Detoxification from Mold and Environmental Toxins
By Karen Vaughan, RH (AHG), L.Ac.
Notice: the information contained herein is not meant to substitute for medical advice. It is best for you to have your conditions properly diagnosed to evaluate treatment options. This was prepared after Hurricane Katrina for workers doing rehabilitation.
Molds can be highly toxic and should be treated as soon as possible before they become entrenched. Molds can be ingested in food, breathed in and can affect the skin. Molds in decaying wood, wallpaper paste, paint and drywall can cause toxic gasses, inhaled spores and reactions to particulate matter. In addition to direct irritation, you can develop allergies to the molds. Serious diseases including nerve disease can result from mold contamination. Remember that even if moisture is removed molds can go dormant, and be revived when conditions are moist again. High humidity,
condensation, plumbing leaks, improperly sealed walls or foundations, or flooding can activate spores that are dormant. Power equipment can carry mold spores into the air. Chronic sinusitis is often mold based, so that antibiotics are unable to treat it and since there is poor circulation in the sinuses, oral medication is often insufficient. For more information look at www.moldmisery.com . You can provide information for your doctor with sites like http://www.mycology.adelaide.edu.au/Fungal_Jungle/guidelines.html
Inhalation for Sinusitis or Lung Exposure
Boil water sufficient to cover a bowl an inch or two deep. Add two drops essential oil of lavender, five drops tea tree oil and two drops of essential oil of rosemary, thyme or sage. Bend over the bowl and drape your head with a towel and breathe in until the water cools. Be careful not to burn yourself with the water. Repeat several times a day when symptoms are acute and follow up afterwards for a few weeks twice a day. This is antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral and delivers the medication directly to the tissues affected. You can take oral medication or herbs like coptis, Oregon grape or forsythia buds along with the inhalation. If you have inhaled mold it can also grow in your lung tissue and the inhalation can help here as well.
Skin Conditions due to Mold
It is important when doing remediation work to have intact or protected skin. If you cut or scrape your skin in an area with mold, rub tea tree oil onto the scrape and cover it with a bandage or gloves. Do not delay- your team should carry tea tree oil to use in the field. Also be careful when doing demolition or construction that produces lots of dust as mold spores can become airborne.
Mix two parts lavender essential oil with three parts tea tree oil. This can be used undiluted on the skin of most people. For people with sensitive skin, add a little almond oil.
Heavy Metal Exposures
If you are remediating a home built before 1978 (and especially before 1960) the paint may contain lead and so may the plumbing. Areas covered by floodwaters may contain other toxic chemicals including some heavy metals.
The traditional medical method of removing lead is by intravenous chelation with EDTA, which might be needed for heavy exposure. Early symptoms of lead poisoning are very general: nausea, fatigue, vomiting, painful stomach, diarrhea, loss of appetite, colic, weakness and feeling dried out. Later symptoms include pale lips and skin (anemia), a line on the gums, developmental disorders, sterility and miscarriage. Chronic lead poisoning may lead to kidney disease and early arteriosclerosis. Very heavy exposures can be fatal. However lesser exposures respond to daily doses of 2-6 capsules daily of oral EDTA, a chemical related to vinegar (from www.wonderlabs.com ) or ground ivy tincture. If you can’t find ground ivy tincture at a health food store or an herbalist, you can make it by using the weed ground ivy (Glechoma hederacea) from a clean area (not flooded or near a roadway.) Fill a jar with the leaves, fill it up with 100 proof vodka and let sit 3 weeks before straining. Get a plant ID book or look it up on Google. Lead info at: http://www.ansci.cornell.edu/plants/toxicagents/lead/lead.html
Garlic (take raw: mince it, put on a spoon and coveri with honey, then place it in your mouth with the spoon upside down, followed by a chaser of water or juice) will chelate a number of heavy metals. It also will help respiratory conditions and infections when taken raw and is good for the cardiovascular system. (Pills are only good for the heart.) Malic acid from apples is another good chelator, especially of lead. It can be purchased in pill form or you can eat two apples or pears a day.
Cilantro may help remove mercury. Patients excreted more toxic metals after consuming a Vietnamese soup containing cilantro, the leafy part of coriander, a spice. The leaf is used in Chinese, Thai and Mexican dishes. It has a distinct taste that most people either love or hate. You can make a pesto of the fresh leaves, eat a finely chopped teaspoonful a day or purchase cilantro drops from www.kitchendoctor.com Chlorella doesn’t actually work to remove mercury from the human body although it is widely reported to do so
If you did floodwater evacuation you may be affected by parasites, amoebas or microbes like giardia that cause diarrhea and burrow into your intestinal walls. Herbs like black walnut, artemesia, Oregon grape, coptis (berberine), quassia and goldenseal tend to be quite bitter and require long courses, so you may be better off with medications from your doctor. A combination may help if they are resistant. Ginger, herba santa and peppermint may help digestion and help the herbs or medications go down.