Time for a little product information. I am very excited about a new book discovery on growing your own fresh air indoors. This book is an invaluable resource for anyone who has indoor air quality problems to a love for house plants. The information is presented in a gorgeous manner with beautiful full-page color pictures and very concise and clear information about exactly which toxins are successfully removed by which plant. Of course, the botanical as well as common names of plants and their preferred locations are given. Moreover, the details are really helpful. For instance, aloe vera releases oxygen and absorbs carbon dioxide at night and so it belongs in the bedroom. Before stumbling on this book, I had no idea that plants can be used for formaldehyde removal! I should have thought this possible, but someone else needed to bonk me on the head:
While on the subject of indoor air, it can't surprise anyone than hardly a day goes by without an inquiry about mold. The material on moldmisery.com has not been updated in a long time, but neither has my own story. I believe that I am completely cured of the most incapacitating of the mold symptoms. Brain fog and fatigue were probably more frightening than allergies, but the list of symptoms of mold infection is actually very long. Though many people have had worse exposures than I had, I want to say that my exposure was significant in that there was 24-hour a day exposure for well over a year before finding the first concrete relief which was Jatoba, a plant from the Rain Forest. It's important to understand that the amount of mold was very small compared to what is typically found in the Bayou or other warmer places, but the maximum exposure was, of course, during the summer. I felt like I was fainting and could not make it up or down the stairway. Slurring came after the dizziness and disorientation and memory loss was significant. I had a particularly hard time with names which was, of course, embarrassing both socially and professionally.
People have options when discovering mold, but the first option to consider is moving. If one does not move, remediation is imperative. Mold is viable so unlike exposure to a chemical which can be measured in terms of amount, mold can reproduce and spread so it's much more realistic to think of it like a cancer in which a single cell can soon become many cells. Likewise, mold colonizes and it can completely destroy the tissue where it establishes itself. To understand this even better, let me emphasize that allergic as I am to both mushrooms and mold, I did not go into anaphylactic shock. Those who are more allergic than I am are taking enormous risks by trying to co-exist with such a formidable competitor.
Most textbooks only address allergies and I think Jatoba is an excellent herb for allergic sensitivities but there are other issues besides allergies. There are people who are not allergic to mold who are nevertheless suffering from destruction of tissue due to colonization and poisoning from mycotoxins. It is almost better to know there is an enemy than to cohabit with mold thinking one is lucky not to be as sensitive as the 25% who complain more openly. In short, mold is dangerous regardless of what the textbooks say. Not all mold is as toxic as stachybotrys and some of the other fungi that have earned bad reputations, but all colonize so all are potentially dangerous.
Through addressing my own issues step-by-step, I discovered different herbs for different problems. Jatoba restored my energy so I felt like was getting a grip on life, but when I saw my blood in the microscope, I realized that return of energy and cognitive function occurred before I was actually healed. My blood was still dying because the mold secretes hemolysins as well as toxins. It took a long time before my cough stopped and for those who are coughing, do try Sun's Soma. It worked for me. I coughed up a lot of blood, not every day, but one day was particularly bad and I realized I was not going to last much longer without a solution. It took 6 oz. of Sun's Soma before the cough healed. Obviously, the starting point for each person is different so what worked for me may or may not work for someone else, but I was in bad shape.
Also, like many others, there was peripheral suffering: the insurance company and contractor and appliance company that were responsible for the flood and remediation did not take the issue seriously. They went after me instead of the truth. I learned that companies will pay lawyers and expert witnesses anything necessary to prove that people are making frivolous complaints. They waste your time, your money, and your reputation to avoid facing responsibility. Maybe I should have learned that at age 20, but optimists learn these sorts of lessons later than skeptics. I consulted countless specialists in health as well as property remediation and took seminars. Basically, I tried everything and wasted a lot of money on measures with limited value. Of all the air quality measures undertaken, the essential oils were the most effective. However, before going further, I need to underscore that the mold itself was removed. What I am saying is that I did not spray the essential oil on mold. I had the damaged wood and drywall and flooring removed.
After the mold was removed, there was an instant improvement in air quality and I had the first good night's sleep since moving into the house. However, the next day involved a procedure I hesitate to recommend to anyone unless you vacate the house for at least a day or two. I had the crawl space under the house sealed, but the workers had to level it first and the raking was a nightmare. In short, I had one peaceful night followed by several horrific ones. We sprayed a lot of oregano oil under the house. A lot means a few ounces, not gallons. So, like the moss on the roof, it doesn't take a huge amount to obtain the sought after results, but it takes a proper means of distribution. We used a sprayer under the house but I have also used the diffuser and simply moved it around, putting it in the garage, in the attic, on the top rung of a ladder, on top of book cases, etc., etc., etc. The diffuser cannot be operated for more than 3-5 minutes if the house is occupied by people or pets. It has to be turned on and off or run while no one is at home. Obviously, the aroma is lovely but it's intense so a little bit goes a long way. At this stage of the game, I only run the diffuser once every month or two, but if the weather is muggy, I might make a special point of running it in the bedroom when putting clean sheets on the bed or in any room that is being thoroughly cleaned, like wiped down from ceiling to floor. Believe it or not, it's dusty in the Pacific NW, worse than Santa Fe, and the stupidity of the design of HVAC systems aggravates those who are particularly vulnerable to bad indoor air quality.
To understand the measures taken and what was effective and why, I am going to repeat a few points. In my opinion, Jatoba was extremely helpful. I think it is predominantly an adrenal herb so if exhaustion is due to the squandering of energy on a battle with mold, Jatoba helps. Once the adrenals have more support, there is more energy left for normal living, but the benefits of Jatoba were also significant in terms of the improvement to symptoms related to the central nervous system. The slurring stopped and words returned to memory. It, however, did nothing to stop the coughing and nothing to stop the internal spreading of mold which is partially achieved by an incredible system of hyphae.
A little anecdotal story might help you to visualize this. A colleague was trying to network me with a famous mold researcher. We talked on the phone a few times and he said that when he drives at night in this part of the world, he sees glistening on the water of crystallized acids in the hyphal structures of the mold. Frankly, I never noticed this, but I don't doubt but that someone with his background would notice such phenomena. However, I saw the same in the hyphal structures in the microscope. They are blindingly bright so it's very hard to photograph them. If the camera is set to capture a good picture of the hyphae, nothing else in the picture is visible but if the other features are in focus and properly lighted, the hyphae are so bright that the light sort of blurs onto everything else. I only have a few good pictures.
Getting a good look requires luck or patience or some divine combination of the two. What I saw was that with the right herbs, the hyphae break right at the junctions and then the white blood cells attack. Before they break, the white blood cells flee to escape because both the acids in the hyphae as well as the mycotoxins and hemolysins are thoroughly destructive. I have no doubt that mold infection is one of the possible causes of certain forms of anemia, but there could, of course, be countless other causes.
I am saying all this because people who are new to this work tend to start timidly, often with an amount of herbs that cannot possibly make a significant difference. I urge people to take a little financial risk and try the whole enchilada!
I said I didn't spray the essential oils directly on the mold. In actuality, I did do this in some intentional experiments in which I compared various concoctions and products. The essential oil is a potent mold inhibitor and the inhibition lasts a long time, probably years if enough oil is diffused initially. It's hard to say however how effective the oils would be in padded furniture, carpets, etc. I got rid of all the brand new carpeting in my brand new home. The reason is that a book someone gave me called My House is Killing Me (by Jeffrey May) explained that mold sinks down to the backing of the carpet so vacuuming is not very effective. Most likely the oil would inhibit further growth of the mold but not keep the non-viable particulates from becoming airborne when kicked up by footsteps or vacuuming.
Of course, all this effort was bankrupting and nearly everyone who has written me has similar stories of financial and medical sorrows. I wish I knew an easy way, but I don't know a short cut here.