It sounds completely crazy to say that I would ingest turpentine. Apparently this is an old folk remedy to keep the digestive tract clear of pathogens. I know, that’s not enough evidence to support imbibing something we all sort of know is toxic. But what advocates of this method indicate is that the dose makes the poison.
Hence, the following disclaimer:
On this blog I am describing my own use of turpentine and am not here to encourage anyone else to use it. Turpentine, like many household items, supplements, and pharmaceuticals, is toxic and potentially fatal at the wrong dose. So I strongly encourage anyone considering using turpentine to do your own research, within the context of your personal situation, biochemistry, environment, and genetics.
Do you like that? Everyone talking about the Turp seems to have a disclaimer, so I thought I’d have one too.
So I’ll share the research I did, as well as some resources that helped me to understand how to use turpentine safely. Keep in mind please – I’m no expert and this is new to me, so it’s possible the things I say are wrong.
My first exposure to this concept was a comment on here by Meme about a month ago, followed by a couple more info-packed and inspiring comments a couple weeks later (here and here), when my brain was functioning well enough that I could actually pay attention. That got me hitting Google and coming up with Dr. Jennifer Daniels name. Apparently she was a US-trained and licensed medical doctor – earned her MD and concurrently earned an MBA from Wharton. So no slouch in the brains department. You can read her story here. Apparently she was banned from practicing medicine in the US, probably due to her “eclectic” treatment modalities. She now lives in Panama.
Dr. Daniels is very Ray Peat-esque in some ways – she makes her best ideas available to the masses for free, and her counter-cultural style has resulted in her living a somewhat reclusive life. She isn’t afraid to tell the truth about the medical establishment, and she bases her opinions on science. While Peat writes articles and newsletters, Dr. Daniels produces a frequent podcast. I’ve only listened to a few episodes so far – it’s not polished and glitzy but it’s full of well-reasoned and science-based information on healing and medicine.
Dr. Daniels makes her Candida Cleaner report available to anyone who wants it for the cost of an email address, and in it she discusses her recommendations for the safe use of turpentine. She seems to focus on candida, but apparently the Turp is extremely effective for lots of gut pathogens. Folks on the Turpentine Facebook group and YouTube are reporting success with the passing of lots of parasites, and generally clearing brain fog and fatigue. It seems to be kind of a one-stop shop for gut nonsense. And, believing myself to have unidentified gut nonsense, I was attracted to the idea.
The three greatest warnings about Turp seem to be:
- Get the right kind of Turpentine. The right kind is 100% Pure Gum Spirits of Turpentine. This is probably not what’s on the shelf at the hardware store.
- Watch your dosing. More isn’t better. Dr. Daniels recommends up to 1 tsp per day, 2x per week. Some people seem to be doing an initial 4 days in a row and then moving to a 2x per week schedule during treatment. Then 1-2x per month for maintenance.
- Keep the bowels moving. Constipation is unacceptable, and Dr. Daniels recommends you don’t even try Turp unless you are having 3 bowel movements a day. She also recommends enemas to keep things moving. I haven’t done an enema yet – that would be uncharted territory for me. The emphasis on elimination is due to the importance of eliminating pathogens once they’ve been poisoned by the Turp. If not eliminated through the GI tract there’s a risk that they may be reabsorbed or migrate to other parts of the body. Yuk. That makes an enema look like a walk in the park to me.
So, is there any science behind this folk remedy? Well, there’s this 2009 review of the literature: The Essential Oil of Turpentine and It’s Major Volatile Fraction (α- and β -Pinenes): A Review. I confess I haven’t read the whole thing yet. I’m not a role model. However, my husband read it and gave me the thumbs up afterward, and he is very science-driven.
So over the past week I’ve been working toward getting my bowels up to snuff, increasing vitamin C and magnesium until I was able to eliminate 2-3 times a day. I’m not able to do so 3x a day consistently yet, so this continues to be a work in progress. I’ve eliminated dairy temporarily to see if maybe that was slowing things down. Despite this work in progress, I started taking the Turp 2 nights ago. I was feeling a little desperate to feel better, and I rationalized that the dose was going to be extremely small. I started with 1 drop – one, solitary drop, about 1/75 of the recommended dose of 1 teaspoon. Nothing happened. I didn’t sleep very well, but lately that’s not uncommon for me.
Dr. Daniels recommends taking the Turp first thing in the AM on an empty stomach. So yesterday morning I did that – I took 3 drops on a sugar cube first thing in the AM. And I felt great all day. I felt some pressure in my spleen (which is common for me when I kill off yuckies in my gut) so I think it did something good. I did the same thing this morning – 3 drops first thing in the AM. Each time I followed it with activated charcoal about 2-3 hours later, to mop up debris.
I’m going to follow the 4 days in a row and then 2x a week plan. Dr. Daniels’ protocol involves dropping the Turp onto sugar cubes. Others use castor oil as a carrier, which also increases bowel elimination. I’ve read folks around the web are experimenting with dosing scedules, dosing amounts, and carriers. I’m following Dr. Daniels’ plan – only more conservatively with the dosing to start. I’m not inclined to go too rogue with something potentially toxic. At least not right now.
I’ll be updating daily with updates on this. I really hate talking about bowel movements, but I’m thinking that’s going to be unavoidable. Sorry in advance.