Plant Spirit Medicine

As usual, I decided that if I am to heal my liver, I need to know what it is and how it works especially as Western medical tests  don’ t detect liver problems until only about 10% of the organ is still functional so by the time doctors notice something is wrong, your liver is way down the path from dysfunction to disease. To start with, the liver is the second largest organ in our body, only our skin has a greater percentage, and instead of being wrapped all around us, the liver is pretty well folded up inside a fibrous membrane, rather like the pigskin on a football. Which backs up my no surgery stance. I do not want that membrane compromised. Once it has been sliced open, there is a weak spot.  Since my body has managed to keep that membrane intact, the least I can do is respect my body’s wisdom.

It has felt to me as though about half my liver is blocked up and damaged, and it turns out the main blood supply to the liver, the portal vein does splits into two branches. Each supplies  about half the liver with blood.  Apparently, one branch of my liver  is fine, while the other is probably what was ruptured. A healthy liver should produce about a quart of bile a day.  Most of that is water. I calculated that if  approximately 2% of the quart of bile a liver produces each day was salts and fats, and about half my liver was blocked, I had at least two gallons of sludge stashed in there. Which has been truly miserable. Contemplate having two gallon milk jugs stuck in your rib cage , and another three to five gallons of dirty water between your knees and your waist. It feels nasty. The chiropractor advised coffee enemas to increase bile flow and expand the biliary ducts. Now, I hate enemas, probably because my mother was a little too enthusiastic about probing her children’s orifices, and I have had unpleasant reactions to drinking coffee for years.  So I took various herbs that encourage bile production instead. While that did get my liver to dump some odd-colored sludge that was  about the texture of old window caulking, there was no difference in the blood tests.

Not much happened constructively with my liver until an Iris my dad had planted before I was born got chatty. While I don’t prescribe herbs for other people,  my dad’s family were plant people, and for years  I assumed everyone understood plants communicated with scent, image, and emotions. It insisted it could help, and I figured anything that survived over half a century in lower Agua Fria was worth listening too. So  I found myself digging up Iris rhizomes in the moonlight on the night of the winter solstice. I washed, peeled and cut it up before putting in the blender with some brandy.  I got a drop on my finger when I turned the blender on, and licked it off. Within thirty seconds, I felt like I had been hit across the back with a two by four.  It nearly took me to the floor.  I later discovered that the biliary duct is the most common site for growths in the liver, but I was quite shocked in the morning to see what looked like a slug as long as my hand with an olive-green skin and a grainy reddish interior floating around in the toilet. The Iris had indeed been able to remind my body of what was integral to me and what was extraneous and alien.

It would be nice if that was the end of the story, but I had over fifty years of old bile backed up. If it was going to come out I wanted it out NOW, so I started on the coffee enemas.  Coffee increases bile flow, expands the bile ducts, and radically increases some of the liver’s detox pathways. Since the portal vein takes everything the large intestine absorbs directly to the liver, and enema is the best way to get the coffee into the liver. I had not drunk coffee for years because it made me feel queasy and foggy-headed. as an enemas, it actually relieved migraine headaches, gall stone pain, and helped speed the whole process up immensely.

The basic recipe is boil two tablespoons of freshly ground coffee beans in a pint of purified water for ten minutes, Add a pint of cool purified water to cool, and strain.  Use two cups per enema, and make sure it is body temperature.  Hot burns and cold cramps.  I had to add a quarter teaspoon of sea salt, powdered vitamin C, and on occasion of Epsom salts (magnesium sulfate) per pint to make it a more of an electrolyte solution so my body would tolerate it.  Afterwards, I often found  what looked like  a burnt rubber mold of part of my biliary ducts in the toilet after I went to the bathroom. Getting that stuff out was traumatic, not only was I dealing with near constant gall stone pain, but in order for the blockages to move, the scar tissue narrowing the biliary ducts had to tear apart to let the bile through.

After a year or so of herbs and enemas I had dropped nearly fifty pounds of fluid my body had been retaining, and I actually had the occasional day where I felt okay. And for once in my life, I had normal blood levels of bilirubin, liver enzymes, albumin, and alkaline phosphatase. However, on another front, I had had chips of bone working their way out of my skull into my mouth for some time and was concerned that I had some sub-clinical pockets of infection in my  head. So I got a tincture made with the herb cleavers, a gentle blood purifier, from Matthew Wood (click here for his  website) because it doesn’t grow in New Mexico and I trusted his herb-crafting. It is very good for persuading the body to release long-standing pockets of stagnant tissue. I took a drop a day and all was well for about a week. Then the plant showed up in  a dream and informed me that there were places in my body it was afraid to go. I figured that anything the plant spirit was afraid of would probably kill me anyway, so I asked to be shown the problem.

What I saw was an image of an urban construction site. Chain-link fence surrounded a huge pile of old asphalt and semi-demolished building materials, and a lot of work going ion excavating the basement.  How I interpreted it was that the chain link fencing was the heavy metal compounds left over from my mercury poisoning days. Scar tissue tends to build up a negative electrical charge anyway  and the heavy metal compounds reinforced that tendency.  So the tissue could not metabolize properly. That would allow the biological toxins the liver normally metabolizes and excretes to accumulate, which I was seeing as asphalt. And the construction machinery meant that my liver was still hard at work.

I told the plant to have at it, and promptly woke up with the worst migraine I have ever had. That started another whole year of liver detox.  For the most part activity had been helpful in moving stuff through and out of my liver. But I began to have some active inflammation in my liver and a  nagging concern that if I put pressure on my innards, I would bust something wide open. Having blood and bile and ancient sludge dumped into my abdominal cavity would be a fast track to the hospital, and that is still something I would rather avoid.

(click for the beginning or for more)

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