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Episode 7 – Treating Autoimmune Diseases with Traditional Chinese Medicine with Peter Steele

Podcast The Rezilir Way

In this episode, Peter Steele (our licensed acupuncturist and herbal specialist at Rezilir Health) discusses the benefits of acupuncture and other manual therapies used as supportive treatments for our patients dealing with chronic pain and inflammation, as well as many other conditions such as Lyme, anxiety, insomnia, depression, gastrointestinal issues, neurological problems, and so much more.

Hosted By:

Show Notes

Peter Steele joins the podcast for the seventh episode in our series, discussing his path into eastern medicine and how it has shaped his work at Rezilir Health. Stemming from childhood illnesses, join Peter as he discusses with Jacob how eastern medicine opened up the door to a healthier life and how it steered his direction in life. Becoming a Master Naturalist and Master Gardener, Peter talks about the overlap that is occurring with Chinese medicine and modern bioscience. By choosing the right herbs, we may pinpoint pain more accurately and be more in tune with our body, rather than treating herbs as a one-stop shop pharmaceutical. Peter clarifies what yin/yang exactly means and how it applies to our many internal systems, especially when applying herbs to relieve issues. Following the Buhner Protocol, Peter explains how it allows for some flexibility in the use of herbs as treatment, including its uses against CIRS, specifically skull cap and its many uses. Navigating within the Buhner Protocol, Peter details the treatment of Lyme disease and how herbs have led to a greater help in finding and treating co-infections of Lyme, the transmission of it, and generally bumping up your own immune system. Referencing The Art of War, Peter tells how the classic text has inspired him to approach situations from many different angles, using antibiotics in conjunction with herbs, and the extremely high demand for cordyceps and their many beneficial properties.

  • (1:05) Peter discusses health issues incurred during his youth and how it influenced his interest in eastern medicine, looking at the whole picture of our health, and how it pioneered his course in life.
  • (6:00) A westernized approach to eastern medicine, and how Chinese medicine and modern bioscience overlap. Peter’s education in Master Naturalist and Master Gardner programs, learning about herbs and how it has helped his work at Rezilir and handling patients with sensitivities.
  • (12:30) Choosing the right herbs and diagnosing patients with both eastern and western treatments. How treating herbs like pharmaceuticals is a misguided approach and how we should be pinpointing the specific pain and trying to be more in tune with our bodies, finding the true nature of the issue.
  • (16:55) Clarifying yin/yang and how it applies to out bodies. Dictating what herbs we use, and how cold and hot herbs should be used in conjunction with symptoms.
  • (25:10) The Buhner Protocol and finding the right path. Treating CIRS with herbs and skullcaps massive popularity and use in treatments, helping us understand what herbs we should use to tackle the various bodily systems.
  • (38:25) Following the Buhner Protocol and how it has helped with treating Lyme, guiding the use of herbs to help treat the many co-infections that can come with Lyme, and the precautions you can take with herbs to bump up your immune system.
  • (54:00) Peter’s use of The Art of War and how it has helped him approach things from different angles, combining antibiotics with herbs, and the high demand for cordyceps and their many beneficial properties, especially as a monotherapy.

Transcript

Jacob Gordon:

Hey, guys, and welcome. You’re listening to The Rezilir Way with Jacob Gordon. And I’m your host, Jacob. I’m so excited to have you here today. Today, we have a very, very cool episode. This is an episode where we discuss protocols for Lyme disease, and we’re focusing on it from a Traditional Chinese Medicine approach. So, we have Peter Steele from Rezilir Health that is going to be talking on a multitude of herbs and protocols, and he is so intelligent in this. And I think you should stick around until the end of the episode because it is all really helpful information, whether you have Lyme disease or not. We talk about the different types of insects out there that could cause a co-infection not just ticks. We talk about black holes and so much more. I’ve actually been working with him and using some of his herbs as Nootropics while working on my website, mybiohack.com.

Jacob Gordon:

So, without further ado, let’s get started. Thank you for coming on the show. It’s so great to have you.

Peter Steele:

Pleasure to be here.

Jacob Gordon:

So, I want a little bit of background about you, how you got started into Traditional Chinese Medicine, and what you do, where you studied.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Actually, it’s kind of a long and somewhat interesting story. But when I was younger, I had a number of different health issues. I was seeing a whole bunch of different doctors when I was just in my teens. I was seeing a rheumatologist. I was seeing a cardiologist. I was seeing a pulmonologist. I was seeing a gastroenterologist. I was on steroids. I was on a whole bunch of fun medications. And none of them really made me feel that good. And it kind of came to a peak when I started in college and my mom for a long time had been telling me like, “Oh, you should see my acupuncturist. You should go talk to her. I really think she could help you.” I was kind of like, “Get out of here without woo-woo BS.

Jacob Gordon:

Do you mind if I can ask you what you were experiencing?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. I mean, no one really knew at the time I was-

Jacob Gordon:

It was like dysautonomia or?

Peter Steele:

Well, it was a whole bunch of different things. No one really put all the pieces together and that’s one of the major problems with our current medical model is you have all of these specialists who are just so focused on their own area of expertise that they’re not really looking at the whole forest. They’re just looking at each individual tree and trying to address a problem that way. And come to find out now, oh, I actually had CIRS and that’s why I was experiencing all these different issues because I had a multi-system, multi-symptom illness that was not being properly addressed.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay. Yeah.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. It was really fun. So, I kind of had put off seeing the acupuncturist for a really long time. And then finally it was basically just like, “I don’t have anything else, there’s nothing else for me to try. I’ve tried everything out there. I will try your crazy woo-woo which is not my stuff.” It was pretty crazy. Within about two weeks, she had me feeling incredibly better. She just did a little acupuncture on me, gave me a couple of herbs, one of the ones at the time was actually Cordyceps, which we’ll probably wind up talking a little bit.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh man, I love Cordyceps. And we’ll be talking about it so much.

Peter Steele:

I hope so. It’s good stuff. It’s good stuff. So, yeah, that was the beginning of my awakening. And then I went through my undergraduate program and got out and was kind of like, “Wow, what do I want to do with my life?” I always wanted to be in the medical field not sure what I wanted to do. And I was kind of like, “Well, this profession really saved my life. I think I want to give it a go and help other people to experience the same relief from their issues as I did.”And so, that was my beginning. Getting into acupuncture, I did a five-year program at East West College of Natural Medicine over in Sarasota.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay.

Peter Steele:

After I graduated that, I decided I wanted to get a little bit more into herbal medicine. So, I did some extra training, I went and got my Board Certification in Chinese Herbology and Pharmacology. And I went to the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agriculture Science, I did-

Jacob Gordon:

So, Gators have that program as well? I would have never-

Peter Steele:

Actually, University of Florida has a Veterinary Acupuncture School.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, I see.

Peter Steele:

Yeah, if you want to stick needles in large farm animals, that’s the place to go. Horses, cows, dogs.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. They actually have one of the largest research programs too for acupuncture in animals. So-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, wow.

Peter Steele:

… they do… Yeah that’s-

Jacob Gordon:

I didn’t know that.

Peter Steele:

… a ton. Yeah. It’s really beneficial, especially for horses that are trying to recover from sports injuries and you’re trying to keep them in the races and keep them healthy for as long as possible. Yeah. So, they do a bunch of that. Florida is actually the only state where it’s on the law that you have to be both a veterinarian and an acupuncturist in order to do acupuncture on animals. Most states-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, wow. That’s awesome.

Peter Steele:

Yep. You can-

Jacob Gordon:

You’ve got to be covered in also all aspects?

Peter Steele:

Both, yeah. So, it’s really cool for the profession to be here in this kind of a state. It’s also one of only a few states in the country where we’re considered primary care physicians and we have all the same rights and privileges as far as writing lab orders, doing imaging studies, making recommendations to patients about what they should and shouldn’t be doing, and really just being seen in the medical community as a peer instead of kind of like a supporting role. So, it’s-

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. So, this is more of a westernized approach of Eastern medicine?

Peter Steele:

Totally, totally. Ever since the cultural revolution in China, that’s really where it’s been going.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, that’s awesome.

Peter Steele:

They really sought to find the overlap between traditional Chinese medicine and modern bio-science and to figure out how to bring Chinese medicine into the 21st century.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, wow. That’s awesome. That is so cool. I didn’t know they had that program and that’s awesome that you’ve done that.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. So, I didn’t do the Veterinary Acupuncture. I actually did the Master Naturalist and the Master Gardener Programs.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, I see.

Peter Steele:

Institute of Food and Agriculture Science. So yeah, I wanted to get way more into the herbs. I wanted to learn about what herbs grow here, how to grow them, how to cultivate them. A lot of people aren’t really aware of. They spend all this money online buying these herbs that they think are so exotic and powerful because they have to be imported from really far away. If you go into their own backyard, they’re usually growing right there as a weed and you can get them. So, really big fan of finding your medicine where it’s growing in your own backyard and sustainably helping yourself to feel better.

Jacob Gordon:

Well, I wanted to find out more what’s in my backyard.

Peter Steele:

All sorts of stuff. Yeah. I mean, one day we should really take a walk around and we can look at what’s growing and talk about how we would use it to either fill your pots or fill your medicine cabinet.

Jacob Gordon:

That’d be really cool.

Peter Steele:

Sweet.

Jacob Gordon:

So, now you’re working at Rezilir?

Peter Steele:

Yes.

Jacob Gordon:

What are you doing there?

Peter Steele:

Oh, all sorts of fun stuff. So, we’re a specialty practice that deals with chronic inflammation, cognitive decline, and autoimmune disease. So, I’m always on my toes trying to help our patients as best as I can with the herbs that we have available to us here at the clinic. It tends to be pretty tricky because our patient demographic is highly sensitive to a number of different compounds that most people wouldn’t be sensitive to at all. So, we really have to know not just about what we call it, the energy of the herbs. So, what it would do from a traditional perspective, whether it raises chi or drains dampness, or unbinds the liver. It’s not enough to just know that we have to know what are the primary compounds that make up the herb, how do those compounds work together in the human body? What they interact with, what’s going on there?

Peter Steele:

So, like for example, a lot of our patients are very sensitive to a class of plant compounds called sterols, which are the plant equivalent of cholesterol. And they are actually used as a supplement for a number of different things, controlling cholesterol, would be one of them, but they also have a mild ability to bind and to pull harmful substances out of the body. But for a lot of our patients, that’s way too much for them. And even a little bit, we’ll just send them over the edge, so we just got to be careful.

Jacob Gordon:

Why is that? Is that the cholesterol has toxins in it and it’s pulling it out or?

Peter Steele:

That’s a good question, actually. I’m not really sure how the plant sterols do that. I think it’s just by replacing, by stimulating the gallbladder and making things flow.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, I see. I see. So, they’re creating more bile.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. It’s definitely not like a binder like charcoal or zeolite where it’s actually binding two things and physically pulling them out of you.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, okay. That makes sense. So, that would make more sense for having a reaction because it has other effects than just take that out of you.

Peter Steele:

Exactly.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah.

Peter Steele:

Exactly.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay.

Peter Steele:

Even though it’s really gentle and you would think like, “Oh, that would be perfect.” A lot of times, it’s not and then we’ve got a bunch of patients that are sensitive to sugar or different sugars anyway, dextrose and all the various sucrose, and maltose, and all those fun ones. And so, a lot of plants, they just naturally produce sugars. So, some herbs are high in sugar and that’s not so good for our patients. So, we got just another example of how we really need to make sure we’re using the right herbs for the right person.

Jacob Gordon:

Now, when you say that they’re high in sugar, you’re just saying the raw form of the herb is high in sugar?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. There’s one, for example, Rehmannia is a really good herb, that’s used we would say to like nourish the hidden blood. So, it’s often used today for patients who are anemic. They have a low red cell count, high ridiculous red count. They don’t have enough folate and the herb, as it turns out, is really, really high in a lot of different nutrients that help to build healthy blood cells. It’s got some iron in there, a lot of vitamin A, a lot of carotenoids, all sorts of good stuff, but the issue with it is that it also has a lot of sugar.

Peter Steele:

So, the herb can be processed a lot of times to kind of remove some of those sugars. So, one of the common ways to do that is by steaming it. So, that would be a good option for a lot of our patients. However, in the traditional method of steaming it, they would use rice wine in order to steam the herb. And so, then that can create further issues because our patients are sensitive to alcohol or they’re sensitive to rice. And so, we always, once again, have to be careful, like how is the herb being prepared? What’s being done to it? And do we need to do something different?

Jacob Gordon:

So, you’re pretty much customizing it per patient?

Peter Steele:

Oh, yeah. Every patient gets something completely different here.

Jacob Gordon:

That is really cool.

Peter Steele:

We do have some pre-made formulas that we’ll use for patients who are not as complex or just need an off-the-shelf remedy. So, we’ve spent a lot of time developing these formulas to make sure that they are low in sugar, low in sterile, low in all these other things that we’ve been talking about. And so, it has the least potential to do harm or to trigger any reactions in our patients. So, most of our formulas here are based off of traditional Chinese formulas, but they just have one or two modifications where we swapped out one herb for another herb that’s a little bit better selection for what we got going on.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, wow. That’s really awesome. I love that. I want to know more about how you choose which herbs for these patients. Like, how are you able to diagnose them? I know you mentioned chi a little bit earlier. Do you want to expand upon what that means? What that is?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. So, that’s a really good question. I do a little bit of both Eastern and Western diagnosis. So, Chinese medicine evolved in a time before lab testing, where you had to kind of use your senses, look at a patient to assess them, to kind of figure out what’s going on. You couldn’t send their blood off to a lab and have it come back and say, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. They’re anemic.” You had to pull down the eyelid and see. Oh, wow. Look, the skin there is really pale to see that they had a pale tongue, sallow complexion, and a weak voice, all of these classic signs of what we would call blood deficiency.

Peter Steele:

So, that’s really helpful for me because you kind of have your instant diagnosis where you can just look at someone and be like, “Okay, I have kind of a general idea of what’s going on with you. I know what your major malfunction is, so to speak.” And you can kind of jump from there, but then have the advantage of being able to combine that with lab testing and all the wonderful marvels of modern science to see like, “Oh, okay, well, this is why you are anemic. This is why you are the way you are, this is what’s going on.” And then we can create a plan that helps to best cover all of our bases. So with modern herbal medicine, a lot of times you’ll find when these companies are creating their formula, they are just sort of throwing a bunch of herbs together. They’re sort of indicated for the same thing. So, what I mean by that is there’s a bunch of different herbs, for example, say that treat headache. And so, they’ll just take all the ones out there that have the same best data as far as the age they resolved double-blind, placebo-controlled study, they reduced headache, frequency or severity, or what have you by X number of percent. And I’m just going to stick them all into a formula because if one’s good, more must be better and-

Jacob Gordon:

So, they’re treating them like pharmaceuticals?

Peter Steele:

Yeah, basically. And from our perspective, that’s not what you want to do with the herbs because they each have their different strengths and weaknesses. They have their different properties. And from a traditional perspective, there’s many, many different reasons why you would have a headache. So, one herb might be best for a vertex headache on the top of your head. And another herb that actually might be better for a frontal headache, like on your forehead. One herb might be best if you have a crushing sensation with your headache. And another one might be better if it is like an empty feeling like your brain’s just got sucked out.

Jacob Gordon:

Wow. So, that’s like really specific for each type of headache. I wouldn’t even have thought to describe my symptoms of a headache like that.

Peter Steele:

They are. So, for us, we have that problem all the time. I’ll ask people, what is the quality of pain that you experience? And they’ll just tell me like, “Oh, it hurts.” I’m like, “Okay. Yeah. But is it like a crushing pain? Is it a burning pain? Is it a stabbing pain?” And then they’ll look at me like I have grown two heads and they’re like, “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” It can really be a struggle sometimes because as a society, we’re not very in tune with our bodies, first of all. Secondly, we’re not really taught to pay attention to our bodies. It’s just like, “Oh, take an Advil and get on with your life.” And then it’s just a recipe for disaster, really..So, we’ll do all of these different kind of intake on people to see what the true nature of their issue is. So, for example, if we’re going back to the headache example, we might find that our person has… Pathology we would call like liver yang rising, and it’s giving them a lot of vertex headaches. And so, we would then want to select herbs that treat headache, but also subdue or anchor the liver yang. So, that was-

Jacob Gordon:

You said yang and I’ve heard the term yin and yang before. Do you mind clarifying what that means? I have no idea.

Peter Steele:

Oh, wow. So, like in five minutes, I’ll do my best. So, yin and yang, for people who are kind of into the whole Eastern mysticism thing, you can really go deep into it and advocate for quite a while about what it means. But in the most basic sense, yin is the material aspect of something like physical, concrete being. The yang would be like an energetic part of that, the metabolic or the movement. Everything is yin and yang. Everything in the universe has both yin and yang. If you ask if it’s-

Jacob Gordon:

So, when you’re saying liver yang, you’re talking about the way it flows and not structural problem?

Peter Steele:

Correct. Yeah. If I’m talking about liver yin, I’m talking about the structure of the liver, the blood in the liver, the bile in the liver, those are all very yin things. If I’m talking about liver yang, it’s going to be the metabolic activity of the liver, the nerve impulses in the liver, all of that kind of stuff. And like I said-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, wow.

Peter Steele:

… you can’t have one without the other. You need yin to have yang, you need yang to have yin. Physicists will agree with us on that. So, they are at both once separate and-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, wow.

Peter Steele:

… inseparable.

Jacob Gordon:

So, those together make up the tree, the overall flow they are both required.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. So, chi is more of like a yang kind of energy, whereas we would say blood is more of like the yin sort of energy. So, everything in the body is chi and blood, but at the end of the day, that all, like I said, goes back to yin and yang. So, we do talk about liver qi, liver yang, liver yin, liver blood, all of those different aspects of the liver can be out of balance with each other. You can have too much of one, not enough of another. And then that would really dictate for us what herbs we would want to use for that patient if we needed herb that nourishes the liver blood, or we needed herb that moves the liver qi or we needed herb that anchors the liver yang.

Peter Steele:

So, for a Western person, all the liver herbs might be considered the same, like, “Oh, hey, they all detox your liver. They all promote hepatic function.” But for us, like I said, it’s really, really different.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay. Wow. Yeah. That’s so fascinating. You never hear about TCM talking about it this way, or at least like how you described it, that all the herbs work on different specific symptoms-

Peter Steele:

Absolutely.

Jacob Gordon:

… and different parts. But, yeah, most doctors are thinking of it as like they just all return on detoxifying genes.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. They all have their own specific energy. So, some herbs are very heavy. Some herbs are very light, some are hot, some are cold. People always get into a little bit like, “Oh, well, how do you tell?” You just play with the herb. Some herbs you pick them up and you’re like, “Wow, that’s very dense.” Some of them are sticky. Some of them are very spicy like cinnamon because most people would tell you cinnamon is hot. Most people will tell you mint is cool. So, these are all different things that you don’t need a chemical detector to tell you about the plant. You can figure that out on your own.

Jacob Gordon:

I’ve heard the terms like heat, coldness, dampness, dryness. So, would you use a herb that’s like spicy and hot if someone was cold?

Peter Steele:

Exactly. Yeah. You’re a Chinese doctor already. It’s very straightforward. You want to dry out people who are damp. You want to warm people who are cold. If you get a little bit more into it, sometimes we’ll find that isn’t the case. Sometimes you’ll actually want to give someone who’s hot, hot herb. But that’s more of a rare situation. There’s a lot of different theories about getting yin and yang and one of them is the theory of inner transformation.

Peter Steele:

So, there’s this idea that things that are extremely hidden or extremely young, if you just push them a little bit further in that direction, they will transform and become the opposite. So, a really easy example to look at in the universe would be a black hole. So, you have this big burning ball of gas and it’s very, very young. It’s very energetic. It’s emitting massive amounts of energy. If I said to a physicist, “Hey, I want to take this big ball of yang and I want to make it very yin, what’s the easiest way to do that?” The physicist isn’t going to tell you, “Oh, well, let’s just take away a bunch of energy from the start. Let’s just let stop all the energy out. Let’s put it somewhere else. And then by sucking all of that energy out, we will make this big burning pile of gas or more yin.” They’ll tell you, “Hey, it’s very, very yang. It’s got all this energy and mass to it. And if we add just a little bit more, it’s going to turn into a black hole. And it’s suddenly going to go from being very, very yang. It’s going to have a supernova and blow out all this energy everywhere. And then it’s going to, unless something bothers it, become this very inanimate yin object that just sits there. Very dense, not outputting a lot of energy, just doing its own thing.”

Peter Steele:

And so, sometimes with herbs, it would be the same thing like, “Wow, this patient is so yang. They are so far in this direction that if we just tip them over the edge a little bit with some more yang herbs, they will then become or return to a state of being more yin.”

Jacob Gordon:

Wow. That was like the most fascinating example I’ve ever heard, and I would’ve never thought to use a black hole to describe yin and yang. That is really cool. Can you give me an example of a patient that you’ve had, where you’ve had to do that?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Actually, a lot of times there are patients that have… Interior cold is a really common one.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay.

Peter Steele:

So, that would be a situation is caused by viruses, for example. A lot of times, not always, but viruses tend to cause cold. And so, they come to the office, they’re shivering, they’re freezing. It might actually be easier to make them colder, which almost sort of jump-starts their body into then heating itself back up. So, you could give them a bunch of really cold and bitter herbs like trichosanthis, dandelion. And then all of a sudden, they will just, boom, turn right around. Kudzu’s another good one. They’ll start sweating, they’ll get hot, they’ll get flushed. And then, your job is done.

Jacob Gordon:

That’s a cold herb by nature, but it triggers the body to create this balancing heat response?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Like I said, if they’re already that far in that direction, it would be easier to push them over the edge rather than spend a bunch of time trying to warm them up with say like cinnamon, and ephedra, and other really hot warming herbs. You could just give them a little bit of cold herbs and they will just go right over the edge and are back around the other side.

Jacob Gordon:

Wow, that’s fascinating.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. They used to do that too a lot of times just with manual therapies. So, they would take a patient outside and they would just pour ice water over them over and over again and again until all of a sudden, they started sweating and brought that heat back up again.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. I mean, that’s essentially what they do when someone’s in the hospital and they can’t get them to break a fever and sweat. They put them in ice baths.

Peter Steele:

Yep, yeah.

Jacob Gordon:

So, you can do that with their biology as well.

Peter Steele:

Yes. Yeah, absolutely, with the right herbs and knowing how to use them.

Jacob Gordon:

Well, that’s really cool. I want to talk a little bit about some of the protocols that you follow. I know you really follow Dr. Buhner-

Peter Steele:

Yes.

Jacob Gordon:

… and his herbs. You use it for which diseases? You have, like CIRS, Lyme, EBV, that kind of stuff?

Peter Steele:

Yeah, all sorts. I really like his work a lot. One of the main reasons why is… A lot of times you’ll go out there on the internet and you’ll look for different herbal products or different protocols. Everyone’s all about protocols. They love their protocolization. They would just want to find a recipe and figure out what the tweaks are for each individual person. And then just crank out like, boom, boom, boom, formulas a day. Like, “Here we go, here we go, here we go.”So, one of the main reasons I like Buhner a lot is because other people out there online who are putting out these protocols, they’re always trying to sell you something. They’ve always got like, “Oh, yeah, this is my protocol. These are my herbs. This protocol works the best. Here, go to my website, buy all my stuff.” Yeah. I’m like, “Okay. So, really you’re just trying to sell me something here. I’m not really convinced of your research. I’m not really convinced that your logic is sound. You’ve certainly got plenty of people singing your praises online, but I have higher standards, I guess you could say, than that.”

Peter Steele:

So, I like Buhner because he doesn’t do that. He puts the information out there. He says, “This is what I would recommend, but then if you want to do that on your own, you’ll have to do that on your own.” So, there’s definitely companies out there that may-

Jacob Gordon:

So, he’s not so strict?

Peter Steele:

Correct. There’s companies out there that make his different blends, different concoctions, but at the end of the day, he’s just giving you the information, what you do with it is up to you. So, the question you asked earlier about what are we treating with? All sorts of stuff. So, with CIRS, it’s a multi-system, multi-symptom illness caused by exposure to different environmental toxins, creates chronic inflammation, really messes people up in a big way. The herbs that we would use for that obviously would reduce inflammation, help improve blood circulation. So, it’s a lot of stuff like skullcap, red sage, polygonum, and you’ll find two interestingly enough.

Peter Steele:

So, these herbs are also used in a lot of the Lyme protocols because they do the same sorts of stuff. So, at the end of the day, the inflammation that’s being created by this Lyme spiral key is very similar to the inflammation that can be created by these different viruses or micro-toxins or glyphosate, or what have you. It is causing certain inflammatory cytokines to increase. It is pairing the ability of your white cells to recognize and eliminate different harmful compounds. And so, once again, it’s almost beautiful how simple it is. You can use these different herbs for these many different kinds of inflammation.

Jacob Gordon:

Wow, that’s fascinating. I want to know a little bit, you mentioned skullcap, red sage, polygonum. Those are things that you gave me after my concussion and for when I was working with you on CIRS.

Peter Steele:

Yeah.

Jacob Gordon:

Can you tell me what was going on with skullcap because skullcap has a calming effect and I know it’s GABAergic, but it also seems to have an immunostimulant effect.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Everyone loves skullcap. That’s like the herb of the day right now. Everyone’s all about baicalein, and Chrysin, and the other compounds in skullcap. Yeah. So, we talk about skullcap from a traditional perspective. It is a very cold and bitter herb that works on the lungs, the liver, and the gallbladder. So, it’s best for inflammation in those kind of particular areas. The Chinese, interestingly enough, weren’t really big on the brain. For them, the brain was what they would call an extraordinary organ. So, it was something that you were born with and it wasn’t really something that they believed could be influenced a lot by medicine.

Peter Steele:

I mean, you could definitely hurt your brain. You could definitely heal your brain, but you could not really change what you were born with. And so, you’ll find a lot of times you’re like, “Hey, why do all of these herbal formulas, they’re talking about helping the lungs, helping the liver, but they don’t talk about doing anything for the brain and yet, they definitely do help and are used to benefit the brain” And so, that’s why. It’s not that the Chinese didn’t care about the brain, it’s just that they were like, “Well, if the other organs are happy, if the five viscera and the six bowels are working correctly, the brain will be fine.” And so, they were just more concerned with balancing all of the individual organs. So, skullcap, going back to that-

Jacob Gordon:

To backtrack real quick, was there like a new age, traditional Chinese medicine or new-age Chinese medicine that encapsulates all of that, like the brain and the body systems?

Peter Steele:

Not really because there’s no one system that encapsulates everything or Chinese medicine. It’s like a little bit of everything. I mean, even when you’re talking about acupuncture, there is so many different kinds of acupuncture because you can be working with the 12 main meridians. You can be working with the extraordinary vessels. You can be working with the sinew channels. There’s just so many different ways to crack an egg. You kind of sometimes left it a loss for which one would be the best in each situation. But the good news is that each model has its own strengths and weaknesses, and they all work really well together. So, you can combine them as you see fit in order to kind of address whatever issue you have at hand.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay. Back to skullcap.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. So, the skullcap like I said, really mostly for what they would call the upper burner. So like the heart, the lungs, the throat, the head, and then by extension also, yes, it will treat the brain because it’s very cold and very bitter. Bitter herbs are draining, so it will drain excess conditions out of those areas. And so, what does that mean? Well, accesses would be things like phlegm, mucus, blood stagnation, blood stasis, liver yang rising. So, anytime there’s too much of something and you want there to be less of something, a better herb is going to help.

Jacob Gordon:

Now, when you say phlegm, those kinds of things, do you mean physical phlegm or like an energetic

Peter Steele:

Both. So, Chinese medicine says phlegm is the mother of a thousand diseases. So, phlegm can be what we would call substantial phlegm that you work up when you have a cold and phlegm can also be insubstantial phlegm. So that would be kind of like the plaque that grows inside of your arteries and messes with your heart and your brain. So, there’s like I said, many, many different kinds of phlegm. And to treat it, you would use bitter herbs that would drain to pull things out, and you would also use acridac herbs that disperse. You would kind of want a combination of either one herb that’s both bitter and acrid or several herbs that are both bitter and acrid together to address them.

Jacob Gordon:

Wow. Okay. So, more about skullcap.

Peter Steele:

Yes.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. We keep getting sidetracked, but I want to talk about all these herbs, but it’s so fascinating what you’re talking about.

Peter Steele:

I know trying to do this crash course. So, yeah, skullcaps, bitter colds, liver, gallbladder, lungs, upper burner. For you, you were saying like, “Oh, well, you gave it to me after I had this head injury.” So, sort of what we call the blood stasis, skullcap, not so good at addressing that. So, blood stasis is like any time you have an injury or trauma, the blood gets stuck in the vessels. It’s not moving properly a lot of-

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. I think red sage was in that.

Peter Steele:

Yes. Microcirculation is a big word these days, you want to improve your microcirculation. So, herbs that transform blood, resolve blood stasis, red sage is a really, really good one. The polygonum or knotweed as a lot of people call it, that’s another really, really good one. The resveratrol in there is excellent for that in order to help improve the microcirculation, get rid of old blood, and help to generate new blood. So, red sage is a very interesting herb because it’s one of the few herbs that has dual properties in that respect. So, it will both resolve blood stasis or stagnation to get rid of old blood, to move the blood out of wherever it’s stuck. And it will also help to generate new blood. That’s why it’s one of the best ones out there for that.

Peter Steele:

Angelica is another one that has both properties. But for our purposes, we don’t really use it as much in the clinic because it has a lot of effects on the hormones. So, that’s a really good one for women who have say like cramps or they have menopausal issues, or they have dysmenorrhea. Angelica would usually be your go-to because it’s good at regulating the hormones and also treating blood stasis. But if you’ve just got straight-up blood stasis, you don’t want to mess with the hormones. You want to use a lot more of the red sage. So once again, that’s where combining the traditional medicine and modern medicine is really helpful to get the best solution for everyone.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, wow. And so, you never think about these, having a multitude of factors or just doing a specific, like you said, red sage is just good for the microcirculation and the blood where Angelica can affect the hormones.

Peter Steele:

And it’s hard.

Jacob Gordon:

Usually when I’m looking at studies, you don’t really see them talking about the full aspect of Angelica.

Peter Steele:

No, and that’s really the problem with every one of them. Anyway, with modern medicine is that, you’ve got your medication, which has the intended effect, and then everything else is the side effect. But depending on what you’re using it for, those things can be reversed. So, for example, if I have a medication that reduces headaches, but it also causes constipation, if I’m using it to treat headache, then constipation would be the side effect.

Peter Steele:

However, if we flip that around and I’m using it to treat your loose stools now, constipating you is the intended effect and everything else is the side effect. So, what we really need to be doing is to not think about things as, oh, the major effect or the side effect or the intended effect, or what have you, but we need to start thinking about all of the different effects that this, whatever it is, herb/drug supplement, and you need to pick then the best one that’s right for all people. So, for example, if I have a patient come in and they have headaches and they’re also got loose stool, then boom, that herb’s the perfect one for them because it’s going to address both of their issues with one thing. But if they come in and they’ve got headaches and they’re constipated, then okay, now that’s not what I want. The constipating effect of the herb is worsening their situation. And I either need to pick a different herb or I need to add in another herb that is going to have a laxative effect.

Jacob Gordon:

So you make a blend that works well instead of just doing one herb approach?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Well, I’m actually a huge fan of monotherapy. So, I really like picking one herb that-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, so you are doing just one?

Peter Steele:

I like to. Yeah, yeah, yeah. One of my favorite teachers said, you want to heal two birds with one crystal. That’s my hippie-ism for the day. I want to-

Jacob Gordon:

I’ll take it.

Peter Steele:

I want the one crystal that’s going to heal the two birds because I really do believe that less is more, especially with our patient population who is so sensitive, doing one thing is a lot safer than doing multiple things. If they react to one thing, it’s easy enough to adjust or to figure out why, or to substitute something else. If you give them a blend of things and they react to it, then you don’t have a clue what’s doing it and then you can’t really adjust appropriately.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. That’s a good approach. Yeah. So, you can make adjustments, you know what’s going on and why it’s being caused.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. And so, a lot of our patients will start with monotherapy, so they’ll be on one herb and then over time, we’ll introduce additional herbs and they’ll sort of work their way up to a complete formula.

Jacob Gordon:

I want to talk a little bit about Lyme and the co-infections and what you would use in general for someone, maybe not customized because we’re talking to a mass audience here.

Peter Steele:

So, like you talked about earlier, we do follow the Buhner protocols here. They are subject to interpretation. We have interpreted them a little bit ourselves, taken a little bit of creative liberties. So, we really followed the sort of the core Buhner protocol at the clinic. So, it’s pretty straightforward.

Jacob Gordon:

Do you know what that is? Because I have a bunch of his books on-

Peter Steele:

Healing Lyme. Healing Lyme.

Jacob Gordon:

Healing Lyme. Okay.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. And then there’s a big, long subtitle, something about spotted fever, something, something, blah, blah, blah.

Jacob Gordon:

Is it the Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonell and Mycoplasma?

Peter Steele:

Yes. Yes.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. So, that’s a really good one. And then he just kind of gives you a core protocol, like, “Oh, these are the herbs with the core protocol. I think there’s like about nine of them, go from there, add on or remove as you see fit.” And so, like I said, we’ve sort of interpreted that and modified it a bit. So, we’ve split it into kind of three tiers. So we have, what’s called LD core formulas. So, Lyme disease, obviously LD or formula and we’ve done it in three different waves because we see here in the clinic that there’s kind of three major phases of treatment that people need to move through before they’re actively actually treating the Lyme disease. So, phase one is actually kind of like part A and part B. So, part A would be cytokine modulation. So, a lot of-

Jacob Gordon:

That’s LD core one?

Peter Steele:

Yes, the support formula. So, the core support formula, the first part of that is the cytokine modulation because as I’m sure you know, a lot of these intercellular infections, they actively hide from your immune system by doing all sorts of shady stuff with your cytokines. So, they will increase the production of cytokines that tell your body like, “Oh, there’s problems here. Go look for problems in the extracellular space, not in the intracellular space. There’s nothing to see here. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” all of that kind of thing.

Peter Steele:

So, we have patients that have these really, really astronomically high levels of TGF beta, transforming growth factor beta, TNF alpha, tumor necrosis factor alpha, that’s basically a maladaptive immune response that’s telling the body, “Oh, there’s a problem over here when really there’s not a problem over here.”

Jacob Gordon:

And it’s been going on for a long time, so the body’s already adapted.

Peter Steele:

100%. It’s stuck. It’s totally stuck into this maladaptive response and it’s throwing all of its resources looking for a problem that is somewhere that it’s not. And so, the main herbs that will help to remodulate those cytokines would be the skullcap, red sage, and polygonum. So, like I said, you’ll see these herbs all the time. They do so many different things, good for CIRS, good for Lyme, good for all sorts of stuff. The skullcap and the red sage are really, really good to bring down TGF beta, TNF alpha, the resveratrol, does a ton, ton, ton of other cytokines, a lot of the interleukins. It’s really good to regulate those IDO, whole bunch of other lesser issues.

Peter Steele:

So, for us, it’s mostly the TGF beta and the TNF alpha that are making a lot of the problems. But then the polygonum will take care of a lot of the other ones. So, that’s kind of the first part of the LD core support. The second part of the LD core support is to protect the connective structures and the neurological structures that the spiral key damages. So, a lot of patients with chronic Lyme, they can develop neuroborreliosis where it’s in your brain, it’s messing stuff up in here, in your brain. They can also have reactive arthritis, arthropathies from the Lyme disease. So, pretty much everyone that we’re treating here, they’ve got body pain and they’ve got head pain. And so, the other two herbs that are in the LD course support, the Kudzu and the cat’s claw are particularly good for that. Cat’s claw is very neuroprotective. We use it actually for a lot of our cognitive patients here in the clinic, whether they’ve got Lyme disease or not. There’s actually a patented extract called Percepta. A lot of people have probably heard of that. It’s a blend of oolong tea, cat’s claw, and I think some polyphenols like berry extracts and that kind of thing, that really helps to protect the neurological structures. And they’re doing a lot of research with that because they’re finding that it can reduce a beta-amyloid and tau aggregation in the brain. So, really, really good for Alzheimer’s as well.

Jacob Gordon:

That’s just more proof of that Alzheimer’s could be infection related.

Peter Steele:

Oh, don’t get me started on that. That’s a big, long conversation there. Yeah. Lyme disease can definitely contribute, HHV-6, humanherpes virus 6. That’s another big one that can cause a lot of cognitive issues. We do find that a lot of times with Lyme patients. It’s not just Lyme disease, it’s all of these different co-infections, tick bites. It’s not just one thing that you’re getting, it’s a whole smorgasbord of different, horrible infections. There’s Bartonella, Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Epstein-Barr, Cytomegalovirus, parvo, Coxsackie, the list goes on.

Jacob Gordon:

Do the ticks carry the viruses as well?

Peter Steele:

Oh, yeah. They can transmit all sorts of stuff, parasites, bacteria, viruses.

Jacob Gordon:

So, it’s whatever they’ve bitten before?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Oh, yeah. They’re very promiscuous. So, you just never really know what you’re getting when you’re being bitten. And of course too, it’s very location-dependent. So, the CDC would tell you-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, what do you mean by location dependent? I’ve never heard of that.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. The CDC is going to tell you like, “Oh, there’s no such thing as Lyme disease in Florida.” But the Florida Department of Health would actually beg to differ with that. So-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, you mean by geographical location? I thought you meant on the ankle versus the neck or something.

Peter Steele:

Oh, no, no, no. Yeah. I mean, the cocktail of different bugs that you have in you.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, okay. That makes more sense.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. Very dependent on what area the forest you were crawling around in is located.

Jacob Gordon:

That makes sense. With mosquitoes, you have like West Nile Virus and wherever you’re going to be-

Peter Steele:

It’s huge. Yeah. And that’s another interesting topic that I can really get into, but once again, CDC is going to tell you that only ticks are transmitting Lyme disease, but the research is actually very, very strong in farm animals to show that actually it’s not just ticks that can transmit Lyme disease, but a lot of these other blood-sucking insects like mites, the ticks. Of course, biting flies are a really big one that people don’t think about. And that was a huge one for me growing up in Kentucky was we had all of these horse flies and they would bite the hell out of people and people-

Jacob Gordon:

Really horseflies?

Peter Steele:

Oh, yeah. And then no one goes to the doctor because it’s like, “Oh, it’s not a tick. It’s not a tick. It’s fine.” And then there’s other ones too, I don’t know if you-

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. For me growing up in Maine, in the summer, we always were bit by horseflies and you didn’t think anything of it other than it hurts.

Peter Steele:

It hurts a lot. It’s a lot. But then it’s the gift that keeps on giving.

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, great.

Peter Steele:

And then there’s a big one that I think is carrying a whole host of diseases that people don’t really look at, but they’re called jiggers. It’s this like burrowing insects. We used to get them a lot in Kentucky. They bite you and then they crawl under your skin.

Jacob Gordon:

They’re like sea lice, but in bushes.

Peter Steele:

Yes, it’s horrible. Their poop builds up under your skin and creates all these rashes. And the only way to kill them is to basically you paint yourself with this stuff that plugs up the hole they used to burrow into you, and then they suffocate to death.

Jacob Gordon:

Do jiggers have parasites or are they just irritations?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. They can definitely transmit different infections as well.

Jacob Gordon:

Okay.

Peter Steele:

So, yeah, that’s a little bit like I was saying, you have all these different infections, you have all these different factors to transmit these infections. And so, it’s a luck of the draw that you and what it was carrying and how many different things that you… if you got bit by a tick and a jigger and got fleas and bedbugs and who knows, it’s all mixed up.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. It all makes perfect sense. When you think about it, there really needs to be more published data on this because the CDC says nothing about this, nothing at all.

Peter Steele:

No.

Jacob Gordon:

They only talk about ticks.

Peter Steele:

And so, that’s like going back to the herbs, that’s the next step of the whole plan is to boost up your immune system. So-

Jacob Gordon:

So, LD core and all those, they’re not just fighting Lyme disease. They’re also fighting all these other weird coinfections that are coming from these insects.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. They’re not really fighting the infection directly just to kind of helping your body to take care of things on its own by reducing the cytokines that are directing the body to look for infections in the extracellular space and increasing cytokines that are telling your body to look for infections in the intracellular space. It’s helping your body’s immune system to be tuned like an instrument to target where the infection actually is. Because that’s what we’re really about here. Honestly, people always say like, “Oh, well, I took antibiotics for like three years and I still have Lyme disease.” Okay. Well, you can take all the antibiotics you want, but if you don’t have immune competency, your body’s not going to be able to get rid of that infection. If you have a selective IgG deficiency, if you have really, really low CD57 count, if you have a low CD4 count, if your immune system is not working, it’s not working. And at the end of the day, you can take all the antibiotics like I said, but if your immune system is not there to take out the trash and clean up after the antibiotics, then you’re just going to continue to suffer from these infections.

Peter Steele:

So, then the next step of the treatment would be to bump up the immune system. So, that’s the LD core immune. Like we were talking about a second ago, you can have all these different exposures to things. Obviously, there’s things you can do to minimize your risks, so we would say, “Don’t go out during dawn or dusk, don’t go into tall grass. You should wear long-sleeve shirts and long pants when you’re going to do that. If you have to do that, you should wear bug spray.” All of these things are prophylactic. But at the end of the day, you can also take these different herbs to help modulate your immune system.

Peter Steele:

So, one of the biggest ones that he recommends to take regularly to keep yourself safe from potentially acquiring these infections is Astragalus. It’s also called milkweed because it grows everywhere because that’s one of those ones I was telling you about where it’s like, “Oh, look, it’s right here in my backyard. Why do I need to spend all this money buying it and importing it?”

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. So, Astragalus in Chinese is called, which means yellow energy. So, it is basically just that. It’s a herb with a bright yellow root that really puts the pep in your step. So, that is one that Buhner really recommends to keep people safe from coming down or becoming reinfected with Lyme disease. So, he says like, “You should take it pretty much like a gram a day.” And then-

Jacob Gordon:

I’m going to have to get some more Astragalus from you because right now I’m traveling in a truck camper and I’ve been going on all these hikes. I’m wearing pants, but I’m not wearing bug spray because of the chemical sensitivities. And if I can take a prophylactic, that’s an herb. That would be amazing.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. That’s a big one. The chemical sensitivities really interferes not obviously as just with using stuff like bug off or whatever with all the chemicals, but then also a lot of the herbal insect repellents are just incredibly strongly scented like all of your Melaleuca, tea-tree.

Jacob Gordon:

I think they’re mostly essential oil base. Yeah, tea-tree. Yeah.

Peter Steele:

Yeah, a lot of times. There’s some that you can do so like coconut oil is usually a really good one that you can just put the coconut oil on topically. It doesn’t really have a strong scent and most biting insects will not want to bite you through the coconut oil. So, that’s-

Jacob Gordon:

Oh, really?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. That’s kind of like a simple, safe one that’s obviously not as strong as if you cover yourself in clove oil or whatever, but it definitely helps.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah.

Peter Steele:

So, yeah.

Jacob Gordon:

I hear so much about topical coconut oil from skin aging, sun protection. Now, this seems to have like a panacea of effects.

Peter Steele:

Oh, it’s good for everything. The coconut and the Shea keeps you young forever. I always tell my patients. They’re like, “What’s your secret?” And that is the secret. It is right here, ladies and gentlemen, coconut oil and Shea butter.

Jacob Gordon:

That’s how I look so young. And then I eat these roots that are in my backyard.

Peter Steele:

Oh, they’re disgusting, but it keeps your skin flawless. Actually, though, the herbs for immunity, those are all pretty good tasting. So, when patients like the LD core support formula, we talked about, a lot of bitter herbs, a lot of acrid herbs because we’re trying to pull stuff out of you, we’re trying to get rid of these different compounds in your body that we don’t want to be in your body, but then herbs that support your immune system, they tend to be sweet. So, we talked earlier like bitter drains, acrid disperses, sweet tonifies.

Peter Steele:

So, sweet is the flavor you go to when you want to boost people up. And so, the sweet herbs like Astragalus, ginseng, rhodiola, ashwagandha. They’re all really, really good immunostimulants. Licorice, that’s another really good one. Glabra, the licorice. Jujubes, really tasty. So, people never have problems taking their immune formulas because they always taste good. They always want to take them.

Peter Steele:

So, the LD core immune is really good. Astragalus, ashwagandha, eleuthero, cordyceps, just a bunch of really nice herbs that help to, like I said, promote innate and humoral immunity, help your white cells work better, and help your body produce more immunoglobulins, help your body produce the right kind of cytokines. And just generally, either keep you safe or if you have Lyme disease, begin the battle against it by bumping up your immune activity.

Jacob Gordon:

Wow. That’s awesome. Are those all that you use for in the LD core or the Lyme disease?

Peter Steele:

Oh, no. So, once we do those first two kind of phases, it’s really a lot like fighting a battle. You got to plan things out really, really well. So, one of my favorite books actually is the Art of War, because there’s just so many lessons in there that are very, very applicable, not just to destroying your enemies, but also to treating people. We never want to fight a battle just on one front, for example. That’s a really good lesson that they harp on multiple times. If you fight a battle on one front, your resources are all focused on one front. It’s not going to end well, for the most part. You want to approach the problem from multiple different angles because it’s then a lot easier like, oh, if you’re making progress in this area, but not this area, you can just focus your energy more on where you’re making progress.

Peter Steele:

If you can get your foot in the door in one space, then a lot of times it’s easier to come in the back with another one and then do like a one, two punch. So, like I said, the first step, remodulating the cytokines, getting everyone’s immune system to function better. Second step, bumping up the immune system, getting a stronger immune response, in general. And then the third step would actually be to fight the fight. So, that would be your herbs that are actually like anti-microbial, anti spirochetal. So, that’s the LD core three, the anti spirochetal formula. So, that’s the one that we would finally give to people who had completed the first two phases of treatment, and we’re now ready to actively attack the infection.

Peter Steele:

Because like I said, just with the antibiotics, you can give someone anti-microbial herbs all day long until you’re blue in the face. And if their immune system is not working, then those herbs are not going to clear out the infection.

Jacob Gordon:

So, theoretically in the third stage, could you take the antibiotics along with them?

Peter Steele:

Yeah. So, a lot of our patients do that simultaneously. Some patients, we just start them on the herbal stuff and they take that for like three months or so, and then we start the antibiotics. It really just depends on a whole bunch of different factors. Some patients just take herbs, they don’t do antibiotics at all. It just really depends on how well they respond to that type of treatment. It depends on what their goals are. There’s a lot of people out there that can manage Lyme disease quite successfully with herbs alone. And they don’t tolerate antibiotics or maybe they have a preexisting condition like they’ve got mitochondrial issues where taking the antibiotics is just going to tangle. We don’t want to do that. We don’t want to make them feel worse and not better. So, really is each individual patient on a case-by-case basis.

Jacob Gordon:

That’s great. That’s so great. I love that protocol, how you’ve taken Bruner’s protocol and adapted it and made it specialized and customized. That’s fantastic. I know we could talk forever about herbs and I-

Peter Steele:

Oh, forever.

Jacob Gordon:

We were able to cover Lyme disease in this episode. I kind of want to do a different episode on CIRS, and EBV, and viruses, and those specifically because it seems like there’s so much to talk about for now.

Peter Steele:

Oh, for sure. Yeah, we can definitely do that. I would love to.

Jacob Gordon:

But without leaving this episode, I would do want to talk about cordyceps because you and I were both the biggest fans of cordyceps.

Peter Steele:

I love the cordyceps.

Jacob Gordon:

I feel like we need to end the episode on this.

Peter Steele:

I can do that. So, cordyceps, Chinese. So, it’s a mouthful summer bug winter herb. So, during the summer, it’s a cute little caterpillar that crawls along the ground in Tibet and Nepal. And then the winter comes and the bug dies and the cordyceps fungus blossoms as it were. So, it sprouts out the head of the caterpillar and releases its spores that then are eaten by subsequent caterpillars and then the cycle continues.

Peter Steele:

So, if you are a true herbal guru, I guess, the raw or the wild-harvested cordyceps is always in high demand. So, they pay quite a pretty penny for people to harvest the little bugs when they die and pack them up and ship them out every year to just supply the herbal market with cordyceps. However, thankfully for people who are a bit squeamish or who don’t like spending thousands and thousands of dollars on dead caterpillars, you can now get cordyceps that has been grown in a like liquid media instead. So, they have figured out how to take the fungus and grow.

Jacob Gordon:

Do they have the same effect?

Peter Steele:

Believe it or not, yeah. That’s-

Jacob Gordon:

Really?

Peter Steele:

That’s another great advantage to having modern science behind us is that they’re all a ton of herbs that do not have the same chemical makeup, or they don’t have the same properties if they’re grown or they’re harvested in a different way. So, for example, a really common one would be ginger. There is, which is fresh ginger, and there’s, which is dry ginger. And most people think that that literally just means that, oh, this ginger is used fresh, and then this ginger is the dry ginger. However, the fresh ginger is always prepared from ginger that is harvested during the spring and the dry ginger is always harvested from ginger that is being harvested in the winter, excuse me. And the difference is because they have a very different chemical makeup.

Peter Steele:

So, the ginger in the spring is ready to grow. It is active. It is coming to life. The ginger in the winter is getting ready to go to sleep and has gotten rid of all its water content and it’s ready to hibernate. And there’s a very large difference in that plant between the compounds, one are called gingerols, and the other one are called shogaols and they have different effects. And so, we can now know that, hey, these ancient people weren’t crazy. They weren’t doing this for fun or for the energy or whatever the mysticism. Actually, there’s a concrete reason why this is the way it is, why it works the way it does. And so, for cordyceps, that was something that was very helpful, was to be able to see that the cordyceps that is wild harvested has the same levels of cordycepin acids that the cultivated in the lab cordyceps does.

Jacob Gordon:

And as just we’re talking about different types of cordyceps, there’s two different types of cordyceps I’ve seen, which is sinensis and militaris.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. So, that’s kind of an interesting differentiation that most of the traditional practitioners wouldn’t make. So, they would really probably use both of them interchangeably, although sinensis is the one that most people would probably have a preference.

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. I’ve noticed personally that I get minimal effects from militaris, but with sinensis, I get every single beneficial effect that I’ve read about the cordyceps.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. And not to like put down a plant or a species of plants or whatever, but I feel the same way. I feel like the cordyceps is definitely the one that you want. The militaris is kind of like alternative.

Jacob Gordon:

But it still has the cordycep in count and all that, but this in essence, it just seems like as if it was more bioavailable or something.

Peter Steele:

Yup. It is. That’s the one, I don’t know why, but that’s the one I like. And two, that’s something that you definitely develop as you work as practitioners, the different herbs where you get them was one of the things I like a lot is you really develop quite deep relationships with your herbal suppliers. So, we get most of our herbs from a company called Spring Wind, that’s out in California, run by a guy named Andrew Ellis, that I just trust so much because I know that he knows what to look for in the herbs. I know he knows the ways that they would farm these plants and who’s using pesticides, who’s not using pesticides, who’s doing things the traditional way, who’s just doing things willy nilly?

Peter Steele:

And so, what we’re getting is the best quality herb that is the highest potency that is grown the way that it was intended to be grown for thousands of years. Because once again, like I was saying with the ginger, a lot of times, these different herbs, when you harvest them, how you harvest them, how you prepare them, it makes all the difference in whether or not the herb has the different chemical compounds that you’re looking for in it. And so, a lot of times, that’s why people they’ll tell me like, “Oh, well, I took this herb and it didn’t really do anything.” Or like, “I took this herb and it did all sorts of stuff.”And at the end of the day, a lot of times, it really does just come down to, “Well, this herb was grown correctly. It was prepared correctly. It was administered correctly and this one wasn’t.”

Jacob Gordon:

All right. So, let’s say you get your hands on Cordyceps sinensis, and it’s grown correctly, what is it doing to you?

Peter Steele:

So, the cordyceps is a herb that we would say tonifies the yang. So, that’s sort of similar to tonifying chi, but like with a few nuances. A lot of people would say like, “Oh, well, that’s just stronger.” Like, “Tonifying yang is stronger,” which is definitely one way to look at it, but it’s like a much more simplistic way to look at it. Really, it’s just about the energetic properties of the herb. So cordyceps in particular tonifies the kidney yang. So, the kidneys in the body you have one is yin, and one is yang. The yang aspect of the kidneys kind of regulates all the different aspects of your growth and maturation. So people who have aging or developmental disorders, a lot of times we’d be looking at the kidney yang to treat the kidney yang. So, people that have delayed puberty or delayed monarchy, that’s oftentimes a kidney yang issue, people that have premature menopause, that have problems with impotence or sexual dysfunction, that would also oftentimes be a kidney yang issue. And cordyceps really powerfully tonifies that kidney yang. However-

Jacob Gordon:

Yeah. I would say my experience is definitely a powerful kidney yang.

Peter Steele:

Oh, it’s so good. And the other benefit too, is also, the kidney is the end of the yang. That’s one of the main ways that you can influence the brain. So, like I was saying earlier, we don’t really treat the brain. The brain is an extraordinary organ. We treat the brain by treating the other organs of the body, but if we really want to boost that brain, then boosting a kidney yang is a really, really easy way to get that accomplished. And cordyceps is one of the best herbs out there for that.

Jacob Gordon:

How’s it doing that because from my research, I know it increases nitric oxide synthesis. It helps with dopamine. I’m studying more the brain aspect of it and the blood flow aspect.

Peter Steele:

It also has a lot of really good hormone effects. So, it will help to naturally increase sex hormones that will naturally help to increase cortisol, although that’s a little bit of a sticky wicket because some people you don’t want the extra cortisol because it’s a stress hormone. However, for a lot of people, cortisol increases your adaptogenic response. So, it improves your ability to respond to stress, especially when combined with a lot of the other biological effects of the cordyceps.

Peter Steele:

So, even though it’s increasing your cortisol because it’s also pumping up your sex hormones, because it’s also calming you down, relaxing your capillaries with the nitric oxide stuff like you were talking about improving blood flow. It’s a lot better than taking just like a straight cortisol booster because at the end of the day, all these adaptogenic herbs, that’s what they do. They help to increase the body’s response to stress and stress hormones is one of the ways that your body does that.

Peter Steele:

So, yeah, like you’re saying, it’s not just the brain, it’s also the hormones. It’s also the endocrine system in general. It does have an ability to build blood. So, that’s why we use it in a lot of our immune formulas paired up with Astragalus, Angelica, and another mushroom called reishi, a lot of people know about to just kind of cover all of our bases and to boost the chi, boost the blood.

Jacob Gordon:

Wow. Is there anything that you should be taking cordyceps with? Because like I’ve read studies where they have taken it with cocoa polyphenols to increase the blood flow. I know a lot of mushroom companies will take cordyceps and throw it into their lion’s mane. Like you said, the reishi and stuff like that.

Peter Steele:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, I really like cordyceps as a monotherapy. It’s just really easy herb, it’s cheap, it’s effective. It does so much. It’s also really, really great for the lungs. I totally forgot to mention that, helps with phlegm, mucus, people who have trouble breathing like dyspnea and asthma, weak lungs, anything like that. It’s really, really good for. So, really, you would just want to combine it with herbs that are complimentary to whatever you’re trying to address.

Peter Steele:

So, if you want to use cordyceps to treat lung issues, then I would probably combine it with other herbs that are good for the lungs. So, you could use like radish, you could use asparagus, you could use American ginseng. I would like put it with those to do lung stuff. If you wanted to use it to treat kidney stuff, then I would use more of like the kidney herbs, so you could mix it with a little bit of Aconite. You can mix it with a little bit of Korean ginseng. You can mix it with… Let me think what else would be a good one for that. I don’t know. It’ll come to me later. Oh, Rehmannia, the one we were talking about earlier. So, that would be good to do the kidney stuff. If you wanted to use it to like boost up the brain, you could mix it with a little bit of gingko. You could mix it with a little bit of astragalus.

Peter Steele:

So, whatever you’re trying to focus on, whatever different indication or action of the herb that you’re trying to maximize in your patient, you would just pick other herbs that have that same sort of actionary indication.

Jacob Gordon:

Great. That’s a good way of thinking. And as you’re saying, as a monotherapy, I think it’s great eating it alone. It has a smell of chocolate and taste as chocolate.

Peter Steele:

Oh, I don’t know. I always felt it was kind of like I could see the chocolate, but I feel like there’s more of like a jerky component. There’s a little savory meaty, something more substantial, I guess.

Jacob Gordon:

Maybe it’s like .

Peter Steele:

And weird.

Jacob Gordon:

When I have a blend of herbs, I could always tell that there’s cordyceps in it just by smelling it.

Peter Steele:

Yeah. There’s a few herbs like that, or you’re like, “Oh, if I can smell that one, it’s in there for sure.”

Jacob Gordon:

All right. Thank you, Peter, for being on the show, this was awesome. And we’re definitely going to do a part two because-

Peter Steele:

Thank you so much for having me.

Jacob Gordon:

… there’s so much for us to talk about.

Peter Steele:

Yes, always.

Jacob Gordon:

Thanks, guys, for listening to The Rezilir Way. If you want more information, head over to rezilirhealth.com. We’ll have more episodes like this. And I’m thinking about having a part two where we discuss CIRS and other herbs. And Peter Steele seems to know his stuff, so we’re probably going to get him back on the show. Thanks, guys, and stay beautiful.

 

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