Healing Lyme Disease Naturally by Wolf Storl: A book review Part One
Healing Lyme Disease Naturally
By Wolf Storl
A Book Review
The author of this book has presented his philosophical views on many subjects pertaining to health and not just limiting it only to the immediate discussion on Lyme disease. He is using the study of Lyme disease to look at broader topics of healing and is well versed in many holistic paradigms. His study into various Western and Chinese herbal medicines also adds another dimension to the study. He makes reference to historical views of healing and weaves this into the modern challenge of Lyme disease. He discusses the harvesting of various plants used in Lyme and also looking at the Native American use of plants and more shamanic perspectives on the relationship between the earth and people and the use of healing plants. He discusses how plants can be totemic and how they can be allies for people, including perhaps people of the same family. The author feels that teasel was a holy plant for his ancestors on his mother’s side, due to his ancestors being weavers and he is a writer “weaving text”, along with the plant being used working with textiles from ancient times. His grandfather, a weaver had some teasel in an old box which he had kept and showed him at one point.
His grandfather talked of his father and the disease he had termed “blood impurities”, often a euphemism for syphilis and the author quotes from a writer about the ancestoral link to syphilis that nearly everyone must have.
He discusses the role of food and other natural methods of healing, including sweat lodges and other similar processes, and talks of how in some cultures, even the color of food is important when sick. In shamanic cultures, the role of sickness and how to approach it is similar to the initiate practice for shamanic training, where food is restricted or limited in some way. Only white food can be allowed at times, what they call “ghost food” and how that allows them to remain in contact with the spirit world.
The author gives an excellent overview of homeopathic medicine and its founder Samuel Hahnemann and also on miasmatic theory (a key theoretical foundation of homeopathic thought dealing with inherited and acquired disease patterns) which leads him to give a detailed overview of the origin and development of the disease syphilis and the profound effect it’s had on European culture and history. He explains it as the beginning of a sea change in the relationship between man and nature, with subsequent developments such as the Inquisition and the mechanistic view of the world developing in all walks of life, separating man from nature and the mysteries of the world, seeking ever great objectivity, rationalism and control of life.
The author’s perspective on this matches closely with a homeopathic view of the relationship between disease patterns and human susceptibility and gives a context to the whole book and the connection between syphilis and Lyme disease.
The book quotes from many sources and it allows him to be a voice for a necessary paradigm shift and away from the reductionistic and mechanistic model of life that has dominated medical and scientific thought until now. This shift embraces a holistic paradigm which gives an appropriate context to our relationship to nature and to ourselves that reveals an understanding of health and sickness and what can be done with the power of nature to guide us. No more simple exploitation and extortion from the planet. The modern world is coming to a crisis point and we need to change our way of being in order to survive. It won’t be through the cold, hard lens of alienation and objectification of all that we see, but by embracing connection and true meaning. This will be the cure, along with the use of natural medicines, found from nature and used as nature has provided them, and not through the synthetic manipulation of nature and consequent financial gain through patents.
The Review in Detail
The introduction to the book is by Matthew Wood, herbalist and homeopath. He mentions how antibiotic treatment is a failure for anything expect after the initial infection. He describes the approach of the author, a medical anthropologist, and the role of intuition in understanding the challenges and solutions to a problem, in this case Lyme disease, and how teasel came to be seen as an effective remedy.
Wood discusses using herbs more naturally, not in huge, toxic doses but more holistically. He recommends “bitters” in Lyme, e.g. blue vervaine (verbena hastate) or v. officianalis for Lyme with pain, stiffness and loss of function in neck and upper shoulders. Also he uses Apocynum androsamifolium in a 6x for high impact cases with very intense symptoms. He also recommends Andrographis, from Ayurvedic medicine and Cat’s claw.
In the foreword by Andreas Thum, MD, he initially discusses the importance of nutrition in various Navies in years gone by to avoid diseases like scurvy and beriberi. He mentions this in context to the need to look at root causes of disease and as he states, “the necessary paradigm shift in our thinking about health, from an atheistic-materialistic worldview to the recognition of and reverence for the reintegration of the human being into the infinitely wise course of nature.”
In Chapter One, the author begins with two quotes, one from Paracelsus, the other Rudolph Steiner. Paracelsus: “Doctors shouldn’t be surprised that there is more to nature than their art. After all, what can surpass the magnitude of nature? He who knows not nature can therefore not really know the healing arts. In every single herb there is more virtue and strength than in all the papers read in universities, which are, anyway, destined to become dust.”
Steiner: “Do you want to know your innermost being? Then look at the world in all its aspects. Do you want to truly perceive the world? Then look into the depths of your own soul.”
The author states: “Lyme disease seems to be taking on epidemic proportions. One might even say Lyme disease is ‘en vogue’. There are ever more publications on the subject. These are usually in line with established medical theories, upholding contemporary cultural constructs of reality and they do not venture beyond set boundaries.”
The author here clearly sets his boundaries in the type of book he is writing and the approach he is taking in addressing the complexities of Lyme disease. He states clearly that conventional treatment of antibiotics barely help and even appear to have harmful effects in treating chronic Lyme disease. However, he even criticizes aspects of alternative medicine in approaching the condition in a similar way, by ‘adhering to the officially sanctioned scientific worldview.’
He states how established Western medicine does not have the final word regarding healing and medicine. It does not have the sole claim on healing, but presents, exactly as all the others do, only one of many possible approaches. Like other paradigms, it is also a construct, a product of certain historical and cultural processes. He then overviews the various approaches to understanding humanity and our relationship to the earth and how various systems of healing approach the challenge of recognizing this connection and how it influences our relationship to health. He mentions the relationship between nature and culture, how experiences of one are imposed upon cultural values, including understanding the causes of disease and how to address them.
He writes this as a way of giving a context to the study of Lyme disease and how, when faced with a plethora of ‘scientific’ data and research on the subject, he realized how subjective and contradictory much of it was. He relates the story of how by breaking his wrist, he was able to dedicate the time to studying the subject and the ‘fortuitousness’ of such an accident/non-accident.
After getting bitten by a tick and getting diagnosed with Lyme disease and being afraid to take antibiotics because of previous bad experience, he read that 23.8% of tested forest workers in Germany show an antibody-response to borrelia without even knowing they were infected. He also read somewhere that only half of patients diagnosed with Lyme produce any symptoms.
This makes one wonder why therefore, there so many new Lyme cases are being diagnosed in the USA now. Why is it that the cultural susceptibility to the disease has changed so much in the last number of years?
As is commonly understood in holistic and integrated thinking the relationship between the soil or terrain (the human body) and the role of the bacteria (pathogen) is crucial. Simply demonizing bacteria as being bad doesn’t address the situation and as we have seen with the abuse of antibiotics given to ‘fight’ bacteria, the bacteria is winning. The author discusses this along with describing the complexity of bacteriological action on all living and decaying organic matter, including humans!
He mentions in particular how bacteria serve a crucial role in the “necessary decomposing process” of all organic matter and how when in states of stress, toxicity, old age, malnutrition etc, the ground is laid for the role of “decomposing bacteria” to aid the process!! And furthermore, the intimate connection between the billions of bacteria that inhabit our body, especially our digestive tract, serves the immune system of the body to optimize the body’s immunity – which is now being finally acknowledged in mainstream thinking when seeing how the use of antibiotics and so many other anti-bacterial soaps, wipes and the like do not serve the human immune system and the overall ecology of the planet.
The author then lists many of the possible side effects of taking antibiotics, most well-known to holistic practitioners but which still needs to be constantly stated in this time of their gross over use in the world, especially now in developing countries. This is especially seen in their use in animals used for human consumption – cows, pigs, chickens – and how this is having a massive impact on both human health and the wider ecology of our planet. The latest and one of the most scary of these effects is the development of antibiotic resistant bacteria, the MRSA’s or superbugs, which are often found in hospitals and the author states that “three million patients per year come into hospitals with infections that cannot be brought under control by antibiotics and that 100,000 to 150,000 die each year due to such infections. In Germany between 450,000 and 900,000 people a year contract diseases from their stay in the hospital.” The facts go on and on. “One out of seven cases of tuberculosis doesn’t respond to antibiotics. The WHO reports eight million new cases of TB worldwide each year; three million die of this once allegedly conquered disease annually.”
The author also references the work of Biologist Rupert Sheldrake with his theories of morphogenetic fields and morphic resonance, who became aware that bacteria often mutated even before they came into contact with a new antibiotic! He even describes how one type of bacteria can pass on the genetic information that enables antibiotic resistance to other forms of bacteria! Viruses can also pass on new genetic information to their bacterial hosts. “Some bacterial species have modified the structure of their outer membranes, making them less vulnerable. Others have developed pumping mechanisms to rid themselves of the poison faster. Some manage to chemically neutralize antibiotics or even use them as nourishment.”
He discusses Rudolph Steiner’s ideas on bacteria, that they are only partially incarnated (whereas humans are full incarnated) and that their behavior is being guided by a highly intelligent, spiritual “group soul”, “over-soul”, or “group-ego”. “Unlike humans, the bodies of the bacterial entities are not bundled in a single, self-contained organism consisting of specialized organs. Instead, the countless single cells of each bacterial species live amorphically, unspecialized and unbound. Their ‘bodies’ can flow and spread over entire landscapes, over continents or even over the whole earth. But these cells are still guided by an invisible, characteristic intelligence, a group-ego, such as perhaps a ‘Staphylococcus-aureus-entity’ or a ‘Borrelia-burgdorferi-entity.’ Like a wafting cloud or even more like mist or miasma, they spread their formless bodies and do their destructive work only where they find the right conditions existing for them.”
The author goes one step further and states that these bacteria – seen as angels, demons or disease spirits – can be spoken to or perceived by clairvoyants or those in unusual states of consciousness – in dreams, trance states, or through shamanic techniques. He states how the composer Richard Wagner perceived the spirit of the cholera epidemic and which appeared in the shape of a woman one night and in the morning, found out that another guest had died of cholera in the same bed the previous night! “Ethnographic reports of shamans confirm that conscious perception of and fearlessness in dealing with these supernatural beings can often spare us suffering. It is a matter of dealing with them on the ethereal plane before they manifest on the physical plane.”
In the next chapter, the author describes the process of contagion between tick and host and how the Borrelia spirochete comes to inhabit the intestines of the ticks after biting rodents who carry the bacteria. From there the spirochete is passed to humans when they find a human host to bite. Ticks develop through three stages: larva, nymph and adult. It is in the larvae stage of development that they pick up the spirochete from rodents and other mammals and by the time they grow into adults, it is estimated that nearly twenty percent are infected with Borrelia. Other statistics taken from Stephen Buhner’s book on Lyme disease states that nymphs alone are infected from thirty to 100 percent with Borrelia depending on the region.
“The cycle form the larval stage to the sexually mature adult takes two to three years. The adult female requires much blood so that the approximately 3,000 eggs it will lay can fully develop.”
He describes how cleverly the bacteria disguises itself to allow itself to infiltrate the new host before being attacked by the defense mechanism of the host. This process can take some time confirming the assumption that the longer the tick sucks blood, the greater is the chance of infection and invasion of the new host organism. Ticks are most active in the early summer. Although they survive in very cold weather, they do not become active below 50 degrees (10 degrees C) and in the intense heat of summer, they retreat.
It is known that a number of co-infections may also occur along with Borrelia, when bitten by a tick, including Babesia (a protozoa) and Ehrlichiosis (a bacteria) and also a viral form of meningitis (Early summer meningo-cephalitis – ESME). He quotes a fascinating, if disturbing statistic that 90% of people in Austria allowed themselves to be vaccinated against the disease after an aggressive advertizing campaign across the country. He said that people were led to believe that this vaccination could prevent all tick-borne diseases, including Lyme disease, whereas it only covered ESME.
A vaccine for Lyme was offered in 1998 by Smith Kline Beecham but it had so many disastrous side effects that it was taken off the market in 2002. However, there are still Lyme disease vaccines for dogs, but the author wonders if the side effects are any less for dogs than they were for humans and whether canines are really being used as a long term experiment for a viable vaccine for humans.
The vaccine for ESME is not worth the risk, the author states. In Germany the virus was found in only one of 900 ticks, and 60-70% of those infected had no symptoms, 20-30% develop flu like symptoms and neurological complications occur in only 5-10% of those in contact with the virus, the vast majority of which disappear on their own. “The risk of any long lasting damage is 1 in 78,000. By contrast, one in 32,000 vaccinations causes nerve damage.” A similar story to that of many other vaccines perhaps! In Germany, a population of 82 million, there is an average of 261 cases of ESME a year, one of which is fatal!
There have been theories that Borellia can also spread to humans through other vectors, including other animals, such as fleas, mosquitoes and horseflies. However, it seems that the short time on the host being bitten precludes this form of contagion in most cases. He disputes the theory that the bacteria can be spread through urine of animals as they cannot survive outside the milieu of the body of a host organism. One other theory is that the spirochete can pass through sexual transmission. While it seems possible to happen, it is perhaps not very common whereas transmission through blood transfusion, organ transplant or from mother to fetus may occur. He comments on one researcher claiming contagion can take place merely by shaking hands or touching a doorknob, but attributes this to the cultural exaggeration of fear that is dominant in the United States at this time!
Once a tick is inserted in the body, he recommends pulling it straight out, stating that turning the tick clockwise or anticlockwise makes little difference. However, he feels that squeezing the tick with little tick pincers makes it worse, causing the tick to vomit its stomach contents, including spirochetes! Worse still, he claims is using fingernail polish or similar toxin or by lighting a match to it. Most infections are a result of such methods, he claims. The tiny larvae or pin sized nymphs are best scraped off with a heavy knife or razor blade. A grown tick can be best removed with a fine-tipped curved tweezers or hook tweezer, and grabbed between the head and thorax. The bite should then be daubed with tea tree oil.
The author then describes the extraordinary survival and adaptation strategies of the Borrelia spirochete, making it quite unique amongst bacteria, including that of syphilis, one of its closest cousins. These qualities allow it be disguised against lymphocytes in the host, pass on genetic information through 21 plasmids – self replicating, ring shaped DNA molecules, carrying their own genes, which are capable of passing on information to the bacteria about the immunological defenses of various hosts. No other bacteria have such a high number of plasmids. They can change their form, jettisoning the normal spiral or corkscrew form, and take on a globular form, rendering cell-wall antibiotics useless. They can also go into dormancy if attacked by antibiotics and can remain like that for up to 10 months, until a more favorable environment develops. They can take over cells, killing the nucleus and wear the cell wall as a disguising cloak or mask. This is another ‘terrorist’ way of avoiding recognition by the immune cells. They can replicate parts of their genes, build them into the cell wall, then throw off this part of the cell wall and send these splitters on a trip through the host organism. They can even mimic the host’s own body cells by changing the molecules on their surface. They can then fool the defense reactions of the body and if still attacked may make it more likely that the body’s immune system will also attack itself, leading to auto-immune conditions, including Multiple Sclerosis or Rheumatoid Arthritis. These diseases are now being attributed more to Lyme disease than before.
(The behavior of the Borrelia, exemplifying the strategy of guerrilla and terrorist tactics, adds an interesting parallel in this age of terrorism and the cultural and political impact of the ‘War on Terror’ being enacted by the powers that be, with resultant dilution of democratic rights and justification for foreign wars. Looking at this parallel may allow us to consider the synchronicity of the growth of this disease as a metaphor for the wider obsession with terrorism and its exploitation for political control – This comment was written 9 years ago, before Covid19 changed the world but the comments remain as valid perhaps).
Borrelia are highly mobile, can spread quickly throughout the body, do not prefer the blood and so are often undetectable in serum and often remain out of reach of antibiotics. Within 10 days, they can cross the blood-brain barrier and can survive with very little oxygen and do not need iron, in contrast with other bacteria. Their slow rate of division (every 12-24 hours) makes them more resistant to antibiotics than most bacteria. Normally bacteria divide every 20 minutes. “Bacteria that divide every twenty minutes can be eliminated with antibiotics within two weeks: given their slow reproductive rate, one would have to take antibiotics for up to eighteen months to achieve the same effect with Borrelia spirochetes.”
The array of diseases that could in fact be attributable to Lyme and Borrelia is a long list, including Multiple Sclerosis, Arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, Chronic fatigue, Alzheimer’s, ALS or mental psychoses. The problem then becomes worse with inappropriate treatment, which can even encourage the growth of Borrelia. Some research indicated that 60% of patients diagnosed with MS were positive for Borrelia (Klinghardt 2005).
Identifying and Testing challenges: False negatives and positives
The problem is that often the two main tests used, the ELISA and Western Blot do not test positive for Lyme. Even if they do and antibiotics are given, they often don’t work or only partially, leading to more antibiotics which then creates their own problems. Many doctors will dismiss the symptoms of a patient after antibiotic use and attribute the problem to one of hypochondriasis. “On the average it takes twenty-two months and the patient goes through seven doctors before Lyme disease is correctly diagnosed.”
The concern over the reliability of the two main tests done for Lyme disease is an issue the author discusses, stating that their accuracy is around 55% with both false positives and false negatives, also saying how different labs come up with different results and identical blood samples often tested differently. One reason is that the IgM antibodies which they are testing for only form after the 3rd week of infection and disappear after the 8th week, so testing before or after this time will produce a negative result. IgG antibodies stay in the blood much longer, even years, and even when the patient feels healed and has no more Borrelia, their presence will produce a positive result. Having other diseases, including other bacterial diseases, including syphilis and some viral infections such as herpes and Epstein-Barr will also produce a false positive test. Apparently there are 40 strains or subspecies of Borrelia spirochetes, which also leads to error. Also, the Borrelia can hide in various places in the body, including blood cells and tissues such as joints, tendons, white blood cells, etc, where antibodies won’t be formed against them. When antibodies latch themselves to the antigen in order to neutralize them, they no longer can be identified as antibodies. So even a low antibody account does not mean the infection is low. It can be the opposite. So even testing negative does not mean they are cured.
Other tests used can be equally problematic, including a spinal tap, the Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (PCR), the LTT (lymphocyte transformation test), the RIBb test (Rapid Identification of Borrelia burgdorferi), and the Visual Contrast Sensitivity test (VCS). Given the difficulty in obtaining accurate results, one cannot say how many cases of Borrelia infections there are and how many wrong diagnoses with many other known conditions, such as Chronic Fatigue, MS, Fibromyalgia, depression etc. Correspondingly there is now also a tendency to overprescribe the condition, with wildly varying figures given for new cases.
In terms of symptoms of the condition, only about 50% of cases develop the initial bull’s eye rash, termed Erythma migrans or EM. Most commonly, people experience flu like symptoms, fever, fatigue, stiff back, headaches, aching limbs and swollen lymph. Then more chronic symptoms may settle in, including muscle pains, nerve paresis, neurological problems, facial paralysis, numbness, tingling, mild encephalitis and arthritic pains. In the late stage more chronic conditions take hold and as mentioned often resemble chronic auto immune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, MS, Lupus, scleroderma, Alzheimer’s disease, later stage syphilis, psychosis etc. Heart symptoms can also occur.
The author quotes Lyme experts William T. Harvey and P. Salvato, who estimate that 15.5% of the world’s population (nearly a billion people) is infected by Lyme disease spirochetes and Dr. Lee Cowden believes that half of the patients who are chronically ill are actually suffering from Lyme disease. However, these figures are only estimates. Then some consideration is given to how this disease suddenly seemed to come about. Is it actually a new disease or not? It is commonly known that the modern manifestation of the disease occurred in Old Lyme, Connecticut in 1975, although the Borrelia bacteria was known before this and tick bites were common enough for a long time. The author veers into some philosophical speculation of why the bacteria would suddenly seemingly become so aggressive. Was is a reaction of global abuse of antibiotics, some kind of soul intelligence of the species avenging itself, or an expression of Gaia, putting the brakes on humanity and its tendency to abuse the planet.
The possibility of being a man-made disease
The author then mentions the possible connection between the onset of Lyme disease and the biological weapons lab on Plumb Island, just off the Long Island coast, which apparently leaked their research, including bacteria infested ticks that were designed to be dropped on the Soviets or Castro’s Cuba. The author mentions this but doesn’t give it too much weight. (However, a well researched book on the subject was written, called Lab 257: The Disturbing Story of the Government's Secret Plum Island Germ Laboratory, by Michael C Carroll makes a very good case that ticks escaping this facility got a ride with passing birds and landed in Old Lyme, Connecticut. It is not just another conspiracy theory but well documented research and the book was even acknowledged by Mario Cuomo, the ex-Governor New York State and Father of the current Governor). Others suspect that environmental degradation and climate change may be a factor in the explosion of the disease. The author then even mentions a classic conspiracy theory, saying that maybe the disease is being massively exaggerated by Big Pharma and the medical profession, with the goal of getting large research grants and government money to look into this new ‘epidemic’, especially as AIDS and other diseases lose some of their fervor. However, aside from the possibility of a man made catalyst, the environmental changes over time that allowed deer and mice to grow in numbers, including the overuse of pesticides and herbicides that killed predators of ticks e.g. ants, spiders, wasps, birds, may be a factor in the development of the disease. In Europe where the disease has spread it is the wood tick that carries the disease, not the deer tick. In Europe the destruction of foxes has led to more rodents.
Quoting from a book on Lyme by Monika Falkenrath, the author looks at the possible connection between the live oral polio vaccines given in the 1950’s – 1980’s and the development of post polio syndrome conditions in the 1980’s, which could include many Lyme cases, as well as MS, fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue etc. Was there a connection to the original live oral polio vaccine given over 20 years previously? Many of these conditions look similar to post polio syndrome. This is a fascinating hypothesis, but as the author points out, it would not be acceptable to the medical profession and drug manufacturers that make the vaccines and so a good publicity campaign to distract from this conclusion had to be initiated. Maybe attributing the Borrelia to all these conditions is just part of this agenda or at least a good excuse. It would be consistent with the medical profession’s obsession with the idea of bacteria and viruses being the sole cause of disease, irrespective of environmental, social and other possible ‘soil’ causes, all factors that would allow these bugs to flourish.
However, as the author points out, there may well be a number of ‘causes’ that has led to the Lyme epidemic and we do not have to get so conspiratorial – heavy metal poisonings in food and water, medical and chemical synergisms, chemical pollution and vaccinations may well all contribute to the onslaught on the body and environment. The bacteria may well be fairly incidental in the scheme of things.
Following on from that argument, the author discusses the onset of polio epidemics in the 20th century and how that coincided with the use of certain chemicals, including DDT. He describes the ubiquitous use of DDT in people’s homes and gardens, on their pets and on their fruit and vegetables. This chemical savior was everywhere and its use peaked between 1950-1955, the same time that the polio incidences also peaked. It was not only DDT but Chlorobenzyl which was produced from the 1st world war on and then put into DDT as part of its pest control action. To quote the author, “In the middle of the 1940’s, the National Institutes for Health proved with animal experiments that DDT was obviously responsible for damage to the same part of the spinal cord that is also affected by polio.” So perhaps the virus is not the cause of polio, similar to the Borrelia? After the oral vaccine was introduced from 1955, incidences of polio actually increased, only to go down after the DDT ban! Not only that, but the oral vaccine produced by Salk, contained monkey viruses, especially SV40 and all the vaccines given between 1955-1963 were contaminated by the virus. (Subsequent to this, the connection between simian viruses and AIDS is widely known in the AIDS community, especially in the possible contamination of the Hepatitis B vaccine when first given to gay populations in urban areas of the United States. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) even admitted that contaminated polio vaccines with simian viruses led to increased cancers in the United States and elsewhere. This was only admitted over 40 years later)
The author speculates that our increased removal from nature and the manipulation of fear of the unknown has created an antagonistic relationship toward nature and instead of recognizing its beauty and wildness is seen as merely an existential threat to our very survival, requiring technology and control to protect us from whatever contagion lurks out there, be it plant or animal. Therefore, are these risks being exaggerated, leading to more fear, and are the ticks and Borrelia an extension of this fear. As he says, “Lyme disease is becoming a fashionable condition, with over 2,510,000 entries on the internet.” Dr’s diagnose the disease ever more often. Some doctors now say they belong to an ‘elite’ club of experts on Lyme disease. The author questions whether Lyme is going to be a fad, reflective of cultural influences as much as strictly medical ones. (This fear is now being seen globally due to Covid19 and exaggerated by media and governments, another expression of the disconnection with the earth. We are believing we can control a virus such as a fairly ubiquitous corona virus by suppression controls such as lockdowns and then with the panacea of a vaccine to save us. Is this another example of a deluded state in the way we relate to nature or more a reflection of the way in which the people all over the world are being manipulated for economic and political control.)