Herbal Treatments of Smallpox Through the Years

Herbal Treatments of Smallpox Through the Years

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The Nigerian research link in my first smallpox article, sent me on a very useful encyclopedic bunny trail that ties right back into the “new” threat on the immediate horizon, with 2 confirmed and potentially 20 more cases of monkey pox in Quebec, across the country from me (I live in Canada).

There is very little difference between monkey pox and small pox. Ever since the story some months ago about an overturned shipment of lab monkeys and a lady getting “infected” by one of them in the US, I’ve been waiting for this story to break, I just didn’t know what disease they’d claim was released. Then they claim the first case of monkey pox came from a traveller that returned from Canada a few days ago and now we hear of cases breaking out in Quebec. While all of this sounds like an organized plant to me, it still needs to be dealt with regardless. Planned or not.

I began by looking at what others are already saying about the treatment of smallpox on a natural health or herbal level. My daughter, the history nut in the household, immediately ran for the historical writings she’s been downloading either for free, or purchasing, on the subject of herbal and natural health. Textbooks from my Natural Health Practitioner’s Diploma revealed info I’d already input into my whole foods spreadsheet/database, (a task I still have to finish), and a field guide we bought offered more insight as the lines of questions went along.

One note that became very clear in our historical jaunts through herbal medicine, is that herbal doctors in the times of the Greeks and Romans, Renaissance, and into the 1800’s, did not consider Smallpox to be a panic-worthy mortal threat. Many treated much the way we treated chickenpox growing up in modern times, with the idea that the worse you had it as a child, the better off you’d be later on. Death rate estimates by these various doctors who treated people for Smallpox, on average placed them at 2%, with outlying figures occasionally at up to 30%. When smallpox broke out in the new world in the 1850’s, a very scientifically-minded chief in California saved the lives of 1000’s of natives from his tribe and those of other tribes around his, proudly claiming not a single life was lost from among his charges. He and his research assistants identified a topical remedy from plants that grew in California (and apparently no where else that we’ve been able to identify as they still grow there). Dr Culpepper in the 1600’s developed a topical treatment as well and recorded those that other doctors had come up with. The Greeks had a treatment for treating pustules from “vari”, which isn’t a stretch to say, the Variola disease that causes smallpox.

thermometerCommon to all these treatments was the need to maintain a usefully-high fever but manage it below the harmful threshold, encourage sweating but include a fair bit of liquid intake to offset the sweating, and regularly keep the skin treated with a herbal concoction that not only killed viral discharge, but cleaned it as well. The concoction was to be antiseptic, cleansing, and healing. A common thread throughout the various remedies that history showed us, consisted of an acid, and an oil at its lowest common denominator. On average there was an acid such as a vinegar, a soothing oil, often pine sap in some form, a cleansing agent, and something to feed the skin to help it heal.

Once again I have been reminded that God put plants into each region of the world where it would meet the needs of those people living there. Many sources today mention Tansy, yarrow, garlic, Great Sage etc, which are generally found in Western countries. The Neem tree in southern India naturalized across swaths of Africa and South America and rumour has it, is carefully grown in some places of the US now as well. The article I’d linked to about this tree’s medicinal benefits in Nigeria blew my mind when it was mentioned that researchers have found that Neem oil contains compounds that kill smallpox right in the kidney where it would otherwise replicate! I wanted to know what that compound was! The article didn’t link to the study! I went looking for nutritional/medicinal compounds in Neem and found that a) Neem Oil is made from the leaves, and b) Neem leaves contain Quercetin!!! Well, well well now! The entire tree from roots to flowers and everything in between contains a wide range of nutritional/medicinal compounds making the tree useful for treating an incredibly wide range of conditions humans can come down with!

Instantly I was adding Quercetin to a page of my spreadsheet/database. (it was already in the main list, but this was a new list for this article) Another article I located while tracking this down, mentioned Quercetin in more foods than I had already tabulated, which is why I tell people that this resource is a continual work in progress as I piece together what everyone has scattered around. One of the foods that shows up on my list for Quercetin, is that of grapes. This compound shows up most specifically in the skin of the grape! Keep this tidbit in mind as you read further.

1901 smallpox antiseptic treatment letterIn a 1901 letter to the editor of a medical journal in Detroit Michigan, a doctor was positive that his antiseptic bath concept was a surefire cure for smallpox! He left one hospital to go to another one to test his theory on actual smallpox patients, but found out the hard way that they wouldn’t allow him to give any of them antiseptic baths. He had to settle for antiseptic treatment via sponges, and then wrapped his patients’ arms in borated cotton. When I read this, I had to look up borated cotton and discovered it was cotton that had been soaked in 3% boric acid. Why boric acid, I asked! That question led me to an article listing 5 benefits of boron, one of which is the healing of wounds. Guess which metal grapes also contain?! Boron!

Suddenly one of Christ’s parables became a lesson in medicine!

And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he had compassion on him, And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, and gave them to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Luke 10:30-37

Historical treatment of scabies and other pustule-creating diseases many times include both oil and wine! One recipe was a mixture of carbolic acid and sweet oil. Another used whale oil liberally. A liquid known as Verjuice made from unripe acidic grapes or any acidic fruit, even apples, would be paired up with other ingredients including oil and spices.

Another example is found in Leviticus 14:

Then shall the priest command to take for him that is to be cleansed two birds alive and clean, and cedar wood, and scarlet, and hyssop: And the priest shall command that one of the birds be killed in an earthen vessel over running water: As for the living bird, he shall take it, and the cedar wood, and the scarlet, and the hyssop, and shall dip them and the living bird in the blood of the bird that was killed over the running water: And he shall sprinkle upon him that is to be cleansed from the leprosy seven times, and shall pronounce him clean, and shall let the living bird loose into the open field.
Leviticus 14:4-7

The cedar wood would have been an oil made from cedar as we make essential oils or infused oils today. The Scarlet was a liquid made from the shells of beetles that was used as a red dye. My textbook from my Healing Foods from the Bible course that I studied this past year, discusses hyssop as one of many “miracle” foods found in Scripture. Historical use of this herb ranges from skin ailments to respiratory illnesses. The field guide we have mentions how west coast natives used red and yellow cedar not just for building and clothing, but for medicine and rather strong medicine at that. It is no wonder the priest was only to sprinkle this blend over the person to be cleansed. Today, putting this blend together would be used sparingly as a spray, containing antiseptic as well as healing properties.

If you read the previous article and clicked through to the links it contained, you will have come across current recommendations for tansy, yarrow, garlic, and a few other herbs that have all shown promise in cleansing and healing pox-like diseases. If you haven’t already, pdf those links and be making a list to keep by the fridge.

I am going to add to that list now, hopefully in ways you can make use of without having to rely on distribution and supply chains too much as of yet. Whereever possible, if you have to buy any of these ingredients, perhaps buy enough to put some away in case it is hard to come by in the future.

Fennel: A very basic way of obtaining relief from the scabs of smallpox, is the use of fennel juice in luke warm water, washed over the scabs frequently throughout the day for several days. Fennel is already known in herbal medicine to assist with various skin conditions, is anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and is both a liver tonic as well as a kidney tonic. Considering the kidneys are where smallpox replicates, drinking fennel tea is also a wise idea.

lemonadeLemon: Lemonade is highly recommended for smallpox sufferers for its high vit C content, alkaline nature, in addition to being anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, a diuretic, supports the liver and kidneys and lymph. It is also high in salicylates. Use lemonade internally as well as a wash externally.

Lime: Lime is useful for all the same reasons, and was known to aid in the treatment of smallpox as a lime liniment. This is made by infusing an alcohol such as rubbing/isopropyl alcohol with lime and then using that as a wash over affected areas.

When life hands you a lemon

Citron: also known as citrus, regularly showed up in various smallpox remedies. Whether using lemons, limes, oranges or grapefruits, citron is most readily available in the rind or zest of the fruit. Grate the rind/zest, let it dry, crush it, and add the powder to the remedy you are using.

In one public domain book: The Botanical Lore of the California Indians, a tea is mentioned consisting of Ephedra (the plant, not the supplement) and another plant commonly known as American 4 O’Clock which apparently could be replaced in the recipe with elderberry. As elderberry and chokecherry have very similar nutritional/medicinal profiles, I’d say chokecherry could replace American 4 O’Clock if it doesn’t grow where you live.

Big Sagebrush/Great Sage: Artemesia Trindentata is listed by this book as a treatment for smallpox as well. Sage is known to treat kidney infections, treat various skin conditions such as eczema and sores, cuts and blisters, and is also anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and supports the liver.

Lupine meal: (the fuzzy lupines, not the smooth stemmed lupines!!) showed up in another old smallpox recipe. As Lupines are members of the legume family alongside Alfalfa, I went to my database to see what Alfalfa may lend to the discussion. Alfalfa has a very long list of nutritional/medicinal benefits and body systems that it benefits. Nitre (potassium nitrate) was in the same list as Lupine meal, but rather than get your hands on potassium nitrate, Alfalfa has potassium in it already! Alfalfa also contains boron and zinc – zinc oxide being mentioned in a different smallpox remedy. Alfalfa is anti-inflammatory, a diuretic, a kidney tonic, alkalizing, and contains high levels of salicylate, Vit C and Vit K. The lupine meal was used as a topical dusting of affected areas. You could take fuzzy lupines or Alfalfa and dry then crush them to do the same thing while adding them to teas to attack the smallpox from both ends.

Oil of Myrtle: The Myrtle family today provides us with Allspice, Cloves, Guava, and Eucalyptus. Essential oils are sold from these spices already, but you can infuse your own oils as well, and there are many how-to’s out there to do this. I prefer the heated method, but most other discussions are to let the herbs sit in the oil up to 8 weeks. Store your oil in a dark bottle in a hopefully cool, dark cupboard. Many oils contain Vit E, which feeds the skin directly. This is a topical treatment for pox that is antiseptic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, and if using Guava, contains high levels of salicylate. Allspice and cloves can be used in foods and drinks to aid in attacking the condition as well as supporting the kidneys.

One of the recipes we came across in historical literature included crab claws (a herb, not the critter) and red earth when it dawned on my daughter, Diatomaceous earth is made from crushed fossilized seashells. That brought to my mind, Bentonite clay as well. Both these compounds have cleansing properties and can be used as dustings for the skin. Diatomaceous earth shows up in a lozenge recipe that was used to treat smallpox where the various powders in the recipe were made into a lozenge. The liquid used was rather complicated for how little of it was actually used in the end, leading both of us to think the same results of the intended ingredients in the liquid would be achieved by using liquid unpasteurized honey as the binding agent for the lozenge. Not all the suggested powders are easily accessible, but we DO have citrus powders or can make them, and we do have diatomaceous earth.

Ash/Charcoal: We are familiar with healthfood stores selling activated charcoal. Taking a tablespoon of this once a day is effectively giving your body an internal scrub bath as the charcoal attracts toxins and impurities to itself on its way through your digestive tract and on out of your body. Ash/charcoal would be added to oils in these recipes as part of the topical treatment.

grapevineVinegar: In the days in which this showed up as an ingredient for topical treatment of smallpox, vinegar was generally made from grapes. See the earlier discussion around grapes.

Additional to the discussion of wine and grapes is an ingredient known as Passum in a Greek recipe for treating pustules and “vari”. We had to look this up and learned that Passum is a sweet, thick “raisin” wine. Living in wine country here in the Central Okanagan of BC Canada, we regularly hear about the various wineries that surround us, and how their ice wine harvest does or doesn’t go each year. This wine is a syrupy, extremely sweet dessert wine that has won awards for various local wineries on the world stage more than once over the years. The grapes are left on the vine until temperatures are regularly staying below -8 Celcius for several days and then pickers feverishly harvest these grapes at night before temperatures warm up again. Sometimes this harvest happens before Christmas, other times wineries get worried as they find themselves harvesting in February the following year. The recipe Passum occurs in, is for yet another topical treatment.

Special mention goes out to Fenugreek, Angelica and Saffron.  Fenugreek is a kidney and liver tonic and is known in herbal circles to cleanse the liver. Angelical is known to help the skin in general, and is antiseptic, anti-viral, anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.  Saffron is an anti-toxin and calms the nervous system.

All topical recipes we’ve observed, feed the skin, cleanse the skin, and soothe the skin.

The active compound in Neem Oil which appears to be Quercetin, attacks smallpox in the kidneys, somehow preventing its mRNA from operating. Quercetin just happens to be present in most citrus foods and as noted above, citrus fruits play a role in various treatments for smallpox.

The fact that Neem Oil has been shown to kill smallpox in the kidneys is very important to know when you learn what smallpox does to an entire arm of your immune system when you get infected with it.

Researchers have discovered that smallpox releases Interferon decoy receptors to prevent two, maybe three groups of interferons from doing their job as part of your immune system. I’m going to share a number of quotes now, and if you follow them, you’ll see a heck of a lot of scientific jargon, but because of how we’ve learned that Interferons work as part of our human immune system, this is important information to have on hand. You aren’t required to follow these links, but just a heads up if you do. This research is why the Neem discovery was so huge for me!

“Huggins says that a treatment is needed to protect people against a possible smallpox-virus release. Not enough vaccine has been stockpiled to inoculate everyone, and any person who is pregnant, has cancer, or has a weakened immune system shouldn’t get the vaccine.”
Published in 2002

“These studies demonstrate the production of an interferon binding protein by variola virus and monkeypox virus, and point at this viral anti-interferon protein as a target to develop new therapeutics and protect people from smallpox and related viruses,” said Antonio Alcami, Ph.D., a collaborator on the study from Madrid, Spain. “A better understanding of how variola virus, one of the most virulent viruses known to humans, evades host defenses will help us to understand the molecular mechanisms that cause disease in other viral infections.”

The researchers then showed that cells infected with variola and monkeypox produced a protein that blocks a wide range of human interferons, which are molecules produced by our immune systems meant to stop viral replication.

“The re-emergence of pox viruses has potentially devastating consequences for people worldwide, as increasing numbers of people lack immunity to smallpox,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “Understanding exactly how pox viruses disrupt our immune systems can help us develop defenses against natural and terror-borne pox viruses.”

The above set of quotes led me to a few supporting articles where researchers used a mouse and a rabbit variant of smallpox that didn’t always behave the same way the human variant does.

An IFN evasion strategy particular to poxviruses is the expression of secreted IFN decoy receptors, including the IFNα/β-binding protein (IFNα/βBP) (16–19) and IFNγ receptor (20, 21)

Surprisingly, we found that the VACV, but not the VARV IFNα/βBP, did bind human and murine type III IFNs.

I ended up deleting quotes for Interferon Gamma (or Interferon Y) when those reports only talked about VACV, the rabbit version of smallpox. If you hear of human smallpox: VARV, blocking Interferon Gamma, you’ll want to ask for proof and if they mention VACV instead, that’s misinformation. However, this is one of the areas where smallpox and monkeypox might differ, but again, the reference below discusses rabbit IFN-Gamma, not human IFN-Gamma.

The myxoma virus M-T7 protein contains significant sequence similarity to the ligand binding domain of the mammalian interferon-gamma receptors, and functions as a soluble homolog which can bind and inhibit the biological activities of rabbit interferon-gamma (Upton, C., Mossman, K., and McFadden, G. (1992) Science 258:1369-1372).

M-T7 was specific in binding and inhibiting rabbit interferon-gamma, and did not bind either human or murine interferon-gamma.

Ending this article discussing IFN-Gamma/Interferon Y, is important because if they have found a way to circumvent this Interferon in humans in the newly-released strains, we will have to see if the Quercetin finding in Neem oil is “the big answer” or not. We do know that the string pullers behind the research that led to COVID-19, research that was in full swing back in 2014 and rumoured to have begun in 2004, have been busy in various labs around the world coming up with bio-weapons that supposedly know no inhibitors. Of course, these people can’t out-think or out-do God and what He has created for our health, but the unsaved mind will still try to go there when they think it suits them to do so. As one doctor put it in the late 1800’s, there are no incurable diseases, only incurable people. To that I’d say, ALL mankind CAN be reached with the Gospel, but even God turns some over to reprobate minds as discussed in the early chapters of the book of Romans, particularly chapter 1.

DandelionThis is part of what drives me as a Natural Health Practitioner! God created the plants, the herbs, the fruit, the seeds, the nuts, the roots, the leaves, the bark, the stems, the flowers, the dirt, the minerals, the salts, etc, for our use whether internally, externally, for food, for medicine, for hygiene, for clothing, for shelter, etc. As long as we are here on this earth, as we wait for Christ’s appearing, we can make a difference in our own homes, and in the lives of those who depend on us.

It is my prayer as you took the time to read through this article, that you gained insight into what you can do to prepare for any eventuality that smallpox could come to your home.

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