Lyme Disease with Dr. William Rawls: Rational Wellness Podcast 044

Dr. William Rawls talks about Lyme Disease and how to effectively treat it with Dr. Ben Weitz

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Podcast Highlights

3:12  Dr. Rawls explains his journey from OBGYN to chronic Lyme disease patient. He was originally diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

5:58  Testing for Lyme Disease.  “When I see someone, and they have all the symptoms of Lyme Disease, I put them in the category of having Lyme Disease no matter what that testing might show.”

10:10  Dr. Rawls explained that we all have lots of microbes in us, but it is not until our immune system is disrupted that infections with Lyme Disease or Babesia or Mycoplasma cause you to become sick. Dr. Rawls explains that Lyme Disease is really a condition of immune dysfunction.

11:52  Dr. Rawls explains his seven different categories of immune system disruptors: 1. Poor diet, 2. Toxins, 3. Emotional stress, 4. Physical stress, 5. Oxidative stress, 6. Artificial radiation, 7. Microbiome dysbiosis/Leaky gut

15:43  I asked Dr. Rawls, “Do you think there’s an increase in the number of people that are contracting Lyme or is it more the case that our modern lifestyle is leading people to become sick from Lyme disease?” Dr. Rawls explained that while it is true that with global warming there are more ticks, he feels that it is more related to our modern lifestyle.

20:45  Dr. Rawls explains that antibiotics are not particularly effective for chronic infections and they are indiscriminate killers that damage our microbiome and our mitochondria.  Dr. Rawls finds herbal therapy to be more effective for chronic intracellular infections like Lyme Disease and Bartonella. Some of his favorite herbs include Andrographis, Cat’s claw, Japanese knotweed, Neem, and Mimosa pudica.

30:32  Dr. Rawls mentions that magnesium, esp. at higher dosages, tends to be problematic for patients with Lyme Disease by making symptoms worse. 

32:10 I asked Dr. Rawls if he uses detox protocols in his treatments and he said that rather than including a separate detox phase of the treatment, he regards the whole recovery from Lyme process as a form of detox. 



Dr. William Rawls is available for consultations and speaking and can be contacted at his website where you can find lots of information about Lyme Disease  https://rawlsmd.com/          You can get information about his herbal protocols at https://vitalplan.com/.

Dr. Ben Weitz is available for nutrition consultations specializing in Functional Gastrointestinal Disorders like IBS/SIBO and Reflux and also specializing in Cardiometabolic Risk Factors like elevated lipids, high blood sugar, and high blood pressure as well as chiropractic work by calling the office 310-395-3111.


Podcast Transcripts

Dr Weitz:             This is Doctor Ben Weitz with the Rational Wellness Podcast bringing you the cutting edge information on health and nutrition from the latest scientific research, and by interviewing the top experts in the field.  Please, subscribe to the Rational Wellness Podcast on iTunes, and YouTube. Sign up for my free ebook on my website by going to drweitz.com. Let’s get started on your road to better health.  Hey, Rational Wellness podcasters, thank you so much for joining me again today, and we have such an important topic.

We are going to talk about Chronic Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a very complicated, and confusing disease. It starts with an acute infection from a tick bite, but it can become chronic, and go on for years, and years.  The tick bite results in an infection with a corkscrew-like bacteria, typically known as Borrelia burgdorferi. Since it was first discovered, we’ve learned that there are a number of different variations, and species of Borrelia.  After this initial infection, it can create a chronic condition, and this chronic condition is really what we want to focus on, that’s really the condition that creates the most problems. It’s difficult to detect, it’s difficult to treat. Many of the patients who have Chronic Lyme Disease are not even aware that they were bitten by a tick bite. Or the exposure could’ve been years ago, and it’s not connected up to when they actually got sick.  The Centers for Disease Control estimates that there are approximately 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease per year in the US, and it seems to be increasing.

                                Our special guest today is Dr. William Rawls. He was a practicing OB-GYN for 15 years when he found himself dealing with Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease, likely from a tick bite years earlier. He discovered that antibiotics made him worse, and he found that herbs worked better, though his medical training had him very biased against the idea of using herbs. He dug into the literature about Lyme Disease, and he discovered through trial and error how to restore his health. He ended up dedicating himself to treating patients with Lyme Disease, and he wrote three books, including his latest, which is Unlocking Lyme, which is the most informative and well-written book on Lyme Disease that I have ever read. Doctor Rawls, thank you for joining us today.

Dr Rawls:             Thank you very much, it’s my pleasure.

Dr Weitz:             Can you explain what happened when you found yourself not feeling well? How did you figure out that you had Lyme Disease? How did you go about correcting yourself?

Dr Rawls:             Like most everyone with a Lyme Disease story, it was convoluted. My health gradually deteriorated, I didn’t have any memory of a tick bite, other than I got bitten by ticks almost continually when I was younger. I chose the profession of OB-GYN because it was a field of medicine that was wellness oriented, it wasn’t drug heavy, which just … it jived well with my personality.  The downside was the call. I went to a small town, and ended up taking call every second to third night. That went on for about 15 years.

Dr Weitz:             By the way, taking call means that you’re on call at a hospital if there’s an emergency.

Dr Rawls:             On call, yeah. If someone is in labor, or in the emergency room, you get called. Most of the time, virtually, every time I was on call, I was at least waking up, and a lot of times I was up all night long. That went on for 15 years. I got to the point that I couldn’t sleep when I wasn’t on call, and my body was just deteriorating.  At first, you go to your local physician, and other physicians in the community, and find that they really don’t know what’s going on. You end up with this diagnosis of fibromyalgia. I considered Lyme Disease, but I did the initial screening test and it was negative.  Because, I had all the symptoms of fibromyalgia, which are basically the same as Chronic Lyme, which are basically the same as the early stages of most Chronic Illnesses.

Dr Weitz:             What were those symptoms?

Dr Rawls:             Fatigue, feeling like you have a flu every day, aches and pains all over, weird neurological symptoms, pins and needles, burning feet, blurry vision, it just went on, and on, and on. Basically, my whole body was collapsing.  It was later after I started taking my health in my own hands that I ultimately discovered that it was, and I did have a positive test for Borrelia, but have come to know Chronic Lyme quite a bit differently than I think most people do.

Dr Weitz:             What do you think is the best way to test for Lyme, or do you think it’s even worth testing for it?

Dr Rawls:             It’s always a loaded question. Our testing right now is fair at best. Something to know about the testing is, all the labs that are doing testing for these microbes that we found to be associated with Chronic Lyme, the standard of testing is for acute infection, in other words, when it’s a brand new infection, the microbe has just entered the body, and the reaction of the immune system is strong, and the microbe levels are high. But, most everybody being tested has chronic infection, where the immune system has these responses been attenuated, and the microbe levels are really, really low.  When you look at the rate of testing an acute infection, which may be a sensitivity, or ability to find the microbe, as high as 95%, it probably drops to around 20% or less with Chronic infection.  Often, the testing is marginally valuable. When I see someone, and they have all the symptoms of Lyme Disease, I put them in the category of having Lyme Disease no matter what that testing might show. But, then you have to come around to defining what exactly is Lyme Disease.

Dr Weitz:             What do you think about Doctor Vojdani’s lab, which does the antibody testing, do you think that’s a little more accurate?

Dr Rawls:             There are two ways to test. One is you can test directly for particles of the microbe, typically DNA from the microbe, or you can test for the reaction of the body to the microbe. But in either case, when you’re looking for a chronic infection, you’re talking about very low levels of microbe, and an immune response that’s been attenuated, pushed down by the microbes themselves.  The testing becomes less, and less valuable. I think we’re going to get better, and as we do, I think what we’re going to find is there are a whole lot more forms of Borrelia than just Borrelia burgdorferi, we already know that there are about 12+ worldwide.

Dr Weitz:             12, wow.

Dr Rawls:             Probably a lot more. Then, there are all the other microbes that are associated with Lyme beyond Borrelia. As we get better testing, what we’re going to find is an awful lot of people are carrying these microbes that aren’t sick. It’s a lot more widespread than most people realize.

Dr Weitz:             Why are there always associated other microbes like babesia, and mycoplasma, why does that exist?

Dr Rawls:             Because we all have them, quite frankly. That goes beyond that basic definition of what Lyme Disease is. When you look at humans, we are wonderful microbe collectors. We start at birth, we pick up the microbiome, the collection of microbes from our mother, and we add to that throughout life.  When you look at insects like ticks, and mosquitoes, and all the other insects, and all the other ways you can get microbes, we’re constantly picking up microbes throughout our lifetime.  A high percentage of people, mycoplasma, 75% of people with Lyme have mycoplasma. Well, if you look at any general population worldwide, somewhere between a third and three quarters of any population, healthy or otherwise, will have mycoplasma.  Same is true with all these other microbes, bartonella, babesia, all of these things. All of us pick these things up, it’s not until your immune system gets disrupted that these things start to become a problem, and that’s what happened in my case. I didn’t get ill until I trashed my immune system.

Dr Weitz:             Interesting. I guess that’s why you write that Lyme Disease is really not so much an infection as a disease of immune dysfunction.

Dr Rawls:             Yeah. When I look at fibromyalgia, and Lyme Disease, and all of the chronic autoimmune type diseases, I see a lot of commonality there. I think, ultimately, we’re going to see more and more associations between most chronic illnesses and these things that I call stealth microbes. The characteristics of all the microbes that are associated with Lyme and so many of these others things are that they live inside cells, and they infect white blood cells, and through doing that, they are able to manipulate the immune system.  They are doing a couple of things. They’re pushing the immune system away from being able to take care of inner-cellular microbes. Microbes that have infected cells, they suppress that part of the immune system. But they gear up other parts of the immune system that cause this systemic inflammation, and that helps break down tissues to have access for food sources. Because that’s basically what these microbes want, is they just want nutrients to survive.

Dr Weitz:             You write in your book about seven different categories of immune system disruptors, can you go into those for us?

Dr Rawls:             Sure, yeah. That was the initial part of my change in approach. When you look at conventional medicine, we do a great job of treating acute situations. Our whole system is based on acute illness. Most drugs treat things acutely.  It wasn’t until about 1960 that we started focusing on chronic illness, and trying to find drugs that treated chronic illness, but still, if you look at it, we treat chronic illness acutely, in most cases.  It appeared to be a fundamental flaw of through instead of treating the illness, why are we not looking at it and say “Why is the patient sick? What made this person sick?” For a few things, broken leg, heart attack, stroke, that cause is very evident, but when you look at chronic illnesses, it’s less so. It’s usually a combination of things that come together.  They’re pretty obvious, I think most people can pick these things up, if you sit in a group and ask people “What do you think causes illness?” The first thing most people talk about is food. We’re eating an abysmally bad diet for humans, 200,000 years we ate forage food, and now we’re eating all these processed grain products, and it’s just not good for us, it suppresses immune function in a variety of ways.

                                Toxins, we live in a pretty toxic environment. There’s subtle toxins throughout all of our food, and air, and water. Stress, living in the modern world causes stress, really uncomfortable. Just sedentary lifestyle. We’re built to move, and we now sit in front of computers all day, and it’s just not good for us.  One that’s a little harder to define is what the effect these computers, and cellphones, and all the things that are surrounding you right now have. But there’s no doubt that they do disrupt our energy flow, and our normal energy pathways.

                                Free radicals, when we metabolize food, we generate free radicals, but inflammation itself is free radicals. Then, the microbes, we all pick up microbes and some are worse than others. People that don’t pick up Borrelia and some of the things that come with Lyme Disease are less apt to get a chronic illness, but again, I think there are lots of people out there that have these microbes but aren’t ill, because they haven’t had those other factors come together to set the stage for the immune disruption that allows these microbes to flourish.

                                In other words, I had these things in my body for years, and years, and it wasn’t until that I ate bad food, didn’t sleep for years, and years, was under constant stress with a busy, busy practice, that’s when these things started to flourish, and started to compromise my health. It wasn’t one thing.  These things are distributed throughout all the tissues in the body, it’s not like a pneumonia where you have an infection in the lung, it’s throughout your entire body. Everything breaks down. That’s what Chronic Lyme is.

Dr Weitz:             Do you think there’s an increase in the number of people that are contracting Lyme or is it more the case that our modern lifestyle is leading people to become sick from Lyme disease?

Dr Rawls:             Yeah. That’s a difficult question to answer, absolutely. There is no doubt that with global warming, there are more ticks.

Dr Weitz:             Okay, that makes sense.

Dr Rawls:             When I was studying this, I pulled studies that they were looking at well-established tick populations in the arctic that were 10 or 20 years ago, and [crosstalk 00:16:23] the tropics. Everywhere there are warm-blooded animals, there are ticks, and other biting insects.  Maybe there are more ticks, maybe ranges of ticks are changing, but I would say submit that these things have been present for a very, very long time. Looking back, historically, you can pick a lot of people, it’s interesting, I was reading on Darwin recently, and he had all these chronic symptoms throughout his lifetime. He was a guy that was definitely in the forest, in the woods, exposed to a lot of different insects, he had all symptoms of Lyme Disease, it was really interesting.  These things have been going on, it’s just that we haven’t recognized it, and our testing … you know, you look back, there’s no reference point. The testing 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, was terrible, absolutely terrible. It’s getting better, but it’s fair at best. Without a reference point, and without good testing, how do you have any idea whether the incidents of this microbe is increasing?  Plus, people are becoming more aware. People are starting to put together these symptoms, they’re starting to get tested. A lot more people are becoming aware of Lyme Disease, a lot more people are being tested. That increases the incidents artificially, who’s to say that all those people back 40, or 50 years ago didn’t have this? Honestly, my grandfather was an outdoorsman, and he had all the symptoms of Lyme Disease. But, he didn’t he had Lyme Disease back then because nobody knew what Lyme Disease was.  I think that’s, somewhat, at least at this point, an unanswerable question.

Dr Weitz:             Do you think Lyme Disease can be transmitted by anything other than a tick bite? Do you think it can be transmitted by sexual contact, or saliva, or any other vectors?

Dr Rawls:             I think it’s possible, but what you find is microbe specialize. Let’s look at two corkscrew bacteria. One is Borrelia, causes Lyme Disease, the other one is Syphilis. There are a lot of similarities between those two illnesses, and they’re both very similar microbes.  Syphilis is primarily, when that microbe evolved, it found a niche that it could be easily transmitted sexually in human populations. It specialized in that. That isn’t to say that syphilis couldn’t be transmitted by a tick, but it specialized in being concentrated in sperm, and vaginal fluids, so it would be easily transferred between humans. Basically, all these microbes want to do is transfer from one host to another.

                                Borrelia on the other hand chose ticks, there’s very good evidence that it’s been doing that for not thousands of years, but absolutely millions of years. Possibly all the way back to the dinosaurs.  Yes, it is possible that it is transmitted sexually, and it is possible that it is carried in other microbes. It has been found in mosquitoes. I’ve seen too many families that have, whole families Lyme Disease to suggest that it isn’t spread sexually or in utero.  But, it doesn’t particularly specialize in that. You don’t typically find high concentrations of Borrelia in seminal fluid or vaginal fluid. I didn’t say it can’t, it’s just if you gave it a chance, it rather work with a tick. The tick, it has a really cozy relationship that it helps the tick in the tick helps it. It’s predominantly tick borne, no doubt.

Dr Weitz:             You’ve written that you didn’t find, and you don’t find with your patients antibiotics to be particularly helpful, and you’ve found herbal therapies to be much more effective, and other nutritional protocols. Can you talk about why antibiotics are not particularly effective for Lyme? What sorts of herbal protocols you find effective?

Dr Rawls:             Sure. Yeah, we could talk about this for an hour, but I’ll condense it here. Antibiotics like most drugs, are designed for acute infections. You have someone with pneumonia, they have an extra cellular microbe, that doesn’t live inside cells, it’s consolidated in one area of the body, it’s growing very rapidly, it’s turning over generations very rapidly. That’s what antibiotics are built for. You put that person in the hospital, and they’re going to turn the corner in a day or two, and be well in a couple of weeks. 

The problem with antibiotics is that they’re indiscriminate. When you’re going to hit the fastest growing microbes the most, but the longer you use them, the more you’re going to affect all of the microbes in the body. What tends to happen is you suppress your normal, friendly flora, and you grow out pathogens in the gut.  I always look at antibiotic therapy as being a race. Are you going to kill the offending microbes before you disrupt the entire microbiome and suppress immune system functions even more?

                                Other things with antibiotics is they actually, they destroy our mitochondria, mitochondria are ancient bacteria that we incorporated into our cells eons ago. They disrupt biofilms in the colon. When we talk about biofilms, everybody’s worried about biofilms. Your immune system deals with biofilms quite well, and actually, you want to protect some biofilms. You have a biofilm in your colon that is protective, and it’s very important. Antibiotics disrupt that biofilm.

                                There’s a whole list of reasons why when you apply these things to a chronic, intra-cellular infection, it just doesn’t work as well. Because when you look at these microbes, Borrelia, mycoplasma, bartonella, all of these things, they’re intracellular, they’re growing very slowly, they’re distributed throughout tissues in the whole body.  When you hit them with antibiotics, you end up hitting your normal flora harder than you hit these microbes. Typically, the solution that most people follow is “Well, we’re not going to get them in days or weeks like with pneumonia. You’re going to have to hit them for months, or years.” You lose the race almost every time. Not to say that there aren’t people that do recover with antibiotic therapy, but I’ve seen all too many people that had squandered their life savings on expensive, intravenous antibiotic therapy just to be much, much worse than when they started.

                                The advantage of herbal therapy is that you’re talking about a whole different thing. Plant medicine, you’re talking about a spectrum of substances that the plant is producing to protect itself. The plant has to figure out the friend versus foe problem also. Plants have to deal with these threatening kinds of microbes, but they have to protect their normal flora.  One of the interesting things that I’ve found about herbs is they typically don’t disrupt the gut. But they are more suppressive. I wouldn’t use herbs to treat an acute pneumonia, but for the stealth microbes you have the suppressive effect without disrupting your normal flora, and you’re enhancing immune, you’re rebalancing immune system function at the same time. You can literally use these things for months and years.  I’ve been taking herbs almost continually for 10 years, and things just keep getting better every year. It’s a gradual thing, you do have to create long-term, but herbs, because they suppress the stealth microbes, they don’t disrupt the normal flora, and they restore normal immune function, are just a really nice choice.  

Dr Weitz:             Now, can you talk about some of your favorite herbs for Lyme Disease?

Dr Rawls:             Fortunately, there are a lot of them. Early on I happen to read a book by a guy named Stephen Buhner, who wrote Healing Lyme, it was a well-known book. I used that core protocol starting out, but then I built out beyond that.  What you find is, virtually, all herbs has some anti-microbial and immune enhancing properties. His initial protocol, the top of the list, was Andrographis, which is a really nice herb, has some really nice antiviral properties too, especially for flu, it’s probably one of the best things out there for flu.  Cat’s claw, which is from the Amazon, another great herb that was used for syphilis, so we know it has some activity against Borrelia, which is really important.  Then, we have so many other, the Japanese knotweed, sarsaparilla, but the list goes on and on. Neem is a good antimicrobial, has some really nice properties. One I’m looking at now is mimosa pudica, which is an excellent herb. The list just goes on and on.

Dr Weitz:             Is that from the mimosa tree?

Dr Rawls:             Pardon?

Dr Weitz:             Is that from the mimosa tree? Right? There’s a tree.

Dr Rawls:             Right. No, this is a mimosa plant, the leaf looks like mimosa, but it’s a ground cover. But it’s the touch-me-not plant, if you touch it, it folds its leaves up. It’s a really cool plant. Turns out that it just has some fantastic medicinal properties, a wide range of properties. There are just unlimited number of things that we can use.

Dr Weitz:             Japanese knotweed resveratrol is interesting. We use that as part of an antiaging protocol for its polyphenol properties. I never knew that it had antimicrobial effects as well.

Dr Rawls:             Well, yeah, no doubt about it. There are other places you can get resveratrol, grapes, the muscadine grape we have in North Carolina has some really nice properties. But when you look at the whole herb, Japanese knotweed, or all of the other chemicals that come in grape seed, or in grapes in general, you’re not talking about just resveratrol.

Dr Weitz:             I agree.

Dr Rawls:             Resveratrol by itself does have antimicrobial properties that has some really nice antiaging properties, but the herbs also have a full spectrum of other components that are really important. But when you talk about anti-aging, those system disruptors that I talked about, those are the things that are causing us to age.  When you look at herbs, they’re counteracting all of those things. They’re loaded with antioxidants. They balance the immune system. They balance the microbiome and suppress the stealth microbes that I think are part of all of aging and illness, in a chronic illness.   All the herbs, if you’re looking at an anti-aging protocol, it matches what we would do for Chronic Lyme almost to the tee, it’s really interesting.

Dr Weitz:             One thing I find interesting is, I deal a lot with patients with SIBO, Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth, and there’s a series of herbs, antimicrobials, that we typically use for those patients, and it includes berberine, oregano and thyme oil, garlic, and those don’t seem to be effective against Lyme, I guess, because I don’t see those in the list of herbs recommended for Lyme, typically.

Dr Rawls:             Berberine and your berberine containing herbs, goldenseal, coptis, so many others. Berberine is the predominant one that I find to be top of the list for SIBO. The others that you mentioned are also excellent. But they’re not absorbed systemically as well. That’s the thing about berberine, it gets absorbed into the urinary tract, you get it into your GI tract, so it’s good for urinary things, it’s good for GI things. It’s not as good for systemic infections. But it is just exceedingly good for so many things.  Really great for balancing the gut, I think it’s better than a probiotic for balancing the microbiome in the gut.

Dr Weitz:             Interesting. You write in your book that magnesium can make Lyme symptoms worse, I thought that was kind of an interesting … I often recommend magnesium, we find a lot of patients are low in magnesium. How can magnesium be a negative for Lyme?

Dr Rawls:             That one it’s hard to answer. I’ve heard it theorized, the microbe use magnesium, and therefore if fuels the infection. I’m not sure whether I buy that or not, I’m not sure whether it causes micro imbalances in our minerals in the body, but I have noted it personally, and noted it with other people.  When I took high doses of magnesium, after a while, after I used it, my symptoms just got worse and worse until I stop the magnesium. That is really common. I’m choosy, I think a lot of people can take magnesium, probably a lot of people need magnesium, but it’s still you have to be careful with.

Dr Weitz:             Interesting. Do you ever use IV vitamins?

Dr Rawls:             I don’t personally, and I haven’t in my practice, but for somebody who’s really ill, I think there can be some benefit to get you there a little bit faster, which I think is a fairly reasonable thing to do. But glutathione and vitamin C, especially, seem to be beneficial.

Dr Weitz:             Do you use detox protocols in your treatments? We had Melanie Gisler speak at one of our meetings about Lyme Disease. She likes to include detox into her protocols.

Dr Rawls:             Yeah, I just did a webinar pretty recently on detox, and really did a deep dive on what we’re doing. My conclusion was when you look at Lyme recovery, it is detox, the whole thing. This concept of just doing this protocol, and I’m done with that, and I’ll move on to other parts of recovery, nah, it’s an initiation.  But the whole recovery process is detoxing. When you look at detox, it’s really clean food, it’s lots and lots of vegetables. But if you look for one thing that detoxes the body better than anything on the face of the earth, it’s vegetables. Lots, and lots of fresh vegetables.

                                No matter what diet you choose, I think that the golden rule for any healthy diet is it needs to be at least half vegetables, or more. Eat more vegetables than anything else. Because the vegetables are binding the toxins, pulling them out of the body, and vegetables are going to be lower in toxins than a lot of other kinds of processed foods. That’s really important.  The vegetables help enhance liver function. Then you throw in the herbs on top of that, you know, we’re talking about berberine, berberine is a really nice bile-stimulant, you got to get your liver moving. You throw some andrographis in there, which is another bile-stimulant, and really enhances liver function, and protects the liver. Throw in some milk thistle too if you like.

                                So many of our herbs are doing the things that we want to do with detoxification. Then, cleaning up air. I’m spending a lot of time studying research that I can find on negative ions, and negative ion generators, and essential oils for just cleaning up the air, making our air better, filtering water.  I don’t see detox as a thing that’s done, I think detox is something you embrace for a lifetime. A detox protocol is a way to get initiated in that, but it becomes “This is how you live your life.” You live a clean life, and that’s what enhances immune function. That is not only what’s going to help you recover from chronic illness, but it’s also going to help you slow down the processes of aging in general.

Dr Weitz:             Cool. What do you think about ozone? That’s very popular in LA for Lyme protocols, is using some form of ozone.

Dr Rawls:             Yeah, I think if you have asked me five years ago, I would say “That’s crazy. Ozone is just really toxic.” But, I’ve since come around, there has been enough literature out there, and I have been to enough lectures and really studied it enough to recognize that I think it does have value. All of these microbes are very oxygen sensitive, basically, we’re infusing high reactivity oxygen species that are free radicals. They do have a pretty strong effect on the microbes.  Of the types, you can either inject ozone, or you can run someone’s blood to a hyperbaric chamber with ozone that pushes ozone into the blood, and then back in the body, and that circulates over and over. I think it does have an effect.  Are you going to eradicate all the microbes? No, because they’re so deep in the tissues, and they’re inner-cellular, you’re not. But I think it has value.  

Here’s the thing; I think it’s important to put in perspective. If I have someone that is doing all the things that they need to do to rebuild their immune system, they’ve cleaned up their diet, they’ve cleaned up their lifestyle, they’re living a clean lifestyle, they’re embracing the herbs, and they’re not quite getting there, or they want to get there a little faster. You know, their immune system is on the rebound. Then ozone can be beneficial. It might be what I call a heroic therapy that might get them there a little bit quicker.

                                Whereas, I’ve met all too many people that aren’t doing those things, and are going for ozone, and they might feel better for a week or two, or a month. But, then they’re right back where they started. Then, they’re doing it again, and again.  It’s expensive, and every time you use it, every time you use it, you’re going to do more damage to your blood vessels. There’s a certain amount of toxicity with it. You’ve got to be really frugal in that use.  The message with ozone is do all the things that you need to do first to rebuild your immune system, then if you want to get there quicker, or if it’s not quite getting all the way there, then I think ozone is a consideration. But, as a stand alone therapy, I don’t think that’s a good choice.

Dr Weitz:             Great. Great. This was really good information Doctor Rawls. Is there any final thoughts you’d like to tell our listeners and viewers?

Dr Rawls:             Let’s see. The big thing is, when you look at Chronic Lyme Disease, I think you’re fundamentally looking at a model of all chronic illness. More and more, as I searched the literature, I find that we’ve lost connections to our ancient past. The food we’re eating is abnormal, our world is full of toxins, our microbiome is less diverse, and it contains more pathogens than it ever has. Herbs are part of the missing link.

                                I’ve been thinking about it, it was very differently as of late. I’ve just rewrote our diet guide, and you study, and humans ate foraged food for 200,000 years. It wasn’t until about 10,000 years ago that we started adopting grains. Really, most intensely 100 years ago.  That foraged food was roots, and leaves, and stems, and bark off of trees, it was anything that might have some calories. Humans ate a lot of it. It was very bitter. When you look at the concept of digestion, bitter is really, that’s what initiates our digestion, because all the food was bitter for several hundred thousand years.  But all of that food was loaded with phytochemicals, these substances that we find in herbs. Those things are typically very bitter, they don’t taste good. We selectively bred all of those things out of our food now.  Our food tastes better, it’s higher in carbohydrate, it doesn’t have the bitterness typically, and we like it better. But it’s missing that spectrum of phytochemicals. The only way you can really get it back now is herbs, because herbs have been cultivated to actually enhance the presence of those things.  I’m starting to see herbs not as something you do therapeutically, but as a true deficiency, something that is really, really missing. When you look at paleo diets, and other things, people are eating a paleo diet because they’re not foraging food out in the woods, and they’re still missing those ancient phytochemicals that are so important for our health.  Whether you’re talking about treating Lyme disease, or antiaging, or virtually anything else, I see herbs as really an essential component of what people should be doing.

Dr Weitz:             That’s a great clinical pearl. How can viewers get a hold of you?

Dr Rawls:             We’ve got an informational website called rawlsmd.com, I got a lot of information about Lyme disease, connections to the book, and that sort of thing. Then, we also have a website called Vital Plan, that we do carry some products and things on that. Either way, they can find lots of other information, and yeah, it’s important.

Dr Weitz:             Are you available for consultations?

Dr Rawls:             I am. I do do consultations. I’m spending more of my time just writing, though, at this point, because I can reach so many more people writing, and doing webinars, and doing shows like this. We can connect, and I can get this information out there in a bigger way.

Dr Weitz:             That’s great. Thank you, Doctor Rawls.

Dr Rawls:             Thank you very much for having me, it was a real pleasure.

Dr Weitz:             Excellent, I enjoyed it too.


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