Hi again! In Part 1 (The Puzzle of H. pylori: The Science) I explained what Helicobacter pylori is, how it invades the body, the symptoms it causes - basically, all the science stuff. Here in Part 2 of my trilogy of posts on my H. pylori experience I'm going to talk about my own personal H. pylori project i.e. my experiments with various foods and herbal remedies in my efforts to come up with my own treatment and eradicate the little pest from my body!
My personal pylori project
The core of my plan has been the rather fantastic mastic gum, a herbal remedy from a Greek pistachio tree with potent anti-pylori activity. A little goes a long way – my pot of 13g lasted me 3 weeks. I'd just like to run through some more of the details of my plan, to give you an idea of the natural products that can be used to discourage pylori.
When you chew the 'bobbles' they turn into a gum!
Most people seem to recommend cycling on/off, but the length of your on/off periods doesn't seem too critical. Personally I've been doing 3 weeks on, then anything from 2 weeks upwards off. As well as the mastic, I've been making a point of eating as many other anti-pylori foods and herbs as I can manage such as: brassicas (especially Brussels sprouts and flower sprouts), cranberries, triphala and lemon balm. So far I've done two rounds of treatment, building up the dose of all of these products gradually. I've found that combining 250mg of mastic with ½ teaspoon of triphala and taking this first thing in the morning seems to have the most powerful effect, judging from the die-off. I'm also trying to have as many stomach soothing foods as possible including: carrot, fennel and green juices, unripe plantain powder, cherries, persimmon smoothies, chia seeds and coconut. This apparently is important to repair the damage that pylori has done to the stomach lining. Judging from my symptoms of gastric irritation, my lining has indeed been left in a pretty ravaged state.
Some of my anti-pylori agents – brassica veg (Brussels and flower sprouts) and home-dried cranberries. Functional and fun!
Killing off the pylori overgrowth and repairing the stomach lining can be a fairly long-term project. Dr. Yasko says it may take months or years to address and also that once you've eradicated the pylori, symptoms can persist for perhaps 6 months afterwards. Obviously, this can make tracking progress a bit tricky, but I'm guessing it's wise to keep up with some kind of pylori control measures until you're feeling sure things are in a better state of balance. Some people say that the mastic also kills good bacteria, but instinctively, I feel comfortable with taking a low dose (500-750mg per day) and reassured that it's a daily part of the diet for many people in Greece and the Middle East.
Herbal helpers – mastic gum and triphala (an Ayurvedic remedy comprised of three sour fruits)
What happened next?
Some very wild die-off in the first few days which lessened as time went on, though even at the start, I felt remarkably better in between all the die-off. My symptoms included: severe nausea and reflux, the worst episodes of facial, arm and leg twitching and shaking I've ever experienced, feeling very fed up, bladder problems, especially bad delayed stomach emptying and more of a saliva shortage than usual. Plus a lot of episodes of the smelly sweating. And nope – I could not tell you what the connection might be with all of this!
On the plus side, I felt: improved energy, calmer, happier mood, significantly less burping and 'stomach squelching'. And once the dust had settled: generally smoother digestion, less irritable bladder symptoms and fewer twitching and sweating attacks. I have been so excited to start getting a sense in the past few months of what 'normal' feels like, when I've been having pretty extreme difficulties for the past 10 years! Improvements in the digestive department have been less pronounced so far than the general energy boost, though from Dr Yasko's info, that would be usual for the stomach to be catching up later. For now, I think my system is just relieved not to be permanently overwhelmed with ammonia.
I was hoping to try and add in some other herbs to alternate, but unfortunately my experiments with rosehips and broccoli sprouts haven't been a success. The others I've tried also haven't seemed to have such potent effects as the mastic, so I suspect I'll go back to this star-performing herb. As I'm sure you'll notice, this is really a make-it-up-as-I-go-along approach!
In the third and final part of 'The Puzzle of H. pylori' I'll look at the connection between H. pylori and environmental Illness (EI).
You can also find more info on the best blenders for smoothies on Wife Knows.