A mystery chronic is, to me, any illness that falls into the category of symptom profiles for which allopathic medicine has no real diagnosis. Autoimmune conditions fall into this category as they are not "actual" diseases, but rather a collection of symptoms given a name, essentially, to be able to communicate about it.
The great news is there is help and support for these illnesses. It falls in the realm of holistic and alternative medicine, which can not only help support symptoms, but holds keys to resolving these conditions.
If you or someone you know suffers from mystery chronic illnesses or autoimmune conditions, I encourage you to read on.
I am contacted daily by individuals, a lot of individuals, who are suffering with a plethora of symptoms that the allopathic field has not found answers for. They have had test after test that usually turns up empty of any solid answers - which can be a more dreaded thing to hear than "oh, you have this.......". Because "You have this...." often holds at least some promise for some sort of treatment, even if just symptomatic treatment. But "Everything looks good and normal" when you certainly don't feel good and normal, brings a feeling of being sent off into this downward spiraling dark abyss...alone.
Sometimes tests show something like a thyroid disorder or a deficient vitamin level. And with a bottle clutched in hand and a heart full of hope, they embrace whatever is offered with the sliver of a chance that it might help. And sometimes it does.....for a while.....but most often it doesn't. And with it come a whole near surfacing of symptoms.
And there are times when tests reveal nothing, and the patient is put on steroids or pain medications as a sort of last chance grab bag attempt by the physician to help bring some relief. All too often, this only brings more issues and a dependency on symptom treating.
There is sort of a desperation in these individuals, an almost feeble plea for help after being so worn down from so much energy expended looking for answers and coming up with nothing....or worse.....being told it's all in your head. They are sick. They are exhausted. And they are usually one step away from resigning to the idea that this is just their life now.
I have experienced this first hand from both sides of the fence - as a person suffering with mystery illness symptoms and as a practitioner and herbalist supporting clients who seek my help. I spent an entire year in bed, racked with pain, migraines, rapidly increasing food and environmental sensitivities, heart issues, and the most intense level of exhaustion that I have ever experienced. I told my story to doctor after doctor and specialist after specialist - 13 times to be exact. I had MRIs, CT scans, cardio stress tests, and a lot of blood work. Always the same answers. Nothing out of the ordinary. You are fine. It's probably just stress. It might be all in your head - have you suffered from depression? I wanted to scream "I DIDN'T UNTIL I STARTED DEALING WITH ALL OF THESE WEIRD HEALTH ISSUES THAT NO ONE CAN SEEM TO FIND ANY ANSWERS FOR.!!!" I didn't understand the mind body connection to health back then. But to be fair, the doctors that were dishing out the "All in your head" diagnosis didn't either. Theirs was. not a helpful, lets find the emotional and mental connections here. Their's was a dismissal rooted in an egoic something that prevented them from saying "I just don't know."
I finally found one doctor who noticed something slightly off on a thyroid panel. The numbers were actually still in the "normal" range, so other doctors didn't see any issue. But this man, highly skilled in endocrine function, ordered more tests. It was then revealed that I had thyroid antibodies and I was given the diagnosis of "Hashimoto's thyroiditis". Finally something! I was put in synthroid and told I would have to be on it for the rest of my life. I was totally fine with it, at the time. If it helped me get out of bed and function relatively pain free, I was willing to do a life sentence. But it didn't help. Not really. One day I remember hearing "You didn't. have this before. Before you were healthy. You don't need to have this now".....coming from inside of me. Which was very odd because I didn't subscribe to any sort of mind body or holistic belief. I started researching and began taking the herb milk thistle. Within 3 months, I stopped taking the synthroid. Within 4-5 months my thyroid levels were normal and antibodies gone - to the doctor's surprise. They have been normal ever since. Thus, I tuned to holistic medicine - acupuncture and traditional Chinese medicine to be specific - for continued help. And thus began. my journey into the eclectic healing arts.
Now I help others that are dealing with similar situations. I have experience in a wide array of the healing arts, and am very well versed on health and wellness. And I have a special interest and skill, for supporting those suffering with "mystery" and "autoimmune" illnesses and sensitivities and migraines.
A key for everyone here is what mysteriously came to me 20 years ago. "You didn't have this before. You don't need to have it now".....with the footnote......."if you are willing to work at it."
The question then arises......but how? How can I heal from something when I don't even know what that something is?
The interesting thing is that you don't have to KNOW what IT is to bring about healing. Even when mystery illnesses are given a name, there really is no knowing what it is. It just has a name. And a dangerous thing this can be. Remember the mind/body connection I spoke about? When something is given a name, it often brings greater attachment to it. Instead of migraines, fatigue, and pain.......it becomes MY migraines, MY chronic fatigue, MY fibromyalgia. And this creates a very different connection to our relationship to ourselves and our health. It puts the condition both "out there" - outside of ourselves, and makes it a "thing", rather than a pattern of choices and results. It disempowers us. And for some peculiar reason, probably out of fear, we embrace it. Humans are interesting creatures. We would rather embrace something and have some sense of knowing, even if it's something quite miserable, than we would leave it a more amorphous "not knowing".
So if you don't know what IT is, how can you possibly cure it?
First off, strike the word cure from the picture. Again, it tends to mark the condition as an absolute THING. It isn't a thing. It is a pattern. A series of results stemming from choices. Choices you made. Choices that at the time were exactly the right choices to make within the scope of the wisdom you held. And you grow wiser in every moment that passes. You can probably look back in time, and gain a sense of when the illness began. It may have been after a stressful event, or a series of stressful events - even if they didn't feel stressful at the time - such as a new job, a new house, a new relationship.For many women, it began in the first two years after giving birth to a child. For others, it may have started with an illness or health issue such as an abscess tooth, which followed a series of events that lead to a downward health spiral.
So where do I begin?
There are three things I usually recommend to individuals dealing with mystery illnesses and autoimmune conditions. There may be additional recommendations depending on the specific situation and symptoms of each individual. But typically, the protocol is:
- Adrenal Support
- Liver Support
- A safe for long term use anti-viral
Adrenals are the glands that sit on top of your kidneys. They produce hormones that you cannot live without. Adrenals can easily become fatigued from stress. Over time, this can lead to adrenal exhaustion. This can result in an array of symptoms including fatigue, food and environmental intolerances, low blood sugar, low body temperature, depression, anxiety, etc. Adrenal fatigue and exhaustion are often the precursors to many other chronic conditions and symptoms that develop if the adrenals are left insufficiently supported. Migraines, blood sugar issues, thyroid conditions are just a few of these.
With adrenal herbs, caution of selection should be invoked. While there are many herbs out there that can help support the adrenals, some will appear to be helping by increasing energy and adrenal function, but really are taxing the adrenals further.
Sage Moon Apothecary makes a lovely adrenal support tonic called Adapt. It contains carefully selected adaptogenic herbs that nourish and support. It works best when used for a period of time, however many customers have reported noticing it's effects after a couple of doses.
"I used your Adapt Syrup yesterday and again this. morning and can already feel the effects. My lethargy seems to be lifting and I feel better prepared to deal with the day ahead." ~Lori, Maine
The liver is a central part of the body's metabolic process. It detoxifies chemicals and breaks down old or damaged blood cells. The liver does a tremendous amount of work for our bodies and when it is sluggish, it doesn't work properly. When the liver doesn't work properly, it can no longer filter out toxins, which can accumulate in the body's fatty tissues. Some of the things that can result from an improperly functioning liver are chronic fatigue, digestive issues, hormonal imbalance, skin problems, chronic muscle and joint pain, increased weight gain, and more. When the liver is properly supported, it relieves a great deal of stress on the body that is being expended at trying to right the balance of the liver. The body can then direct it's energy towards healing other areas of itself, which it can do quite well when the liver isn't continually yelling "I DONT FEEL SO GOOD! HELP ME!"
Some of the best herbs for supporting the liver are milk thistle, dandelion root, burdock root, and turmeric. Turmeric is one of the herbs I recommend most, because it not only helps with the underlying needed liver support, it also address symptoms of inflammation and pain. It should be used with extreme caution by individuals who take blood thinning medication, and should be avoided by pregnant women. There are many amazing benefits that come with turmeric use, which you can read more about in my blog post on turmeric. It is a good idea to add milk thistle to your herbal protocol. The best way to do this is to purchase high quality milk thistle powder and either use it as is, or capsule it yourself. Mountain Rose Herbs, Starwest Botanicals, and Pacific Botanicals are all good sources. If you want to purchase a ready made supplement, check with those mentioned sources or look into Eclectic Institute's Milk Thistle capsules, which contain no fillers. I feel that taking the whole herb milk thistle powder is going to be more beneficial, and cost effective than using a tinctured extract.
Sage Moon Apothecary makes several very tasty and nourishing blends of Golden Milk Electuary. These contain just the right combination of turmeric along with other beneficial herbs' and the needed coconut oil (a fat is needed to fully absorb the beneficial properties of turmeric) in a healthy and yummy raw honey medium. Raw honey has it's own health benefits as does coconut oil. Most people notice the symptomatic relief from Golden Milk Electuary with just one or two doses. And nearly everyone who has tried it has said it was a delicious and comforting way to use. herbs and because of this, they will continue to use it. Golden Milk may. help with symptoms of arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, and most inflammatory and pain conditions. Quite a few customers have reported that with regular use of Sage Moon Apothecary's Golden Milk Electuary that they no longer need prescriptive or over the counter medications for pain and/or inflammation. And what's even more amazing about this product, is that while it's relieving symptoms, it also is helping to support the liver, digestion, and circulation, thus improving the actual underlying condition and moving towards wellness.
The Immune System
Autoimmune conditions have usually had the idea applied that it is a situation where the body, for unknown reasons, attacks itself. This has been a best guess based on symptom activity and, really, a loss at any deeper information. There have been many fairly recent studies, however, that show that the body is NOT attacking itself, but rather it is attacking viral components that, in a sense, lay hidden in the body, and emerge at times of stress. Two of the viruses that have been implicated are Epstein Barre and Shingles and I'm sure there are others. Epstein Barre is also known as mono or "the kissing disease". Shingles, as was previously thought, is NOT a form of chicken pox, but it's own separate, yet related disease. In many autoimmune cases one or both of these viruses have been found present and active in the body. Lyme disease and confections of Lyme such as Babesia are others that are being found.
My approach with including these studies in my recommended protocol, is to support the immune system with a safe for long term use anti viral herb or herb blend. Sage Moon Apothecary's Thyme Berry Oxymel was created for exactly this reason. Thyme is a wonderful herb with fairly potent anti viral, anti biotic, anti fungal, and antiseptic properties. And it's very safe to use long term. The Thyme Berry Oxymel is a vinegar and water based syrup, which brings in the additional alkalizing and healing properties of raw apple cider vinegar. It also included elerberry which is an amazing immune system nourisher and supporter and the most popular cold and flu remedy in Europe. Blackberries are brought in for both flavor and support of the digestive and urinary tracts.
It is my experience, both personal and professional, that when we support the adrenals, liver, and immune system, the body is much better able to move towards a state of greater wellness. And again, we don't need to KNOW what IT is......we just need to support the body to the best of our abilities and let it do it's work. It will. It is perfectly designed to do so.
Individuals with mystery illness symptoms and chronic autoimmune conditions do not need to continue to suffer or to be condemned to a life sentence of "this is just what you are going to have from now on." There is hope for healing and while each individual is certainly unique and each situation will be just as so, I truly believe that the protocols I offer will create a greater state of wellness on all levels of being.
Please take the time to review the products I mentioned. Feel if they are something that may work for you.And also include proper sleep, hydration, and optimal digestion as other supports. And consider the choices in your power to attain a life of greater health and well being. Please contact me with questions and I will do my best to provide answers.
Testimonial for Sage Moon Apothecary's recommended protocol.
"About two weeks ago I received the first of my three month subscripti
Within the first 2 to 3 days, I begin to feel much less pain in my joints and more ease of movement! I am using everything
Sage Moon Apothecary Mystery Chronic Illness & Autoimmune Syndrome Recommendations
Other recommended products
Blood Building Multi Vitamin and Mineral Tonic - a multi vitamin and mineral syrup that is easily digestible and rich in iron
Beyond Elderberry Syrup - additional immune system support that is safe for long term use. can be used as a preventative or during acute onset of illnesses
Tranquil Repose , Sleep Syrup - a syrup that promotes sleepiness and a restful full sleep
Serenity, Stress & Anxiety Nervine Syrup - stress an anxiety support that coats frazzled nerve endings and allows for a more calm, relaxed state without drowsiness. may be helpful for anxious conditions such as ADD/ADHD as well
Hawthorn Heart Support - a wonderful heart adaptogen syrup that supports the heart physically and emotionally. hawthorn has been noted to reverse congestive heart failure if used early enough. a wonderful support during times of heartache and heaviness
Deep Breath Respiratory Syrup - an excellent tonic syrup for deep seated mucus such as with flu, cold, bronchitis. also helpful for asthma, COPD, and other respiratory related conditions
Chaga Concentrate - do a search on the internet and you will find a wealth of information on changa and its amazing benefits. it is used in cancer treatments, alone or in conjunction with allopathic treatments and is an excellent support for extreme autoimmune conditions