cell Biochem. 2006 Oct ;290(1-2):61-7. Epub 2006 Aug 26. PMID: 16937016

[xvii]ATSDR. Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, Formaldehyde and Your Health,

Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of GreenMedInfo or its staff.
For more: 

Mold & Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome

**UPDATE** Register Here

Lyme and Mold: Guiding the Complex Patient
Join us Wednesday, Sept. 8, at 11 am PT and listen in as Dr. Jocelyn Strand, Biocidin’s Director of Clinical Education, talks with Tom Moorcroft, DO.Dr. Tom is a member of the ILADS Evidence-Based Lyme and Coinfections Fundamentals Program working group and a trainer of healthcare providers.

He will share proven strategies gleaned from over a decade of supporting some of the most sensitive patients with Lyme and other chronic issues. These include:

• Investigating and addressing physical triggers
• Patient-centered treatment of mind, body, and spirit
• Combining conventional therapies with simple, natural interventions

Don’t miss this discussion as Dr. Tom shares his experience and wisdom for supporting the healing journey for even our most complex patients!

Time:  Sep 8, 2021 11:00 AM in Pacific Time (US and Canada)

Mold + Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS): What is It + Ways to Get Relief

Mold + Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS): What is It + Ways to Get Relief

by Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio
Updated 7/20/21

If your recovery from Lyme disease has been fraught with many twists and turns despite multiple trips to doctors, numerous treatments, and your best efforts — you might feel yourself becoming increasingly more frustrated. Thankfully, there are always new avenues to explore for finding relief, including a lesser-known condition you might not yet have heard of: Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome (CIRS).

Named by Dr. Richie Shoemaker, MD, a researcher and retired family physician from Pocomoke City, MD, CIRS is a biotoxin illness — meaning, an illness caused by chemical toxins released by certain living organisms — and it could play a critical role in why some patients remain ill despite months or years of treatment for chronic Lyme disease.

But because the symptoms associated with CIRS overlap with many other health conditions, including Lyme disease and other tick-borne diseases, it makes identifying the illness challenging for healthcare providers and adds layers to the problems that most patients already face when trying to obtain an accurate diagnosis.

Learn more about CIRS below, including its history, symptoms, testing, and treatment, to determine if this condition might be impeding your recovery and what to do about it.

The History of CIRS

The majority of our understanding of CIRS comes to the medical community by way of Dr. Shoemaker. He began his foray into the world of biotoxin illness in 1997 near an unincorporated community in Shelltown, MD. There, he linked a group of acutely ill individuals to water contaminated with a bacterial exotoxin (a biotoxin that damages cells in the body) from Pfiesteria, a dinoflagellate or single-cell aquatic organism.

Young black woman suffering from headache or migraine after waking up in morning. Stressed lady sitting in bed with painful face expression feeling terrible hangover, unpleasant weakness, dizziness

The affected individuals exhibited symptoms like headaches, memory loss, digestive disturbances, and skin lesions, according to a case report in the Maryland Medical Journal. The toxins produced by the dinoflagellate had been responsible for killing billions of fish in North Carolina’s estuaries, but whether or not it had contributed to illness in humans had largely remained controversial prior to Dr. Shoemaker’s findings.

Through his practice-based studies, a clinical picture of illness emerged, with the affected patients having a reduced capacity to clear biotoxins from their bodies, a heightened inflammatory response, and multi-systemic involvement. Dr. Shoemaker named the constellation of symptoms Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. Through the years, he discovered other biotoxin illness in people who have had exposure to the following:

  1. Water-damaged buildings (WDB): WDBs are often hotspots for mold, even if you can’t see it or smell it. Though the exact prevalence of mold-infested buildings isn’t known, approximately 50% of homes and 85% of commercial buildings have sustained some water damage and mold.
  2. Organisms in the water: We already mentioned the discovery of the toxic dinoflagellate Pfiesteria, which laid the foundation for CIRS. However, another compound produced by dinoflagellates called ciguatera, as well as toxins from blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria, may be problematic for some people, too.
  3. Spiders: The poisonous venom from recluse spider bites, namely Mediterranean and brown, have been known to cause CIRS.

Of the above, mold is the most well-known biotoxin discussed in the chronic illness community. “Approximately, 25% of Americans carry a gene called HLA-DR (human leukocyte antigen) that makes it more difficult for them to excrete the toxic metabolites produced by a variety of different molds or other biotoxins,” says Dr. Bill Rawls, MD, Medical Director of RawlsMD and Vital Plan. Furthermore, the population of people with the genetic variant is more likely to develop CIRS because their bodies are unable to recognize toxins as foreign invaders, so they don’t produce the antibodies needed to remove these toxic substances.

But CIRS isn’t usually caused by one event alone, such as mold. Like many complex health conditions, there may be several components that overwhelm the body, such as multiple biotoxin exposures, untreated or stealth microbes, environmental toxins, and genetic variants.

<img class=”lazyload” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”Molecular level representation of virus, bacteria or disease.” data-orig-src=”; />

For instance, if you’re already battling Lyme disease, your body is inundated with other kinds of toxins called endotoxins, which are pieces of dead bacteria that also cause an immune response, systemic inflammation, and can lead to a Herxheimer reaction. But unlike the exotoxin from Pfiesteria, endotoxins don’t damage cells directly.

Both exotoxins and endotoxins often get lumped together under the biotoxin umbrella, but they are quite different, notes Dr. Rawls, and they aren’t cleared from the body in the same manner. But ultimately, a body that is overrun with a multitude of toxins from various sources can reach a tipping point, and a person may encounter symptoms that don’t resolve with treatment.

The Primary Symptoms of CIRS

The symptoms of CIRS exist on a spectrum. Some individuals experience mild illness, while others are debilitated — which, as mentioned, is more likely to happen when Lyme disease is in the mix, burdening the immune system and stressing your cells.

<img class=”lazyload” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”Unhappy tired depressed mature woman sitting at home on the floor. Health problems of middle-aged women, mental health, covid coronavirus consequences” data-orig-src=”; />

CIRS can affect several systems of the body, including neuroimmune, vascular, and endocrine systems. In addition to Lyme disease, the syndrome may mimic or overlap with other conditions, such as ME/CFS (myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome), ulcerative colitis, fibromyalgia, and multiple sclerosis.

There are dozens of symptoms associated with CIRS, many of which will likely sound familiar to you. The most common ones include:

  • Cognitive problems with memory, concentration, and focus
  • Brain fog
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Vertigo and dizziness
  • Fatigue and post-exertional malaise (PEM)
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Abdominal cramping
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Changes in mood
  • Sinus problems
  • Cough

How to Test for CIRS

<img class=”lazyload” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”Close up of female scientist sampling blood in test tubes while working on research in laboratory” data-orig-src=”; />

Because the symptoms of CIRS are similar to those of other illnesses, your doctor will likely gather a detailed history of your potential exposure to mold or other biotoxins and perform a physical exam, as well as order tests to evaluate biomarkers that correlate with a mold and biotoxin illness.

Although many lab tests exist in the world of mold and biotoxin illness, is it a requirement to do all of them?

Not necessarily, says Dr. Rawls. It’s important to determine whether the information you might get from these labs will influence your decision-making. “Labs can provide valuable information, but in my opinion, about 75% of labs ordered by physicians probably won’t change the outcomes or management of the illness.”

Before allowing tests to be done, Dr. Rawls suggests always defining with your healthcare provider exactly how much a test will cost, whether it’s covered by insurance, and how the information obtained by a test will influence how you treat your condition. “Remember, you should always have the final say so.”

If you decide to move forward with testing, potential labs might include:

  1. HLA-DR: This genetic blood test determines whether a person has the genes that trigger the immune system to properly recognize and excrete mold and biotoxins from the body.
  2. VCS (Visual Contrast Sensitivity): A VCS test measures your ability to detect changes in visual contrast, a function that may be impaired in individuals who have been exposed to mold and biotoxins. The test is available online or can be completed in a doctor’s office.
  3. MSH (Melanocyte-Stimulating Hormone): The hormone MSH is produced in the hypothalamus and the pituitary gland. It regulates neuroimmune pathways, including melatonin, cortisol, cytokines, sex hormones, and the integrity of mucous membranes. Among CIRS-mold patients, 95% have decreased MSH functioning.
  4. TGF-beta-1 (Transforming Growth Factor Beta-1): TGF-beta-1 is an inflammatory cytokine marker that affects the functions of immune cells. It may be elevated in people with CIRS, causing a host of neurologic and autoimmune-type symptoms.
  5. VEGF (Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor): VEGF measures oxygen delivery capabilities throughout the body’s tissues. In the presence of CIRS, a state of low oxygen may ensue (hypoxia), resulting in increased fatigue, poor stamina, and PEM.
  6. C4a: C4a is a complement protein known as an anaphylatoxin, a substance that creates a response similar to an allergic reaction. It also executes tasks related to the immune system and inflammation. An elevated C4a may be present in individuals who have been exposed to mold or biotoxins. However, note that C4a levels aren’t exclusive to mold or biotoxins — levels may also be elevated in patients with Lyme disease and lupus.
  7. VIP (Vasoactive Intestinal Peptide): VIP is a peptide that regulates the immune response, inflammatory cytokines, and pulmonary arterial pressure. Low levels may be seen in people with mold and biotoxin illness. Symptoms of low VIP levels can include shortness of breath and exercise intolerance.
  8. MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococcus): MARCoNs is a type of bacteria that resides deep in the nasal cavity and may pose a risk to people with mold and biotoxin illness. MARCoNs may suppress MSH levels, further hindering neuroimmune pathways. Testing for MARCoNs involves a nasal culture in the back of the nose.
  9. ADH (Antidiuretic Hormone): ADH manages the body’s fluid levels by balancing salt and water. ADH dysregulation may occur in people with mold and biotoxin illness, resulting in symptoms like excessive thirst, urinary frequency, fluid retention, and more.
  10. MMP-9 (Matrix Metalloproteinase-9): An enzyme, MMP-9, may increase in response to higher levels of cytokines in the body. A prolonged increase in MMP-9 may result in damage to certain tissues in the body.

Indeed, this is an expansive (and overwhelming) list of tests. “Labs can be extremely expensive,” says Dr. Rawls, “So your money might be better spent on therapies that have a high potential to help you feel better than labs that have a marginal impact on the outcomes or management of your illness.”

Thankfully, nowadays, most Lyme-literate medical doctors (LLMD) and many integrative physicians have at least a basic knowledge of mold and biotoxin illness and likely have established a set of biomarkers they prefer to use to evaluate for CIRS that might help trim the cost.

Top Treatment Options for CIRS

Treatment for CIRS requires an individualized, multi-faceted approach aimed at removing mold and biotoxins from the body, quieting inflammation, and assisting the body with cellular and tissue repair. Here are the best therapies to consider.

1. Remove or Remediate Biotoxins from Your Environment.

<img class=”lazyload” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”Woman holds ventilation grill with dust filter to clean it. Dirty and dusty white plastic, harmful for health. Cleaning lady with disguised expression, blurred, in protective rubber gloves and uniform” data-orig-src=”; />

If you’ve been diagnosed with CIRS, a first key step is eliminating troublesome mold and biotoxins in your environment to nip the trigger for your symptoms in the bud. “The solution to a mold problem is avoiding it as best you can,” advises Dr. Rawls.

The reason? If someone living in a dwelling with mold issues is chronically ill with Lyme disease or another illness, then the likelihood that person is mold sensitive is quite high. “Though there is a higher incidence of mycotoxin sensitivity in HLA-DR positive individuals, it still occurs in individuals who are HLA-DR negative,” explains Dr. Rawls. “Either way, the solution is the same: Eliminate exposure to mold.”

If you know or suspect you’re contending with mold, the best course of action is to consult with a professional to safely remove or remediate it — tackling it on your own increases your exposure and often leads to a worsening of symptoms. In addition to selecting a professional you can trust, here are some things you can try:

  1. Use a HEPA air purifier in the areas of your home where you spend the most time. The bedroom is a good place to start.
  2. Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners to maintain low humidity levels. Mold flourishes when humidity is greater than 50%, so aim to keep levels between 30% and 50%.
  3. Heating and air conditioning units can contain hidden sources of mold. Regularly inspect them, and if mold is present, have them cleaned.
  4. Remove rugs or carpets in rooms known to contain high levels of moisture, such as bathrooms or the basement.
  5. Keep your kitchen, bathroom, and laundry rooms well ventilated.
  6. If you have an attic, make sure the space is dry and doesn’t contain moisture.

2. Use Binding Agents to Remove Biotoxins from Your Body.

“I must reiterate that with mold issues and mycotoxin sensitivity, the most important aspect of management is mitigating your exposure,” says Dr. Rawls. “In my clinical experience, symptoms generally start resolving within weeks of exposure elimination. With that said, binding agents may be helpful in severe cases for those who are not getting well after the threat has been removed.”

For this, Dr. Shoemaker uses medications like cholestyramine (CSM) or Welchol (for sensitive individuals). Though CSM and Welchol are cholesterol-lowering medications, they have a unique structure that binds to biotoxins and removes them via the digestive tract.

<img class=”lazyload” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”image split into four sections. Okra pepsin, bentonite clay, activated charcoal, chlorella” data-orig-src=”; />

Some healthcare providers may also recommend gentler, natural binders like okra pepsin, bentonite clay, activated charcoal, and chlorella, depending on the type of mold or biotoxin you’ve come in contact with. But it’s important to know that binders absorb more than biotoxins — they’ll also mop up supplements, medications, and herbal therapies. To avoid this, you’ll generally want to take binders two hours before or after the other elements of your treatment protocol.

Typically, binders are taken until you have an improvement in test results like VCS, MSH, or a negative MARCoNS culture. Note that some people may experience constipation when taking activated charcoal or other toxin binders. If this happens to you, increasing your intake of magnesium, especially magnesium glycinate or citrate, can be useful to keep the digestive tract moving.

3. Eat a Healthy Diet

A nutritious diet is a mainstay of any smart recovery plan, but knowing what to eat can be a challenge. One simple rule of thumb: “The majority of your diet should be plant-based foods, especially vegetables,” says Dr. Rawls. “Vegetables contain nutrients and antioxidants to feed the beneficial flora of your gut and reduce inflammation, as well as crucial fiber to aid in toxin removal.”

<img class=”lazyload” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”Healthy food background, spinach, quinoa, apple, blueberry, asparagus, turmeric, red currant, broccoli, mung bean, walnuts, grapefruit, ginger, avocado, almond, green peas and goji, top view” data-orig-src=”; />

To combat runaway inflammation, be sure to eliminate sugar, gluten, processed carbohydrates, or foods you have a known allergy to. Instead, you’ll want to stock up on healthy fats and proteins — foods like eggs, wild-caught salmon, chicken, olive oil, avocados, and ghee. In general, “If you pick up a food package and can’t pronounce the ingredients listed on the label, that product is better left on the shelf,” says Dr. Rawls.

Finally, if you’re taking certain binders, they may come with specific dietary requirements for maximum effectiveness. For instance, a low-amylose diet is recommended when taking CSM or Welchol; amylose is a digestion-resistant polysaccharide found in legumes, starchy fruits and vegetables, and whole grains.

4. Include Beneficial Adjunct Therapies.

<img class=”lazyload” src=”data:;base64,” alt=”CIRS therapy sauna yoga supplements outside” data-orig-src=”; />

Various therapies can support the body’s efforts to eliminate biotoxins and reduce symptoms. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to healing, but options that are often beneficial to patients include:

  • Herbal therapy: Herbal remedies like allicin (from garlic), curcumin, and glutathione help to lessen inflammation and normalize immune function. Antimicrobial herbs like cat’s clawandrographis, and Japanese knotweed can help suppress stealth microbes that might be overtaxing your immune system.
  • Heat therapy: Infrared sauna use increases circulation, quells inflammation, and oxygenates tissues.
  • Time outdoors: Going outside offers breaks from continuous exposure to indoor mold and access to some fresh air. Some patients with mold or biotoxin illness practice extreme mold avoidance where they live or spend a substantial amount of time in drier climates such as the desert. For many people, this may not be a viable option, but spending extra time outside whenever possible can greatly benefit you as you heal.
  • Mind-body exercises: Yoga, Pilates, and tai chi can dial down an overactive sympathetic nervous system. These therapeutic movements help set the stage for more healing without pushing yourself to the max — which can leave your body more vulnerable to illness, not less.

The Bottom Line

Healing from CIRS takes time because, like Lyme disease, there are many layers to peel away. The good news is that as you sort through the different areas of dysfunction and take a comprehensive approach to recovery, you’ll begin to notice an increase in energy, clearer thinking, less pain, and a reduction in other debilitating symptoms. With time and patience, most people reach a state of better health — and that’s worth waiting for!

Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme.  You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.

1. Berndtson K. Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome: Overview, Diagnosis, and Treatment. 2013. Available at
2. Gunn SR, Gunn GG, Mueller FW. Reversal of Refractory Ulcerative Colitis and Severe Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Symptoms Arising from Immune Disturbance in an HLA-DR/DQ Genetically Susceptible Individual with Multiple Biotoxin Exposures. Am J Case Rep. 2016;17:320-325. Published 2016 May 11. doi: 10.12659/ajcr.896949
3. Prevalence of Building Dampness. Indoor Air Quality Scientific Findings Resource Bank website.
4. Shoemaker RC. Diagnosis of Pfiesteria-human illness syndrome. Md Med J. 1997;46(10):521-523.
5. Shoemaker RC. Surviving Mold: Life in the Era of Dangerous Buildings. Otter Bay Books; 2011.
6. Stricker RB, Savely VR, Motanya NC, Giclas PC. Complement split products c3a and c4a in chronic lyme disease. Scand J Immunol. 2009;69(1):64-69. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3083.2008.02191.x
For more:

Public Hearing: Consumer Access to Complimentary & Alternative Health Practitioner Bill on July 29 in Wisconsin

A public hearing has just been scheduled for Thursday, July 29 at 9:00 am for the Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practitioners Exemption bill (SB 98/AB 86) in the Assembly Health Committee!  Write to your own legislators asking them to support the bill. 


Then, please prepare and submit testimony in support of the bill too (details below). 

When passed, Wisconsin will join eleven other states in protecting the thousands of wonderful complementary and alternative practitioners who are providing great services to health seekers in Wisconsin.  This bill already passed unanimously out of the Senate Insurance, Licensing and Forestry Committee on April 1 and it passed the Senate, as amended, on a unanimous voice vote on April 14.  

To refresh your memory: It was introduced last session (2019 AB 546/SB 492). It passed the Assembly Health Committee, the Assembly floor and the Senate Committee on Health before stalling in the Senate due to COVID-19. Unfortunately, this legislation was moved aside and was not addressed before the end of the legislative session.  

What the Bill Does:

SB 98/AB 86 is a bill to protect your access to services provided by practitioners of complementary and alternative health in Wisconsin such as herbalists, traditional naturopaths, nutritional consultants, homeopaths, Reiki practitioners and many more.  This exemption bill will make it possible for practitioners to provide their services without fear of being charged with practice of medicine without a license as long as they avoid a list of prohibited acts in the bill such as the use of prescription drugs, or puncture of the skin, and as long as they give out proper disclosures.

What you can do:

1. Take Action here to send a message of support for SB 98/AB 86 to your personal legislators.  Please take the time to write a personal note on your letter as this will have a greater impact with the legislator or send the letter we have provided. Start building a relationship with your personal Senate and Assembly Representatives. 

2. Call your legislators to leave a message reiterating your support of SB 98/AB 86.  Identify who your legislators are here by entering you address in the box under “Who are my legislators?” and click “Find your Legislator”.  Use their contact info to leave a message with each office letting them know why you support SB 98/AB 86.  Note: if your legislator is a sponsor of the bill, say Thank You!  Current sponsor and cosponsors of the bill include 14 Representatives (Dittrich, Horlacher, Kitchens, Murphy, Mursau, Schraa, Skowronski, Wichgers, Zimmerman, Callahan, Edming, Sortwell, Moses and Rozar) and 3 Senators (Felzkowski, Kooyenga and Bernier). 

The message for your personal legislators:

“As a constituent of [Senator/Assemblymember] [Insert Legislator’s Last Name] I want [him/her] to know that I support SB 98/AB 86, a bill Protecting Consumer Access to Complementary and Alternative Health Care Practitioners.  AB 86 is scheduled for a hearing on July 29 in the Assembly Health Committee.  Please tell the [Senator/Assemblymember] that I want [him/her] to please vote yes on the bill when it is heard on the floor of the [Senate/Assembly].  [Insert your own brief reason why you support access to complementary and alternative health care (i.e., I depend on complementary and alternative health care for myself and my family and I want Wisconsin law to protect my rights as a consumer to a free and educated choice in health care providers.)] Thank you.” 

3. Prepare Your Testimony for the Committee. It’s so important for legislators to hear from the public on a bill.  Your story could be just what a legislator needs to hear in order to vote in favor of the bill.  Written testimony should be given to the Committee in person but we can collect your written testimony and deliver it the day of the hearing.  Please send it to and and we’ll deliver it to the committee for you.  Note: Due to COVID restrictions and the size of the hearing room, the committee is requesting written testimony over in-person testimony.  They are not allowing virtual testimony at this time.  Therefore, your written testimony is that much more important.  A few sentences about why you support SB 98/AB 86 is all that’s needed.  Please draft and submit it asap. 

4. Spread the word about SB 98/AB 86.  Please forward this email to your friends and family so they can Take Action to support SB 98/AB 86 too. THANK YOU for your commitment to Health Freedom!  If you have questions, contact us at   

Now more than ever it is important that we use the tools that are available to us as Americans. Your donation makes a huge difference in our ability to educate, foster and mobilize with people like you in states across the country. Together we can create the laws “we wish to see in the world”. Laws that protect our rights to make choices about our own health and the health of our children. 



I’ve put in a call to NHFA regarding not being able to have my information sent to ask my legislators to support SB 98/AB 86. I keep getting “Error code 500, try again later.”

I will try again later, and so should you if you get this code; however, hopefully my alerting them of this will help matters get resolved.

Since Lyme/MSIDS patients have such a hard time receiving medical treatment, it’s imperative alternative practitioners are free to help patients obtain treatment.