about the plant
- Dipsacus fullonum, (syn. D. sylvestris) is the wild form of Fuller's teasel (Wild Teasel)
- the cultivated form is generally recognised as a distinct species under the name Dipsacus sativus (Indian Teasel - Weberkarde)
- taste & energetics: bitter, mildly pungent/mildly heating/(dry, cold)
Teaselroot tinktur according to Matthew Wood
The fresh root of the biannual plant is harvested at the end of the first year, that is in late autumn, winter or early spring. During the second year the plant grows above the earth, while the root becomes increasingly fibrous und losses ist medicinal properties. The harvestet root is beeing cleaned, carefully cut into pieces and put into a sealable glas container, where it is immersed in Vodka. After having matured in a warm place for three weeks, the tinkture is ready for use.
Dosage, duration, etc:
- 3 drops 3x a day (according to Matthew Wood)
- best in a sip of non-carbonated wasser or tea
- The recommendation of 3 drops 3x a day is hypothetcal. Personal experience has shown, that not only the homöopathic information counts, but the quantity as well. The dose can be therefore increased up to 1 tablespoon 3x a day.
- Another alternative is starting with 3 drops 3x a day, to increase the dose by one drop every day up to 30 drops 3x a day and continue at that level of intake. This alternative of slowly increasing the dose carries the advantage, that the possible and probable Herxheimer reaktions will be milder in their impact on the body.
- The dosage should vary with constitution, physical health status, weight, age and sensitivity of the patient.
- Average duration of the treatment ist about 3 month. It may very well be beneficial to continue taking teasel tincture monthly for the next year with a dosage of 30 drops 3x a day, three days in a row.
- The tincture should contain a maximum of root extract: the container should be stuffed with root particles and organic vodka or comparable alcohol should be used.
- It is also possible to use the dried teasel leaves of the first year plant as infusion (tea) and take the root tincture additionally. Keep in mind, that alcohol extracts ingredients from the root, that hot water cannot extract.
- It has been reported, that some commercial tintures are not very effective, because they do not contain sufficient root extradt or to much alcohol. Sometimes other herbs have been added. Heinz uses 4 kg rootmass per 10 liters of bio-alcohol (approx. 3,5 pounds per gallon).
Quoted from the German magazine "natur und heilen" 6/2007:
The alcohol based physiolgica-extracts prooved effective after infection with borrelia, in treatment of both immediate and advanced stages (physiolgica nature products, Heinz Machura, tel.: 0049 2295 / 903041). This is especially true for the teasel root, that is cultered and harvestet according to the principles of Rudolf Steiner, the founder of the Antroposophic Society. (..) Besides teasel root Heinz Machura produces also alcohol based extracts from wild garlic, melissa, cilantro, knitbone or comfrey and black walnut. The most recommendable plants for helping with the recovery have to be determined individually in each case. The dose should conform with the totality of symptoms, that is to say, the more intense the symptoms, the less the dosage should be in order to avoid flooding the body with toxins mobilised by the teaselroot.
(translated by Georg Keppler)
Quoted from "Borreliose natürlich Heilen" by Wolf Dieter Storl, ISBN 978-3-03800-360-1, page 61:
Of good, reliable quality is the "alcohol based teaselroot extract" (37% alcohol) of Heinz Machura (Physiologica Nature Products), ...
Healing Lyme Disease Naturally: History, Analysis, and Treatments
by Wolf D. Storl, Matthew Wood und Andreas Thum.
Dipsacus is a genus of flowering plant in the family Dipsacaceae. The members of this genus are known as teasel or teazel or teazle. The genus includes about 15 species of tall herbaceous biennial plants (rarely short-lived perennial plants) growing to 1-2.5 m tall, native to Europe, Asia and northern Africa.
The genus name is derived from the word for thirst and refers to the cup-like formation made where sessile leaves merge at the stem. Rain water can collect in this receptacle; this may perfom the function of preventing sap-sucking insects such as aphids from climbing the stem. The leaves are lanceolate, 20-40 cm long and 3-6 cm broad, with a row of small spines on the underside of the midrib.
Teasels are easily identified with their prickly stem and leaves, and the inflorescence of purple, dark pink or lavender flowers that form a head on the end of the stem(s). The inflorescence is ovoid, 4-10 cm long and 3-5 cm broad, with a basal whirl of spiny bracts. The first flowers begin opening in a belt around the middle of the spherical or oval flowerhead, and then open sequentially toward the top and bottom, forming two narrow belts as the flowering progresses. The dried head persists afterwards, with the small (4-6 mm) seeds maturing in mid autumn.
The seeds are an important winter food resource for some birds, notably the European Goldfinch; teasels are often grown in gardens and encouraged on nature reserves to attract them.
Cultivation and uses
The Fuller's Teasel (the cultivar group Dipsacus fullonum Sativus Group; syn. D. sativus) was formerly widely used in textile processing, providing a natural comb for cleaning, aligning and raising the nap on fabrics, particularly wool. It differs from the wild type Dipsacus sylvestris in having stouter, somewhat recurved spines on the seed heads. The dried flower heads were attached to spindles, wheels, or cylinders, sometimes called teasel frames, to raise the nap on fabrics (that is, to tease the fibers). By the 20th century, teasels were largely replaced by metal cards, which could be made uniform and do not require constant replacement as the teasel heads wear. However, some people who weave wool still prefer to use teasels for raising the nap, claiming that the result is better; in particular, if a teasel meets serious resistance in the fabric, it will break, whereas a metal tool would rip the cloth.
Teasels are also occasionally grown as ornamental plants, and the dried heads are used in floristry.
Teasels have been naturalised in many regions away from their native range, partly due to the import of Fuller's Teasel for textile processing, and partly by the seed being a contaminant mixed with crop seeds.
A number of medicinal properties claimed for the teasel, though not proven in medical trials:
- Cure of Lyme Disease
- Improved circulation
- Cure for warts
- Eyewash (water collected in the cup formed by sessile leaves)
Lyme Disease: Beyond Antibiotics/The Teasel Root Connection
by Chris Bashaw, RN & CMH Senior Herbalist (http://www.crescentmoonherbals.com/TeaselRootInformation.html)
As the warm weather begins to once again make its way into our life so does the threat of Lyme, a tickborne wickedness here in New England. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection caused by a "spirochete"
(spirochetes are long, thin, spiral-shaped bacteria that have flagella or tails). In the United States, the actual name of the Lyme bacterium is Borrelia burgdorferi. In Europe, another bacterium, Borrelia
afzelii, also produces Lyme disease.
A variety of ticks found on deer protect the bacterium in their stomachs; these ticks spread the Lyme
disease when they bite the skin, allowing the bacterium to infect the body. Lyme disease is not
contagious from one affected person to another, but is known to cause abnormalities in the skin that
begins with a characteristic rash, and may be followed weeks to months later by neurological, cardiac or
joint abnormalities as a result of this tick-transmitted inflammatory disorder. The spirochetes paralyzes
multiple aspects of the immune system; the organism is then without defenses against many microbes
which can cause secondary infections.
Modern medicine often treats this with antibiotic therapy, typically doxycycline (Vibramycin),
amoxicillin and/or cefuroxime axetil. The standard therapy of 4-6 weeks of antibiotic treatment is not
sufficient to treat chronic Lyme disease; the treating of long-term Lyme disease is often very expensive.
Traditionally insurance companies have disputed treatment due to that high cost. Chronic Lyme disease
is often a life-long illness.
It was 1975 when Lyme disease showed itself to the modern world through a group of children who
lived near each other in Lyme, Conn.; the children were originally diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis.
Further investigation of this remarkable grouping of infirmity led researchers to identify the cause as a
bacterial source of the children's condition, what was then termed "Lyme disease" in 1982. Lyme
disease has shown up most often in the northeastern United States, but it has been reported in all 50
states, as well as China, Europe, Japan, Australia and the parts of the former Soviet Union. In the
United States, it is mainly limited to the northeast from the state of Maine to Maryland, in the midwest
in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and in the west in Oregon and Northern California.
There are more carriers of Lyme disease than just the deer tick. There is a tremendous
misunderstanding regarding the vector or carrier that passes on Lyme disease. First of all, the familiar
tick vector called the deer tick (Ixodes dammini) and black-legged ticks (commonly called deer ticks,
Ixodes scapularis) are more prevalent and spreading wider than reported. Secondly, these ticks are not
the only vector able to transmit the Borrelia species. Several other tick species such as the Lone Star
ticks (Ammblyoma americanum), western black-legged ticks (Ixodes pacificus), and wood ticks or dog
ticks (Dermacentor variabilis) can transmit it too. Unfortunately, health officials to both the public or
medical community are not reporting this significant information. The widespread distribution of these
tick vectors greatly increases the prevalence of Lyme disease well beyond that of official government
reports. It is important to understand the potential danger of all tick bites, not only that from the deer
And though this article is not on how to diagnose Lyme disease, it is recommended that one find a
practitioner specializing in Lyme diagnosis and treatment.
A natural treatment, which can be safely used, adjunctively with modern antibiotic treatment, is the use
of Teasel Root. Teasel is a common name for some members of the Dipsacaceae, a family of chiefly
old World herbs found mostly in the Mediterranean and Balkan areas but can range from India and to
South Africa. Species of Dipsacus and Scabiosa have become widely naturalized in America. Scabiosa,
commonly called sweet scabious, mourning bride, or pincushion flower (for its head of small, lacy
flowers) includes several ornamentals and was formerly used as a remedy for scabies.
Fuller's Teasel (D. fullonum) is a noxious biennial weed whose heads of small flowers bear sharp
prongs and have been used in the textile industry for teasing or raising the nap on wool. Teasels are
classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Dipsacales. The Chinese Dipsacus
japonica whose name means "Restore What Is Broken" truly sums up the powerful healing properties
of this valuable herb.
The potential of using Teasel Root as a magnificent partner for individuals with chronic Lyme disease,
which is further, outlined in Matthew Wood's book, "The Book of Herbal Wisdom". Wood writes,
"After entering the body through a tick bite, the spirochetes burrow into the muscles where they settle
down to live. Here they produce chronic inflammation and pain, with destruction of muscles and joints.
People become like the broken-down 'tertiary syphilitics' described in old medical text books".
When combined with prescribed antibiotics to treat the secondary infections, and St. John's Wort to
heal the actual nerve damage produced by the infection, Teasel Root's anti-inflammatory effects work
on the spirochete's damaging consequences arresting the dis-ease process. (It is important to note that
Teasel has also been successful in the treating of Fibromyalgia, as well). Teasel root has also been
effective in treating canines diagnosed with Lyme disease.
Each herbalist has his or her own treatment remedy for using Teasel Root and I am no different. And
each remedy, though a little different, seems to work. Remember, for each Lyme disease diagnosis
there will be an equal number of unique results, so before starting a regime of Teasel Root consult
a qualified herbal practitioner for an individualized appropriate, and most of all successful treatment.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. These products are not intended to
diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease. Customers are reminded that it is entirely of their own
accord, right and responsibility to make educated choices with their own, and their family's, health
care. Always consult a physician prior to the use of any herbal product or service.)
The prospect of using Teasel Root as a great ally for folks particularly with chronic Lyme Disease comes from Matthew Wood's splendid book, "The Book of Herbal Wisdom" which I HIGHLY recommend to the class just in general, but he's also got an entire chapter just on Teasel Root in it.
Matt has a great sense of ALL the things that plants are - energetically, chemically, what they BRING OUT, what they have to SHOW us. He pulls from all KINDS of traditions and weaves things together with personal stories of how he's used various plants to treat all kinds of things.
With Teasel, Dipsacus sylvestris, he first learns about the Chinese Dipsacus japonica whose Chinese name means "Restore What Is Broken".
He says "Teasel is excellent for chronic inflammation of the muscles, with limitation of movement and great pain....Teasel is well indicated in chronic cases where a person becomes arthritic, the muscles all over are stiff and sore and they are eventually incapacitated."
The late William LeSassier, Matt's friend and teacher said: "It is for people who had a use, but lost it. They stepped off the path."
But why SPECIFICALLY for Lyme? Matt writes: "After entering the body through a tick bite, the spirochetes burrow into the muscles where they settle down to live. Here they produce chronic inflammation and pain, with destruction of muscles and joints. People become like the broken-down 'tertiary syphilitics' described in old medical text books"
Matt describes the progress of five clients, all somewhat different, who experience incredible healing from taking Teasel. One that got my attention described her symptoms as getting better 'from the top down'. (mine went in reverse order, remember?) Some of the clients described from mild to fierce aggravation of symptoms as the healing took place. This is where you need to listen to yourself. The doses Matt recommends are truly TINY, but if they aggravate your symptoms, do back down to a level you can deal with. My symptoms were merely 'revisited' over a few days' time. As I worked my way up to the 9 DROPS a day, my body just didn't want that much and I listened. I leveled off at 2 drops just 2x a day and STAYED there for 6 or 7 weeks.
When I can see folks in person, I have them Self-Test with the Teasel. Sometimes, even though we both KNOW they have Lyme, they test negative. I have seen this most often with folks currently on doxy. When they're DONE with the doxy, I have them test again and often NOW they test positive. Matt has seen folks do splendidly taking Teasel at the same time as abx (antibiotics). He does suggest, however, that due to its profoundly subtle nature, that you take it at a different TIME of day from anything else you may be taking. I totally agree with that.
Although you'll often see Teasel recommended for the joint/muscle pain OF Lyme, it completely addressed the actual disease that for me was manifesting as extremely severe neurological symptoms, with the help of St John's wort to heal the actual nerve DAMAGE (see the damage page below)
So: Here's the schedule that both Matthew Wood and I recommend.
- Day one: 1 DROP of teasel root tincture in a little water. (yes, a mere DROP)
- Day two: 1 DROP 2X
- Day three: 1 DROP 3x
- Day four: 2 DROPS, then 1 DROP, then 1 DROP
- Day five: 2 DROPS, then 2 DROPS, then 1 DROP
- Day six: 2 DROPS 3x
- Day seven: 3 DROPS, then 2 DROPS, then 2 DROPS
- Day eight: 3 DROPS, then 3 DROPS, then 2 DROPS
- Day nine: 3 DROPS 3x (if and ONLY IF your body feels GOOD with that much)
- and so on, just staying at the 9 drops per day level IF your body wants that for between 6 weeks and 3 months.
Yes, although other herbalists recommend far higher doses, Matthew and I have just not seen that as being necessary.
I chose to take GrapeFruitSeed WITH (but at different times of the day from) the Teasel. Matt and I talked about this. He mused about how something truly, shudderingly bitter could set off a distinct reaction in the body which COULD be a valid part of the healing. Other herbs that might well do a similar thing for truly resistant cases would be Boneset (Eupatorium perfoliatum) Blue Vervain (Verbena hastata), or Wormwood (Artemesia absinthium)
Also, any of you who have taken it, I'd SURE like to hear your feedback (which I'll add to the updates page) The more, the better.
Am I promising that this 'protocol' will "cure" every case of Lyme? Oh come now, we know better than that. Line up 100 Lymers and you have 100 different stories/patterns. But both Matthew and I have seen truly ENCOURAGING results, and as of Oct'08, they continue to come in. (See the updates page)
Jecobie's experience with Teasel:
I have used this on and off for years. I believe it has be very beneficial with my recovery. I have herxed with this from time to time.
I was attracted to this remedy by the story of it's discovery. I always will trust nature to teach me the way to go. The way I look at it is this, Deer have been dealing with Lyme Disease for a long time and they seem to continue to thrive. If nature is telling them they need to be eating Teasel, then maybe it would benefit me to as well. It has!
Teasel is very effective with helping folks with Lyme disease as well as many other chronic immune diseases.
Teasel drives the Spirochete/bacteria from the joints into the blood stream. That is why it is very effective to take while taking antibiotics. Out comes the bacteria and wham! The antibiotic kills it. Teasel stops the Spirochete from hiding out.
Even when taken alone with out the assistance of antibiotics it can cause a significant herx, which indicates die-off. So obviously something is happening here?
Teasel is to be taken long term in low doses for total saturation. Spirochete's can go dormant for sometime and then become active again. By slowly saturating the body with Teasel it stays in the system and deals with those hiding Spirochetes.
Teasel is known to help with joint problems, tight ligaments, and cramping. It has been very helpful for folks dealing with Lyme. FM, MS, all chronic problems involving joint and muscle pain.
Teasel works very well with BLUE VERVAIN and WILD BERGAMONT. You will find these products below. You can take them all at the same time under the tongue.
- If you are a sensitive individual you will want to start out slowly when taking Teasel.
- Long term 8-14 months.
- 3-5 drops under tongue 3 times per day. If you are overweight it will be necessary to take the 5 drops 3 times daily to saturate your system.
- If you herx or are sensitive when taking new things start slowly. 1 drop 3 times per day and work up to full dose.
- Children under 50 lbs. 1 drop under tongue 3 times per day.
Keep in mind Spirochetes produce many by products in your body that can cause many symptoms and make you feel lousy. Often times I think many of us with Lyme disease have conquered the disease but are dealing with the aftermath of the by products produced be the Spirochetes or the side effects and or damage left over from heavy antibiotic use.
Again I have to stress the need to focus on cleansing, detoxing, and the re-building of the immune system!!
This is an excerpt from Matthew Wood's wonderful book, "The Book of Herbal Wisdom"
. He has been successful helping Lyme Disease patients using Teasel for years:
"A few weeks after my first experience using Teasel for Lyme disease I went out behind my barn to admire the plant. There, in the new fallen snow under the moonlight, I saw deer tracks coming to the little patch of Teasel from all directions. I was astonished and recalled what my friend had said about the Deer Nation. A year later, I mentioned this observation during a conference in Boulder. Herbalist Terry Willard of Calgary, Alberta, noted with surprise that he had seen the same phenomenon. Teasel is rare in Calgary; the deer came to his garden from all directions to the patch of Teasel. Terry added that deer antler is used in China as a treatment for Lyme Disease. "It's great to share notes with other herbalist," he commented. "When they point out common experiences you were not even aware of until they spoke up you know you are looking at something that is true."
Lyme-Aid, a personal journey of discovery
From Healthkeepers Magazine, Vol. 8, Issue 2 (Spring, 2006) - "Ask an Herbalist" - Philip Fritchey, M.H., N.D., CNHP
After three years of struggle with a debilitating condition that caused me to quit my job and virtually all my activities - and caused many of my friends to quit me - I was finally diagnosed with Lyme disease. So far, after 3 months of IV antibiotics, I am having some limited improvement. I have been temporarily pulled from that treatment, though, because it caused my liver enzymes to go crazy. One of my true stand-by-me friends heard about an herb called Teasel, but my local herb shops don't have it, or any information about it. What can you tell me about this plant and Lyme. I need some hope tonight!
Lyme is not a disease for sissies, to be sure, and the symptoms of mental fog, chronic joint and muscle pain, and unrelenting fatigue can be very hard for those around you to appreciate or deal with. I have personally been struggling with Lyme disease for some time now. It has been almost six years since my encounter with the tick. The condition has been a roller-coaster experience that has served to humble my smugness, challenge and re-empower my Faith, and impress me with a sense of precious value for health of body and mind that I never could have imagined - and always took for granted.
I have tried most every rational protocol that I could find. In spite of occasional temporary reprieves, the bug took such hold of me through the Spring and Summer of last year, I truly felt that the fatigue and mental "fog" would force me to stop teaching and writing. I stopped seeing clients personally, and I could barely muster the energy to keep our skin care business going. The joint and muscle pain was so intense that gardening, field forays, and exercise in general seemed impossible, and, as a result, I put on nearly 30 pounds. It was not a pretty sight.
I had discussed the situation with some students from one of my Herbology classes in Tulsa last Spring, and in September, I received a letter from one of them. He had run across a section in Matthew Wood's really excellent book, "The Book of Herbal Wisdom". Wood recorded his limited but positive experience with Lyme, using the root of Teasel (Dipsacus spp.), an herb completely unfamiliar to me. A little internet research showed he was not alone, so I tracked down some of the tincture. (It is not easy to find. One species of the plant is used in Chinese medicine, but traditional Western herbal history is virtually silent on its use.) Whether from hope or desperation, Wood's short discourse on it was sufficient to get me to try it.
At the risk of melodrama, I can only say that, so far at least, the result has been nothing short of miraculous. Within three days of starting with the very small dosage recommended by Wood (1 - 5 drops, 3 times daily), the fog lifted, the fatigue melted away, and though it took longer, the joint and muscle pain subsided, and has continued to improve since. I feel like my life has been given back to me.