Dear Stephen,
I want to grow my own rockrose for a biofilm busting tea, and have heard good things about Cistus incanus. But the only incanus large enough that I’ve been able to get locally is not cistus *incanus*, it is another cistus. Is the biofilm busting agent in Cistus incanus present in other cistus?
Stephen’s response:
I am not a big fan of the biofilm hysteria that is common among the lyme community right now. ALL bacteria form biofilms. It is just a grouping of bacteria together in one location and the formation of a kind of rigid structure, similar to coral formation in the oceans, that they use to protect themselves. This is just ONE of a great many mechanisms bacteria use to protect themselves from immune responses or antibacterial substances and so on. It is no more dangerous or important than the bacterial ability to use efflux pumps to remove antibacterial substances from their cells or to use the immune system itself to hide from assault. Most herbal medicines are effective against biofilm formations just as are most immune systems. A biofilm may slow down effectiveness of immune response or herbal antibacterials but it does not stop them. It is not the terminator of bacterial protection. Biofilms have been around for eons and plants and immune systems have developed mechanisms for dealing with them. I would not worry about them as of being of particular importance in becoming healthy. That said, many of the cistus genus can be used for medicines in the way you are speaking of. Most are antibacterial one way or another though their main strength is as antioxidants. You didn’t mention the species you can get locally so I can’t comment directly on it, however some of the species that are useful are: C. ladanifer, c. salvifolius, C. crispus, c. albidus – these are most similar to incanus. Still, c.populifolius, C. libanotis, C. clusii, C. laurifolius and C. monspeliensis will all work. Most of the species are probably useful.
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