Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett

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Root Canals - Where does herbal medicine fit in?

By Robin Bennett
Posted in Blog
On May 21, 2018

I became an herbalist in part looking for answers to serious dental and periodontal challenges due to bone loss I’ve had since a very young age. I am convinced these challenges were the result of exposure to radioactive fallout from nuclear testing when I was a child. Numerous studies in multiple states have shown high levels of strontium 90 in baby teeth that were collected from people born after nuclear testing began, and especially from those who live near nuclear power plants. I say we should shut them all down. We are harming ourselves and our earth. Killing ourselves slowly and painfully in so many mad-crazy, unnecessary ways. Big subject. Back to root canals.

I was looking for answers to my own health challenges way back when and discovered herbal medicine. It led me to my calling. As so often can happen, our greatest challenges lead to our greatest breakthroughs. I’ve been through the mill, dentally speaking, but one thing I’ve never had to have was a root canal...until now.

Pain led me to the dentist, along with sensitivity to hot and cold and I was given the choice of the root canal or to give up my tooth, get an expensive implant, and go through months of procedures. Ugh, caught between the rock and the hard place, I chose the root canal, because, with the infection under the bone, neither antibiotics nor my herbs could get to it.

I had no idea it would take three sessions, what an intense procedure! I was in very good hands, thank you Dr. Oh. However, I would not have done nearly as well as I did without herbs. (And would not wish a root canal on anyone!)

My herbal approach was a heavy protocol. It felt great, though, and did the job:
I began drinking strong infusions of chamomile (anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, soothing) and calendula (anti-infective) flowers constantly, right when the pain began and continuing through all three session and beyond. I did coconut oil swishing before the root canal. I wasn't sure about doing the swishes once the procedure started, so I trusted that intuitive hesitation, and stopped.
After the first and subsequent root canal sessions I added in: prunella vulgaris, plantain leaf and violet leaf to my infusion, for the combination of mouth and nerve healing, antiseptic, tissue soothing, and undefinable healing qualities as well. I would steep these as an overnight infusion, pulling out the calendula and chamomile after 30-45 minutes. I made that possible by putting those two herbs into an unbleached coffee filter, and stapling it closed. I drank multiple cups of this strong brew every single day.
My tinctures were homemade: echinacea, mullein flower, st j's and yarrow...taken throughout the day, varying amounts, usually 2 or 3 droppers each herb each time I was triple dosing Vit D (taking 12,000 IU daily)
Homeopathic Arnica 30C 3x daily.

I brought my tinctures and Arnica with me and took them (adding the tinctures into water) directly before and after the procedure. As in, before I got out of my car at the office, and before I drove home. Immediacy is helpful and can be important.
I took baking soda and salt baths (to help release the radiation from all those x-rays) along with lavender oil, for soothing.
Those felt really good.

For the second and third root canal sessions, I added tinctures of motherwort (for calming) and Indian pipe (to separate myself from the sensation of pain, the same way an opiate works) to my brew right before and after the procedure). I needed less novocaine with those additions, I was calmer, and it was easier to keep my mouth open for so long.

I used homemade St. J's oil (hypericum) externally and self-cupping to help drain the swelling down.
By the way: My dentist was upset that I didn't plan to take anti-inflammatory medication, nor antibiotics unless absolutely necessary. She warned me that the threat of infection and painful swelling was very high...since they clean out the infection in stages...that's nerve-wracking...I also noted that on the office answering machine they refer to having “lots of emergencies”.
I drove home from the first session, miserable and frightened. I decided to write down everything my well-intentioned dentist said, based on her experiences, and then burned the paper in my wood stove. I trusted my herbs and knew I could and would switch to pharmaceuticals if the herbs were not up to the job.

But they were!

I continued my herbs diligently throughout the month it took to complete the procedure, and then continued for another week.
I am super grateful for her skills and our herbs...I didn’t have pain or swelling after the first night of each stage of the root canal. That is unusual and remarkable!

Green blessings, Robin Rose ~*~

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Robin Bennett

Robin Bennett

Robin Rose Bennett is a writer, teacher, green witch, herbalist, and a wisewoman… one who loves the earth and gives voice to the healing wild food and medicine plants which surround us. She has been a practicing herbalism for over 30 years, based in New Jersey & NYC. Robin focuses on the spiritual and ecological lessons of plants and treatment of illness.