Monday, 26 November 2012


Artemisia absinthium


Wormwood has become a staple anti-parasitic treatment - along with cloves and black walnut hull - thanks to Hulda Clark's parasite cleanse. Treating parasites is often a first step in treating Lyme. These aren't just intestinal worms. In the West we tend to think that we're not at risk from parasites. But common pursuits such as gardening without gloves can leave us at risk of picking up parasites. If we're not doing anything to get rid of them, they're probably going to stick around. Wormwood, black walnut hull and cloves are generally taken in a fairly low dose for a month. After a month off, they are then taken for another month.

Extracts from wormwood (artemisinin and artesunate) are used widely to treat both malaria and borreliosis (Lyme disease). These extracts tend to be from sweet wormwood (Artemisia annua) rather than Artemisia absinthium, perhaps because sweet wormwood, known as Qing Hao, has long been used as an antimalarial treatment in parts of China. In Chinese medicine, the whole herb is used rather than an extract. It's likely that there are many active ingredients that work together. In Western medicine however, it's all about repeatable amounts of measurable active ingredient, which is why the extracts are used. Of course, pharmaceutical companies can't patent a plant, but they can patent an extract or an extraction method.


Wormwood can be useful in several ways when fighting chronic disease:
  • As part of the Hulda Clark parasite cleanse, along with black walnut hull and cloves
  • As an anti-protozoa treatment (it is used in this way to treat acute malaria
  • As a general anti-microbial treatment
  • As a treatment for acute psychosis
  • Directly on the skin to treat Lyme-related skin conditions, and itching or burning sensations (NOT in sensitive areas)


Wormwood and sweet wormwood look very similar. They're actually members of the daisy family. You can grow them in your garden, or keep an eye out to find them in the wild. They're most likely to be found in wasteground, as they don't like enriched soils. They are hardy perennials. The easiest way to recognise them is probably the shape of the leaf. If you taste the leaf you will know for sure whether you're right, as wormwood is one of the bitterest plants around.

Both A. absinthium and A. annua can be used to treat chronic disease.


Wormwood flowers in late summer. Pick it as it's coming into flower, or once in flower. To collect sustainably, take no more than three stems from a large bush. Cut the stem with secateurs or similar to avoid damaging the plant. Some sources state that you should wear gloves when collecting it, as the active ingredients can be absorbed through the skin.


The choice with wormwood is whether to chop it and turn it into a tincture, or whether to dry it and take it as a tea or infusion.

  1. Chop finely and put into a jar.
  2. Cover with 40% vodka or similar.
  3. Shake every day for a fortnight.
  4. Strain through a muslin cloth or similar, bottle and date.
  5. Keep in a cool dark place.

Dry on the stem. Hang somewhere warm and airy for around a week. Once dry, separate the flowers and leaves from the stems. Put into an airtight jar and store in a cool, dark place. It is unlikely the wormwood will moulder, as it contains such good anti-fungal chemicals.


If taking as part of the Hulda Clark parasite cleanse, take 10-15 drops of tincture 3 times a day.

  • If taking the higher "acute malaria" dose, take 20-30 drops four times a day for 3-4 days.
  • Alternatively, put a teaspoonful of dried wormwood into a cup, pour boiling water over, cover and leave for 5 minutes. Drink. Do this 3-4 times a day.
  • If taking to treat psychosis, use as above for "acute malaria".
  • If applying directly to skin, first try it on a small area to be sure that the skin can take it. If it can, rub tincture into affected areas (itching, burning, strange skin conditions etc) as and when required.
  • An alternative treatment method involves waiting until a particular symptom appears, one that has historically been helped by wormwood. When it does, hit it hard with the wormwood. Dosage may vary, but the acute malaria dose is a good place to start. Do not take wormwood at a high dose for more than a few days. If taking a lower dose, take for no more than a month, and then have a month's break.


DO NOT USE IF PREGNANT - Wormwood has long been used to cause abortions.

DO NOT TAKE FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME - If taking low dose wormwood for the Hulda Clark parasite cleanse, it's OK to take it for a month. If you're taking the higher dose to treat malaria, Lyme or other microbial infection, only take for 3 or 4 days in any week. If it's taken at too high a dose for too long, wormwood can cause permanent harm to the nervous system.

If applying the tincture directly to the skin, try it on a small area to check for sensitivity first. DO NOT use it on sensitive areas.

My Experience

I originally tried wormwood as part of the Hulda Clark parasite cleanse, as I'd read that when treating Lyme it's important to get rid of any parasites first.

I then took the pharmaceutical antibiotic Cefuroxime, which gets through the blood-brain barrier very well, for three months. When this course came to an end, all hell broke loose in my head. I guess it's because a lot of "hibernating" forms of Borrelia (or whatever else is in there) suddenly realised it was safe to come out again. I lost insight into my condition, and probably went a little crazy.

I don't know why, but I was drawn to the wormwood. I had some tincture left over from the parasite cleanse. I took about 5ml in hot water. Almost immediately I started to feel a lot better, in control of my mind again. I took a similar dose a few hours later, and again, until I was feeling OK.

I subsequently looked into wormwood, and found out about its value as an anti-microbial, in treating malaria. I later cottoned on to the use of artemisinin and artesunate in treating Lyme. Indeed, my LLMD (Lyme Literate Medical Doctor) suggested I try artesunate, but I've stuck with wormwood. I largely use it as a tincture, but am going to try it as a tea as well. It's become one of my "Big Three" herbs, along with fly agaric and yew.

I sometimes use the wormwood tincture directly on my skin, when I get a sudden outbreak of burning and itching in hands and feet. It does seem to help to take it internally at these times as well.

I've recently found that St John's wort seems to soften the edges of the wormwood, to sooth the nerves somehow, and is a good complement to the wormwood.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Flowering Yew Tips

Taxus baccata


According to, yew has been used medicinally since time immemorial. In Chinese medicine it's used for arthritis; in Indian, rheumatism. Native Canadians use it for kidneys, sinuses, rheumatism, uterus and the digestive tract. A fungus that grows on the bark is currently used in pharmaceutical cancer treatments. Companies are now offering tablets and tinctures as food supplements, for example VitalYew. This is generally offered as "immune support".

Chemistry student Cynthia Ann Evans found that yew tincture protects trout eggs from mercury poisoning. Since mercury poisoning in particular, and other toxins in general, are often implicated in Lyme and other chronic disease, this paper may be of interest. Perhaps yew offers cellular protection from mercury and other toxins.


In addition to the historical use and possible protection from mercury mentioned above, there is another theory. Lyme disease is essentially infection by a variety of micro-organisms. One aspect of treating the condition is to kill off these micro-organisms. One way of achieving this is to take something that is poisonous, enough to kill the micro-organisms, but not so much that you will poison yourself.

According to, the yew promotes normal cellular function by using taxanes, which destroy abnormal cells. In addition, the yew has developed compounds which resist disease from moulds, viruses, bacteria, fungi and pollution.


The yew tree is an evergreen, often found at sacred sites such as churchyards, though the yew are likely older than the churches. The trees are generally either male or female, though some will have both male and female parts. The trees flower in very early spring. The male flowers are small, round and yellow. The females develop the red arils (fruit) in late summer.

The foliage grows all the way to the ground, unlike pine trees, which have a bare trunk. However, yews may have been clipped, and may have a bare trunk for that reason. Yew is a popular hedging plant, and often used in topiary.


I have thus far favoured collecting the flowering male yew tips. These can be picked from the tree by hand.


Chop finely. If making a smoking mixture or tea, dry in warm air and store in a cool, dark place. If making tincture, place in a jar and cover with alcohol. I use ordinary shop bought 40% vodka, which seems to work fine. Shake the jar a few times a day. After a fortnight, filter through a muslin cloth and store in a cool, dark place. The leftover chopped yew tips can be used as a herbal bath.


Prior to making yew tincture, I bought the commercially available VitalYew tincture. This recommends 10-15 drops 3 times a day. Bear in mind that the VitalYew tincture is 1:3. If you make the tincture by covering the chopped tips in alcohol, the ratio is likely to be closer to 1:1, so you may need fewer drops.

I noticed that the yew tincture had exactly the same effect on me as Banderol, and also high dose, short term anti-malarial Plaquenil. If you follow the Banderol link and visit the site, you can see that Banderol is used in the treatment and eradication of a wide variety of micro-organisms. It's an established Lyme disease treatment. I used it for 11 months and felt I benefited greatly, but it was eventually a little expensive, and I wished to replace it with something else, something I could make myself. I was also interested in finding out what our ancestors may have treated these conditions with.

The suggested dosage for Banderol, which I implement for yew dosage, is as follows. On Day One, take one drop three times a day. Day Two, two drops three times a day. Day Three, three drops three times a day. And so on, up to a maximum of fifteen drops three times a day. If at any point you start to feel worse (possibly a herx, a Herxheimer response, because many micro-organisms are being killed off, and producing toxins), go back to the amount you were taking before you felt so bad. Stick to that until you've stabilised again, then try increasing by one drop a day again. Treatment is very much a marathon rather than a sprint, and it's best to retain what quality of life you are able to.


DO NOT TAKE IF PREGNANT. Yew has historically been used in abortions and in expelling the afterbirth.

VERY POISONOUS. Do not exceed the recommended dose. Many people have died of yew poisoning. Amongst the ancient Celts, it was the preferred suicide method to escape capture by the Romans.

My Experience

I've mentioned above that I experience the same effects on yew as on Banderol, and acute malaria dose Plaquenil. These effects consist of:
  1. nausea
  2. dizziness
  3. sharp, acute agonising pain (seemingly in the muscles, though I believe it to be a result of the breakdown of hard deposits in and/or around the lymphatic system)

Some of these effects aren't dissimilar from the description of yew poisoning, and very great care must be taken. I experienced these effects on even a minimal dose, which satisfied me that it was due to micro-organism die-off rather than poisoning. I was happy to take this risk, but I certainly wouldn't recommend it to anyone else.