“One Health” in Reverse, and What We Can Learn From It

“One Health” in Reverse, and What We Can Learn From It

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Today’s article takes the concept of “One Health”, and turns it on it’s head. The string pullers want you to be scared of zoonotic diseases, also known as diseases that spread from critter to human, and they have plans to use these diseases to create pandemics to feed an agenda that turns up the heat on climate change while following established paranoia around depopulating the earth of mankind. However, it appears so far, that those who began working on “One Health” over a decade ago, may have forgotten that while the animal kingdom does get sick from various ailments, medications exist in the wild to treat those ailments.

catThe world of natural health isn’t just for humans. Pet stores sell “cat grass”, a type of wild oat or barley that aids felines in digestive upsets. Dogs have been observed eating grass for similar reasons on occasion. We’ve observed my daughter’s horse eating prickly lettuce and white heath aster whenever she’s experiencing pain and wanting to medicate herself. She will willingly eat yarrow when she needs an antibiotic, but won’t eat it otherwise.

Dr Mercola’s writer: Tessa Lena, found studies about various other birds, animals and insects that self-medicate for various ailments, and wrote about them back in June 2023.  She ran across studies where animals have been known to medicate other animals.

CTV ran an article January 3rd, talking about a particular ant that doesn’t merely self-medicate, but administers first aid and wound treatment to other ants.

I don’t agree with various viewpoints Tessa shares, particularly when she waxes hot against anything remotely to do with the Christian faith. Occasionally though, she’ll share something useful. As she noted from various reports by others who have gone into traditional tribal medicine to learn about how their medicine developed, one of the ways mankind has learned about medicinal plants IS by observing what animals use to medicate themselves.

Due to recent research ourselves, my daughter and I have learned over the past year that what some researchers claim is poisonous, is only so above certain thresholds and ratios, while below those thresholds, compounds and plants containing them, are actually medicinal in nature. One of those compounds was noted in Tessa’s article:

“Woolly bear caterpillars (Grammia incorrupta) are sometimes lethally infected by tachinid flies. If infected, they ingest plant toxins called pyrrolizidine alkaloids, which confers resistance against the flies. Notably, parasitized caterpillars are more likely than non-parasitized caterpillars to specifically ingest large amounts of pyrrolizidine alkaloids, and excessive ingestion of these toxins reduces the survival of nonparasitized caterpillars.4”

Pyrrolizidine alkaloids are found in plants local to our area known as Bugloss and Hound’s Tongue. These two plants are quite similar in appearance, and not to be used as food! The reason is in the above-named alkaloid. However, when taken in small doses, the leaves from these plants can treat colds, flus, act as a sedative, and provide other benefits. Getting to the bottom of why researchers kept claiming these plants as poisonous sent my daughter in circles until finally she landed on a dosage problem. If you were to eat 2 cups of dried leaf matter, you’d kill yourself inside 6 months! This is how long it takes for that much pyrrolizidine alkaloid to kill your liver and by extension, you! Some researchers say this is due to the fact that the damage being done to the liver often can’t be picked up by current diagnostic tests, and by the time it does show on the read-out, the person is dead shortly after.

The liver is responsible for two phases of blood cleansing, and if a given toxin can’t be removed by the second phase, the liver stores it away for later removal. Some toxins can’t be removed very well, and destroy the liver.

Based on a cattle study, and assuming a 136lb calf is roughly 61kg in weight, the researchers fed calves 3mg/kg of PA per day. If we take the above newborn calf weight, we get around 183mg which is a little under 20% of a gram, or .06 (1/16th) of a teaspoon. Feeding this out for 182 days caused development of megalocytosis.

If we take the above newborn calf’s weight again, we move to the next test they did, which was to feed out a single dose of 60mg/kg of bodyweight, or around 3,660 mg (roughly 3.6kg) which caused death within 48 hours.

This is because pyrrolixidine alkaloids oxidize into nitric oxide when they get processed by the liver. As beneficial as nitric oxide is, too much of a good thing turns bad and must be kept in check or damage occurs. Antioxidants are able to help protect the liver and prevent the alkaloids from oxidizing and causing damage. Ancient medicinal texts always tell the reader to take Hounds Tongue with a strong anti-oxidant such as blended in wine for example. Lethal dosages of Bugloss and Hound’s Tongue observed in cattle take place over a 48 hour time span.

The first question then, is why anyone would sit down to eat 2 cups of dried leaf matter, or the equivalent of a large salad serving bowl, and eat it in one sitting?! This visual comes from the fact that it takes ingesting 5% of average human body weight to get enough toxin into your body to kill you! So. . . why would you eat that much of a single food to begin with, at one meal?!

Secondly, if it seriously takes that much to be lethally toxic, what does that say for amounts less than that? This is a saner question to ask, because it is important to understand that pyrrolizidine alkaloids don’t leave the body easily and can build up over time. You would need to eat a decent amount of the toxin several days a week to eventually kill your liver and yourself within 6 months.

So is there a safe level at which pyrrolizidine alkaloids can be ingested? The caterpillar would seem to say so, as do various historical writings on using Bugloss and Hound’s Tongue to treat various ailments. What’s important is to know when a plant is food and medicine, and when a plant is just medicine! St. John’s Wort for example is not a food, it’s a medicine. Horsetail is a medicine, not a food, and there are other herbs out there in this category as well.

hounds tongue

One of the things people will talk about, and mostly for personal tastebud preference or some religious observance guiding food harvesting practices, is the idea of what time of year being best to harvest a given plant for food or medicine.  Occasionally, a reason that isn’t guided by religious observance or personal preference arrives, and in the case of Hound’s Tongue and PA concentrations, time of year is very important for lowering levels of harmful PA’s in the plant matter you harvest.

When you start looking at studies done looking at PA concentrations in foods consumed every day by people around the world, the lists get eye-popping!  PA’s show up in many foods we eat on a regular basis, but mostly at levels so low that we’d have to eat quite a bit each day to reach low-level poisoning levels that caused trouble for calves in the cattle study mentioned earlier.  I’ll show you another chart now, and I want you to look at the listings under the Herbal tea blends section.  Ashtree wildcrafting creates wildcrafted herbal tea blends from wild plants growing around the Central Okanagan area.  It’s amazing to discover that herbal tea blends have far less PA’s present than Green tea, which has a huge following out there.  Many encourage the drinking of green tea every single day!  The tannins in the tea plant are strong enough that technically-speaking, such teas should have warnings that drinking such teas daily could cause kidney damage, but most of the time, such warnings don’t show up on commercial packaging.  After looking at this chart below, potential liver damage should also be on the packaging, because many like their black and green teas several times per day.

medicinesReturning to the discussion around medications, of which Hound’s Tongue should firmly be classified, medicines are to be taken in certain doses for certain conditions, at certain frequencies for certain lengths of time and no more. Even the very common oil infusion everyone loves, Oil of Oregano, when taken at medicinal doses of 3 to 4 times per day for up to 7 days, requires you to take a break after that 7 day period to allow your gut to rebuild it’s bacteria colonies and prevent the development of ulcers. Carvacrol (also present in Thyme) doesn’t kill off as many good bacteria has synthetic antibiotics do, but there is enough attrition that the user should take a break for a while to allow for rebuilding in the gut. This is especially true if you had your appendix removed and you populate your gut with pre and probiotics.

Note that even for the caterpillar, excessive intake of pyrrolizidine alkaloids can be lethal to them too if they try to eat it when they are not fighting parasites.

There is a time and place for various plants and foods that God has given us. While it is true that what animals eat, we sometimes can’t, and that what we eat can even kill critters (chocolate/chillies anyone?), if we are careful, we can learn what is safe for them and us and use the information wisely.


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