Lisl Meredith Huebner, Dipl.CH (NCCAOM), RH (AHG), CMA
Anyone who is even slightly familiar with Japanese Knotweed knows that it is tenacious and difficult to eradicate. The plants seem rather intelligent, adapting to the various methods of “warfare” thrown at them. Even small pieces of root can repopulate quickly, taking full advantage of suitable circumstances to run rampant.
Anyone who is even slightly familiar with Lyme disease knows that it is tenacious and extremely difficult to treat. The spirochetes that cause it seem rather intelligent, adapting to the various methods of “warfare” thrown at them. Even small populations can survive for long periods of time in an imperfect environment, just biding their time until conditions improve and will take full advantage of suitable circumstances to run rampant throughout their host.
Oh dear. There seems to be striking similarities between these two entirely different species. I point this out to illustrate that the qualities inherent in Japanese Knotweed are precisely the factors needed to combat the obstinate and frequently debilitating spirochetes that cause Lyme disease. You could refer to the overall personality of Knotweed as a “doctrine of signatures” of sorts; the survival traits natural to this plant are powerful indicators of the benefits that we may utilize in our quest for health, particularly when confronted with a powerful adversary like Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is caused by the Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete, a microorganism carried by ticks and other biting insects such as mosquitoes, biting flies, mites and fleas. A spirochete is a gram-negative bacterium that “screws” itself into tissue -particularly collagen- and can encapsulate quickly under adverse conditions, going dormant until its environment becomes more hospitable. Spirochetes are notably clever, and easily adapt to elude antibiotics; they can then exchange resistance information within their community and to other co-infections, making treatment ever more difficult. A close cousin of this spirochete is one that causes syphilis, and consequently there is troubling evidence that Lyme can be transmitted sexually as well as through mother’s milk, saliva and in utero.
Japanese Knotweed is a native of Asia, but was introduced in
in the nineteenth century. The clones introduced in Europe reproduce through their rhizomes, not via seeds so all the plants there (and likely here in the Britain also) are in essence, one giant female. Known as the King of Weeds (Let’s change that to Queen, shall we?), the hardy Japanese Knotweed is the best known source of resveratrol and trans-resveratrol, naturally occurring compounds that are antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant and anti-spirochetal and have a myriad of other health benefits as well.
Plants like Knotweed produce resveratrol in order to combat disease and to become more tolerant to environmental extremes. Not long ago, red grape skins were the primary source of resveratrol in supplements, and the impetus behind the theory of the “French Paradox” which implied that the generous inclusion of red wine with a high fat diet prevented heart disease. Research has found that Polygonum cuspidatum, abundant and readily available, contains much more concentrated resveratrol and trans-resveratrol than grapes, making Knotweed a much preferred commercial source of this valuable antioxidant. It’s unlikely that the French predilection for pinot noir will be replaced by Knotweed anytime soon, so don’t throw away your wine glasses just yet.
Resveratrol can help lower cholesterol and regulate blood pressure and has shown promise for the treatment of certain cancers, breast cancer in particular; as a complementary treatment it can raise white blood cell levels during chemotherapy and radiation. During menopause and senior years, resveratrol can help protect bone density levels and increase the mineral content in bone tissue.
Japanese Knotweed is effective against a variety of organisms including the Lyme co-infection bartonella, leptospira, gonorrhea, and meningitis; its strong antifungal qualities make it especially inhibitive toward Candida albicans. It is also a powerful antiviral agent, effective in the treatment of herpes, ECHO viruses and various strains of influenza such as SARS and Asian flu (which in my opinion, is a far more attractive option than vaccinations of questionable origin).
What makes Knotweed so valuable when it comes to treating Lyme disease is that it not only inhibits the spirochetes, it is also markedly anti-inflammatory, reducing joint pain, swelling and fever. The anti-inflammatory effect helps to regulate the immune system and prevents it from being over burdened; its modulating effect makes it useful for many autoimmune ailments. Knotweed supports the central nervous system and protects the heart, making it especially valuable in the treatment of Lyme-related carditis.
Lyme disease affects more than the joints; symptoms can range from pronounced fatigue, fever and aches to foggy thinking, memory lapses, muscular spasms, rashes and vision problems. The spirochetes that cause Lyme make a meal of collagen tissue, and their favorite restaurants include your joints, skin, eyes and brain. Knotweed has a strong ability to protect those tender areas, stimulating microcirculation and directing other herbs to otherwise difficult to treat regions of the body. The constituents in Knotweed are also able to cross the blood brain barrier (BBB), protecting delicate cerebral tissue and harmonizing blood flow. Regular supplementation of Polygonum cuspidatum during or after an active infection will help sharpen mental function and relieve pain throughout the body.
During effective treatment of Lyme disease, patients frequently experience what is known as a Herxheimer reaction. A “Herx” response is a healing crisis of exacerbated overall symptoms; fevers spike, joint pain becomes more pronounced, fatigue may increase –basically the patient feels absolutely awful. The reason for the aggravated symptoms is a massive die-off of the pathogenic spirochetes creating a high volume of toxicity in the blood. Believe it or not, this is a good sign: the treatment is working. It doesn’t seem like good news to anyone experiencing it however, and this is another instance where Japanese Knotweed can come to the rescue by reducing Herx symptoms and aiding in systemic detoxification.
Lyme expert and Master Herbalist Stephen Harrod Buhner recommends a core protocol of four to five herbs in the treatment of Lyme disease: Japanese Knotweed, Andrographis, Cat’s Claw, Stephania root and medicinal mushrooms. Since the publication of his book, Healing Lyme in 2005, thousands of people have reported significant improvement if not complete relief from their Lyme symptoms using this basic protocol. Treatment works best when an experienced herbalist adjusts their healing strategy according to each individual’s needs and be aware that Knotweed is contraindicated with pregnancy and blood-thinning medications.
The core belief I’ve held since I was a child echoes the Indian theory of existence as stated by Mourning Dove Salish, “...everything on the earth has a purpose, every disease an herb to cure it, and every person a mission…” I agree with Buhner when he speculates that the link between a so-called invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed and its handy availability in the presence of emerging persistent diseases like Lyme,
Please call 8 6 0 - 4 8 0 - 0 1 1 5 or email HerbaLisl@hotmail.com if you have any questions, would like to schedule an appointment, attend meditations, weed walks, or are interested in taking classes.
Your knowledge of the healing power of plants is a gift to the world. I will be referring often as a resource, so keep it up!ReplyDelete
I will SO keep this in mind if I am dealing with Lyme Disease ever - too bad it doesn't grow here in Western Montana (or at least I haven't seen any yet)! This is a different plant from Chinese Knotweed (aka Ho Sho Wu or Fo Ti), right? The plant the Chinese use to regrow hair, and back to its birth color? Thanks again Lisl!!ReplyDelete
You could use He Shou Wu the same way, it's a close relative. The translation of He Shou Wu is "Mr. He's hair never turns gray." or "Black-haired Mr. He."
True fact, I watched my friend's hair go from pure silver to salt & pepper, then to 50%+ black and gray.
After harvesting the knotwood, how would you prepare it as a treatment for lyme? As a tea? Why doesn't knotwood contribute to a herx reaction? Does it not kill off the spirochetes?ReplyDelete
Is "Anonymous" referring to the same plant? I hope they double-check the Latin name just to be sure. I see it is the roots that are used, so it appears a decoction would be better than an infusion. I would also think this could be tinctured in vodka? If so, what are the normal dosages? I look forward to Herbalisl's response.ReplyDelete
As a side note, I understand that the "Western" version of He Shou Wu would be to use Nettle with a small amount of Horsetail, and to use it as an infusion (tea). My hubby is using that, along with some Gotu Kola in his blend. We will see!
When I go out in the late Autumn to harvest the Knotweed (not knotwood), I sit quietly and ask for assistance from the plant spirits and then ask for "volunteers". The plants that offer themselves as medicine always stand out and release themselves from the Earth easily.ReplyDelete
First I wash the roots outside with the hose on a powerful setting several times, cutting away small rootlets as I clean them. Be aware that there are many nooks and crannies that hold an amazing amount of dirt! I dry the woody roots on racks over the woodstove for a couple of weeks, then break them apart with a small hatchet (carefully!)
I generally prefer to do the Knotweed as a decoction, not a tincture...that's just my personal preference (likely b/c I'm TCM trained).
Roughly 9-12 gm of herb to 2 Qts water; soak 20 minutes, bring to boil, immediately reduce heat/cover/simmer about 30 min.
dose: 1/3 Cup/2-3X daily
Re: the Herx reaction...it's just part of the blessing of the plant that the Herx is reduced...it has detox qualities. and it does kill spirochetes too...but like I've said, Lyme is difficult to treat even for a trained practitioner...it's wise to seek assistance with any protocol!
PS: AarTiana, Let me know how it goes with the Hubby!ReplyDelete
wonderful post Lisl! Thank you!ReplyDelete
i love your website but background is too dark to read comfortably--ReplyDelete
thank you for all you do---i wish background was lighter so i could read it~
I have heard that from a few people, so I figured out the problem...
what browser are you using? Try downloading the newest version of whatever you are using and it should fix the problem. I use Firefox, because I really prefer it over Internet Explorer. You should see the brown background at the borders with a white page over that where the text appears.
If that fails you, highlight the text with your cursor and you should be able to read it, or cut and paste it to a Word Doc.
Let me know if that helps!
PS I am working on a book, so a good old fashioned paper page may be an option!!ReplyDelete
I really wanted to read this but the dark blue print on brown background makes it impossible : (ReplyDelete
It should be on a pale background overlaying the brown... not sure why some people's browsers are doing this!!ReplyDelete
well, I changed the template... I hope this resolves the problem for y'all!ReplyDelete
Hi - love your website! My 9 year old was just diagnosed with lyme (his knee had been swollen badly for two months on and off; finally got bloodwork.) I read about many herbal protocols but never the combo: black walnut hull, wormwood and clove to kill the spirochete. Why not? Wouldn't that help? Thanks!ReplyDelete
it may... and it sounds like a sensible protocol, so long as he has a strong constitution. It is far more effective for me as a practitioner to assess people one on one... we all have such individual nuances!! Feel free to contact me directly, I'd be glad to talk with you at no charge for 10 minutes or so.ReplyDelete
Best of luck and Warm Blessings,
Nice work, thanks for posting!ReplyDelete
So, Where does one buy a good quality product of knotweed? Hard to know from so much info on line what a good / quality source might be.ReplyDelete
Personally, I either wildcraft mine. But I also use another herb which is a close cousin called He Shou Wu or FoTi. Because I am a licensed practitioner of TCM, I get these from my pharmacy. As far as brands in stores... let me look into that a little and get back to you. I am currently in the process of creating an online store to provide excellent quality herbs for everyone. Stay tuned.... and THANKS for commenting!!ReplyDelete
You can have all the knotwood I have. Please, take it. It's choking out my wildhopes raspberries!Delete
We here in NH have been hit w/ Hurricaine Irene.. The river has washed away my wonderful fertile soil. I have just heard that Jap. Knotweed is sprouting up all over. With loss there is a gain....My daugher has chronic Lyme in CT. After I clean and dry roots (I have a wood stove), can I store them?...Can I put in a bottle w/ some liquid? Wondering how to have all year to share w/ my daughter. thank youReplyDelete
The dried roots will store very well for at least a year. Keep them in a clean glass jar, tightly sealed, out of the light at room temperature. You can use these roots for making decoctions.ReplyDelete
If you want to make a tincture, chop the roots up into small bits (this is difficult due to the fact that these are VERY hard roots!), place in a very clean glass jar and completely cover with vodka. Keep it out of the light, and shake it daily... you will strain the tincture after about a month or 6 weeks. That will store indefinitely. See the section of this blog for more detail on making tinctures and decoctions.
I just bought Knotweed capsules from the source that is recommended by Buhner. I'm trying to find out how to take them. I am already taking teasel and samento with pretty decent results.ReplyDelete
hmm i made juice out of the young shoots the other week, it was like swamp slime with a lemon flavor....i wonder how good it would be to dig up the roots in spring while fresh and just juice the roots like ginger root or something? I'm wondering if that would be almost to potent.ReplyDelete
I tried to pull up some roots in the Spring and although the plants were about 2-3 feet high there wasn't much root. I have decided to wait until there is more root to harvest.Delete
the shoots are eaten for food when very young (under 8 inches tall), but this is not the potent medicinal part of the plant. If you are planning to harvest in spring, the shoots should also be no bigger than that. If the shoots are 2-3 feet tall, they are too far developed and the energy of the roots is more concentrated on growing the plant, not being in the roots as medicine. Plants that have been around for many years are going to have larger and more established roots and rhizomes than the more newly established plants. If you've found a patch of knotweed, the older plants will be more concentrated in the center of the patch. Good luck, everyone.ReplyDelete
I am involved with the control of Japanese Knotweed as an Urban Forestry Technician and have huge misgivings from an environmental and ecological point regarding the suggestion of digging and transporting of any variety of Knotweed. This is a case of were a small amount of knowledge can be a dangerous thing as the ramifications of the damage this plant can cause are only now really coming to the forefront. Transporting a noxious plant by any means is usually not permitted by any Department of Agriculture, by County, Municipal, Regional, State Laws and By-Laws.ReplyDelete
If you must use Knotweed in your remedy I suggest finding a source where the powdered form is already available. For every plant you dig up more are created and I have seen people wash the roots off in river systems which really add to the problem.
My background is in Parks and Recreation with a Diploma in Biological Sciences and Certification with the International Society of Arborists PN-6528A.Currently involved Invasive Plant Management through control and removal of noxious weeds within a City environment.
Please use the utmost caution to not allow any pieces of the root get away from you... it will spread very quickly... this is why it's so invasive. I do think that with responsible harvesting, this is a good medicine for people to utilize.
Please keep in mind that the rhizomes of the Knotweed can extend up to 23 feet in length and 9 feet deep. In a dense thicket of Knotweed you will find the rhizomes are connected from the source (parent) plant out to the extending clumps. It is in essence one huge organism with each clump identical in genetic structure to the parent plant.Delete
I have heard it referred to as the world's largest female organism.ReplyDelete
Can you use Japanese Knotweed,Samento,Banderol together to treat lyme?Or do you think the herx would be to intense?Great article very informative.Delete
It depends upon the case and the constitution of the individual in question. To help with the Herx, it's good to ramp up liver function (milk thistle is often employed here) and to promote diaphoresis (sweating) and diuresis (urination). This can help the body to flush out the dead spirochetes as quickly as possible. This may be exhausting for especially frail patients, so those cases require even more attention to rest and nutrition.Delete
Hello, we have knotweed root available. Ecologically and responsibly harvested from unpoluted areas.ReplyDelete
I heard knotweed was great for neuropathy, what is your take?ReplyDelete
I take everyone on a case by case basis and generally will employ Chinese herbal formulas for cases of neuropathy, but the herb does help to circulate blood in TCM.Delete
You are amazing! Thank you for your knowledge and I guess we all have it when we start to think on our own. I have just read the article about it's invasion in London and strength of this super weed and thought straight away: this must have tremendous healing powers since it can withstand so much. I have to find what they are. And HERE YOU ARE.ReplyDelete
I live in London and will spread your name with your message around the globe.
GAIA is ready for anything, as you say.
We have had the same patch of Knotweed for 50 years and maybe longer, before my time so I can't attest to its true age. We have mowed around the edge to keep it in check and I spent a good part of my childhood playing in it. It has never spread away from the site. It is a beautiful plant and we will be keeping it. Thanks for your beautiful article and words about its uses and applications and how people can benefit. We do have plants considered invasive that truly are invasive, but this is not one of them Easy to keep, easy to manage. If you don't have any nearby, it's not a menace as people say, just adaptable and there to help us on our way. Our site is not along a waterway and can't be spread downstream by flooding. I think flood waters and maybe a hard rainfall or snow melt with serious erosion could spread a patch downstream, but that is really an outside force, not the plant's doing.ReplyDelete
We need some Asian plant medicines growing locally - some people think Lyme originated in Asia, and was first documented in Lyme, CT by the naval shipyard - and that it was brought back in the blood of our sailors. Like with many plant diseases, the cure is local and can be found where the organism calls home. Now that it is here, we don't have to look far - the plant grows well in our back yards. Nice ornamental garden plant, stately, bees love it too. Not really a bamboo, but similar, lots of fun for kids.