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Gigi Stafne, with her assistant Phyllis Jaworski, taught a class on natural remedies for Lyme disease on May 4 at the Women’s Environmental Institute in North Branch. Photo by Amy Doeun

Tick season is upon us. For many people the thought of Lyme disease strikes fear into their hearts.

On Saturday, May 4, Gigi Stafne of Green Wisdom School of Natural and Botanical Medicine taught a class on “Natural Approaches to Lyme Disease and Co-Infections” at the Women’s Environmental Institute in North Branch.

“I would like to alleviate or at least reduce the levels of fear about Lyme disease and nature,” Stafne said. “I want to help you realize how much control you do have — control in a beautiful aligned way with all of nature.”

Stafne said as an herbalist she spends a lot of time outdoors.

“It is one of my occupational hazards,” Stafne said and mentioned she has had a positive Lyme diagnosis.

Over the winter Stafne said she likes to review the current research. Ticks have been tested carrying parasitic, viral and fungal infections, so the traditional treatment of a heavy dose of antibiotics might not effectively treat the infection.

The new Lyme vaccine only treats Lyme disease and not the other co-infections that ticks may carry. Therefore, Stafne suggests a more holistic approach. She said the infections “tend to attack body systems that are weak”; an example would be if the person has suffered from several bronchial infections over the winter and their respiratory system is weakened.

To build up whole body immunity, prepare for the summer tick season.

“You are your own recipe for success or disaster. Are you feeling weak or vital? Make yourself more vital,” Stafne said.

To do this, Stafne recommends nettle and oat straw tea, eating oats, green tea and salads of young spring greens like dandelion greens, plantain and lambs’ quarter wood violet. Nettle can also be eaten but should be cooked. Garlic is great at boosting whole body health so make sure to include a lot of fresh garlic in your cooking.

Tinctures that are good for preparing for the season include oregano, sage, thyme and chaga.

When out in the woods, Stafne said rubber boots are good but ticks like clothes.

“They love fabric and clothes, ... hiding in the seams,” she said. She normally prefers to go bare legged. Also keep an eye on each other and check for ticks.

When you return home have an area of your home where you can undress and do a “tick check.” Stafne said you should not bring in the clothes you wore outside and put them on your bed or by your bed.

Stafne said that lemon eucalyptus essential oil is a very good bug repellent (all essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil or water). You can buy or make healthy “bug goop”; other herbs that can be used are catnip, camphor, oregano, thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, lemongrass and geranium.

If you do get bitten, have sterile tweezers available to gently remove the tick. A wash of oregano tincture (or plantain, yarrow, chickweed or a combination) can also be used on the bite four times a day for three days.

Then begin a round of herbal treatments that include herbs used for detoxing, an alternative, antiviral, antifungal and antibiotic (an herbalist can help you formulate this). Stafne recommended that every home should have two to four different antibiotic options. Use one with a dose of 2 to 4 ml four times a day for three weeks. Then switch to a different mixture for seven to 10 days and dose two to three times a day. Finish with either another round of three weeks of the first mixture or use a third.

One woman attending the class mentioned her 5-year-old daughter was diagnosed with Lyme and they never saw a tick. Stafne said in this case you could take a daily dose of herbal tincture throughout tick season.

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