• Tag Archives Lyme
  • Ticks, Ticks, are Everywhere!! – Prevention

    By Laura D. Field of Potpourri of Health – May 18, 2017

    How quickly we can squish an ant, swat a fly, spray a hornet, zap a mosquito. We squish that ant because it is crawling on the counter, swat the fly because it annoyingly flies annoyingly around us, spray the hornet with such force as if we are riding the world of them all, and zapping mosquito’s due to their ability to bite with a vengeance along with their non-stop buzzing sound. But, the reason we can tend to these insects is because they are readily visible, make noises and we know the damage they can do, whether to our home, family or own personal well being.
    Yet with ticks, we are faced with a gentle, crawling creature that in its nymph stage is barely noticeable, while as it gets larger, has the ability to numb your skin like Novocain before they begin the process of boring into your skin to seek refuge and sustenance within your body. If we are lucky, we can spot the tick making tracks towards its destination, more often in warm dark areas on your body, such as your groin, hairline, underarms, etc.

    Here are some options to prevent their unwelcomed presence, but first, please do not stop living due to the fear of these insects. Go hiking, camping, walking, fishing, hunting, gardening, etc. Just be vigilant in your efforts in preventing them from taking hold and damaging your life.:

    Before and after being outdoors in areas with a potential risk, consider:

    1. Wear light colored clothing, as it is easier to spot a dark tick against a light colored garment.
    2. Tuck your pant legs into your socks to provide a tight seal
    3. Spray your clothing with Permethrin, which is a safe tick repellent that can be purchased in hardware and grain stores, Wal-mart, and a variety of other stores also carry it. Spray on your hat, your outer clothing, shoes, etc. DO NOT spray directly on your skin. There are Permethrin products specific for skin application.
    4. Have lint rollers around. These are great at doing a quick tick check, as the ticks will get stuck to the sticky portion. You could also use shippers/packing tape or duct tape that is wrapped around your hand with the stitcky-side out if you do not have lint rollers around.
    5. Place your clothes into the dryer for 20 min. when you come in from the outdoors so that it can kill any that are not seen
    6. Take a shower to wash the ticks in hiding down the drain.
    7. Make sure full body checks are done after returning from a day in the gardens, camping, hiking, hunting, etc.

    Repellant Options;

    1. As mentioned above, Permethrin can be used on your clothing before heading out, including hats and shoes. Permethrin will last through 4-6 wash cycles, dependent upon the agitation within your washer.
    2. When using Permethrin: read the directions for applications, but in layman terms, spray about 6-8 feet away from the garment, in a non-windy environment (your garage or on a day that it is not windy). Let it dry for about 2 hrs., and you are good to go. If you have the time, place your treated garments in the dryer to further adhere to the fibers to your garment. There is no smell, and will not stain your clothing.
    3. There are specialty clothing that is specially treated with Permethrin, and others designed specifically to prevent ticks from crawling up, that can be found at outdoor sport centers.
    4. DE (Diatomaceous Earth) is a safe product to use around your gardens. Be sure to purchase the food grade. This is also safe for animals, yet with cats, since they are more sensitive, scruff your cats neck as you apply the DE, as well as rub on their belly (if you have a cat that will allow you to do this). Be very careful not to get in their eyes, nose or mouth. Keep it on for 24 hrs then shampoo after.
      1. I personally love this product and use it holistically, as well as use around my gardens to help keep other pesky insects at bay.
      2. The benefit of use around your herb and vegetable gardens is that you know it is a safe pesticide that you will later consume through the food you grow.
      3. DE can be purchased online as well as at your local grain stores.
      4. Consider wearing a mask, when applying to your pets or gardens (mostly when it is windy out) to avoid inhaling too much)
    5. Plant Lavender around your walkway and gardens. It is not only a great insect repellent (including ticks) but smells quite lovely while providing a protective shield.
    6. Plant Eucalyptus around your home for additional protection, but be mindful of pets.
    7. Plant Lemongrass around your gardens as well, since ticks do not like the smell of citrus. This does well in containers and smells quite lovely, which makes for a lovely display within a potted floral arrangement or by itself. We have a few that I place around the gazebo areas.
    8. Create natural sprays from either citrus fruit or essential oils
      1. Citrus Spray: Slice 2 lemons (or limes). 2. Boil 2 c. of water. 3. Reduce water to a simmer and place in your citrus fruit for 1 hour. Strain, cool, and then put into your sprayer. Once cooled, it is ready to be safely used on you, your children, your yard and pets.
      2. Mint Spray: In 1 c. of water, add 2 drops of 100% pure peppermint essential oil. Place in a spray bottle and it is ready to use in the same manner as the citrus spray.
      3. Lavender Spray: Note: This is a great mosquito repellent as well and can be placed in decorative bowls around your home, indoors as well as out. Take ¼ c. of distilled or filtered water and add about 30-40 drops of 100% pure Lavender essential oil. Stir slightly and put into a spray bottle or place in decorative bowls around the home.
        1. NOTE: you can adjust the amount of lavender based on your personal preference
        2. You can use this for bed linens, night wear, pillows, etc. to repel insects and ticks while also providing a calm nights rest.
      4. Place dried lavender around your home. Better yet, consider lavender sachets. They not only keep the ticks at bay but also spiders and other pests. The BONUS: if place in the warmth of sunlight, it will freshen you home preventing the use of toxic air fresheners, while also providing a relaxing environment.
        1. I make these for my personal use as well as sell to clients
      5. Keep your yard clean of debris, trimming tall grass and removing dead leaves. Please know, that this is not going to keep them from hiding, but will give them less of a chance to hitch a ride onto your pant leg and quickly crawl into hiding.
        1. Some claim that keeping your yard clear of tall grass or debris is efficient, and although it might work okay in a yard with no trees, shrubs, gardens, etc., one really needs to be attentive to all the surrounding plants within your yard.

    Although the tips shared are ones we use, they are not all inclusive. There are many options available, yet we have found the above to be the most effective and most natural.

    My hope in sharing is that others can prevent the risk of infection that causes the Lyme disease that infects people very differently. There is NO cure, NO preventive immunization, just treatment that can be life long.

    Enjoy the outdoors and what nature can offer. We live in a gorgeous world!! All we need to do is be safe.

    Laura – Chronic Persistent Lyme Disease patient

    Laura D. Field – Blogger and paid Freelance writer

    Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
    Freelance writer at www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com
    Seamstress consultant at www.davinadawnsewing.com & www.seamstobeme.davinadawnsewing.com


  • Aloe Vera Juice – Lyme, GI and Skin

    Potpourri of Health Georges Aloe Vera JuiceBy Laura D. Field of Potpourri of Health ~ April 21, 2016

    A few years back, I was talking with a gentleman about digestive health. In doing so, he shared how including Aloe Vera juice in his daily routine made a difference for him. More recently I have discovered how it has the capacity to help those with Lyme disease who also deal with chronic gut related symptoms.

    With Lyme, one of the co-infections is that of Babesia, which along with various other symptoms can cause gastroenterological discomfort such as: constipation, recurring stomach ulcers and/or indigestion. This is related to parasites acquired after contracting Lyme disease. (Mercola.com)

    Yet while researching for the benefits of Aloe Vera Juice, one is able to find a wealth of information on the benefits of what this plant provides. “Aloe Vera is the traditional herb to cure infectious diseases. Aloe Vera juice effectively fights the infection in the human body, and its consumption also improves the metabolic system of the human body. It can remove poison from your body by detoxicating it, and is crucial to cure the ailment.” (FindHomeRemedy)

    The Benefits of Aloe Vera (Haris):

    • Digestive: contains nutrient compounds that have the same healing properties in the lining of our digestive tract as that of the gel used externally for skin healing. It decreases irritation, decrease inflammation, and enhance healing of ulcers within the stomach and intestines. The bonus is that it can increase the healthy bacteria within the intestines, which aid in digestion.
    • Immune: Contains anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties, which help to cleans the body of toxins and pathogens. Aloe vera can also help to reduce the effects of seasonal allergies, rheumatoid arthritis along with many other inflammatory immune disorders.
    • Heart: Internally, aloe vera can improve blood circulation in the body, which has the potential of decreasing total fat levels. In addition, aloe vera has the potential of reducing the fatty deposits and blood clots within the arteries of the heart and body.

    Precautions:(Haris):

    • Diarrhea risk: Due to the aloe latex substance called anthraquinone, aloe vera juice has a laxative affect. This can result in severe pain, cramping and dehydration, which is a reason to discuss this option with your health provider. It is also important to note, that one should be aware of the purity of their aloe vera juice along with its design for internal use.
    • Drug interactions: All herbal supplements, which aloe vera juice is in the family of, can interfere and adversely affect any prescription and OTC medications. Another reason to discuss your use of this product with your care provider before ingesting.

    What many are unaware of is that both our skin (our largest organ) and gut work together to transmit substances in and out of the body. They work together in that the skin protects us from the transdermal entrance to our body, while our gut processes the food and other substances that enter through our mouth. When our protective barrier, within our gut (a.k.a. probiotic layer) is compromised, our intestinal tract can result with an inflamed allergy like reaction to our immune system. Some individuals experience diarrhea, others constipation, leaky gut, etc. Due to the fact that our skin and GI system works together, the inflammation within can appear externally through our skin as Eczema. (Haley)

    What is amazing, in my opinion, is that our body was amazingly designed. With this covering of skin, one doesn’t often stop to think of it as an organ, yet this covering, with three layers, provides waterproofing, insulation, the guardian from extreme temperatures, damaging sunlight and harmful chemicals. In addition it exudes antibacterial substances that prevent infection while manufacturing the vitamin D, which converts to calcium for healthy bones. (National Geographic)

    The skin is an amazing organ, yet with its connection to our gut health, it is essential for us to care for our bodies and be attentive to what is going on. It is through this research that I made the correlation of why I have the sensitive skin issues while also dealing with GI issues and Lyme disease. Yes, there are some food allergies that can cause cramping, yet generally not related to my skin.

    In an effort to aid in healing my Chronic Persistent Lyme disease, and the constipation that I experience, I learned a little more about Aloe Vera Juice. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) and pharmaceutical medicinal remedies available for our choosing, yet as I clean my body from the spirochetes of Lyme and co-infections, I was pleased to discover that Aloe Vera juice, along with garlic, prunes, prune juice and other herbs and nutrients to be natural options that are both affordable and healthier for our bodies, while also providing additional nutritional benefits.

    Please keep in mind, consuming anything in excess, can have severe side effects. The goal with constipation is to keep things moving, not to chase things out with force, like that of white water rafting. So, please be kind to your body when choosing Aloe Vera Juice as an option to help with your GI concerns. Start slow, mix in with a smoothie or drink alone. I recently tried George’s 100% Aloe Vera, which has no bitter or unpleasant taste, along with no preservative or other additives. I am sure that there are other quality products on the market, yet this is the one I decided upon while selecting some new supplements & herbal treatment for my healing.

    Herbals are fascinating and provide a wealth of health benefits. Yet, even with herbs, as with pharmaceuticals, one can take too much or not enough. Done correctly for your body and medical needs, it will benefit you in maintaining your desired healthy life style.

    And believe it or not, some people who grow their own Aloe Vera plant use it to make their own juice. I’m ready to add a few Aloe Vera plants to my garden this year for the additional health benefits along with the added character to my gardens.

    Enjoy, be safe and be healthy,

    Laura

    • Laura – Blogger and paid Freelance writer
    • Potpourri of Health www.potpourriofhealth.com
    • Reflective Tapestry of Life www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com
    • Textile Artist/Custom Seamstress www.davinadawnsewing.com

    REFERENCES:


  • What About Kombucha?

    Kombucha brewed at home, with homegrown scoby. ~ Laura of Potpourri of Health ~
    Kombucha brewed at home, with homegrown scoby.
    ~ Laura of Potpourri of Health ~

    I recently learned about Kombucha while searching for natural probiotics options. Knowing that my Lyme protocol would entail long-term use of antibiotics, I knew I needed to fuel my body with probiotics that would keep my GI system healthy and hopefully keep Candida yeast from becoming an issue.

    This popular drink has been around for centuries. Yet, despite that it has good bacteria, which is helpful when needing to offset ones GI system on antibiotics, there is no scientific evidence that it can prevent or cure disease or even guarantee to help one lose weight (although, there are claims that dispute it).

    My hope with this beverage is that it provides extra probiotics to help the GI system as well as prevent yeast issues. It is something I discussed with my LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) before drinking, so I decided to give it a go.

    To be honest, at least for me, it is not a flavorful beverage that I am drawn to consume, although it is tolerable. I would rather drink a cooled decaffeinated tea. Personally, to me, it tastes like a carbonated drink that has a bitter taste, similar to alcohol. Since I am not one to enjoy carbonated beverages or alcohol, I find this drink to be questionable for my taste buds.

    Despite my apprehension, I decided to learn how to make my own Kombucha, so that I could control what was put into it as well as save money. I have found a few store-bought flavors that I do enjoy, although I prefer the Kombucha that I make. Instead of using caffeinated teas, I use decaffeinated black, green and pomegranate teas. It suits my taste buds and I don’t risk the feeling of having to climb walls. You see, if I drink caffeine, I will be up for 36 hours, become exhausted, then unable to fall to sleep easily for a few days. Definitely NOT a good thing when I already struggle with getting plenty of rest without a daily nap.

    When purchasing the Kombucha at your local health food store, I recommend checking the dates and make sure they do not have too much sediment on the bottom. They claim this sediment is good for you. I simply do not like it. BUT, if you are making your first batch to create the necessary Scoby, acquiring a plain one with a lot of sediment makes for a very healthy start to creating a Scoby ‘mother’.

    My first homemade scoby!! I was thrilled at how well it turned out. ~ Laura of Potpourri of Health ~
    My first homemade scoby!! I was thrilled at how well it turned out.
    ~ Laura of Potpourri of Health ~

    Scoby is an acronym for “symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast” which is a gelatin type, fibrous cellulose disk
    with beneficial microorganisms. I realize that it sounds rather gross, but its job is to provide the necessary health benefits that many are seeking. The Scoby is reused and many times multiplies (babies) that can be separated to start new batches or share with others.

    I had previously purchased a “kit” to make my own Kombucha with a dehydrated Scoby disk, which was okay for the first two batches, yet it never multiplied and died quickly there after. I spoke to the company, and although they said they would replace it, I have yet to see a replacement. So, I made my own from a fresh bottle of plain Kombucha, plus decaffeinated tea, vinegar and organic sugar. First time, and I had a fabulous looking Scoby! I did not drink this first batch due to the strong vinegar flavor, but kept some of the Kombucha in order to make future fermented teas (Kombucha), which have turned out quite flavorful. I brew each subsequent batch while I consume the fresh one that was recently made. Within 2-3 weeks I am ready to start again.

     

    Some Claimed Benefits:

    • Aids in digestion (GI system)
    • Anemia – highly recommended for the elderly and vegetarians due to the beneficial iron created by plant sources
    • Antibiotic Resistant infections
    • Antioxidant – abundant source of vitamin E, vitamin C, beta-carotene and other carotenoids.
    • Asthma – contains a significant amount of theophylline, which is a bronchodilator.
    • Atherosclerosis – reducing LDL and raising HDL levels, promoting regeneration of cellular walls in blood vessels
    • Cancer – researchers believe it to increase the immune system’s defense against cancer.
    • Candida (yeast) helps to kill the candida yeast.
    • Detoxification – the glucuronic acid (GA) converts the environmental and pharmaceutical toxins into a soluble compound in order for the body to excrete them.
    • Diabetes – reduce blood sugar levels with research dating back to 1929
    • Eliminate kidney damage
    • Energy by increasing the blood molecule “Hemoglobin” improving the oxygen flow to the tissues.
    • Hypertension – treat high blood pressure and its affects causing headaches and dizziness
    • Immune Support – high level of vitamin C with its antioxidant properties
    • Joint problems – lubricating joints, relieve arthritis, rheumatism and gout.
    • Kidney Toxicity – eliminate damage caused by environmental pollutants, used in the prevention of calcification in the kidney (preventing kidney stones).
    • Liver Support – helps support toxicity from overdoses of acetaminophen
    • Nervous system – the amino acids help those with headaches, nervousness and epilepsy, balancing the metabolism in the nervous system.
    • Reduce cancer risks
    • Reduction in gastric illness
    • Regeneration of cellular walls in the blood vessels (Endothelial function)
    • Weight Loss, balancing the metabolism

    Kombucha is a drink that, once made, is refrigerated. It is full of probiotic and friendly yeast that helps your gut fight parasites and pathogens, as well as help your body minimize Candida growth.

    For myself, my goal is to keep my gut flora in check with hopes to reduce the yeast issues that arise from antibiotic use. At first, I was drinking it sparingly due to cost, so I haven’t yet seen a difference in my ongoing joint pain or yeast issues due to antibiotic use. Yet, I am hopeful that over the next month, that between the probiotic supplement, Kefir and daily consumption of Kombucha that the yeast conditions subside.

    Over the last month my blood pressure has been down in the healthy range (YAY), but I will not contribute it to the Kombucha alone as I think it is due to the treatment I am on. Chronic Lyme is a fickle disease, not one that I would wish on anyone. But, despite its negative appeal, as with all diseases, all one can do is work with a physician you can trust, weed out the naysayers, stick with those who want to see you well, and remain positive.

    Basically, other than the Lyme and joint issues, I consider myself quite healthy. I haven’t had a cold since the horrible flu I had in 2008. I am hopeful, that through healthy food choices, daily exercise, working with my LLMD and other supporting health providers and family members, using Kombucha, Kefir, etc. and a few supplements along with 100% essential oil usage, I will remain healthy throughout the treatment and beyond.

    Would I recommend Kombucha to others? I would definitely share a sample with someone who was interested in trying it, yet I feel that this is really a personal choice. I read about it and discussed it with my physician. Due to the fermentation process it creates a small amount of alcohol along with the sugar that is used to make it. I was concerned since both of these food choices are “taboo” for Lyme sufferers.

    If you have medical concerns, pregnant or under the age of 18, I think it is imperative you discuss this option with your health care provider. It is NOT for everyone, and what works for one, might not work for another. Please do not serve to infants and children (at least not without discussing it with their pediatrician first).

    I know that for myself, if I do not see improved symptoms, I will probably stop making and consuming it. I would much rather drink a glass of purified water! 🙂

    Enjoy and love life while choosing a healthy lifestyle,

    Laura

    www.potpourriofhealth.com

    www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

    www.davinadawnsewing.com

     

    Resources

    King, M., August 2014, 18 Healthy Reasons to Sip Kombucha, Retrieved May 15, 2015 from http://www.greenmedinfo.com/blog/18-healthy-reasons-sip-kombucha

    Katie – Wellness Mama, The Benefits of Kombucha, Retrieved May 15, 2015 from http://wellnessmama.com/23994/kombucha-benefits/

    Jockers D., July 2013, The amazing health benefits of Kombucha, Retrieved May 15th, 2015 from http://www.naturalnews.com/041051_kombucha_healthy_drinks_scoby.html


  • Lyme Disease? It Couldn’t Be!! Or Could It??

    tick picAfter a number of years of complaining to my physicians about pain, migraines, breathing difficulty, and various neurological concerns I finally got to the point where I simply decided it was time to accept my age. I could no longer pretend to be 26 when my body was 54. Oh well, David and I just found ways to humor the situation. He became my strength when my body and mind were weak. I became quite good at hiding how I was really feeling to others.

    In addition, I had MRI’s showing tears in joints and lower back issues. I simply had an answer for most of the pain. The forgetfulness, well our girls found it to be hysterical, although at times annoying. I quickly adapted to writing notes and lists in order to not forget. My passion for sewing for others was quickly coming to an end, when I realized how tired I would be the moment the client would leave.

    So, as I sat in my specialists office, reviewing my compound hormone therapy and chronic pain issues, he was at the same time reviewing many of the tests that I had done with my PCP and specialists that I had seen. After asking various questions, he shared that although he was not 100% certain, he was quite confident that I had Lyme disease.

    Well, that was one thing to make me stop mid-sentence. Lyme had never crossed my mind. Plus, the neurologist tested me for this, twice!! And I never had the classic tell-tale signs of being bitten by a tick. Being a Lyme specialist and having had Lyme himself, he requested that I take a test that was not covered by the insurance, through IGenix, meaning I would need to find $200 to send with the blood work. Within a week, the test was done, and I was in the “wait” mode, yet not really all that concerned. I honestly thought that everything would return normal and I would continue on, accepting there was no real explanation, and continue to do my best in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

    A month had not even passed when I received a message from my LLMD that I indeed had Lyme and that I needed to see him as soon as possible to start treatment. In addition, I was asked to read “Cure Unknown” by Pamela Weintraub, watch the video “Under Our Skin” as well as check out the web-site www.ilads.org to start obtaining some information.

    By the time I arrived in his office, I was overrun with guilt in not knowing or even thinking it could be Lyme,  and feeling frustrated that specialists were not able to provide answers or relief because they did not know. Prior to arriving at my appointment to discuss and start treatment, I read his recommended sources as well as all the books I could find at our local library. I reviewed the list of potential symptoms and made a list of what I experienced everyday of my life. After all the reading I had done, and listing out the symptoms, I looked over at my husband and shared with him how surreal this was.

    tick picThere is no doubt, that to receive the news that I indeed had Chronic Persistent Lyme disease for about 7 – 8 years, was overwhelming. The Western blot testing even proved to be positive by the CDC’s standards. Despite my delight in having an answer, I was equally scared of what I now had to face. I was hopeful that treatment could be done naturally, but as it was further explained, the disease is a bacteria that grows within our body, and finds places to hide. The antibiotics were necessary to kill the bacteria and needed to be changed in order to attack them effectively.

    Treatment provides no promise of eradicating the disease within the body. What it will do, however, is kill off most of the bacteria (although we hope that it will kill all of it), and reduce the symptoms it has caused.

    In addition, the Lyme bacterium affects every person differently. Some have mild symptoms, while others have such a list that it makes them completely disabled. What many outsiders do not understand is that although we might look normal and healthy on the outside, our bodies are screaming from within due to the various symptoms we face.

    What About Nutrition:

    Although my LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) is not stringent on the need to avoid particular foods, he does recommend limiting the foods that can complicate the healing. So, with already have a gluten, milk and egg free diet, and a reduction in processed sugars (which I had already started a few months earlier), I could basically continue to eat the way I had been doing. All that was requested is that if I craved the sugary treats, to limit them as he wanted me to push the fruits and vegetables.

    In addition to the antibiotics and ointments, I consume 2500-3000 cc of water a day, 4-8 oz. of Kombucha, and 2-4 oz. of Kefir, along with a high concentrate of probiotics. This is all in an effort to flush out toxins and keep yeast at bay. I also take a few supplements, such as Vit D3, Vit C, Fish oils, Vit B12, Biotin, DIM, turmeric, and Serene with Theanine.

    Lyme might have the ability to weaken my body, but I will fight that it not weaken my spirit.

    For those who have Lyme, I understand and pray for each of us daily. For those who do not understand this disease, I ask that you not judge what you do not understand. In all diseases and disabilities, compassion is what makes our society strong.

    Peace and Faith,

    Laura

    www.potpourriofhealth.com

    www.reflectivetapestryoflife.com

    www.davinadawnsewing.com