I had another opportunity to test the healing power of plant medicine on my recent trip to West-Central Africa (SPOILER ALERT: the plants win!). I like to experiment with different plants in the field as herbal medicine, and test their true power.
The region I was in, Gabon, has a high incidence of Malaria, and other insect-borne diseases, as well as high chances for water-borne bacterial and parasitic infections. This became a theme of my life for the past few months; how to not get sick in rural hot and humid Africa using natural medicine only.
Vaccinations for Yellow Fever are compulsory for entry into Gabon (and potentially even re-entry into Australia when immigration enquired to my travel partner's vaccination certificate at the border!). They do check on arrival in Gabon. I already had mine from a trip to Bolivia earlier, so I didn't need to query my options there, or question is this is something I even want to engage with. When I visited the GP before leaving, I was encouraged to get Typhoid, Rabies, Hepatitis A, and Hepatitis B vaccinations (I already have Hep A & B from a trip to Nepal - so the past dealt with those ones). Sounds like a great way to stress my immune system. No thanks.
The only option for anti-malarial medication that is kind of combinable with Iboga is Malerone. It's used 2 days before travel into a Malarial zone, all the way through and for 1 week after. If you haven't used it preventatively, and you get Malaria, it can also be used for treatment. This may help. Malaria strains are resistant in varying degrees to all of the used pharmaceutical treatments however. I thought momentarily I might buy the Malerone for Justin (just in case). When the pharmacy gave me an invoice for just under $300 I changed my mind, and decided to stay true to my heart and path of herbal medicine. Why prepare for a scenario I wasn't creating? Our conversation went a bit like this;
me: "Wow! I wonder how people in Africa afford it!?"
pharmacist: "Oh they are immune."
me: *blank expression* (thinking; "I don't think I want to follow any advice coming from this pharmacist..")
HERBS IT IS! Also trust.
I chose to trust in the place where logic and intuition meet. I chose to live that, not just speak that. I chose to utilise natural medicine for my natural being.
After research and deliberation, I decided to go with the following herbal medicine first aid kit:
13:1 organic powdered & activated extract (mushrooms are best extracted to break down the cell walls for absorption)
I feel I owe a lot to Cordyceps now; after a month of eating that I really feel how powerful my immune system has become under its influence. Did you know that it grows inside carpenter ants, steals nutrients, begins distorting and hijacking their minds, convinces them to leave their nests in search of a perfect fungal blooming nest (right height, temperature, humidity, light etc.) then blooms through their, then grows out of its head killing its host, spores implanting on the nest below? I think it's working on me too - must grow cordyceps, must tell people about its power. I'm a good mushroom zombie, and this is a good natural medicine.
Actions: anti-cancer, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, general tonic, immuno-modulator & immuno-stimulator, neuroprotective, analgesic, antitumour, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, anticonvulsant, cardioprotective, anti-arrhythmic, antidepressant, nootropic, energy enhancing
Echinacea purpurea: 1:1 tincture (best to travel with stronger and smaller)
Tried and true, a reliable plant for immune health! I use it at the first signs of any funny off feelings, and sickness never comes. Angustifolia is better, or a mix of different species is also great, but purpurea cheaper and more common. Thank you Echinacea species for stimulating me, keeping me on the pro-active health side with all your natural medicine goodness.
Actions: general tonic, immuno-modulator & immuno-stimulator, lymphatic, antimicrobial (antibacterial & antiviral), anti-inflammatory, anti-allergic, diaphoretic, anti-catarrhal, detoxifier, alterative, peripheral vasodilator, bitter, vulnerary
Anti-bad essential oils: Organic Rosemary, Lavender, Thyme, Oregano, Mint
I use this mix for cold-sores topically if they test me (haven't had one in ages!). I also drink about 10 drops per day if my immunity is challenged and rub them into my lymph glands with some coconut oil. Particularly effective against mouth & throat stuff I find. I love how potent these little fellas are, making them compact for travel as herbal medicine.
Actions: antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral (specifically for enveloped virus'), aromatic digestive, carminative, liver tonic, discutient
I had a session with Kambocito upon landing for an immune boost, and a hormonal reset to adjust my melatonin and other neurotransmitters to the opposite time zone (literally). After a good purge, a massive hydration, a lymphatic shuffling, and 1 day laid out exhausted, I was sleeping normally with my energy levels recovered the following day. This natural medicine is a potent teacher.
Actions: general tonic, antimicrobial (antibacterial & antiviral), immuno-modulator & immuno-stimulator, lymphatic, diaphoretic, purgative, detoxifier, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, hypotensive, discutient
I always carry this as an emergency antiseptic and second skin. Any cuts of grazes are quickly dealt with and enclosed with a few drops of this wonder. This is an amazing wound healer in the natural medicine world.
Actions: vulnerary, antiviral, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-hemorrhagic, anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-diarrheal
LifeStraw water bottle:
Using a micron filter this bad boy uses a pretty simple technology to filter out bacteria and parasites (not virus'). Basically it's a sieve, and only particles smaller than bacteria and parasites can permeate. Then it just fits into more standard water bottles (2 different caps for S & L fittings) and you just suck the contaminates away. For me; so impressed. Not a moment of sickness, even eating strange, unhygienic foods & meats in foreign bacterial conditions from water used for washing clothes, washing chicken to eat, washing bodies and drinking from. Always travel with one!
Actions: antimicrobial (antibacterial & antiviral), antiparasitic
I was very excited to try Isatis as a herbal medicine, but I wasn't able to order it in time unfortunately. Definitely spiked my interest in this plant medicine with its powerful antimalarial and antiviral actions. Please also keep in mind how ridiculously multifaceted plants are, and that I have only mentioned one aspect of their uses. People write pages of herbal monographs on just one plant or fungi herbal medicine teacher, so this is just a blimp of knowledge.