Lippia dulcis is a wild herb endemic of ancestral medicinal/culinary significance to America that's loosely related to salvia (Instagram):
Note: This is a personal log. My independent (re-)discovery of lippia dulcis -- a relative to salvia (a popular herb among high school and college students in Half Moon Bay/Santa Cruz during the days before recreational cannabis became legalized in California) was purely accidental. I have been self-experimenting with steam distillate to chromotography and extraction, isolation and characterization of bioactive compounds in potentially medicinal plants since I was first diagnosed with linear scleroderma morphea en coupe de sabre and hallmarks of lupus in 2013.
Salvia binds to opiod receptors via salvinorin A analogs and kappa opiod receptor compounds (Wikimedia Commons):
The immediate positive effects of plaquenil -- hydroxychloroquinine -- were immediately and uniquely experienced. As a scientist, I felt dissatisfied that I should not question the authority of this seemingly magic pill, which within hours would vanish my life-debilitating symptoms of deep-seated pain, fatigue, tight/red/eruptive rashes all-over, swelling.. As a person I felt uncomfortable with this reliance, dependence, "addiction" to a singular drug -- medicically necessary/precribed as it may be.
Quinine and structurally related chloroquinine and hydroxychloroquinine are used to this day to treat malaria and autoimmune diseases (ScienceDirect). The fact that over-dosing/mega-dosing in a healthy person can cause pruritic rash/fevers/etc. has nothing to do with why the drug works, contrary to what Dr. Hahnemann (father of homeopathy) believed:
Quinine: A Curious Link Between Modern Pharmacology, Herbalism, Homeopathy
I traced its history back to the mother of all anti-malarials, quinine ("Jesuit powder") -- and its grandmother, bark of the cinchona officinalis tree. From here, it's interesting how the exploration/taming of quinine in its application to bettering human health has led to an initial fracturing of medicine, insofar as homeopathy and modern medicine both come from studying phytopharmacological compounds (among other things) and their impact on the human body -- albeit through very different lenses.
19th century saw quinine as a precious medicine. Gin and tonic was popularized during British imperialization of India (Wikimedia Commons):
We Need Modern Medicine Over Homebrew Herbs
I eventually worked my way through creating unextracted water-based/alcohol-based tinctures, hand-microcrystaline cellulose tablets, cellulose encapsulated capsules, chromatography extracted isolates. They each presented their pros and cons regarding convenience (to make), storage, stability, toxicity/decay, waste, effectiveness, taste, cost. It gave me peace of mind I could in some small way control my disease progression from my kitchen using materials from my (relative) backyard. Honestly, the prescription ended up being cheaper with insurance, easier/more reliable to obtain and relatively safe in low doses and with regular blood tests and yearly ophthalmologic exams.
Steam distillation yields full spectrum oil extract (ScienceDirect):
Chromatography, centrifugal cartition chromatography separate particulates by specific gravity, which provides a slow but effective method for isolating compounds (Bio-Resource):
Herbalism as Experimental/Bleeding-Edge Orphan Protocols
While plaquenil shows evidence of controlling morphea all right, there's no evidence it will reverse morphea or lichen planus/planopilaris. I had luck turning to botanical/biological-originated compounds in the past. And so I turned to them again. After all, 25% of pharmaceuticals are plant-based.. Plants are ubiquitous/cheap. I could extract full spectrum compound or isolate compound of interest, self-test, observe, iterate rapidly as my biology could react. Normal drug development in the real world was even slower than waterfall method. This paradigm is faster (and cheaper) than even agile.
For me, iterative method of devising biotechnologies, phytopharmacological medicines is applied to biohacking (self-experimentation) (Wikipedia):
First of all, it took me a while to get over my hang-up about cannabinoids and accept the mounting scientific literature regarding the medical value of phytocannabinoids (besides just as pain-killers and psychotropic agents). As someone who's dealt with debilitating pain for as long as I can remember, I've tried not to judge others who needed painkillers -- certainly I've accepted novocaine for my wisdom teeth extraction procedure/used topical lidocaine 4% for those times my pain is so severe I can't even focus on a present conversation; nevertheless, I just personally always thought I might as well "power through the pain" or "deal." In other words, pain has become normalized for me over the years, and I thought I deserved it -- however unconsciously. But yeah, eventually, my extremely scientific/logical mind couldn't handle it anymore (all the literature regarding fibrosing here here and here) and I started experimenting with THC-free hemp oil (legal in all 50 states).
Lazarus Naturals (hemp oil producer) has the Oregon governor's seal of approval and grants 50% off to low-income and people with disabilities/illnesses/veterans (Instagram):
I personally didn't experience any positive effect from sublingual administration but a noticeable benefit happened when the oil was applied topically: the redness and inflammation (activity of the disease) of my morphea was almost immediately decreased (within 30 minutes). The same benefit was achieved when I tried this topical application of 12.5mg of CBD (25mL) on my lower abdomen (I was first hospitalized with IBS-D when I was 4 years old, so that's +24 years since*365 days*24 hours/day*60 minutes of straight pain/bloating = 12,614,400 minutes pretty normal constant level 6-7 pain...right now it's a 1-2 whoo!).
My hair has already grown 3 inches since this post (Instagram):
A Subtle Argument for Personalized Medicine
I'm eventually getting to the second part of the title of this blog post. Over the course of application, the "dent" in my skull (hallmark of morphea profunda) reversed subtly. Underlying fat has come back and there is increasing hair growth. The topical mixture is certainly far more effective and less painful than calcipotrene (not very proven in clinical studies) or tacrolimus (also not very proven). For orphan diseases, there is not a lot of clinical evidence one way or another and each individual is, well an individual. For example, I read countless studies about the positive effects of UVA-1 -- my administering physician extolled the only positive benefits. Yet I consistently felt nauseated, experienced unstoppable diarrhea and chronic fatigue for exactly 2 days following each treatment day (I have positive ANA, ACA, eosinophilia, other biomarkers for lupus/photosensitivity). I lost over 14 lbs -- 11% of my original body weight over the course of my first 3 month round of treatments. For personal reasons, I quit. My supervising (private practice) physician agreed it was for the best.
UVA-1 is generally a safe, effective first-line treatment but I consistently experience side effects when treatments go over 2 minutes (average time is 20 + 15 minutes 2x site spots), e.g., nausea, vomiting, rash, fatigue, weight loss, loss of appetite, pain, migraine, increased movement disorder frequency, etc.:
My "Holy Oil" Template
My working topical oil has evolved to become a mixture of multiple compounds, chiefly: 15mL full spectrum steam distillate cannabidiol (hemp), 5mL full spectrum steam distillate thujone (mugwort), 5 mL spectrum steam distillate bisobilane (myrrh), 5 mL spectrum steam distillate coumarin (tonka bean). Some loose inspiration taken from "holy oil" outlines, though the desired compounds are ubiquitous and can be found/extracted from a number of plants. If anything, the particular mixture appears to have an anti-reddening, analgesic, anti-inflammatory effect on the active disease site. Each individual extract also has the same effect (though myrrh and tonka bean cause some similar itchiness/redness initially like tacrolimus), but together, there is apparent hair growth on the scalp where follicles were examined and assessed in biopsy to be permanently destroyed. No apparent effect on non-affected areas. Slightly sweet, earthy, herbal smell. Dark colored.
Kanah bosem is often thought to be either cannabis or calamus. Olive oil might be full-spectrum including olive leaf (contains oleuropein) instead of culinary use olive oil, which has minimal medicinal interest value:
Native American No-Sugar Sweetener (Drought-Friendly)
Exploration of bisobilane/terpenoids/sequesterpenoids led me to lippia dulcis. Lippia dulcis hernandulcin isolate is a local organic non-sugar sweetener that presents a potential novel alternative to sucrose and existing sucrose substitutes.
Lippia dulcis grows wild in the USA in the Southwest and Southeast regions (Mountain Valley Growers):
Natives used the plant as a sweetening agent but also to treat bronchitis/asthma/coughs. Ethnobotanist/physician Francisco Hernandez so-called discovered the plant by observing Native Americans using it for these aforementioned purposes. By the 19th century, it was officially used as a treatment for bronchitis/asthma among Europeans.
The plant itself is drought-resistant, proliferating with only need for 1x water per 2-3 weeks. Its composition is up to 53% camphor. It is possible this can be modified through phototherapy, as it has been shown red vs. blue light can affect fruiting vs leaf vs. flowering stages of growth. It is also possible that through steam distillation to chromatography we could isolate hernandulcin, although this process is resource and time intensive. Yeast, enzymes and bacteria can also be modified to output specific compounds eventually, eliminating the need for plants entirely. Through open-pollination, selective breeding methods, it could be possible to create a low-camphor profile plant. Hernadulcin has a slightly endothermic effect with even less bitterness than stevia. Blending techniques have been specified in the past on my various publicly-available works to counteract this perceived phenomenon.
Soy leghemoglobin protein biosynthesis is through genetic modification of yeast (Impossible Burger):
Phytopharmacological compounds of interest can be biomodulated in plants depending on the wavelength of light they are exposed to, similar to how we attempt to use phototherapy regulate fibroplast activity in scleroderma patients (EDN):
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- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4556964/ : Frankincense and myrrh suppress inflammation via regulation of the metabolic profiling and the MAPK signaling pathway, NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4538748/ : Evaluation of the wound healing property of Commiphora guidottii Chiov. ex. Guid., NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17978635 : Myrrh: medical marvel or myth of the Magi?, NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5435909/ : Commercial Essential Oils as Potential Antimicrobials to Treat Skin Diseases, NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/30076848 : EHP-101, an oral formulation of the cannabidiol aminoquinone VCE-004.8, alleviates bleomycin-induced skin and lung fibrosis., NIH
- https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/a-phase-2-study-of-safety-and-efficacy... : A Phase 2 Study of Safety and Efficacy of Anabasum (JBT-101), a Cannabinoid Receptor Type 2 Agonist, in Diffuse Cutaneous Systemic Sclerosis, American College of Rheumatology
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19589890 : Cannabinoids inhibit fibrogenesis in diffuse systemic sclerosis fibroblasts., NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19333940 : The cannabinoid receptor CB2 exerts antifibrotic effects in experimental dermal fibrosis., NIH
- https://ard.bmj.com/content/70/4/695 : The cannabinoid WIN55, 212-2 abrogates dermal fibrosis in scleroderma bleomycin model, BMJ Journals Annals of Rheumatic Diseases
- https://ard.bmj.com/content/77/Suppl_2/763.2 : FRI0470 A phase 2 study of safety and efficacy of lenabasum (JBT-101), a cannabinoid receptor type 2 agonist, in refractory skin-predominant dermatomyositis, BMJ Journals Annals of Rheumatic Diseases
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10080239 : Thujone exhibits low affinity for cannabinoid receptors but fails to evoke cannabimimetic responses., NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20435123 : Neuroprotective effect of Artemisia absinthium L. on focal ischemia and reperfusion-induced cerebral injury., NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6273422/ : Natural and Synthetic Coumarins with Effects on Inflammation, NIH
- https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5243982/ : In vitro assesment of anti-inflammatory activities of coumarin and Indonesian cassia extract in RAW264.7 murine macrophage cell line, NIH