We've got Amina Eastham-Hillier back on the show today. This time around Amina is talking all things Lyme disease. Amina is an experienced Lyme literate naturopath who specialises in testing and treating Lyme disease, Lyme co-infections, mould related illness and chemical sensitivities. Amina is a treasure trove of knowledge in her area's of expertise and today's chat offers a grounded and holistic approach to healing stealth infection and Lyme disease.
Mason and Amina cover:
Who is Amina Eastham-Hillier?
Amina owns a successful multi-modality clinic in Noosa comprising of 18 practitioners. With over 15 years of Naturopathic and 25 years of Nutritional practice, Amina successfully treats chronic illnesses and complex cases. Amina is a Keynote speaker presenting to medical doctors and naturopaths at international conferences, medical documentaries, TV interviews, radio, seminars, webinars, podcasts and workshops. Author of “Lyme Natural” Amina won the award for ‘Australian Practitioner of the year’ in 2017 and is currently finalising her second book (Chronic stealth infections – Filling in the missing pieces).
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Check Out The Transcript Here:
Hey, Amina. Thanks so much for coming back on and chatting with me.
Oh, you're welcome, Mason. Thank you for having me.
Always a pleasure. I think it was about two years ago that we jumped on, when we were different podcasts by then. Mason Taylor Podcast. We chatted about Lyme, we chatted about mold, mold when just got distributed out. And so everyone in the SuperFeast community has begun to become familiar with you and your awesomeness and I want to continue pointing people in your direction because I've found you always really influential. And watching your Instagram, I love watching you being a practitioner, live and breathe the lifestyle up in your retreat. I love your foraging tips and I love watching all the notes when you go to these conferences, whether it's ... I know you're going to ... What's the conference you're going to this weekend, you're presenting at?
Oh, it's actually in September, but it's in Melbourne for metagenics and it's all on fatigue and looking at intricate details of just what's going on with people with fatigue and why are they not getting better? Looking at a lot of biotoxins and underlying viruses and lots of things. Very exciting.
Well, I just love watching the adventures because you go along, obviously, and attend and upgrade your skills. You can just really tell you're an absolute nerd for all of this.
I do love it.
Yeah. I feel like ... You know, we've spoken to you a couple times. I know how deep you can get into the nuance of the body and testings, and really going after and hunting for the source of symptoms. And you work a lot with people with extremely chronic illness. Right?
Yes, yes. I do.
And we were just talking about the fact, as well, before how when you look down the barrel of either going through western medicine, a lot of people go down that gauntlet and then come out the other side without answers. And then coming into the, for lack of a better word, the natural treatment, going down that route. I can understand why going down the western route is often necessary, of course, but is cozy and comfy because there's this integrated nature where there's a specialist for everything and your doctor will talk to the specialist. On the surface, that's the idea. There's a big web that you know you don't have to think. You're just caught in it. But then if you look down, often, the natural route, the amount of information out there, the amount of conflicting information, of course that's in the western medicine as well but it's that non-integrated web that makes it so difficult at times and you've kind of got to stand up into your sovereignty and be your own hub.
I know I send so many people your way when they're dealing with stealth infection or Lyme, as well, because I know ... I read that at Noosa Holistic Health ... Is that Noosa Holistic Health?
Yep. And you were saying how you've really created a hub and how you ask for every single test that's ever been done through the western model or beyond in the natural world and try and create that melting pot. On that, I think it's important for people ... We're going to go into Lyme today. I think it's very relevant in this instance, but know whether we're dealing with chronic illness, whether it's stealth infection, or just a mystery. Finding someone who can create that hub and go and be the detective and be that central point, I just want to know ... obviously, you've created it. I just want to know the extent of which you put importance on that for someone. And then what do you like to see and procure in your patients for them to be able to feel like they have the capacity to start to be that melting pot, themselves, and really feel that health sovereignty while being supported by practitioners?
Okay. So first of all, when patients come in initially, obviously I'm listening for what their main concerns are. And I have a jigsaw puzzle template by my side and it literally has about 50 odd pieces and I can squidge them all around if I need to. And this empty, blank jigsaw puzzle template, I actually start writing everything on and it becomes a full puzzle. And I think that's the main thing for the people to understand when I'm first having consultations with them is that they may come in saying, "Have I got Lyme? Is it this? Is it that? What's wrong with me?" And you can never give one person a definite answer because, the thing is, there are often so many things. So there are many pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.
For example, someone might come in and they think that they've been bitten by ticks or they're not even sure, but they've got chronic fatigue, they've got pain. It might be just random pain, fibromyalgia-type pain or aches. It's often brain fog. Maybe a bit of sweating, maybe not, digestion problems, anxiety, all of the common symptoms that we see that aren't getting addressed with the normal medical models. And we just start putting it together. So I just go through a very comprehensive history and just putting all the pieces. So whether they have had chemical exposure, mold exposure ... I mean, this is a very broad summary of what I do. I think an answer to your question, is that ...
Yeah, for sure. I mean, I guess I almost wanted just to make sure everyone had an insight into the depth and level that you'd want to be able to demand or go and find with a practitioner in order to qualify.
And then what's the difference? Do you see certain ... the difference between a patient and just some qualities that other patients, you can help imbue in them in terms of not feeling overwhelmed or feeling empowered in the fact that you can transfer? The fact that you, yourself, you've got so many patients, so much stuff going on. You can't hold the constant hub for every single patient. At some point, it needs to bridge over into the patient themself, especially with long-term healing. Right? Is there ...
Absolutely, absolutely. So what I like to do, I think it's really important, if patients want to. Not all patients want this. They do like the practitioners to take charge and they don't really want much information. But I think, these days, it's really important to take charge of your health and have it that each person really understands themself. So that's why I really encourage patients to gather all of your past medical results. It doesn't matter how long ago it was. Get as much information as you can. If you had a stool test with a naturopath 10 years ago, get it. Let's put it all together. Let's see, where did this start? Because of the patients that I'm seeing, they're often very chronic, complex patients that often have so many things going on and that's why it's very difficult for them to go to any one place and get a diagnosis.
So it's really important for us to gather as much information as we can. And if you haven't had past tests, that's great. That gives us a clean platform to go, okay. Well, now we know what we need to do in the way of functional medicine testing as well as working with their doctor and seeing what treatments they may be getting at that time. But I just definitely, I can't express enough how I think it's important for patients to take charge of their own health in a way of just knowing what's going on, knowing what has happened in their body before they got really sick, and understanding their family history, things ... Even looking at genetics can be really helpful, knowing what their sensitivities are and their triggers, and understanding the state of their adrenals and nervous system, and understanding their gut and being mindful of, "Is my gut going good? Do I need a bit of a detox at the moment?" Or, "Do I need a detox from life? Do I need to sort of step back and go and have a rainforest walk or something?"
So just being really mindful of all of the systems. And that's something of a naturopath that I think is really important for us to educate patients so that they know what to look out for and they know how to be their own sort of one-stop hubber and check in on themselves, as well as having the support of the professionals.
Yeah. I just don't think it can be said enough. It's a great reminder and I just wanted to bring that up in the beginning because, at SuperFeast, we get asked so many ... every day. It's phone, email, Instagram, getting so many questions and some of them very gnarly and very deep questions. We don't consider our role to kind of play practitioner, we just don't. We continue to stand in the fact that we're doing tonic herbalism and we are standing for a particular philosophy and lineage. However, we don't like leaving everyone high and dry. And so what I feel like I consistently want to do and for the podcast and having these kinds of conversations, is continue to make distinct ... just that simple nature of ... when you say, "Become your own practitioner," I feel like that's quite loaded because I'm prone to this, then I feel the pressure, and I'm very much prone to putting pressure on myself, to have a level of understanding using similar language, that a practitioner would have in a specialised area, of myself.
And then with that and put a couple of other things on my shoulders that I'm doing in life, it becomes overwhelming and I feel I'm kind of failing at this. I don't know how to manage my own body. I need to continue to rely on practitioners. But what you're saying, I just don't think it can be repeated enough for everyone to remember. If you just gather all that information so you know thyself, you can understand little patterns and your constitution. You get little clues and then put it into language that ... For me, it's been especially useful. Just put it into language for a lay person or just put it into language that's not charged and easy for you to then go take into your kitchen and your lifestyle because, as you said, just knowing. It can kind of seem like it just gets on repeat. And I just want to make sure everyone's listening. Reading your body and your digestion, watching the way that you're pooing, or your nervous system can tell if you can get that pattern to go, "Wow, it's time for a little bit of a walk. Right now, it's time for a little bit of practice...
Absolutely. That's right. And it's just having that understanding. And sometimes, I find when I go through and I put all the pieces of the jigsaw puzzle together, literally, and then the person can see, "Oh, there's quite a few things going on." Not to be overwhelmed at all, but purely just we can see, look, we do need to work on all systems here because all systems are affected. And of course, I'm not saying to be their own practitioner and treat themselves. I'm very, of course, into seeing a professional practitioner that can monitor and help you with the dosages of herbs and so forth and give you the right medicine. But just, I find a lot of people will bounce around from many practitioners to practitioners, different types of practitioners and still not understand the basics of what's going on with their body. If they could see that, they might not be as overwhelmed and see, "Okay, I need some help with my adrenals," or, "I might need to do a bit of a gut detox. I'll go and see my practitioner," be it naturopath, Chinese medicine, integrated doctor or whoever. And we work together.
Yeah. That working together, I don't think it's that rare anymore, but I don't know, sometimes it feels like it. I know that's definitely the biggest thing we get when we're like, "Look, we're really just going to have to encourage you to go and have someone onside, have a practitioner onside." And it can just seem like such a daunting task in the beginning, going and finding someone. But they're out there and if you're on the sunny coast, you know where to go.
So I want to dive into Lyme. And I especially just wanted to make sure I had this resource for everyone in the community who is asking us questions. There's just so much that I can do in terms of saying, "You know, read." I like Stephen Buhner's work. Sending to your website. But I just wanted to speak to a couple of things that come up constantly that I feel will be useful, and especially useful for my team, hearing it from you in this context to pass on.
For those of you that don't know Lyme disease, can you give a little elevator pitch, Amina, knowing that most people will know and there's many resources for people to get the understanding, including your website. But do you want to just give a little brief update for everyone? And especially your current understanding of Lyme infection?
Absolutely. And I must say that my current understanding is just becoming more and more expansive as the years go by. But your traditional textbook Lyme is someone's been bitten by a tick and that tick has given the person an infection of Borrelia bacteria. And as a result, the person gets very sick. So it's a tick-born bacterial infection. That's a very simple textbook example. However, we know that there are ... Now Lyme, I think, has become a bit of an umbrella word. In Australia actually, a lot of practitioners use the term more Lyme-like illness and I think that's probably more appropriate because we don't know exactly what we're dealing with. So there's a lot of different types of Borrelia, not just Borrelia burgdorferi. There's actually a hundred strains or so.
There's actually a lot of different types of Borrelia. We know that this Lyme-like illness is not just caused by ticks. We know there possible are other vectors. There's even been talk of mosquitoes. A study in Germany showing that mosquitoes could possibly be carrying Borrelia. I know there are possible other insects that can certainly pass on very similar co-infections, like midgies, sandflies and passing on things like mycoplasma bartonella, that co-infections that often coincide with Lyme patients.
And we know that it can be passed on by utero. So if a woman's pregnant, she could definitely pass it on to her baby. Doesn't mean the baby's going to have the full on symptoms like the mother may have had. I certainly have seen quite a few different levels of patients. Some people have a positive Borrelia result, maybe even from a couple of different labs, and they really are okay. They're not suffering from a lot of symptoms. And I've seen people that we test and they've got negative Borrelia and it's not being picked up. Doesn't mean it's negative, but in the blood, the urine, and serum. And they've had lots of tick bites, lots of rashes.
So it's a very broad umbrella term. But generally, I feel that now what we're dealing with when we're talking about Lyme-like illness ... the technical name is actually borreliosis because of it being from the Borellia bacteria infection. However, I think we just need to look at the facts that there are a lot of ticks and a lot of other biting vectors in Australia. We know that the ticks carry many bacteria. So rickettsia, ehrlichia, anaplasma, bartonella, which is a cat scratch disease as well. And we also know that Babesia, that's a very common infection in kangaroos and wallabies and is a similar infection to mosquito malaria.
And recent studies just last year have come up with Australian ticks ... The one study, they had 21 viruses that they actually found in the ticks and they were actually affecting penguins down south of Australia. But in the studies, they weren't so sure if these particular viruses are going to affect humans, which is a very kind of, I think, controversial subject and could be. So the point is, the ticks are also carrying a lot of viruses. In fact, in this particular study, two of the viruses hadn't even been discovered. No one really knew what they were. So they're pretty yucky things. Hence, we call them nature's dirty needles. Ticks, they really are a bit of a problem.
So just back to a couple of things. So you were talking about vectors, the possibility of passing on Borrelia by utero. And I think we got asked this question just after the mold podcast that we'd put out. It was one of the reasons I thought we've got to do a specific Lyme podcast, because someone was asking in terms of whether it can be sexually transmitted or via saliva.
I'm not sure via saliva. I, from a practitioner perspective and upon conversations with many other practitioners from Australia and overseas that deal specifically with Lyme, I'd say clinically, anecdotally, yes. It can be passed on sexually, considering it is actually very similar. It's a spirochaetae bacteria that's very similar to syphilis bacteria, which is passed on sexually, of course, and very similar way of presenting within the body. Like, the initial syphilis, you'd get the canker sores and Borrelia, you may get the erythema, target-type rash. May not, as well. And then the symptoms can flare up for a couple of weeks or so and then, maybe, be a little bit dormant for a few months and flare up. That can happen with the syphilis for sure.
So I think, yes. And why I think this is because I have seen families that we have tested the whole family and the mother might think she got it from the father for some reason. And upon testing, they all do have it. And the father or the mum says, "I've never been bitten by ticks or not to my knowledge." And then the children have it. So that has happened on a number of occasions. So I would say, yes.
Yeah. Okay. So going back to the dirty needles of nature. Obviously, we were talking about the simplicity before with understanding patterns of your body so you can read your body and take very simple actions. And then you accumulate an incredible amount of benefits through taking ownership and responsibility. I think what's confusing, definitely has been for me, is just the simplicity of that. You get lost in just how potent that small accumulation of practicing that, what that can do for your health.
In relation to Lyme, I think it's definitely worth something not being paranoid about, yet being extremely vigilant about, especially in the east coast of Australia, where we're at. The same as east coast of America and all these places where, obviously, you just need to be very real and not stay in your little box in your concrete jungle and be unrealistic about the fact that you live within gnarly nature and there is the possibility for many vectors to come and bite you. So in terms of just basic principles of prevention, have you got some just quick tips for people to embody into their lifestyles when they are camping or when they're foraging, as you do?
Absolutely. I live out in ... I've got acreage. So every day, I go for a walk through the forest. And with my dog and I sometimes go through long grasses. So of course, the first thing is to make sure that you check yourself for ticks when you get home. So I recommend people wear light clothing if they can and then you can see the ticks. And whenever I've gone for a walk, which is pretty much every morning, I just strip off and just get straight in the shower and those clothes end up going in the wash. I also check my dog, as well, because my dog is running around with me and she does get quite a few ticks, but we get them quite quickly.
So just be mindful of that. If it's a hot day and you've got a bunch of clothes, you're not sure ... because it's a lot of washing, otherwise. If you've got a bunch of clothes, you're not sure, it's a hot day, just put your clothes in a suitcase in the car. The ticks aren't going to survive in the heat of the suitcase. Or put clothes in the dryer for a few minutes. But definitely, you just need to check and be diligent about ... and just know, just check all over your body or your nooks and crannies.
I mean, I have had quite a few tick bites and, of course, I go straight in with my herbs, my echinacea and my astragalus and garlic, anyway, because I actually am taking my regular immune herbs and vitamin C every day. So I'm keeping my body healthy. So I think it's important to just be healthy, as well, of course. It comes down to diet, all that sort of thing. I mean, that's the extreme, walking through forests and long grass. If you're just going for ... You need to get out. If you're just going in a park or something, just be mindful. There's lots of places you can go where the grass is short. Tuck your pants into your socks sort of thing and just enjoy. I think the benefits of being out in the nature and out in the fresh air is so helpful for your nervous system and immune system, anyway. At the end of the day, you have to live. So this is really important.
And it always helps to have ... Well, I like using those tick-specific tweezers, having those around when you get the ...
Oh, yes. For sure. Always have good tweezers and you can use things. There are some sort of ... People use citronella and sometimes even a little bit stronger that they can spray onto their clothes, but I think if you're going to brush up against a tree or something like that, that's when you're more likely going to ... if you're brushing up against plants and if you have animals, because animals will bring ticks in the house. So you take your boots off in the house and go and make sure you have a ... get in the shower and just don't be sitting around on your bed sort of thing with your clothes that you've been out in the forest with. Things like that. Just be really diligent.
And in terms of if you do get a tick bite and you remove it, are you a fan of popping on dragon's blood? Any little myths that you want to bust around what you should be doing, topically?
I actually use ... I've got a medicinal throat spray that's got sage and thyme and echinacea and I actually spray that on the bite.
That's a great idea. Yeah.
I think if you can use your herbs, topically, I think something like good-quality manuka honey is really good. But otherwise, just keep an eye on it. I mean, if you're going to get bitten by these sort of types of insects and ticks and mosquitoes, you just need to be mindful and just keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn't come up in a rash. If it does, then you take further precaution. And, yeah. There's not really anything more I would put onto a tick bite, no.
Yeah, great. Just those little things to add to your culture. That's what people, over the years, when I ask ... I always get curious when people have all the herbs. And living in particular areas. Astragalus, for a lot of people, they're like, "Yep, in autumn." And then if I get a tick bite, comes up quite often that they ... just as you said. A little echinacea, even just getting a little bit of manuka inside of you, but they'll take a big does of astragalus, as well, if they have a tick bite.
Just as a little precaution.
And mushrooms, as well. I mean, you can get the shiitake, maitake, reishi's, and chaga's in and give it ... because there is going to be, at the time of consuming medicinal mushrooms and the beta-glucans they do in astragalus, as well. They're going to get into the bloodstream and you're going to see, most of the time, a direct impact on white blood cells and natural killer cells and macrophage activity. So that's the other one that always comes up.
Absolutely. Definitely. I've been using some medicinal mushrooms in my clinic recently. So just some new formulas and I'm just finding, yeah, the benefits are really awesome. I think it's great. Anything you can do to boost your immune system up, but definitely the shiitake, ganoderma (reishi), and so forth are really definitely helpful and part of keeping the immune system as strong as possible.
Yeah. I think we've got to make sure we stay in touch for when you really dive into the medicinal mushroom literature. It would really be good just to jump on and have a jam. Maybe at that point, that's what we can do when I get up to the sunny coast and I can come and visit you up there. Is it just called Hillier Retreat?
Okay. I'm coming to visit you up at Hillier Retreat and we can go have a forage, because you've got ...
The mushies up there are incredible, especially because obviously, being tropical, you can even find the tremella's snowflake mushrooms.
Oh, yeah. There's so many. It's actually fascinating. Every day when I go for a walk, I find new mushrooms and it's just because we've got a lot, there's tree's fallen and it's just the perfect environment. Oh, it's just amazing.
Can't wait. So then the other time we get a lot of questions, so probably the most for us is people writing to us and saying, "I've just been bitten by a tick," and they're not used to it. They haven't been in the shrub much and so ... But then after that, we do have a lot of people writing to us, whether it's themselves or their children, identify that it's been a tick bite, possibly, because I know that the rash or the bullseye esha is, I think ... what is it? Like, 60% of the time or something like that, that that..?
Different statistics. I've heard anywhere between 30 and 60% of people will get a rash. And if you've been bitten on the scalp or some nook and cranny, you're not going to notice a rash. And don't forget, some of the ticks are so minute, they're nymph, the size of a pinhead, the baby ones you're not even going to notice. You wouldn't even know. You'd just rub it up with a towel and you might not be aware of having one at all.
So just to help us consolidate our advice or if we're going to refer people to this podcast, what would be those first steps? What would you be looking out for symptomatically and what would be something that you'd go, okay, now you want to actually turn your head to that and knock it on the head?
Okay. So if you know, yes, there's just definitely been a tick or a tick was attached, you might not know how long it's ... If it's just literally crawled on your arm and you feel it attached, just take it off and it's not likely going to have passed anything on too severe. But we don't know how quick. The bacteria has to actually be passed on through the tick's hypostome, it's little, pointy sort of appendage that sticks into you. And it needs to be really actually feeding in a proper feeding moment for the bacteria to release from its stomach. So depending on how long the tick's been on you, just get the tick off as quickly as easy as you can without squeezing the tick.
Then, just be mindful. So you could certainly put any sort of antiseptic or a lot we just said, topically onto the bite. And then I would boost up with vitamin C. I would definitely boost up with those herbs. What to watch out for, if you do get a rash, then I would be more than likely, if you get a specific bullseye rash, I probably would recommend just go to a doctor and get a couple of weeks of Doxycycline, at least.
If there's no rash ... Sometimes it can just be a bit red and puffy and swollen. Lymph glands swell up. It could just be a normal sort of allergy reaction to the tick because that can definitely happen. So just keep an eye on symptoms and, at this point, I would definitely be boosting up those herbs. Your anti-spirochete ones, so your astragalus, echinacea, as we said. Siberian ginseng, for example. Garlic ginger, which I would recommend you get the practitioner support with that, with the dosages.
Would you put cat's claw in there, the uña de gato ?
You can, but it's very difficult to get good quality cat's claw in Australia, right now.
Yeah, you know what? I stopped stocking it because of that.
Yeah, it's very difficult. I would love to be ... I did use it a lot, but I haven't been able to get it for a good couple of years and until I know that my quality sources that I get it from are available and I'm not really trusting any other ones. But there's plenty of other herbs. Andrographis is another beautiful one for these initial infections.
So definitely, prevention is better than anything. So boost up on the herbs, anyway, and just be mindful. So that infection, you might not get any symptoms but, if in the next couple of weeks, two or three weeks, you do get some flu-like symptoms, I would go and get tested. As in, go and get checked with the doctor and just get checked. Things like rickettsia will come up quite quickly. You might need to wait about six weeks before the tests will actually show anything positive in those early stages, but I think that's a good cause for, if you have all of those symptoms, the rash, feeling not so good, lymph glands up, and then you get the flu-like symptoms, a bit of fever, it could be not necessarily Borrelia, it could be rickettsia, it could be a bit of babesia depending on the symptoms. So therefore, I would get onto it. Boost the natural packet treatment with your practitioner and you may need to go on antibiotics.
I say this very open-mindedly that there is a place for the antibiotics, of course, for traditional medicine or conventional medicine. And we can work together on that. So I think if that is the case, otherwise, if it's just a case of, "I've got bitten and now I'm okay a few weeks later," you've been taking your herbs, eating well, resting, and nothing really flares up, I'd say that you're probably okay, but just be mindful of those. It's the symptoms that come up like the aching joints, the knee pains that, "Mmm, didn't have that before," and you haven't been running or anything in particular, to know that there is an ongoing infection. And it's really ... yeah.
I assume it'll be similar symptom presentation in children?
Yes, but children often won't explain exactly what's going on, but you'll know. I mean, a child might get fevers. You'd know that. The glands are up, maybe. And if they're young, they'd probably be crying a lot, feeling very uncomfortable, irritable, not feeding so well. The stools might be a little bit loose, showing there's systemic inflammation that's affecting the gut, as well. Rashes, doesn't have to be the bullseye. A bartonella rash can be almost like stretchmarks on the body. Any sort of rash, I think, needs to be dealt with.
Yeah. And that was, when I got bit ... I think we've spoken about it. I mean, for some people might be new here, my interest was really spiked. And it was three years ago, and I got bitten by a tick, but it was very micro and it stayed on me for about three or four days and we just didn't catch it and we thought it was something else. And it was at that point, it had been feeding because it became engorged. And at that point, now I understand, oh, that's when you really got to watch it, when that engorgement has occurred there can be a transfer of bacteria. Got it out and then we were a few months away from having a baby and then I went down, the esha presented. "Okay," kind of kept on going. Kind of like, I don't know. I don't know if it was just because I was just so healthy and was just like, "Right, cool. I'll charge through this." And then after a few days, started getting fevery and started getting aching through the joints in my right hand, somewhat in my knees.
I'd listened to enough of Stephen Harrod Buhner. You can't listen to him or read his books without coming across Lyme quite extensively. So I was like, "Right. I kind of know what this is." And so at that point, in came the andrographis, the high dose vitamin C's, a lot of astragalus and all that. But it went on for, I think it was seven to ten days it went on and I just continued to deteriorate in fever and just couldn't get out of bed. And then I was listening to one of Stephen Buhner's podcasts and he was just reiterating that, at that point, this is when you ... He's teaching about antibiotic resistant bacteria now, running rampant as many awesome herbalists are. Yet, he's like, "At this point, that's when doxycycline is going to be very useful for you to knock it on the head," and I was just in that position. I definitely had that solid belief that I would never be turning to anything like that for the rest of my life, but yeah. That one Monday night, I was deteriorating thinking, "Geez, we're having a baby soon."
I'm at this point, and this is what I want to discuss with you next, I'm at this point where it's possibly able to be dealt with on a surface somewhat level, on acute or subacute level. And I obviously want to ensure that these bacterium aren't able to really dig their way into my system to cause that long-term infection. And so I did. I went Monday night to the emergency in Byron, showed them the rash because, here, they're a little bit more open minded. They were like, "Oh, yeah. We know what that is. Here's your doxycycline dose." And I know a lot of people have been turned away. However, I know a lot of doctors in emergency rooms have turned people away. So I'm not sure if you have any advice there on what they can ask for or say, but that sorted me out in 24 hours. And then I just continued to maintain that protocol of completely supporting my immune system and my nervous system for months. My whole lifestyle was that, but high, high doses of these herbs for quite a few months to get it out.
But, yeah. I think it's nice to hear that that's the advice that's still standing, still quite nice and simple...
Yeah, I think so because I've seen patients that, for example, they may have been bitten by a tick in California or in Germany and, straight away, they went to a doctor and they were only given maybe two or three weeks of doxycycline or similar. That's the main one, antibiotic. And even just taking it for that very short period of time did make it help their body, but they didn't end up getting a full-on chronic Lyme symptoms, have that go on for years and years. And how long you take it for is really dependent on the patient because some patients, in those acute times, may need it for quite a few months, that particular antibiotic and other antibiotics. But I think if you can just get in there as soon as possible and the herbal medicine, then you've got a really good chance.
And we can sort the gut out later. We can deal with the side effects of the antibiotics and we can work on that. It's better to, I think, initially do that. And some people can't take antibiotics, it's as simple as that. So therefore, we have to just do the herbs. But this is in the real acute, black or white, yes, you've got it. There it is and we need to deal with that infection. I think it would be negligent to not have it treated with the antibiotics and using the herbs. So when I see patients that are ... most of the patients I see that are more chronically Lyme, then it's a different story. I do feel it's a different story than if ... It's questionable whether the antibiotics might help them at that point if they've already had it for two years, also, it's like, mm, okay, that's where I probably would go more herbal medicine, but I'd go in very gently. I don't go in with the hardcore antibacterial herbs at high doses, whereas I would with the acute Lyme.
Yes. I mean, well that's ... Chronic Lyme seems to be, whenever I see anyone explaining the fact that we will have herxing reactions as you're removing infection from the body or busting up open biofilms, it's always Lyme disease that's used as the example. "Such as in Lyme disease..."
Yeah, absolutely. And it's very important to ... it's almost two disease, acute tickborn infections and treating someone that has chronic Lyme that they may not have even known whether they ever had a tick bite or anything but ... they may have a positive Borrelia, they have all the symptoms and then we need to treat it. That's when it becomes a beautiful example of how naturopathy can help by putting all those pieces on the puzzle and treating that person holistically. And if you don't treat all of the systems, if you miss out treating the adrenals, they're going to stay tired. If you don't detox them properly and work on the liver, they're not going to eliminate those lipopolysaccharides, the dead bits of the outer shell proteins of the bacteria upon killing them.
And inflammation has to be addressed at all times. The gut's got to work well every day. Every part of the body needs to be working at its best. When I talk about the jigsaw puzzle that I put together, there's so many factors then in chronic Lyme that are pieces of the puzzle then. It's not just about, yes, someone got bitten by a tick. Now we're looking at a full piece of toxins, mold, so forth, and the viruses.
Well naturally, because your immune system and your energy levels, your hormonal cascades are going to be out of rhythm during that time if you've had months or maybe years of chronic infection, as well. Right? So naturally, just on the back of that, not to say that there was stealth infection or stuff going on beforehand. Naturally, it's going to come into a ... And it often seems like a perfect storm. I've met a lot of folks, especially around area, had long-term chronic Lyme and they're exhausted from the treatment protocol. I've never seen more of a bit of a jadedness towards how much they need to do and keep their finger on the pulse to get well, when it is extremely chronic. Do you feel like by bringing back a little bit more flow in the sense of understanding the puzzle, understanding how the holistic nature of what phase we're in of treatment and also what the consistent pieces of the puzzle, as you were saying, got adrenal liver. Of course, they're going to be primary. What's your take on managing the mental load and the emotional load of that whole treatment protocol?
I think it's important to ... When we talked earlier about just taking charge of your health, you don't have to be knowing what to do, you just need to be understanding what's going on. And then work with someone that can put it all together. So for example, it can be quite simple. I can have someone with many, many piece of the puzzle. All those heavy metal toxins and genetic, MTHFR and pyrroles, and the mold exposure. It's all along there.
All the trendy things to get diagnosed with at the moment.
Yeah. All of those things. The tooth infection, the mercury fillings. It's all on there, you know?
You know what? Maybe a bit of SIBO. I know that's pretty hot right now.
Absolutely. SIBO. They've got adrenal depletion from stress that they've had. Usually, there's a period of time when they've had stress. So there's often many pieces of the puzzle. And then we need to sort of put it simply. And simply, I just look at the systems that need, basically, support. So diet. Diet alone can be amazing just to help the person with a personalised diet that's going to work for them. So making sure that they've got enough iron, enough vitamin B-12 for detox methylation, enough protein, amino acids for detoxification again, and neurotransmitter support for their nervous system chemicals.
And diet, I think, is such a ... obviously, it's a really important part, but I think it can be so overwhelming in itself for people of what they should eat. "I've got histamine sensitivity and salicylates and oxalates and ..."
Yeah. I mean ...
It can be very overloading. So I think just bringing it down to really simple, a simple basic diet, simple vegetables, and understanding what works for that patient and what doesn't, because everyone's different. So I think that the diet is the most important thing and reducing any sort of inflammation triggers. Obviously, alcohol, coffee, the basic things that would be better to reduce or eliminate if possible. I like to use anti-inflammatory herbs to reduce inflammation because inflammation is going to make everything worse. And stress is going to make inflammation worse. So we've got to also work on the nervous system, the adrenals for the adrenal support.
So in answer to your question of how do we put it all together, I think was what you were asking, is just looking at it and it just really needs to be simplified. Even looking at the liver and make sure the person is detoxing well. Well, you know, it's a case of how you feel when you eat. Do you feel nauseous after you take your B vitamins? That might indicate that your phase two detox pathways aren't working so well. You're not able to tolerate garlic of sulfurs or ... What's going on? Is there methylation problems? We can actually look, by understanding the symptoms, what may be going on there and offer that very basic liver support that might be just a case of having the right amino acids, proteins. Having some tumeric, some broccoli, sprouts. Making sure that maybe a bit of N-acetylcysteine might help just with ... obviously, we're trying to boost the Glutathione and make sure that the liver is doing its job. I love St. Mary's thistle for hepatoprotection and just to help the liver naturally do what it is supposed to do.
So it's just about looking at the areas that really need the most addressing. And symptoms of things like brain fog and memory and focus, concentration. That can just be often due to inflammation. So often, just having some anti-inflammatory support. tumeric, amazing. chamomile, calendula, fennel, marshmallow, beautiful herbs that will support gut and inflammation can actually reduce those symptoms just by working on reducing the inflammatory markers.
So a couple of things that are coming up. In previous conversations, we've honed in to certain explanations of particular issues using Classical Chinese terminology. And there's one thing I feel like, really, when I've gone down the depths of trying to understand naturopathy and that pathway and tried to ... I know for yourself, as well, I know the immense amount of success that you're having, which is incredible and I feel like, although I get the conversations from people who are in that exasperated state when it comes to not just naturopathy, but all doctors and all the different things that they're trying, and so I always try and not focus on that but really try and find out the key things that are, what's up? What's going on that lead to that exasperated state where someone can't really get on top of it? Hopefully, get through their symptoms and then get on the mend where they have that health sovereignty.
Something about the way that you talk about all this, I was trying to figure out why I feel comfortable and why ... Dan Sipple, I don't know if you know him. He's a naturopath down south of Sydney.
Oh, yeah. Yeah.
Yeah. So he's a good friend of mine. Our personal naturopath, but especially working with my mum. He originally introduced your work to me and he really liked your stuff, as well. I think there's a nice bridging there. Not that you can merge systems. I definitely don't think we can merge and lay over Classical Chinese medicine with naturopathy, but there's something that flows in when you talk that you don't so much purely sit in that, "All right, what's the symptom? Bang. Here, slap this protocol on." There's a looking, and maybe correct me if I'm wrong, but there's a looking for somewhat of the pattern that's leading to the pathology with a particular person and then a desire to understand what's constitutionally going on for them, which leads to a bit more of ... And I know that's the theory a lot of the time in naturopathy and that's the theory of, now, modern, traditional Chinese medicine which has deviated from the classical nature and deals with symptoms, but I feel like theoretically what they say they're doing and what's actually happening is two different things because, and quite often, what's in the way is living it as a way of life.
I feel like that's kind of what I feel is there's a bit more flow with the way you're talking about this and possibly why we see you getting such high success rates because there is that little bit of extra time in order to identify what that underlying pattern is, not just focusing on the shiny thing that is the symptom or the pathology.
That's exactly right. And one thing I'd like to bring up is what I'm doing a lot of work with at the moment, are the underlying causes of why are the people not getting better, or why they ... Sorry, that's my dog out there.
That's all good.
Beautiful Jessie. Why people start getting better when they start working on their bacterial infections, but then other symptoms arising and it's viruses. We're just not paying enough attention to the underlying viruses. And I think this is something that I'm really doing a lot of work on and I'm ecstatically excited about because I'm realizing that, when I'm working on the viruses with the patients ... For example, someone in their jigsaw puzzle, they had Epstein Barr virus, glandular fever, when they were a teenager. And they had immunoglobulins tested. So it would come up IGG. So, yes, they had that Epstein Barr virus virus a long time ago. The IGM may not be coming up, sort of active antibodies, but they're still presenting with funny sweats and aches and pains. And this is almost like new symptoms and we know that, with borreliosis and a lot of these Lyme-like illnesses, symptoms do move and change.
So looking at it, when you look at the person, you realize they had Epstein Barr virus, they've still got active herpes, or they had cytomegalovirus. Oh. And when we test, they actually had Ross River virus or Dengue fever comes up a lot, Barmah Forest. Coxsackie virus, which is your mouth, sort of your hand, foot, mouth disease viral thing. And what I've realized is that upon further testing ... There's a lab in Germany that, ArminLabs, that's actually looking at more detailed Epstein–Barr viruses and actually seeing that, even though a person had IGG antibodies, they're actually coming up with high levels of lytic Epstein–Barr virus within the cells. It's not the latent Epstein–Barr virus, which shows that basically the virus is now almost reactivating.
Now, viruses are not like bacteria. They have their own DNA or RNA, but they're not like bacteria. They have their own organelles. The virus needs to get into a living cell, be it a red blood cell or a bacteria and it uses the cells organelles. So it needs to use our own cell organelles in order to replicate. So if a virus is in a system that maybe that person's not massively healthy or they have low levels of mitochondria, which is your energy powerhouses of the cell, or the cell is not very sort of full on effective at that time, the virus will just sit there and hang out until the cell is more nourished or ready. Or the virus will go and find another cell.
Now what happens is, say the person starts dealing with their chronic Borrelia infection or their other bacteria, their gut dysbiosis or parasites, then it's like almost when the person starts getting a bit healthy, then the viruses will start replicating.
Oh, god. It's so ...
This is what's going on now and that's what I'm feeling is a big area. And I know that there are quite a few other, specialist practitioners that deal with chronic fatigue and retroviruses and things like that. There's a Doctor Dietrich Klinghardt in America that's looking a lot at retroviruses. And I would have to agree, because this is what I'm seeing, as well. And I think being mindful of that, we need to make sure that the person also has viral support and that we understand and the patient understands what's going on. Because otherwise, what happens is they take herbs and go, "Oh, yeah. I did this, but it made me worse." you know a full on Herxing that's not being dealt with because they're not detoxing well or ...
Yeah, sorry to cut you off there, but it's really poignant and I feel like it brings up a position where I've sat with so many years, having essentially given people access to tonic herbs and to these medicinal mushrooms and then educating them as much as possible about appropriate ways to integrate these with intention. But then when you get these questions about, "Well, this is presenting and this is presenting, what's happening to me?" it is only so far and I feel like I like presenting five or six different options of what's possibly going on. And the nature of saying it's a detox reaction or it's a herx has, seemingly over the last few years, seemed too simplistic just to put out there. You know what I mean?
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yep.
And so just hearing this, it's just further bridging for me. I never expect them to be simple answers that come forth when people get clue ... there's always a chance that a herb isn't for somebody, which is always the first that I like to put forth. And as well, also, doses being too large at a particular time.
So that gets presented first. And then going on to what comes down the line, which I ... and the general attitude, and I can feel it in you and I feel it as well, is, "Well, this is bloody exciting because there's something going on here." And just hearing that nature of, "I'm getting better," but then, bam, I just get another hit in the face and then I go down again to some new symptoms. That trap, that loop when you are working purely symptomatically and you're not going for that underlying pattern. Or in that sense, you haven't figured the pattern that the reason there's a backlog or a bottleneck within a person who's, because phase two detoxification isn't actually able to occur and because they gut these and actually were able to eliminate, that I feel like ...
The word that's coming forth, which you are using in a practitioner mindset, which I feel can very easily be transferred into someone's everyday life before going and looking for solutions from one herb or looking to find the exact reason why you are reacting positively or negatively, seemingly, to a practice or a herb or whatever it is, is you can bring in these very sensible ideas of looking at what is the pattern that your body is going to need to be supported in in order to basically stop that bottleneck of symptoms from occurring? Or even the bottleneck of positive effects from a herb.
If you take a herb, as far as I'm concerned, you don't necessarily want to be feeling waves of energizing and vitality straight away. It shows that there was maybe a little bit of a deficiency.
So that level of sensible nature, that seems like that and you kind of ... I don't know if you feel it. I know I try not to feel dismissive in this nature when I talk to people and go, "Look, back off. I want you to be really making sure that your gut, your nervous system and adrenals and liver," you hit on them before, it's where I land, as well, "are absolutely running on optimal and are optimised so that you can possibly eliminate any of the reactions from occurring in the first place." That's the ideal situation. But sorry, I just wanted to touch base on that because I feel ... I'm going to have my whole team, especially the team who I'm chatting to customers, just listen to this so we can get a bit more context of how to communicate it.
Sorry, what were you wanting me to ...
Nothing. I just stopped there. I didn't even ask a question. But I did interrupt you when you were in the middle of talking about what's going on, just after you were talking about the retroviruses, that I interrupted you there. But either I can go on with another question or is there any more of that? Because this is super interesting and [crosstalk 00:57:48]
Oh, there is so much more. I think it's just something ... Our science, at the moment, we just don't know enough about the types of viruses. Like I said, the tick study that just came out last year showed that the Australian ticks have 21 viruses. There's studies showing that estimations of ... We have 320,000 mammal viruses that are present in our current world and possibly more, but that's just based on looking at different types of animal genre and looking at the types of viruses that might be specific to them. And it's an estimation, but I think it's a reality.
And you think about a virus, a virus is the size of a pea compared to a bacteria that might be the size of a watermelon, compared to the size of a red blood cell that would be the size of one of those giant gym balls. So a virus is a tiny, micro, micro, microscopic thing, yet it can be so powerful. I think the whole looking at the retroviruses that mean that the viruses are either RNA or DNA. And the retroviruses, they start off the single-cell RNA strand virus into a cell. They can actually, as I said, use the cells organelles to replicate itself, but they can actually, change themselves to become DNA-type viruses and they actually change the DNA of the cell, because when that cell that now is full of this active virus that's changed itself, and it's now using the human cell's DNA, now when that cell replicates it actually has already some of the viral DNA or RNA within it. So it actually is changing us genetically.
And that's actually not a bad thing because, environmentally, evolution, we need viruses. We need viruses. We need retroviruses to change us for evolution. It's normal. That's been happening for thousands of years, but it's just interesting. I think, at the moment, due to the way we are, our toxic bodies, electromagnetic radiation, all the chemicals, glyphosate that's being used. All of that stuff is actually exacerbating this growth of the retroviruses. That's the problem.
Mm-hmm (affirmative). I'm really happy that you brought up the necessity there of just the fact that we are sharing an environment and we are co-evolving with a virus, because it does bring up that reminiscence of when germ theory was really rocking and we're still in the medical model trying to destroy bacteria and can conquer bacteria when bacteria is, in fact, a part of us and the origins of our cellular matrix that is our ancestors and likewise. We, to an extent, have been evolving and have the possibility of living in harmony with viral loads that'll have that mentality of going to war. Never really going to ...
If that's the entirety of your mindset towards it, it's never going to allow you to get into what the Tao and what all these ancient philosophies were talking to was to start to get into unison with nature and with the elements. And that's where those basic principles can come about to ensure that you are not overexerting yourself. If you can take the years, and years, and years to not ... you need to alter your lifestyle so that you find yourself being able to come predominantly at the world, I'm really working on this myself at the moment, from a parasympathetic space and ensuring that you are getting your beautiful amount of sun exposure, walking and moving consistently, remaining hydrated, a diet that is working for your constitution and your intuition and is somewhat simple in that nature and not shrouded in dogma, then you've got those basic patterns and principles that will hopefully allow you to get back into unison with nature. And then we have our little tests and our supplements and our things that we can take to help us compensate for the way the world is going for as much as we possibly can.
So that, to an extent, these bacteria, these nasty viruses, perhaps we can slightly get back into a place where we are living in harmony or able to have our own cells and immune system be able to manage them so they don't lead to chronic illness. And it always comes back to that simplicity.
It is really about living in harmony. Sometimes I feel like I just want to sort of say to patients, we really need to accept the fact that everyone is going to have a lot of chronic stealth infections. We have up to two kilos of bacteria in our gut. We need bacteria to survive. [inaudible 01:03:15] bacteria beneficial and commensal and then you disbiotic when it gets out of balance. And of course, like I've mentioned, the viral role is an evolution thing. It's not something we can stop. Viruses don't all necessarily have to be bad, but if the body is not in balance, that's when the viruses will affect ... There's a lot of bacterial viral interactions that go on and I think this is what gets missed in these chronic patients. It's not just the fact that they have underlying viruses that haven't been treated. It's the fact that the viruses are now coinciding with the bacteria and actually ...
For example, there's direct interactions like influenza, just your normal flu virus. When it comes into contact with, say, a staphylococcus-type bacteria, like staphylococcus aureus, for example ... and there's been studies proving this. The influenza virus, it's like a big sort of ... well, it's not, it's tiny, like a round shape and it has lots of appendages, like lots of sticky things sticking out of it, like lots of sort of protease is what they're called, like these cleavers. And the staphylococcus can actually make the viral appendages split. So therefore, say the virus has a hundred little arms coming from it, it splits them so it now has 200 appendages. So it has more ability to cling onto the cell wall that it's wanting to attack or to intrude.
So the bacteria actually help the virus when it's first initiated into the body to survive. And other ones, like your herpes virus, can actually cause an immune suppression type environment that actually can lead to ... I think there's a gingivalis type bacteria that specifically, if you've got herpes and you've got that particular gingivalis bacteria within the mouth, they're actually going to work together so that the virus can actually survive a lot easier. [crosstalk 01:05:35]
Mm-hmm (affirmative). So amazing. I don't know. I find that really fun. I find it really exciting. Kind of reminds me just not to be a snowflake with the fact that there are so many opportunistic organisms around us and it's not because they're bad, it's nothing evil, it's just ...
They just want to survive, but we're all trying to survive. Everyone's doing the best they can, including the viruses. And at the end of the day, I think we're almost ... What I was saying I'd like to say to patients sometimes is that we almost energetically need to make these are friends and we really need to love our body. And that's where it comes down to. It's a very spiritual aspect, I know, but loving ourselves, loving our body, accepting what is and just allowing the balance to occur. Not neglecting oneself, but in the best environment you eat well, you breathe well, you sleep well, you eliminate well, you'd be outside, be mindful, be in nature, do all of those things that you can do to create optimum holistic health. And then because the viruses are going to do what they're going to do and the bacteria's going to do what they're going to do, but we create an environment that everything is in balance and in harmony and no one takes the mickey because, otherwise, they become opportunistic in that toxic environment.
Yeah, it's like having a bunch of delinquent children sometimes inside, but. And I really appreciate ... We'll bring this home because I know you've got stuff to do, but I really ... having off the back of a conversation that's so practical and in reality, and shrouded in testing and understanding exactly what's going on and which organ systems need to be supported in order to come back to optimal within 3D reality. I 100% agree that, at that point where you mind feels comfortable, that you're moving and you're on top of that, then going in and reestablishing your relationship with yourself and the viral and bacterial and everything else loads that, within you, can often ... I've found it to be often one of the keys. Obviously, there's many keys along the way that will get people over a particular hump.
And I feel ... I guess that's ... It especially brings up ... I have a friend who does a lot of this work in reestablishing your relationship with the entity of even wifi and 5G. And if you are just doing that and that alone and not being real about what's actually going on on a cellular level, that possibly can be wishy washy, some of us are strong enough to actually ... and I think we can agree upon that just with that reframing can reestablish a flow of Qi and self function in order to bring some protection. But most of all, what it does is it allows us to move forward without an identity that is derived by opposition. When we are opposing our bacteria and we're in opposition to viral load and opposition to this sick state that we're in, we create a massive glass ceiling in what's possible for us to go forth in our emerging identity.
So I really appreciate you bringing that up. Thank you for that, Amina.
You're welcome. Thank you.
I think we've got a couple more. We could probably have a whole ... After you've talked in September, it might even be nice if you'd be up for coming and sharing on an even deeper level what you're discovering and excited about with these viral infections and these ...
... retroviruses. I think, of course, it'd be really fun. And then dive into the mushrooms. And when I get up there, we'll have a deep dive and have a nerd-out on that world of mushie love.
That'd be awesome. Absolutely brilliant. That'll be so cool.
So best place ... In the notes, everyone, we'll put Amina's websites and resources and Instagram. I definitely recommend Instagram, as well. But is it best website for people to come and just quickly check out your work and find all your additional resources around Lyme disease, especially?
Yeah. So I've got my Amina.com.au website and then I've also got the Lymenatural.com. And I've got my book, Lyme Natural. That's about some of the stealth infections and mold illness. And I'm currently writing my second book that's on stealth infections. That's a lot more about the viruses.
And their involvement. So there's a lot of information. So, yeah. My Facebook and my Instagram, I'll be sort of sharing where I'm up to. Yes.
I love it. Amina.com.au. Super easy. Everyone, jump on there and definitely follow. I do recommend Skype and Facebook. I'm sorry, I've just read Skype on your website. Obviously, that's come out.
Yeah, I do do Skype sometimes.
On the other thing I've just read. Nature and Health Practitioner of the Year winner. I love it.
Yeah. That was awesome. I was very lucky.
I can imagine. You're a legend. Thanks so much for coming on and I can't wait to speak to you next time.
Thank you so much, Mason. Thank you. Bye.
Part III of our series, where we check in on how you are, provide some updates on how the HQ is operating and chat about herbs...