EPISODE #17 – A REVOLUTIONARY APPROACH TO LYME DISEASE — RICHARD MANDELBAUM’S POWERFUL PHILOSOPHY ON TREATING CHRONIC ILLNESS
- Published on: 25 May, 2020
- Last update: 25 May, 2020
THIS WEEK ON WHAT’S THE JUICE PODCAST…
Unless you’re new here, you’ve most likely heard me gush about my experience at ArborVitae School of Traditional Herbalism. Now, I haven’t always been a total herb nerd. This interest of mine was first ignited when I started buying supplements on Amazon and it quickly spiraled into a full-blown passion that just won’t quit!
A few years ago I followed my gut to ArborVitae and I can say with 100% certainty that it was the right choice for me. I’ve learned SO much since I first started my program and it’s all thanks to my incredible, inspiring, brilliant teachers.
This episode of What’s The Juice is a super special one for me because I get to introduce you to someone I’ve mentioned many times before: Richard Mandelbaum. Richard and Claudia Keel founded ArborVitae, and they’re the quintessential yin and yang team. In herbalism speak, where Claudia is the flower essence, Richard is the spleen qi… and they are both major herbalist GOALS.
Richard’s classes are full of Chinese Medicine (be still my heart), and he’s always encouraging his students to look at human health in a balanced way. He’s a Leo — so it’s no wonder that I resonate with him — but it’s his Aquarius moon AND Aquarius rising that make him such an innovator. Not only did he co-found an herbalism school in New York City, he’s also playing a vital role in shifting the way modern medicine approaches Lyme disease.
Ready to get schooled by Richard Mandelbaum? (You’re gonna love it — I promise!)
LET’S GET JUICY
Let me tell you, this conversation barely scratches the surface of all there is to learn from Richard. He’s a bottomless well of knowledge and I just couldn’t want to dive in! We get to the good stuff almost right away, so let me use this as an opportunity to lay some (not so) basic framework for you about Lyme disease.
What is Lyme disease?
To put it simply, Lyme disease is an infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria.
How do you get Lyme disease?
Lyme is transmitted when a living thing is bitten by an infected tick, specifically the blacklegged tick a.k.a. deer tick. The big question that we grapple with in this part of the episode is a matter of why the heck lyme is spreading so quickly. Richard lays out his theories about diagnosis, immunity, and ecology and it’s truly fascinating. I LOVE everything he shared about this!
“As above, so below. What’s happening out there is happening within us a well.”
What are the symptoms of Lyme disease?
Here’s where things start to get murky. Honestly, it depends. It depends on the person and it depends on how long ago they contracted Lyme… but even then, there aren’t any black and white answers, which explains part of the reason why it’s so commonly misdiagnosed.
Symptoms of Acute Lyme Disease:
– Possible arthritic pain.
– Maybe flu-like symptoms but this is less common.
Symptoms of Chronic Lyme Disease:
– Arthritic symptoms like joint pain that often (but not always) worsen in heavy, damp weather. This discomfort is often volatile and comes and goes.
– Emotional and cognitive disturbances. Here’s where Richard is truly a pioneer. He believes that because Lyme affects the microbiome (our personal ecosystem), it can have a tangible impact on the personality. So in addition to the stress of feeling sick, Lyme disease may actually make a person feel VERY unlike themselves. As you can imagine, this is extremely anxiety-inducing… But by acknowledging that these symptoms are real, we can make people with Lyme feel less afraid and alone. How powerful is that? I resonated so deeply with this part of our convo!
How do you treat Lyme disease?
Okay, now we’re really getting into the tough questions. Just like there’s no single right herb for everyone, there isn’t a universal way to treat Lyme disease.
In fact, chronic Lyme disease isn’t even recognized by the CDC (I know, right?) but thanks to some objective evidence, Richard believes it’s just a matter of time before these viewpoints begin to shift… and I’ve got my fingers crossed that he’s right.
So in the case that Lyme is caught early, antibiotics may actually be helpful. But once someone is in a chronic Lyme state, the primary goal should be to nourish the body and build up a healthy immune response.
Here’s the bottom line: Once Lyme disease becomes chronic, there is a very small chance of eliminating every spirochete from the body. (P.S. A spirochete is a corkscrew-shaped organism. Bacteria Borrelia are spirochetes. Don’t worry, you aren’t being quizzed on this). So rather than pummeling the body with antibiotics and potentially causing more damage, it’s more proactive to teach the bacteria how to behave and to teach our bodies not to freak out.
But how do we do that?
This is exactly why I wanted to become an herbalist… because I just KNEW that there was a more personal way to treat people. Herbalists listen to human experience. We don’t see a list of symptoms, we see a person. We say, “Hey, I hear you. I believe you. Let’s keep exploring this!”
We advocate for people when they need testing (tune in for different testing methods), we treat the symptoms even when the tests come back negative (which they do — a lot). We tailor herbal remedies to the individual. We are matchmakers who are on a mission to help people feel BETTER.
One of the key things I’ve taken away from Richard’s attitude toward herbalism is the importance of practicing with a sense of humility. There is no room for ego and it’s encouraged to say, “I don’t know” and ask other practitioners for their insight. There are no definite answers, only opportunities to explore the unknowns and learn as we go.
I truly hope you learned while listening to this conversation with Richard. I mean, I’ve been studying with him for years and even I learned a LOT. If you feel like you were left wanting more — I feel you. He’ll be back someday!
FIND RICHARD MANDELBAUM ONLINE
RICHARD’S WEBSITE: https://www.richardmandelbaum.com/
ARBORVITAE SCHOOL OF TRADITIONAL HERBALISM: https://arborvitaeny.com/
CLAUDIA KEEL’S WEBSITE: http://www.earthflower.org/
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY – LYME AND TICK-BORNE DISEASES RESEARCH CENTER: https://www.columbia-lyme.org/
NEW RESEARCH ON LYME ARTHRITIS: https://www.pnas.org/content/116/27/13498
ABOUT LYNN MARGULIS: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Margulis
ABOUT JOHN SCUDDER: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Scudder_Sr.
DAVID WINSTON’S CENTER FOR HERBAL STUDIES: https://herbalstudies.net/
ABOUT WILLIAM LESASSIER: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_LeSassier