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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Kiss Your Plantain!

Recently, an apprentice of ours was bitten by a tick on her arm. I've never ever ever seen a tick here and neither has Wolf, and he's been here nearly thirty years. But ah well, she pulled a tick off of her arm (inner elbow crease area), and the bite site proceeded to swell up, get a ring of red around it, become white and pitted in the center and cause her muscle pain in the surrounding area. Now, I wasn't home when this happened, I was in South Dakota. She was worried it might be lyme's disease. I've had no experience with Lyme's so I was worried too.

When I got home I looked at it and thought to myself, "hmmm, looks like an infected spider bite, where's the Plantain?" and said so too, but with the ring of red and muscle pain I was concerned and spaced out the Plantain. I looked at various medical picture of the bull's eye type rash that sometimes accompanies Lyme's, it didn't look anything like her red ring but some of the symptoms were the same. I printed off David Winston's excellent handout on Lyme and shared it with the apprentice.

The red was getting bigger and meaner looking, though she was using clay poultices and applying various antibacterial herbs like Melissa (the apprentice is an herbalist too). Next, I asked a good friend of mine, Ananda Wilson, about her Lyme's protocol since I knew she'd dealt with it several times, she also suggested a green plant poultice (she might have even said Plantain, damned if I can remember now) as well as other good plants.

She ended up going to the clinic and getting a Lyme test (which of course came back negative, those things are infamously incorrect and count on antibodies being present, which doesn't usually happen in the first month after the bite). The doctor insisted she take a two week course of very strong antibiotics. The apprentice reluctantly complied and got a bad bellyache despite lots of probiotics. The bite site didn't get any better, at all. If anything, it got redder and madder looking.

A week later, the apprentice started having strange tingling in her fingers and toes... Soon, any temperature change for her extremities (like river water on her toes or walking a long while) caused her excruciating pain and the tingling/pain was moving up her hands and feet. Well shit, thought I. Nerves or circulatory? We couldn't figure it out and were worried about Lyme related nerve damage. It wouldn't respond to nerve herbs though, so back to the clinic we went. Turns out she was having a rare reaction to the antibiotics and now had rapidly spreading vasculitis. They said that they hoped it would heal if she stopped the antibiotics. She paid her now $300 bill (who knew that you had to pay for vasculitis?).

So, finally, I walked down to the river and picked four Plantain leaves and told her to make a spit poultice and leave it on the still infected bite site overnight, repeat every night for four nights. And whaddya know? The infection is nearly gone, a quarter of the size that it was, no more muscle pain, very little redness. A couple more nights of Plantain poultices and I expect a complete recovery.

We're doing a flavanoid rich regimen for the vasculitis (rose, hawthorn, elderberry, bilberry and so on) which is also receding.

There's a lesson in this, isn't there? Not that one shouldn't get tested/treated for Lyme ASAP, one certainly SHOULD, it's a dangerous disease that can easily go agonizingly chronic. No, it's that one should listen to one's intuition... if we'd just used Plantain at the first sign of infection/redness, we would have been saved $300, stress and vasculitis.

Now, go outside and kiss the nearest Plantain leaf!


Darcey Blue said...

That is like the 20 millionth story i've heard like that bout plantain! Isn't she wonderful. I"ve never had the oppurtunity to use her in such a serious situation, but i'm glad that it grows all over here!!

you could also try giving a tea of it as well to work on the inside out and help with the gut damage from the abx.
yay for plantain!

Anonymous said...

ah, yeah... I treated a horribly infected spider bite a freind got while in south dakota with a plantain spit poultice moistened with echinacea tincture, and echinacea taken internally as well. The bite had gotten as swollen as a golf ball, had been lanced and had antibiotics prescribed at it, but then proceded to swell up again with no apparent good done by the meds. The Plantain & echinacea worked wonders in little time at all.

I also like moistening (not really the ritgh word... like plantain poultices need to be moistened?) plantain with yarrow and peach tinctures.

The Medicine Woman is glad you came...

All writings & posts (c)2007 Kiva Rose
All artwork & photographs (c) 2007 Jesse Wolf Hardin