Healing in the Jungle

Lynne Nardizzi
7 min readOct 3, 2018
Relaxing in the jungle in Manu, Peru. Photo by Lynne Nardizzi

I was sick, and now I’m healed.

Two years ago I came to Manu, in the Amazon jungle of Peru. I had rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease, and came to heal with the medicinal plants of the jungle.

RA causes inflammation of the tissue and joints, resulting in pain and fatigue. RA gets worse over time, and eventually causes bone erosion and joint deformity.

My doctor told me if I didn’t start medication right away, I could be in a wheelchair soon.

Western medicine sees RA, and all autoimmune diseases, as incurable.

Prior to coming to Peru, my life had fallen apart. Twice.

First when I got diagnosed with RA in 2011. And then a couple of years later when my marriage fell apart. For I had changed. I was no longer the energetic, adventurous woman when I first got married.

I felt dead inside. My whole body hurt and I was paralyzed with fear. Fear of my body deteriorating, fear of the future, fear of what my life had become.

It seemed that overnight my life changed from an active life of rock-climbing and hiking to barely being able to climb stairs. In reality, this disease had been slowing creeping up on me for years, until I had a flare that was debilitating.

I couldn’t hold a pen. I had trigger finger in all my fingers and all my toes. Food shopping and simple errands would drain me for the rest of the day.

I started taking medications, as I had to get out of bed every morning and get to work. First was Prednisone, which initially gave me a much-needed boost of energy. It also depleted my bones of calcium, resulting in another diagnosis, osteoporosis. This, in turn, required a medicine that I had to take intravenously.

I began giving myself a weekly injection in my stomach for the inflammation caused by RA. Over time I needed medication for low thyroid, vertigo and migraines.

I had always been interested in alternative medicine, so along with my cocktail of medications, I was taking supplements and herbs, going to acupuncture, taking meditation classes, and researching different diets. I saw a naturopathic doctor, a nutritionist, various massage therapists. Nothing seemed to work long-term.

Lynne Nardizzi

writing, traveling, living my life after healing from an incurable disease with medicinal plants of the Amazon jungle// psychotherapist at www.lynnenardizzi.com