On the eastern slopes of the Sierra-Nevada Mountains grows a very important plant in the Parsley Family. The western Indians have long used this plant to prevent and treat many ailments.
Botanically called Lomatium dissectum, because of its long, slender, hollow stem and its oil-producing linear glands in the ripening seeds. The Indians called the medicinal root of this plant “the Dortza”, meaning – “heap powerful medicine.”
The Washoe Indians collected the root in September and October when the richest supply of oils was concentrated in the large underground root. At least five or six gums, oils, and oleoresins are present in the very aromatic root. After collecting the root, they sliced it longitudinally, exposing the volatile oils to the oxidizing (polymerization) effects of the air, which converts the oils to a stabilized resin. The cured root would then be hung to dry from the ceiling of their hogan until it was needed.
During the flu pandemic of 1917-1918, the root came into extensive use by the two Washoe Indian tribes near Carson City, Nevada. Dr. E.T. Krebs Sr., the contract physician who was assigned by the U.S. government to the Washoe Indians, was dumbfounded to find that these two groups of Indians were free from respiratory illness and that no deaths had been attributed to the influenza “bug.”
This was especially amazing because both Indians and white people were “dying like flies” throughout the entire region, the nation and the world. Spotting the dried root hanging from their hogans, Dr. Krebs asked what it was and what its use was. He was told it was “heap powerful medicine,” and that it was used to prevent colds and the flu. He asked if he could try this medicine on some of his white patients and, after making a crude preparation and giving it to his non-Indian patients in San Francisco, he said, “They just stopped dying.”
The bottom line: those who used Lomatium during the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic survived the virus and all of its complications.
There are 11 species of the genus as identified by the U.S. National Herbarium back in the year 1840, and three that hold special medicinal significance in the field of naturopathic medicine: Lomatium dissectum, Leptotaenia dissecta, and Leptotaenia multifida. The one we are going to focus on primarily is the Lomatium dissectum. The following list gives the indications and uses for the herb: Coughs and associated illnesses of the throat, allergies, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, influenza, tuberculosis, venereal diseases, and distemper.
Lomatium is also a healing agent in cuts, abrasions, sores, and rashes of the skin, as well as infections of the eye and an external wash for smallpox. It has additional uses as an antiseptic rinse. One of the pioneers of its study and use, was an individual named Ernest T. Krebs, a biochemist with a very good background in medicine (as his father was a physician). He wrote a treatise that outlined the results obtained among the Washoe Indian Tribe during the time the pandemic was running rampant in the U.S. and throughout the world.
The article was entitled, “An Indian Remedy for Influenza,” published in the Bulletin of the Nevada State Board of health, Jan. 1920, pg. 7-9. The following quotations are excerpts from that bulletin that are worth mention:
During the Fall of 1918 when the influenza visited Nevada, the Washoe Indians used a root in the treatment of their sick. The plant proved to be a rare species of the parsley family (Leptotaemia dissecta).
.. There was not a single death in the Washoe tribe from influenza or its complications, although Indians living in others parts of the state where the root did not grow died in numbers.
A preparation was prepared and employed in a great many cases among the whites from the mildest to the most virulent types of influenza, and it proved, among other things, that it is the nearest approach we have today to a specific for epidemic influenza and the accompanying pneumonia. Where used early, it proved itself to be a reliable agent in preventing pulmonary complications.… Its therapeutic action in this direction is established and beyond any doubt…. Its action on coughs is more certain than opiate expectorants…. It acts as a powerful tonic to the respiratory mucous membranes…. It is a bronchial, intestinal, and urinary antiseptic and is excreted by these organs…. It is a stimulative and sedative expectorant.
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How it works
Scientific investigation of the plant reveals that the volatile oil factions in the root contain the antiviral/antibiotic ingredient. Also present are powerful anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties. The Lomatium dissectum extract has a viro-static effect, meaning that it stops the growth of all viruses, bacteria, and fungus in the body and eliminates the lethal micro-organisms without harming the ones necessary to good health. The effectiveness of Lomatium dissectum in eliminating infections and restoring health is an incredible gift from Mother Nature.
Extensive work has been done by over five universities on the Lomatium dissectum. It is a powerful, non-toxic, viro-static against flu viruses, the trachoma virus, the Lansing Polio viruses, and numerous other
viruses. By 1944, the Journal of Bacteriology reported, “The anti-biotic activity of oil factions separated from the root of Lomatium dissectum was determined on 62 strains and species of bacteria, molds, and fungi. The heat-stable active agent was bactericidal for gram-positive bacteria at 10-4 dilutions and at 10-3 for gram-negative bacteria.” (Journal of Bacteriology, Vol. 55 No. 5 May 1948)
About the time this report was published, ‘miracle’ sulfa drugs began to be widely promoted. In the interest of being ‘modern,’ no one wanted to use an old Indian remedy. With renewed interest in some natural remedies, Dr. Krebs Jr. passed on the extracting techniques developed by his father to Dr. Max Barlow. The extract is made today in an alcohol-based tincture.
Since the ticture is anti-viral, the dosage depends upon the strength (or weakness) of the body’s natural immune system. It is completely natural and non-toxic; therefore, the dosage may be safely increased until it takes effect.
As the above quote from the Journal of Bacteriology indicates, Lomatium dissectum is also effective against molds and fungi. Thus, many users are seeing great results in fighting Candida albicans with this extract (when taken orally). This powerful natural remedy will clear up most yeast infections. A drop between the toes will eradicate athlete’s foot.
Lomatium tincture may be taken as a preventative against viral infections or solely during high-risk periods. This wonder drug of nature inhibits the growth and reproduction of viral organisms, rendering them inactive, thus enabling white blood cells to do their job.
Suffice it to say, readers, this herb bears particular value for preppers and survival-minded groups and families. The root is the primary part utilized within a capacity of naturopathic medicine. Since the 1918 Pandemic and the work of Krebs, numerous other studies were undertaken that proved conclusively the effectiveness of the herb against all of the ailments mentioned. A work was also put out by the USDA entitled “Medicinal Uses of Plants by Indian Tribes of Nevada” in 1941 categorizing its use among three different tribes.
Lomatium is readily-available today in tincture and raw-herb form. The Tribes made preparations from the root by chopping it up and boiling it to extract the oil from it. During the pandemic, each member of the tribe utilized about a pound of the root during times when the sickness was running rampant. It is available throughout the United States in tincture form and can be ordered from growers to obtain the whole root and also in your better health-food concerns.
The root needs to be at least three (3) years old to be able to produce the chemicals that are medicinally-therapeutic in nature. Lomatium has been proven effective against 41 types of bacteria and 21 strains of mold and fungi. Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli are among those it inhibits and kills; these I note for you because they are bacteria that are so rampant in a time of collapse/loss of infrastructure, as well as being found commonly in everyday life.
It should be noted that some people may experience a one-time detox rash from an oil faction found in Lomatium dissectum; as is possible from contact with any plant. The rash ranges from mild to full body and can be extremely itchy and uncomfortable. Such a reaction can be quickly overcome by taking Dandelion Root, Vitamin C, and Pantothenic Acid. Two days of only fresh juices have been found to speed up the detox process. The addition of fresh-squeezed wheatgrass juice is also extremely helpful. One can discontinue the use of Lomatium temporarily.
Adults: 3 to 10 drops, 3 to 5 times daily, or more. It is suggested, to begin with a low dosage and frequency and gradually increase. Keep dosage low for the first 7 days and then increase as needed. Children: 3 to 4 drops, 4 to 6 times daily. It is also recommended to gradually increase quantity and frequency. 1 to 2 drops for babies added to water or juice.
Most little kids and teenagers do not get the rash. If they do, it is typically much less intense and clears out very quickly. A small, starting dose for a child would be 1-3 drops once a day for the first week.
If no rash, then increase and use accordingly.
A couple of wonderful things to know about Lomatium.
1) Your body doesn’t appear to build an immunity to the plant Lomatium. So, you can take it for long periods of time while your body is healing from long-standing systemic, viral/fungal/yeast issues.
It is common for many people to take a preventative dose every day during the cold and flu season or when they travel. Especially when getting on an airplane. A solid preventative dose for an adult is 1/2 dropperful (approx. 25 drops) once or twice a day.
2) You can safely increase the dosage until it does the job. Due to our extensive, lifelong use of Lomatium we have used Lomatium (25-50 drops each time) every hour on the hour to clear up UTI’s, ear infections, colds, flu and other acute
Here are some of the issues I’ve used it for during my more than 20 years of experience with Lomatium.
1) on Warts and toe/fingernail Fungus (topically and internally)
2) to Knock down cold sores caused by the Herpes virus
3) to clear up a tooth abscess
4) to gargle with before swallowing to keep mouth bacteria-free
5) for UTI’s (Urinary tract infections)
6) for Ear infections (taken internally and a drop or two directly in the ear)
7) for Strep infections
8) for the Common Cold, Flu, Congestion, runny nose, etc…
9) for Asthma
10) for Bacterial infections
11) for Respiratory tract infections
12) for tonsillitis (early stages)
13) for Bronchitis
14) for Vaginal infections (douche and internally)
15) for Candidas
16) for Chronic fatigue syndrome
17) for Skin infections (topical in the form of Golden Salve or extract)
18) for Hay fever
19) for EBV (Epstein-Barr virus)
20) for Mononucleosis
21) for HPV (Human Papillomavirus)
As you can see, the pure root extract of Lomatium dissectum has amazing medicinal properties.
For those interested in any studies on Lomatium’s possible use against COVID-19, I spent a lot of hours on research and found a couple of scientific articles that might provide some clues.
If you have keeping up with the news, you will have heard of the “cytokine storm” associated with many people who contract COVID-19. In short, a “cytokine storm” is an immunological response where the immune system goes into overdrive to fight the virus. This response is responsible for the severe lung problems experienced by many COVID-19 victims, young and old. Continuously high levels of three cytokines (CXCL10, CCL7, and IL-1 receptor antagonist) were associated with increased viral load, loss of lung function, lung injury, and a fatal outcome. ( see https://www.nature.com/articles/s41577-020-0305-6).
I found an article which references research that shows “Lomatium Dissectum Inhibits CXCL10, Linked to Influenza A” (See https://todayspractitioner.com/influenza/lomatium-dissectum-inhibits-cxcl10-linked-influenza/#.XweV4m1KjIU). At the end of the article is a link to access the full text of the study,” Lomatium dissectum inhibits the secretion of CXCL10, a chemokine associated with poor prognosis in highly pathogenic influenza an infection” ( see https://todayspractitioner.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/LDissectum_Flu.pdf). What all this boils down to is that scientific research has been done which shows that Lomatium is effective against one of the three cytokines associated with COVID-19. What are the odds that it would also be effective against the other two cytokines? Pretty good, I would say. Personally, I am very confident that Lomatium is both a good treatment for COVID-19 and just as important, a good preventative.
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How to Make a Lomatium Tincture
We have been tincturing Lomatium for years in our family, and find that it is easier than boiling the root to obtain the oil. Macerate (chop up) the root as finely as possible, and place the root-choppings into a large glass jar. Then use grain alcohol (such as Everclear) in an amount cut with distilled water to a ratio of 52% alcohol or higher, in order to tincture it. When it comes to Lomatium, I use at least a 75% ratio for my tinctures. The reason is twofold. Firstly, an alcohol-based tincture stores and preserves longer and better than any other form and can be kept for a minimum of 3 years and still retain effectiveness. Secondly, the alcohol will prevent the tincture from freezing by lowering the freezing point of the liquid exponentially, and this is valuable in some places during the winter when the temperature easily reaches -30 degrees F.
Another consideration is that even without such low winter temperatures if a grid down event should occur, how will you ensure that your medicines and tinctures are not exposed to such low temperatures? Proceeding onward, cover your herb completely with the alcohol-water solution, cap up the jar and seal it, and shake it vigorously about 100 times. Do this 2-3 times per day and keep the sealed jar inside of a dark cabinet or place where there is no light. After 2 weeks, you can remove your jar and strain the liquid. Place the saturated herb in a coffee filter, handkerchief, gauze, etc., and press the remaining liquid for your tincture out.
All tinctures should be stored in either brown or blue bottles to protect from light and UV exposure. Always label your tincture with what it is, the date you made it, an estimated expiration date, and any other important warnings or considerations you wish to include. At the aforementioned ratio, the tincture produces Lomatium at a 52% solution in a concentration of approximately 325 mg/ml (from an eyedropper, 15 drops = 1 ml. This can be taken preventatively in a time of pandemic 1-2 times per day with juice or water after a meal. The herb is also a perennial and grows sporadically throughout the Northwest of the U.S. and Canada.
Taking the time to educate yourself about plant medicine is a critical component of using it correctly and safely for your every day needs.
As with all things mentioned herbally, this article is not meant to diagnose, treat, prescribe, cure, or take any action or activity from a medical perspective, and is provided for informational purposes only. Prior to utilizing any information consult with your licensed family physician for permission and approval.
I hope you enjoyed an introduction to Lomatium dissectum, a fascinating herb with a rich and successful history as a naturopathic aid.
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