I am a 33 year old man living in San Francisco, California. I have been HIV positive since 2003. I took HIV medication on and off from 2004 up to 2009. At one point, my T-cells were below 100. In October of 2009, I decided to get off the HIV medication and to fight the virus naturally with powerful foods, supplements and lifestyle changes. This website’s purpose is to share the things that I have learned on the way.

Healing the WHY of HIV – An aspect of fighting HIV naturally

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: HIV | 1 Comment »

At some point in time we have to come to terms with how HIV came into our lives.  There is a WHY.  There is a trail of breadcrumbs as to how we got here.  There was an opening in our lives that the virus walked through.  It is the healing of this WHY that eventually makes us whole again, and aids us in fighting the disease in a natural way.

I think of diseases and pathogens as a burglar trying to break into your house.  They are usually looking for easy targets.

A burglar is less likely to break into your house (infect you) if you’ve taken the time to install an alarm system (if a person has healthy sense of spiritual being), have the alarm turned on (a healthy emotional and mental being), and locked the front door (have a healthy immune system/ physical being)

Some people install the alarm system, but never turn it on.  And then some people never install the alarm and walk out of the house with the front door wide open.  I’ve seen this occur with chronic drug abusers.

Infection and disease happens on many levels.

At the cellular level, the HIV virus latches onto a T cell by fooling its receptors, releases it’s RNA into a cell, subverts the DNA replication mechanism, and then  turns the T-cell into a viral replication factory.

At the body level, not taking care of oneself physically leaves an open door in the immune system.  Toxic diets, drug abuse, lack of sleep,some prescription medications all leave our immune systems exposed and beaten up. The HIV virus has a much harder time infecting someone with a healthy and vital lymphatic system.

At an emotional level,  lack of self-esteem, lack of self-love, disproportionate overgrowth of the ego, a dependance on drugs, a dependance on body image, a dependance on sexual gratification to fill in for that lack of self-love can leave a personal highly vulnerable.  Vulnerable in the sense that they may not be able to re-spond to situations.  Re-spond as in  responsibility for self.  People who are shut down emotionally or who are  chronically defensive may not be able to see the full range of choices that they have available

At a energetic level, people are like radio towers, broadcasting who we are as a being, and attracting listeners who respond at that (energetic) level.  If a person is broadcasting a lack of self-worth, then they tend to call in beings/situations/lessons/reminders/mirrors that enforce the energy level of not being worthy. When I say beings, I mean people or spirits… or any being.

A victim is a victim until they realize they have more choice.  This gestalt on every level needs to be addressed.

A bit of my story…

There is a saying that I have seen on posters in the Castro –  “Try Meth, Get HIV for Free”.

HIV came into my life seven years ago when meth was also present in my life.  I was partying on the weekends and sometimes at home to go to work on Monday.  This was a time in my life when the party circuit was still a major influence on me.  I was defined internally by who my friends were and how I looked.  I was endlessly chasing external validation in a myriad of forms. I was not an honest human being.  I was broadcasting at a low energy level.  I attracted a partner who was capable of lying to me about his HIV.  I magnetized to myself  a man who was uninterested in not infecting me.   I believe the meth that I was using (even occasionally) was ruining my physical body’s natural defenses, it was a major chink in my armor.  I also believe that the lifestyle I was living, and the thought-forms that I was holding left a major vulnerability in my energetic armor.

A year after I seroconverted, I was on medications.  I believed that I was on the road to health, and that everything would be fine; the pills would take care of everything.  What I failed to consider was that I was trading long-term health issues for a short-term peace of mind.  HIV Meds may make the numbers on the printed blood test report go up, but in the mean time it may trash your heart, give you diabetes, and mess with your DNA.

Even more important, at the time I failed to address the WHY of my HIV.  I failed to address the emotional, spiritual, and energetic issues.

People who have heart attacks very often have emotional issues concerning their heart.  The heart chackra is energetically damaged or weak.  There are probably more things than saturated fat that contributed to a weak heart, the emotional and energetic must be taken into account to get a whole picture.

Similarly I find many HIV positive people have had common issues:

Unhealthy Boundaries - This can apply in both an immune sense and mental sense.  An unhealthy boundary can let unhealthy RNA into your cells,  unhealthy thought-forms into your mind, or toxic people into your lives.

Lack of Self Love  - this is often the cause of unhealthy boundaries.  This plays itself out when people are not in control of themselves.

Lack of Connectedness and Support. I grew up gay in Texas.  Believe me, I know this one.

There are more, but these stand out.  Whatever is your personal why… HIV is that hard and clear lesson.  It’s the wake up call.  It comes at a high cost, but it’s a very clear message to your life.  Heal yourself, and not just with a pill.

I leave you with an excellent lesson that was passed on to me from a wonderful shaman friend.

Boundaries 101

I love blogging at 1a.m. :)

Sunrise over Berkeley - by me


Boundaries 101 – 14 rules to restore your energetic integrity

Posted: June 11th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Mental and Energetic Health | Tags: , , | No Comments »

This list was passed on from a Shaman friend of mine.

1. You are a sentient being worthy of all the love that you give.

2. You desire to be treated with respect; honesty, loyalty and integrity need to be observed.

3. The universe has unfolded for you for all your needs – divine timing must be observed.

4. The process is yours.  Don’t give away your power.

5. You are a powerful being – do not misuse it.

6. Stay in your truth, it will lead the way for you.

7. IF you choose to be in relationship… decide on what you want and settle for nothing less.  Otherwise it will not work for you or anyone else.

8. Take care of yourself first, all else will fall in.

9. Do NOT take on others problems or wounds.  It is like stealing their process and evolution.

10. Trust your instincts – if it doesn’t feel right, then it probably isn’t.

11. Never forgo your creative process, otherwise you will stunt your growth.

12. Ask for what you need – Do not feel shame around asking.

13. Honor your anger, it lets you know when your boundaries have been violated.

14. Have faith in boundaries.  They will give you want you want and what you need.

I personally have had a hard time with rule 8, 9, 10, 12, and 13.  I would often try to take on another person’s problem in order to distract from my own.  My lack of self-love made it very hard to ask for what I needed from people.

Number 13, honor your anger, was an especially tricky one.  A lot of new-thought/new-age thinking tells you that it’s never okay to get mad.  I spent a large part of my life trying to squash that emotion because I thought that it wasn’t healthy.  Sometimes anger IS healthy.  It is certainly motivating, and at it’s best it is protecting.  The problems arise when we hang on to that anger indefinitely.


16 Anti-Viral Foods to help beat HIV

Posted: June 9th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Food to Build Immunity | No Comments »

This list was passed on to me from Sister Titania Humperpickle and Sister Dixie of the SF Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

16 Anti-Viral Foods to help beat HIV

1. Virgin Unprocessed Coconut Oil   YES!!!  I’ll be doing an article on this puppy
2. Green Tea  I think Yerba Matte also has some of these properties
3. Cacao  Oh please… don’t make me eat more cocoa!
4. Schizandra  A berry and a major anti-oxidant
5. Pomegranate  No wonder it’s such a popular flavor now
6. Olive Leaf DING DING DING – the cornerstone of my daily regimen
7. Red Marine Algae  Huh?  Never heard of this one, but willing to give it a try.
8. Ginkgo Biloba
9. Mangosteen  These next several I’ll be looking for.
10. Bacopa
11. Shilajit
12. Ashwagandha
13. Maca
14. Shiitake Mushrooms   Big Big Big fan of this one.  I get a huge bag of shitakes at the local Castro Farmer’s market and put them in everything.
15. Reishi Mushrooms
16. Lions Main Mushrooms. and I’ll add one more, Maitake Mushrooms.


HIV DRUGS Part I : The NUKES – NRTIs – Toxic and Dangerous – Health Risks

Posted: June 7th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: HIV | Tags: | 1 Comment »

HIV can kill people (a belief I currently hold. This is an acute, short-term, major problem to solve. Most doctors will recommend using the surest thing they know to solve the problem – HIV Medication. The issue that gets lip service, but then gets quickly swept under the rug is the long-term effects of HIV on a person’s body. Basically you are exchanging you short-term survival for the long-term damage; which is a fair trade if it’s the only option. I am proposing that there are other options, based on natural supplements and a few diet adjustments.

Now let’s talk about the problems with medications. Some side effects show up right away, in the first month or two, but generally go away with time as your body adjusts. When I first started taking Reyataz with Combivir, I felt great for a month, and then the next month a general feeling of unshakable malaise came over my body. I just felt like a melted blob. It wasn’t until I started to hit the gym hard and heavy that I started to feel better.

The long-term effects, on the other hand, may take years to develop and may not be reversible.

The Nukes – NRTIs

Retrovir (or AZT or Zidovudine ), Epivir (or 3TC or lamivudine), Emtriva, Epzicom, Truvada, Videx, Viread, Zerit, and Ziagen (abacavir), Combivir (Retrovir-AZT, Epivir -3TC) , Trizivir (Retrovir-AZT, Epivir -3TC, Ziagen – abacavir)

Nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors. “Nukes can cause swelling of the pancreas or liver, changes in your body’s acid and base balance (lactic acidosis), alteration of fat deposits and even anemia. NRTIs interrupt the function of polymerase-gamma, a protein central to mitochondrial DNA replication.

Mitochondria are the powerhouses of the cell, and thus the powerhouses of your body. They are the furnace that keep the train engine moving.

This study basically draws a parallel from the effect of NRTIs on mitichondria to genetic mitichondrial disease. Decreased mitochondrial sythesis = less mitochondria available = mitochondrial depletion syndrome = “progressive liver failure, neurological abnormalities, hypoglycemia, and increased plasma lactate.”

YES, NRTIs fuck up your mitochondria on the way to inhibiting HIV.

This plays out in a general lack of energy, then muscle damage (including the heart muscle), neuropathy, and liver damage. And these effects are “fairly common” in long-term medication users.

The inhibited mitochondrial aren’t able to create energy as well as they should, and end up producing excess lactic acid. The lactic acid becomes lactate, and then overwhelms the liver’s ability to deal. On top of the NRTI’s tend to make the liver more fatty, and a fatty liver can’t break down lactate as efficiently. Here’s an article in thebody.com that gives an overview, if you can see past all of the HIV medication ads.

Most articles that you read (on HIV-med funded sites) will stress that lactic acidosis is a rare side effect. They tend to downplay that mitochondrial DNA damage and increase in lactates are cumulative. Increases in lactates in the blood are though by many researchers to be the cause of lipodystrophy, or body-shape changes and sunken faces.

“A study presented at the recent International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa looked at fat tissue from people with lipodystrophy under a special microscope. The researchers saw evidence of damage to mitochondria along with a build up of fat droplets (steatosis).” link

So if you are on NRTIs a good anti-oxidant is a must. Especially riboflavin (vitamin B2) or co-enzyme Q-10 MAY help buffer the assault that NRTIs have on your mitochondrial DNA.

Now let’s do a deep dive of some of the specific meds.

AZT® (Retrovir®)

Risks: Anemia, heart damage, muscle damage, bone marrow damage

The grandfather of Aids meds. Once a failed Leukemia medication (because it was considered too toxic), now it is a pervasive medication for HIV patients (because HIV+ people are totally NOT susceptible to toxicity ) . It was in my first HIV pill in the form of Combivir and then Trizivir. I think AZT was what made me so sick the first two months.

“AZT … induces significant toxic effects in humans exposed to therapeutic doses…Cytogenetic observations on H9-AZT cells showed an increase in chromosomal aberrations and nuclear fragmentation when compared with unexposed H9 cells…The toxicities explored here suggest that the mechanisms of AZT induced cytotoxicity in bone marrow of the patients chronically exposed to the drug in vivo may involve both chromosomal and mitochondrial DNA damage.” -Agarwal RP, Olivero OA. Genotoxicity and mitochondrial damage in human lymphocytic cells chronically exposed to 3′-azido-2′,3′-dideoxythymidine. Mutat Res. 1997 May 23;390(3):223-31.

“It was often difficult to distinguish adverse events possibly associated with administration of RETROVIR® (AZT™) from underlying signs of HIV disease or intercurrent illnesses” Retrovir product monograph. GlaxoSmithKline. 2005 Sep 21

Bone Marrow – the place that manufactures your red blood cells and is also involved in manufacturing your white blood cells. AZT works because it targets the DNA replication engine of HIV, reverse transcription. The problem is that it also damages a cells cellular DNA polymerase that replicates the DNA in mitochondria which damages the heart and other muscles (myositis). It inhibits the bone marrow’s production of blood cells. Bottom line… we take AZT to heal our immune system, and it ends up damaging the mechanisms that create immunity (bone marrow). This “life saving” drug may actually be accelerating death.

Further Reading

This site has a cornucopia of damning quotes from scientists over the past several decades. A MUST read if you’re on AZT.

ZIAGEN® (ABACAVIR®)

According to this study of 517 patients (157,912 person-years) Abacavir DOUBLES the likelihood of having a heart attack. This leads me ask what does this drug do to your heart? The heart is the central chackra… for those who pay attention to those type of things, I wonder what ot does to your energetics.

Epivir (or 3TC or lamivudine)

Side effects: Fatty liver, lactic acidosis and increased lactates that lead to lipodystrophy and lipoatrophy, peripheral neuropathy resulting in pain and numbness, anemia, hair loss, rash, risk to heart and pancreatitus.

——– more to come when I have time to research ——————–


Consulting with a Doctor when you’re going off the HIV meds

Posted: June 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: HIV | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments »

I am not an HIV denialist.  I do believe that the HIV virus exists and that the HIV virus can take down an immune system.

My main reasoning for this is that I have watched my CD4 t-cells change over time, and the effects that those changes have had on me.  When I was received my first HIV blood test in 2003 my  CD4 T-cells were around 320.  I then watched them dip below 240.  My doctor then told me it was time to take medication.  I started on a regimen of Combivir (lamivudine and zidovudine) and Reyataz (Atazanivir).  After a few months my viral load of 100,000 dropped to about 20,000… which wasn’t good enough for my doctor.  Combivir was replaced with Trizivir… and then my viral load dropped to undetectable while my T-cells began a 2 year climb to 400.

Years later, when I lost my job and couldn’t afford the meds ( I lived in Georgia at the time) I stopped taking medication.  I mean, who can afford $2000 a MONTH on unemployment?  At one point my t-cells dipped below 100 cd4 cells.  I’ve seen my cd4 cells go up and down corresponding to whether or not I’m on medication.

For many people, contracting HIV is really a virtual experience.  It’s like watching the stock market. If you’re healthy, all you really notice might be the side effects of the medication.  You’re main experience of your illness is watching your numbers go up and down.  Numbers… that’s it. There are no signs of HIV.  Now that might be oversimplifying it a bit.  I definitely got deathly ill at the time that I believe I seroconverted – two weeks of what seemed like never-ending, antibiotic-resistant strep-throat.

This experience of watching the numbers is what  I think the vast majority of HIV+ people with access to affordable health care and who can afford medications will see.  That’s not to deny that there are absolutely people who get sick, and there are absolutely people who die.  I’ve watched three friends disappear.  I have a friend with Kaposi’s Sarcoma.  I’m not fooling myself into thinking that HIV is harmless.

The only HIV symptoms that I’d ever experienced was the seroconversion sickness.  It wasn’t until my numbers got around 123 cd4 cells that I began to notice changes in my body.  The skin on my forehead (that used to be perfectly clear)  was constantly red, irritated and bumpy.  Patches of eczema or psoriasis began to break out around my joints.  I was having a harder time fighting off skin infections and warts.   I was more tired.  I was definitely more scared.  I felt like I was skirting on the edge of a cliff.  I didn’t want to become a statistic.  Two doctors both told me that the patches of rough skin was HIV-related eczema and that they would clear up once I got back on medication.  These skin issues over a 6 month period continued to get worse.  They were a daily reminder of the direction that my body was going in.  It wasn’t until I added Olive Leaf Extract and Cat’c claw to my daily regimen that I felt like I turned the ship around.

Because managing HIV is such a virtual experience, because it’s a numbers game for most people, it’s really important to work with a doctor.  They are the only ones with access to your blood tests(unless you want to pay for them outright).  When you are stepping off of the reservation by not taking HIV medication… it’s really really important to track your numbers. Now the problem with going to see a doctor is that they usually only have one singular message: You should be on HIV medications.  Period.  You may get lucky and find a doctor with a more holistic approach… but 95% of doctors will emphatically recommend the medication.  Be careful.  Doctors will wear you down, but they are usually the only ones that can give you the information that you need to assess whether a natural approach is actually healing your body.  When I started on the route to healing my body… it took a couple of different tries, different supplement combinations to get it right and turn the bus around where my T-cells actually began to go up.

What I am proposing, is that HIV meds are not the only HIV treatment and the only way way to heal your body.  I’m proposing that they aren’t even the best way.

I am proposing that changes in your diet, combined with the correct supplements are the least toxic, best-long-term way to heal your body from HIV.


A Diet to Heal HIV and boost your immune system

Posted: June 4th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Food to Build Immunity | No Comments »

How to think about food

This article will be updated continually as I think of more things.  This information now lives permanently here.

FOOD IS INFORMATION!!!  I can’t say this loud enough.  FOOD IS INFORMATION!!! Get this idea hammered in your head. Food is also building blocks.  There are antidotes in food.  There are secret ingredients that are the exact buildings blocks that your body might need to break through HIV’s cell wall, or give your T-cells a break, or provide the molecules that your body needs to build T-cells (Hello, Spirulina).    Food can also contain pain.  Are the animals you eat tortured?  Those animal brains release fear and pain peptides into their systems that surely make their way into your food.

Make Salad the Star

( I got this idea from Green Smothie Girl)  I have already posted a great salad recipe… so agonizingly simple!  Not only are you getting veggies, but you are preserving all of the enzymes by eating the veggies raw.  I think of a salad with a variety of veggies in it as THE BEST WAY to give my body the ammo that it needs to fight HIV.  On top of that… my favorite salad dressing (Salt, lemon juice, and olive oil) has been a home-remedy for HIV for decades.  Olive Oil and lemons are used to cleanse the liver, and you can clean yours every single day with a salad.

Eat lots of lemons!

Eat better Fats!

Olive Oil, Flax Seed Oil, and Coconut Oil  are awesome.  Coconut oil may even be a natural anti-viral, and it tastes better than almost any other fat.

Say goodbye to corn oil, soybean oil, canola oil. And of course animal fats. I’ll be doing extensive articles on fats in the future.  In the meantime… use Google to educate yourself.  Corn oils and soybean oils have had hexane added to them to extract the oils. HEXANE!  That’s one of the ingredients in gasoline!  The mixture is then superheated to burn off the hexane, denaturing the plant enzymes to nearly unrecognizable form.

Move from Processed grains to sprouted grains

More of those building blocks that your body needs… less of the garbage. Wheatberries Rock and are cheap!  How did I not discover these earlier.  Quinoa is pretty to look at, good to eat, a nearly perfect protein, and on top of that… it’s fast food.  I can cook quinoa as fast as I could cook Rice-a-roni.  I love cooked quinoa or wheatberries, a teaspoon of coconut oil, and a little agave nectar as breakfast.  If you have a little fresh fruit to add, then it tastes better and you get an extra helping of antioxidants.

Choose better sweeteners

Refined sugar will make you diabetic, rot your teeth, make you fat, and mess up your GI tract with over-acidity.  We all know that.  Artificial sweeteners are neurotoxins and will give you cancer.  Corn syrup… will also f up your system.

Luckily there are some delicious alternatives.  Agave nectar – which is cheap, delicious, and vegan, and then there’s local honey, which is also delicious and has the added benefit of helping your allergies.

Find better stimulants

Cut back on coffee (which I can’t always do) and switch to tea or my personal favorite, yerba matte (a cup full of antioxidants and bioflavinoids).

Eat better meats

Always buy organic, grain-fed.  The animal was treated better for one.  Most importantly you’re not going to introduce a bunch of hormones and anti-biotics into your system to really knock your immune system off kilter, and you won’t be as likely to expose your body to ecoli.  This is really important for immune-compromised people.  If you only have a small budget for meat, then buy less meat and buy organic.  It will be better for you.  I do have a lot of vegan friends who would argue that it’s better to eat NO meat at all, but I’m not ready to go that far.  I also have found that my body type tends to need a little bit of extra protein.  Just eat it in moderation.  I love salmon, it feeds my brain.  Most fish are a good bed.  I tend to avoid catfish (it’s a bottom feeder and is more likely to suck up inorganic toxins) and also tend to avoid the larger ocean fish ( the fish at the top of the food chain have a higher concentration of mercury and other toxins).

Dietary Restrictions

No Beef. No Pork.  Period.

Huge Feedlot - Thanks to pcgladiator for the image.

So beef is a big no-no.  Aside from ruining the environment and our entire farming infrastructure, it’s really bad for you.  I’m not sure if cows themselves are bad for you, but it’s the way that we raise and process them that’s abhorrent. Especially hamburger.  One pound of hamburger may have 1000 cows parts in it.  Most of those cows have spent their whole lives standing in a foot or more of feces, so if one cow has ecoli then soon they all will.

If you are really, really craving the taste of a hamburger then I suggest that you try Bison/Buffalo.  It’s higher in all nutritional values, and is usually grass fed and free range.  It also doesn’t have as a high of a fat content.  If you need some inspiration to reduce your beef intake, watch these videos.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BCJ79HWTRHM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-t75hWdC8mM

Seriously… watch Food Inc.  Take 2 hrs to educate yourself.  This movie made a huge different in how I thought about food.

No processed meats. - Sausages, breakfast sausages, salami, and most deli meats.

67% increase in pancreatic cancer from eating processed meats.  It’s not so much the fat content, it’s that  “these meats are usually full of toxic chemicals, heavy metals and environmental pollutants”       “The human body should never be exposed to mercury, PCBs or the rocket fuel chemicals that are now almost universally found in cows’ milk products across the country (in a 2005 Texas Tech University study, perchlorate was detected in 46 of 47 store-bought samples of cows’ milk across 11 states).”  link

Even worse than those chemicals (did I say worse?) is the additive sodium nitrite, which is shown to cause cancer.  (link to wikipedia article on sodium nitrate)  So basically sodium nitrate breaks down into toxic, cancer-causing compounds when it’s heated up.  And we all know that no one ever cooks a sausage.

link to Reuter’s story on sodium nitrates.

No Dairy products

Switch to hemp, almond, rice, coconut or soy milk!

See above paragraph on mercury, PCBs and/or rocket fuel ending up in cow milk.  More importantly, it is my impression that dairy contributes to issues in the GI tract that contribute to immune deficiency.  Milk is the # 1 cause of food allergies in the US according to the American Gastroenterological Association.  It is my belief (I’m not a doctor, I just read a lot) that dairy products do not digest well in most people.  Slowing down the digestive system and not being able to break down proteins in the GI tract, is a major piece of the HIV cycle.  It also inhibits your body from absorbing all of the good things that you are putting into it.  This is one of the major reasons that certain means and hard-to-digest foods contribute to a declining immune system.  Granted, I haven’t proven this, but I will report any studies that I find on this.

If you have a diet that is heavy in any of these, I highly recommend cleaning out your gut with cat’s claw.

Here is further reading on dairy issues (here, and here)  A few of these websites (like Peta) have an obvious singular point of view, but you have to understand that these may be the only organizations that are telling the truth.  Diary is a multi-billion dollar industry.

In addition to the health risks there are also the earth argument.  Dairy farms ruin cropland and water supplies.  The large feed lots these cows live on are the reason that we have had some many ecoli-spinach emergency recalls.  When I drove to my mother’s house, in the middle of 100-mile stretches of farmland, it was impossible to buy fresh produce.  That’s because almost all of the produce from those farms went to feed animal lots.

It takes 2500 gallons of water to produce one pound of beef.  That’s enough to float a battleship.  It’s a rediculous waste of resources… pulling that much water out of an aquifer to feed a cow.  Most Californian’s know full well the preciousness of water, many many other states are waking up to it to.  Not only does pulling too much water out of aquifers leave less for humans to drink, it upsets the delicate geological balance rock layers and leads to problems like sink-holes. This was definitely an issue in San Antonio.  As the Edwards aquifer was depleting it was causing geological issues.

I also hold this idea: Why should the Earth heal you, if you are constantly f#$king over the Earth?

If you need some visual motivation (not for the squeamish) These are cows being abused on a dairy farm in Ohio.  This may be a special case, but it happens more than you think. Link

Processed Foods

Start to learn what processed foods are.  For most processed food, by the time the food has gone through the processing, the natural enzymes and nutrients in the food is so denatured your body doesn’t know what to do with it.  Many of my friend eat processed and inorganic foods because it appears cheaper.  The metaphor that works for me is filling up a car.  If there are two pumps, one that spits out pure gas and is a little more expensive and one pump that spits out a mix of half gas and mostly water and filler but is a little cheaper… which one would you go for?   Well gas is really the only thing that will make your car go.  Putting water in your tank doesn’t provide the car with any energy and will probably foul up the engine.  The same goes with food.  It’s false economy to think that a cheaper processed food is a better value.  It doesn’t fill up your engine with what you need.  And if you have a troubled immune system… your body is using your food to rebuild itself.  Processed food not only doesn’t provide your body with what it needs, it gums up the system and prevents you from absorbing what you DO need from the good food.

Most cereals are crap, most foods that come in boxes are garbage. Literally garbage with some chemical food flavorings.  Your body can’t rebuild anything with garbage.   On top of all that, processed foods make you fat and tired.


Cat’s Claw (Una De Gato) – A Plant Ally to help fight HIV – Health Benefits and Personal Experiences – How to prepare it

Posted: June 2nd, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: HIV, Plants and supplements | 2 Comments »

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor and I am not pretending to be a doctor.  I am talking about what I have taken to heal myself.  Use your best judgement and consult with a doctor.  And then, depending on how open minded your doctor is, take that consultation with a grain of salt.

Cat’s claw is one of the better researched herbs out there. Cat’s Claw is a vine that grows with thorns that look like the claw of a cat.  It has been studied in clinical trials for cancer since the 70′s, and has been been used by the Aguaruna, Asháninka, Cashibo, Conibo, and Shipibo tribes in South and Central American reportedly for 200o years. Cat’s claw is known as one of the helper plants in Ayahuasca shamanism in the Amazon, and is used extensively with Ayahuasca.  Cat’s claw is known as the “opener of the way” among vegetalistas and curanderos (healer-shamans in the Amazon).

Health benefits

  • “In vitro studies show that the alkaloids from Cat’s claw enhance phagocytosis, display immunomodulatory properties, alleviate inflammation, and possess anti-viral activity”  - A well researched article from Sloan-Ketterling states that Cat’s Claw “(link)
  • It’s been used to treat many conditions including HIV/AIDS, cancer, peptic ulcer, Lyme disease, colds, bowel disorders, and arthritis.  - link for next 5 bullets
  • For HIV: “Cat’s Claw can help the body regulate T-Cell formation to a normal level which is important in HIV/AIDs. This prevents overstimulation of the immune system which can provoke a Herpes outbreak and prevent recurrence of infections of thrush and other Candida infections. It is documented to have caused remission of Kaposi’s sarcoma which is a common cancer in AIDS and appears to aid in prevention of HIV becoming drug resistant.”
  • For Cancer:  “Cat’s Claw appears to act by decreasing the total number of white blood cell if counts are high and increasing the number of white blood cells if low. Particularly important when focused on cancer treatment is that it does not stimulate body to overproduce white blood cells which can damage noncancerous tissues.”-
  • For Arthritis: “Cat’s Claw has been shown to be a source of sterols, plant compounds that form the building blocks for anti-inflammatory steroids. Animal studies have shown that supplements may reduce swelling by as much as 50%.”
  • For Bowel Disorders: “Cat’s claw appears to be of some benefit in gastrointestinal disorders such as Crohn’s disease, chemo-induced gastritis, diverticulitis, irritable bowel syndrome by aiding in detoxification of the GI tract and regulation of the immune system.  It may also help to encourage healthy bacteria”
  • for Yeast Infections: Cat’s claw seems to make a serious dent in Candida.

I personally intuit that the magic in Cat’s Claw is what it does for your stomach.  I am beginning to think that Candida toxicity plays a major role in the HIV infection cycle as well as poorly digested food.  I noticed that I am far less gassy if I drink Cat’s Claw regularly, and gassiness is a tell-tell sign that food is not being digested and absorbed properly.

According to the Sloan-Ketterling article, Cat’s claw may have the following drug-herb interactions.  I am not talking ANY drugs.

  • Antihypertensives: Cat’s claw may have an additive or synergistic hypotensive effect.
  • Anticoagulants / Antiplatelets: Cat’s claw may have an additive anticoagulant effect.
  • CYP3A4: In vitro, cat’s claw inhibits CYP3A4, indicating that it may theoretically increase the serum levels of drugs such as nonnucleoside reverse-transcriptase inhibitors, cyclosporine, and some benzodiazepines (8).
  • Protease Inhibitors: Cat’s claw was shown to increase the serum concentrations of atazanavir, ritonavir and saquinavir (15).

This is a great technical data sheet on cat’s claw.

How to prepare the Cat’s Claw decoction or Cat’s Claw Tea

A decoction is the method of extraction by boiling plant material.  I have also seen cat’s claw as a fluid extract or sold as capsules.  I keep a bottle of NOW Cat’s Claw “5000″ around.  Sometimes it’s not practical to keep liquid Cat’s Claw around , like when I’m on a trip or away from the house for the night.  It is my impression and intuition that the capsule is not as effective as a home-made decoction, but it’s still better than nothing.

I like to order the root powder from Rain-tree.com. (link)  I’m sure there are other good distributors of Cat’s Claw out there, but I really like the founder of Rain-tree, Leslie Taylor’s story. She calls herself “the white witch of the amazon”, and that just tickles me, as I am a witch myself.  She understand the shamanic/ spiritual purpose of plants in addition to documenting the medical properties of them.  Most importantly, she understands that the Amazon jungle is one of the world’s most precious medicinal resources and she’s committed to sustainable harvesting as well as an ethical distribution chain.  One might say that the work that she’s doing in the Amazon is helping to combat the tide of Amazon deforestation by showing indigenous people how to sustainably harvest medicinal herbs.  Here’s a bit about the company story.

Now I don’t want this article to turn into a commercial for Rain-tree, but if you buy Cat’s Claw online, please try to look for a seller with similar ethics.

I usually put about 1/3 cup of Cat’s Claw powder into my largest soup pot. I also add 1/3 cup with another Amazon  plant powder Chuchuhuasi, but that’s a whole other article.  Chuchuhuasi is not necessary to get the benefits of Cat’s Claw.  It’s just another plant that I take and it saves time to make them both in the same pot. Not all plants like to be boiled together, but these two seem to work well together.  I talk about these plants as if they have personalities, and in my mind they do.  Connecting with the anima/animus of the plant is a powerful way to activate your subconscious mind to heal your body.

Vegetistas in the Amazon (and some in this country) traditionally will sing to the plant as they are cooking it.  These spirit-medicine-songs are called icaros.  I’ll admit, I sing to it too.  It’s kinda fun and maybe there’s some efficacy to this ancient tradition.  Usually any tune will work, the point is really to show your respect for the plant.  The words that I sing are:

Una De Gato Soo-nah-rai which means   “Claw of the Cat resonate with me”

If singing to the plant doesn’t fit with your reality, then don’t do it. :)  The most important thing is the medical properties of the plant.

Fill the pot almost to the top with water (filtered is best) and turn the stove to a medium-low setting. I try to get the pot hot enough so that the liquid is being agitated, but it’s not over-boiling.  I’ve had the dark liquid bubble over many times to my partner’s chagrin (he likes a clean stove).

Cat's Claw that I store in the fridge

Cat's Claw that I store in the fridge

Let the liquid cook until the water is reduced by half.  I then take the pot off the stove, let it cool, pour it into a sealable glass jar and store it in the fridge. I used a container that I got from Ikea.  They’ve got a good cheap selection in all kinds of sizes.

When I’m ready to drink the Cat’s claw, I pour a mug half-way full with the cat’s claw, and then fill the rest of the cup with hot water.  The liquid is rather bitter, and diluting it definitely makes it more palatable.  Over time I’ve actually grown to like taste of Cat’s Claw because I associate it with what it does for my body.

in Summary

a cup of cat's claw

Mix half a mug of cat's claw with hot water.

Cat’s Claw is a powerful medicine on it’s own, but combined with other plants and herbs(such as Olive Leaf Extract, spirulina and Jergon Sacha) it may be able to turn the tide on HIV and other illnesses.  It has for me :)

Cat’s Claw is part of my daily regimen.


The Olive Leaf Extract – A Natural Anti-viral and a Plant Ally in Fighting HIV

Posted: June 1st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Plants and supplements | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments »
Olivia - The Olive Tree Goddess by Alice Mason

Alice Mason Artist: Olivia - The Olive Tree Goddess

Olive Leaf Extract (OLE) is part of my daily regimen.  I take it when I wake up and when I go to bed.  I am also a HUGE fan of Olive Oil, but I’ll save that for another article.

In the mythology of the city of Athens,  Athena and Poseidon were vying to be the patron deities of the city.  Poseidon offered the city a vast fleet of war ships.  Athena offered the city a simple olive tree.  The city chose the olive tree and Athena.  What was so special about that tree?

The olive and olive leaf have important healing properties, as well as being HUGE staples of the mediterranean diet.  I like to think of her as this sweet, loving, beautiful tree-goddess who is so generous in her gifts of food and healing.  An painter Alice Mason (mermaidartist) has done a beautiful job of capturing her in this painting.  When working with plants on the path to healing, I find it a powerful visualization to imagine what the plant would look like as a spirit, and what she’d feel and say to me. Imagine the plant’s spirit working inside your body to heal you.  Sometimes this can be a powerful way to harness your subconscious mind’s power over your body to help you heal.

Some of the properties and health benefits of Olive Leaf

(I draw much of this information from the following: wikipedia‘s entry on Olive Leaf, one of the most compreshensive and easiest to read article is written by a  Dr. James R. Privitera, M.D.  Dr. Privitera is not without controversy, but I imagine that many who practice alternative medicine are.  His article is full of great information, and the wikipedia article is backed up with several medical reports. I’m also citing a few additional drier medical reports.  In the end, I look to my own experience with my own body and Olive Leaf  has made a difference):

  • It’s a natural anti-viral used to combat colds, flu, yeast infections, viral infections, shingles, herpes, and even Epstein-Barr disease, viruses, retroviruses, bacterium, or protozoans.
  • It aids the circulatory system by lowering blood pressure and and increases blood flow by relaxing the arteries, as well as reducing LDL (the bad cholesterol)
  • “OLE (Olive Leaf Extract) inhibits acute infection and cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1″ (source)
  • It’s “effective against viral fusion and integration”  and it is “active against multiple stages of the HIV-1 life cycle, inhibiting cell-to-cell HIV-1 transmission and viral core antigen p24 production” without any cytotoxicity (basically it helps to block HIV without damaging the cells, as many HIV meds d0)(source)
  • Olive Leaf displays many of the same properties as the drug Fuzeon(Enfuvirtide) – a HIV fusion inhibitor.  OLE has a light molecular weight (539) as compared to Fuzeon (molecular weight of 4492 and consists of 36 amino acids, and manufactured in a 106 chemical step process).  OLE appears to be more nimble of a molecule, active both outside and inside the cellular environments in viral entry and integration and less likely to encounter viral resistance. (source)
  • “Interferes with critical amino acid production essential for viruses”(source for next five bullets)
  • “Contain(s) viral infection and/or spread by inactivating viruses or by preventing virus shedding, budding or assembly at the cell membrane”
  • “Directly penetrate(s) infected cells and stop(s) viral replication”
  • “In the case of retroviruses, it is able to neutralize the production of reverse transcriptase and protease. These enzymes are essential for a retrovirus, such as HIV, to alter the RNA of a healthy cell.
  • “It can stimulate phagocytosis, an immune system response in which cells ingest harmful microorganisms and foreign matter.”

My personal Experience with Olive Leaf Extract (OLE)

HIV-related Eczema / Psoriasis on my wrist

HIV symptoms: Eczema / Psoriasis on my wrist

I found out about OLE from a friend who was making great gains in his T-cell count after adding OLE to his regimen.

What really made me think that OLE was effective was when my skin began to clear up once I started taking it.  About a year ago, I began to get an eczema/psoriasis-like rash around my joints (wrists, elbows, on top of my foot where it meets my ankle, and poor complexion on my forehead)   Most of my adult life, I have prided myself on having blemish-free skin.  When patches of rough skin began to spread on my arms and legs, and my forehead was suddenly afflicted with serious acne, it got my attention!  Two doctors that I visited (one of them an Dermatologist) told me that it was HIV-related eczema, and that it would clear up if I started taking HIV meds, but I wasn’t ready to go down that road, and hopefully never will.

After a year of watching my skin get worse, it was when I added OLE and Spirulina to my regimen that my skin started to turn around.  What was once a patch of rough, unsightly bumps (that I was very self-concious of) is now being replaced by smooth soft skin.  It’s not all gone yet, but it feels and appears like the tide is definitely turning.   You can still see a bit of the rough patch on the left side of my wrist in this picture.

In addition to my skin, my t-cells nearly doubled from 125 to 226.

A friend of mine is also taking OLE and has found that it helps with her herpes flare-ups.   She also uses Jergon Sacha for the same reason.

I love OLE because it’s so simple!  One capsule in the morning and one at night.  It’s a very easy supplement to add; it’s easy to take and readily available at your nearest health-food store.

Most of the OLE supplements will list the concentration of Oleuropeins on the back.  I have been taking Gaia Herb’s Liquid Phyto-Caps of Olive Leaf.  This brand is rated at 50mg of 10% Oleuropeins, costs $25 and contains 60 pills.  (Basically a month’s supply)  You may find some OLE supplements with a higher/lower percentage and a higher/lower mg, so you have to do the math to get the best deal.  I also get a 20% discount at Buffalo Foods where I usually buy my supplements.  These guys have really been helpful and knowledgeable in helping me find the right thing.  I went to refill this week and they were out, so I decided to buy OLE online from OLIVUS.   They claim their capsules have 250mg of %20 extract!  WOW!  I’m looking forward to trying them out.  I’ll tell you what I think of them when I get them.

About the Die-off Effect

Many people experience a die-off effect for a day or so when they first start taking Olive Leaf. It feels like a bit of nausea.   I’ve had a similar experience with Cat’s Claw.  From my understanding and intuition, the effect occurs as microbes are killed and they release a few cellular toxins.  Most symptoms disappear in anywhere from an hour to two days.  The less clean your system is, the more you might feel this.

In summary:

I’m not sure how effective OLE is as a monotherapy in treating HIV, but I do think it’s very powerful in combination with the other things that I am taking.  If supplements are like horses harnessed to a stagecoach, Olive Leaf and Cat’s Claw are very powerful horses, and are moving my body rapidly towards better health.

Discuss in the forum


Jergon Sacha – a Plant Ally to help fight HIV naturally

Posted: May 31st, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Plants and supplements | Tags: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Jergon Sacha is one of the plants in my daily regimen.

Jergon Sacha - two heaping tablespoons in a protein shake mixer

Jergon Sacha - two heaping tablespoons in a protein

How I use Jergon Sacha

I usually scoop two heaping tablespoons of the ground plant powder into a plastic cup made for mixing protein shakes.  I find that this is the fastest way to get the powder to mix with water.  You can also just pour the powder into a glass of water and then mash your spoon against the side of the glass to brake up the clumps of powder.  It’s kinda got the consistency of hot cocoa mix. I drink this when I wake up and before I go to bed.

There are also Jergon Sacha tinctures and capsules available from places like Rain-tree.com.  IMHO I think that the ground powder is the most economical way to get the most benefit from the plant.

Rain-tree has a great article on the plant here and you can buy it from them here. The cost is $28.00 for a one pound package.  If you are a licensed health-care practitioner, they even offer a discount.

About the plant

Jergon Sacha – When I work with plants, especially plants that are helping me heal, I find that it’s useful to imagine what the spirit of the plant would look like and think.  I always imagine the spirit of Jergon Sacha to be that of a beautiful female with a big heart.

When the vine grows, it looks a lot like a snake and the texture of the plant resembles a snake’s skin.  It’s used in the Amazon as an antidote to snake bites. (and the Amazon has some POIS-ON-NOUS snakes!) This is what witches like myself call the Doctrine of Signatures or a “signature plant”, when the form of the plant informs you about what it does.

I find that Jergon Sacha is a wonderful to use as a first treatment of any insect bites that you might get.  There is something about my skin that will attract every bug in a mile, so I use this plant often.  Just take a moist paper towell, sprinkle a thin layer of the Jergon Sacha powder on it, and apply directly to the insect bite.  My mother used to do the same thing with baking soda when I was a kid, but this seems to work much better.

The REALLY amazing part about Jergon Sacha is that the plant seems to act like a natural Protease Inhibitor.

According to Rain-tree’s article:

The use of jergón sacha for AIDS and HIV in Peru was fueled by several newspaper articles published in Peruvian newspapers and magazines beginning in the early 1990s. The subject of the articles was a Peruvian physician, Dr. Roberto Inchuastegui Gonzales, who was president of the Committee of AIDS and Transmissible Diseases at the Peruvian Institute of Social Security in Iquitos, Peru. The media reported that, in experiments with AIDS patients conducted from 1989 to 1993, the doctor administered two plant extracts with remarkable results. One was a rhizome extract of jergón sacha (D. peruviuanum) as an antiviral, and the other was an extract of two cat’s claw vines (Uncaria tomentosa and U. guianensis, which are also featured in this book) as immunostimulants. Dr. Inchuastegui reported that a majority of HIV patients treated had tested negative for the HIV virus and returned to normal lives after taking these two plant extracts for an average of six months. He has yet to publish any clinical trials. His work in Iquitos with AIDS patients has surfaced periodically in news and media reports over the last decade which continues to purport the use of jergón sacha for HIV and other viruses. This has fueled the market in Peru for the sale of jergón sacha and, in the late 1990s, news of his work was disseminated in Eastern Europe.

BIOLOGICAL ACTIVITIES AND CLINICAL RESEARCH

Despite the large and growing market for jergón sacha, not a single clinical study has been published on its actions. If jergón sacha’s longstanding use as an effective snakebite remedy was clinically validated, it may explain its more recent use as an antiviral for HIV as well. The most recent class of drugs developed for HIV are calledprotease inhibitors. Protease inhibitors work by blocking an active component in HIV-its protease enzyme. With the protease enzyme blocked, HIV makes copies of its virus that are defective and can’t infect new cells. In current (mainstream) HIV therapy, protease inhibitor drugs are usually combined with other antiviral drugs (which kill the virus directly) after the protease inhibitors have disabled its replication. Proteases are ubiquitously present in every cell of every living organism: they are enzymes that digest proteins.

It is well known that proteases are also main ingredients in snake venom. Typically the snakebite site is a necrotic area – the skin sloughs off due to action by proteases in the venom, which first turn the area bruised and swollen before digesting skin and tissue. The stronger the protease in the venom and its quantity relate directly to how much skin and tissue damage results at the site of the bite. For this reason, many herbal remedies that have been validated as snakebite remedies (especially those employed at the site of the bite) have been shown to be natural protease inhibitors also. In fact, many pharmaceutical company researchers bio-prospecting for new chemicals and drugs in the Amazon are very interested in those plants the Indians employ as snakebite remedies for just this reason. It may be possible that Dr. Inchuastegui stumbled across one of these natural protease inhibitors in his work with HIV patients and jergón sacha. Clinical research is still required however, to verify the mechanisms of action in jergón sacha against viruses and against snakebite and, particularly, if they are one and the same.


Salmon and Salad – a meal to charge your immune system

Posted: May 30th, 2010 | Author: | Filed under: Food to Build Immunity | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment »

This is a meal that my husband Brian and I have been perfecting.

First the Lemon and Garlic-crusted Salmon

Filet of Salmon Brain Food

Himalayan Salt for seasoningThis salt is basically sea salt, but ancient sea salt (before the ocean was polluted)trapped in the Himalayan Mountains

Ground Pepper for seasoning

1 Lemon – chopped – Peel and some pulp.  (we juiced the lemon to make the salad dressing)  There are so many health benefits to lemons, I am going to have to write a whole article on them.  It’s supposed to do amazing things to cleanse your liver, colon and your lymphatic system.  Here is a great article talking about the lower intestine’s role with HIV.

2-6 minced garlic cloves – the fresher the better. Set aside some for the salad dressing.  Helps to cleanse the colon, interrupting a major part of the HIV replication process.

Combine the lemon and garlic  to make a crust for the fish.  Pan fry in olive oil, heating each side of the salmon about 3 minutes each.

Then the Salad

Mixed greens - my favorites are butter lettuce, arugula, spinach and romain.  Tear (don’t cut) bite sized pieces. Vitamin and immune-building enzymes galore.

Thinly sliced Onion

Avocado

extra veggies (I added a few baby carrots)

The Dressing:

Olive Oil, lemon juice of one lemon, salt. It’s also optional to add a little bit of honey for sweetness and a little bit of Braggs Liquid Amino Acids.

So the chemistry of the salad is the important part.  Begin by salting the lettuce and then let it sit for a five minutes or more.  The salt brings out the flavor of the greens.  Add Olive Oil directly to the salad to absorb the salt.  Give it a minute.  Then add the lemon juice to cut the oil.  I sometimes mix the lemon juice with the honey and Amino Acids to add a little variety.

Salmon with Salad - foods to charge your immune system and fight HIV

Here is a great article describing what some of these ingredients do to fight HIV.