Dear Stephen,
I remember reading somewhere that cat’s claw shouldn’t be used in its complete form if you have an autoimmune condition as it stimulates the immune system too much and the TOA free form Samento should be used instead. I have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Can you please advise? Also, I would like to express my gratitude to you for your very informative book and website, and for sharing your knowledge so freely with all. I think that it is the sign of a true healer when one is so willing to share and help as many people as possible.

Stephen’s response:
Thank you for your kind words. Regarding lyme and autoimmunity, lyme and ALL the coinfections have an autoimmune dynamic to them, and I pretty much hate the TOA controversy, for reasons that I go into in the book. I think it misplaced. What needs to happen in autoimmune conditions is that the bacteria stimulate the immune system to cause inflammation in the body which then breaks down cellular tissue so that the bacteria can feed on the nutrients that are released. The bacteria in fact create and control a form of autoimmunity, however, THAT WAY OF THINKING ABOUT IT, I.E. AUTOIMMUNITY, IS NOT VERY EFFECTIVE. It is a controlled use of the immune system of the host species to get food, NOT an out of control autoimmunity which is something that happens during cytokine storms in diseases such as severe influenza. So, what you are doing is activating parts of the immune system and deactivating others. The two herbs that accomplish this the best in lyme are cat’s claw and knotweed root. However, Chinese skullcap and cordyceps are also very good for reducing the cytokine cascade, i.e. the “autoimmunity.” As far as I know, cat’s claw is not contraindicated in Hashimoto’s disease. but if you are concerned, use the skullcap and the cordyceps instead.
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