Flowers and Fungi

Posted to Subscribers on 4 June 2009


Dear Subscribers,

Do you sometimes feel that you will never catch up?  Maybe time just seems to accelerate as one is older.

There are so many subjects I want to discuss.  Today, I would like to focus a bit on flowers, starting with a link to a short article on lavender as an herbicide.  Interestingly, I planted a very long row of lavender a few weeks ago.  It will be dazzling at some point in the not too distant future, but my purpose was partly practical and partly what I am calling "bee seva".  There is a whole bee garden but perhaps even more interesting than this is the finding presented by permaculturists that having colorful flowers near the edible plants serves to attract the insects to the flowers and to keep them off the vegetables.  I plan to watch this more and more closely as the plants mature.  Yesterday, I noticed that the primroses had been chomped down practically to nothingness and I am suspecting the rabbits have some young ones and are eating more than usual?

In the report I mentioned, lavender is used as an herbicide but it was found that the essential oil inhibits germination and this is actually a rather big story so the timing of use is important.

I actually doubt that the essential oils need to be sprayed on crops IF the plants that produce the oils are near enough the ones you want to protect.  Commercially, the issues might be different but I hope we are moving away from commercial agriculture.

Sprouting Phil was here on Monday.  He visits once a year and some of you may remember the experiment we started last year in which we took some red mold from the dehumidifier and a bit of cooked oatmeal and put three different antifungal products into closed jars with the oatmeal.  One jar had oatmeal without either mold or added substances.  It went hairy but apparently died from lack of oxygen.  At one point, the jar was "full" of gray growth but there was very little in the jar after the passage of a year.  While interesting, it was just a control for the three other experiments.  My diffusing blend was the only one of the three that immediately stopped the mold growth.  No trace of the red fungus could be seen, but the interesting observation we made this week was that the oatmeal hardly looked a day older than when it was first cooked.  All the irregular features of the oatmeal were in tact and while there was no mold, there was also no breakdown.  This suggested to me that internal use of oils should be restricted to "as needed" because excessive use is obviously going to have extensive ramifications.

One of the substances we tested was an antifungal remediation product that is based on probiotics.  It was very slow acting.  The mold remained visible for months but at the end of the year, the contents of the jar were liquefied, meaning, of course, that everything was eventually digested, interesting but my tentative conclusion is that I would prefer to diffuse the essential oils and ingest the probiotic, not use as suggested by the manufacturer.  I read quite a bit on probiotics at one point in my own healing and came to understand that L. plantarum, one of the cultures used in kefir and cultured vegetables, is the best antifungal friendly bacterium, but I am convinced from my studies of it that the battle between the fungi and bacteria takes quite a long time and finding the optimal dose is a challenge.

The third product used is touted as suitable for use in remediation and safe in modest amounts internally.  It is based on oils and fell somewhere in between my diffusing blend and the probiotic.  It was also very slow acting, meaning that from the time it was added to the tainted oatmeal, months passed before the red vanished.  The result after a year was somewhere in between the other two products and hardly interesting enough to mention.

The conclusion I reached was that if I wanted to clean my space, I would definitely use essential oils because the action is immediate, but I would not ingest or inhale more than necessary so if the space was very contaminated, I would probably want to run the diffuser when not at home. Keep in mind that the recommended use of the new diffuser I am carrying is three minutes — for inhalation — but you can obviously run it continuously if not inhaling.

This raises a couple more points.  Dr. William Croft has published quite a bit on mold and he notes that in phase two of mold exposure, people suffer a loss of decision making skills.  I went through this phase myself and am very sensitized to it with all the people who write me emails.  They repeat their symptoms:  fatigue, brain fog, achiness, inability to perform tasks that used to be easy, etc., etc., etc.  However, it doesn't matter what I write in my email responses because 95% of those writing to me do not follow up.  This means that they are stuck between a dysfunctional life style and whatever they imagine the outcome will be:  recovery or death.  I was stuck there for quite a few months and did not find solutions that were reliable for several years, but once I found them, I bit the bullet and am now fine.  Moreover, my house is fine, but I hear stories all day long about yucky crawl spaces, leaky roofs, mold on siding or bathroom walls, smelly cabinets, you name it. 

As I have tried valiantly to explain, there will be no permanent recovery unless the space itself is remediated or the space is abandoned.  I took responsibility for remediating the space because I realized at some point that the hyphae can be two miles long meaning that mold growth in one area may be affecting neighbors.  Though relatively easier to study than mold inside the body, I have not taken the time to see how the hyphal structures are affected by remediation products.  Inside the body, the herbs cause ruptures in the hyphae that are then attacked by white blood cells.  White blood cells do not attack unless the structures themselves are first broken and this can occur in a matter of hours with a sufficient dosage of herbs.  Contrary to what many people writing to me anticipate, I have not actually seen die off catastrophes.  In short, there is no Herxheimer reaction because the mold is deactivated.

There are two main medical problems associated with mold:  the mycotoxins and the devouring of the body.  The mycotoxins are produced partly in response to digestion so when the mold ceases to be vegetative because of the destruction of the hyphae, production of mycotoxins subsides.  When this happens, the mold is no longer invincible and it can be attacked by bacteria or white blood cells.  Pain resolves very quickly and recovery looks feasible.  The other medical problem is colonization by mold and this relies on hyphae so when broken or disrupted, colonization stops.  You could add lots more to the list of medical concerns, starting with allergies and ending with the need to regenerate the parts of the body that were destroyed by the colonization.  This can include delicate structures such as the brain and nervous system as well as lungs, liver, and kidneys.  However, no matter how you look at the details of the bigger picture, the place to start is always with inhibition of the fungal activity and reduction of exposure. You can detoxify and regenerate later once the critical issues have been managed.

One could be quite argumentative and propose that a patient is hospitalized and cured.  However, upon discharge, the patient goes back to the same contaminated space.  There is nothing in the treatment that would preclude a relapse, and I have had contact with patients who moved from one contaminated space to another.  Perhaps one could rely on probiotics to delay relapse but remediation is the only way to stay healthy.

In industrial studies with essential oils, applications were applied to lumber, siding, or food products to see how long the treatments last.  In nearly all instances, the protection is a minimum of two years, often longer so when you diffuse a fine mist in living space or in the attic or basement, you are applying an imperceptible layer of nebulized essential oils that has the cumulative effect of preventing colonization of mold on surfaces exposed to the oils.  I suspect you could persuade yourself that the diffusers only need to be used periodically so you might as well lease them rather than purchase them, but I think moving the diffuser from room to room is more or less an ongoing safety precaution and since the oils are also antimicrobial, you tend to be germ-free when diffusing therapeutic grade essential oils.

Recently, several people have asked what to use in public or on flights since some of the organisms that thrive in the ozone are really challenging to terrestrial beings.  This question was recently answered by one of my subscribers who makes personal aromatherapy pendants.  There are two types.  One holds a tiny vial of oil that can be opened as desired.  Normally, one would just sniff the oil or put a drop on the palms of the hands and rub the hands together and then cup them over the nose.  The other type has tiny holes drilled in the pendant and the inside has a wick.  Obviously, this means that the aroma is rather constant though, of course, the potency will decline rapidly since essential oils are volatile and dissipate. These are beautifully made with exotic hardwoods and 24k gold plated ends.  I posted them on the new web site:

Finally for today, Phil and I worked a bit on the sprouting section of  There is now a table of contents. A few other enhancements have also been added.  Sections on seed harvesting as well as history and resource pages are going to be added soon.

Many blessings,


Mold Herbs






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