A conversation with the founder of BioNexus Health
In early November, a member of our team sat down with Dr Jodie A. Dashore, founder of BioNexus Health, to discuss what led her to develop her unique range of herbal products.
Dr Dashore specialises in the treatment of Lyme disease, mold biotoxin illness, chronic neurological disorders, and autism spectrum disorders. She is also a master herbalist, registered with the American Herbalist Guild.
Jodie lives in New Jersey, US, with her husband and eighteen year old son, Brian. Her practice is based there and she also works closely with a farm in Pennsylvania where the ingredients for BioNexus Health products are grown.
The BioNexus Approach to Biotoxin Illness: a step-by-step guide to sustainable, plant-based treatment options is Dr Dashore’s recently released book. She details her extensive experiences treating chronic health conditions and shares her evidence based recipes and protocols.
You talked a lot about your son's health conditions but what led you to create your own range rather than using pre-existing products?
The answer isn't anything glamorous, I was just a mom trying to utilize my training and knowledge base to help my son recover from a very severe illness.
We had a couple points there where we thought we might lose him, world-renowned practitioners give up on him so it was challenging. He was left leg was paralyzed, he was screaming in pain, in a wheelchair, at times I literally had to turn him in bed. There was that level of pain involved… in a six and a half year old child who was barely verbal.
We tried conventional medicine for a while because the infections were so severe. I found that we saw a lot of side effects. He ended up with tremendous gut problems which led to additional brain inflammation, delays in growth to the point where we had ‘failure to thrive’. Sometimes conventional pharmaceuticals can have deep mitochondrial effects in those who are chronically and severely ill.
I was raised on holistic medicine and I tried to use this to create formulations to help my son. I believe [at this point] he had 11 co-infections and also mold biotoxin illness.
The main requirement for me was, I wanted to integrate Ayurvedic products into the Western products that were available in the market at that time. I also found that I started to need very high doses of commercially available herbs [to treat Brian]. I decided that I’d like to use herbs that are local, biodynamic, organic, and it would be also be great to know where the ingredients came from.
First, we acquired the farm and then we made sure that we were all on the same page. The BioNexus apothecary was established! We went through the FDA approval process and although everything took a while, we tried to accelerate it for our own benefit at that time.
So if we go into a little bit more detail on how you treated your son, what were the key products that you initially formulated that benefited him the most?
They were all created to help him in some way shape or form. The product that really worked [for Brian] in the beginning, was my proprietary formulation of gut butter. It's a recipe I came up with using several products!
It's in my upcoming book, it was phenomenal and helped with leaky gut issues, the gut brain connection, food allergies, and food sensitivities. We saw a remarkable improvement in conjunction with the gut butter.
I would say Formula 1 for the sinuses, it was extremely important for eradicating MARCoNS so that that helped him a lot. Formula 8, which is the inflammation and joint support, because when you're dealing with the Lyme disease and co-infections that becomes very important.
Formula 2 for keeping the environment safe. We used it to protect him as he needed to go to school every day with a mask on during entry and exit. He used Formula 2 for personal space protection. That worked really well.
Then we had the insect bite tincture which was used pretty much every day. We had a couple insect bites here and there but I didn't want to keep him in a bubble. As he had started feeling better, we decided “let's go outside, let's play, let's try and get some of your childhood back!”
So then we have Formula 5, we developed dental issues because MARCoNS and Lyme have both been isolated from the mouth, and as he was getting older, we needed something stronger so I came up with Formula 5XS. I think almost all of the blends have been used for my son, so it's very difficult to say that “these were the key products” because he's used them all!
I've used them all too! I wanted to be sure that everything was working before I decided to expand that approach to my patients in my practice.
Did you use any other modalities alongside your products? One of my colleagues mentioned hyperbaric oxygen and foot baths?
In the beginning, when you are scrambling for answers, you try everything!
What I gained from this was that there needs to be a specific order of treatment otherwise you end up revisiting the treatments you've done before.
To keep it brief; we tried hypobaric oxygen and bodywork (including craniosacral therapy). There is a wonderful practitioner in Seattle, has a specific methodology for bodywork for recovery of soft tissue after damage from Lyme and co-infections.
The one that that we found really helpful was the foot patches, the heavy metal detoxification and detoxification from various industrial toxins like herbicides, pesticides. All of that came into Formula 7 eventually, and a little bit into the biotoxin detox blend, the BTXD blend.
Would you consider your son to be recovered, and how is he doing now?
Brian's been fully recovered for about six years, he's 18 years old now. He continues to do a maintenance protocol once a day and adds in an additional dosage if he’s been exposed to biotoxins.
It was a long recovery process, we saw nineteen world renowned practitioners, travelled to various countries and so many different states in the US itself. Each one was an expert in their own field but I didn't find one that was able to weave it all together for us. We ended up repeating protocols as a result.
The end of the road for us, in a good way, was when we met Dr Richard Schumacher and that put things into beautiful perspective!
Inflammation is the core issue. Most practitioners will understand this, even a lay person understands, that if the body is inflamed the bacteria love it! The immune system is compromised, bacteria can grow and reproduce so the infections don’t really go anywhere.
It was a lot of hard knocks before we understood how things needed to be really done. Keep in mind my son completely crashed in 2009! It took seeing all these various practitioners, adding in natural modalities, conventional here and there. Until I started mentoring with Dr Schumacher in 2014, then the answers just started to flood in.
Do you think all those practitioners that you saw shaped what BioNexus Health became or was it that final consultation with Dr Schumacher?
[I’ve learnt from] all of my amazing mentors but I didn't find anyone's protocol to be as comprehensive as I would have liked. That is why I decided to develop the BioNexus approach.
In most of my lectures, I say that you need to find a practitioner that understands the full 360. We never found anyone, so that is what I strive to do in my humble capacity, based on what I've learned from innumerable trials and errors that we had to go through.
Almost everyone just gave up on my son, in fact we had one practitioner ask us if my 8 year old, in pain in a wheelchair, was pretending for secondary gains! It was just ridiculous.
You've mentioned that you have a specific order for treatments, would you say that you have a core approach [protocol] for everyone you see or do you adapt your work depending on each client's specific conditions?
When someone [comes to see me], the one thing that I’m very conscious of is the cost and the effort for a patient with chronic illness.
I don't like to burden them with: “You have to do 20 different kind of testing before I can even start you on anything”. My goal is always that the patient goes away from the first consult with something concrete. Something that will give some benefit, give some relief from the symptoms! You’re offering a lot of hope while they are waiting for the lab results to come back.
Motivation and compliance are huge, and even bigger than those two is compassion for your patient. An understanding, I've been there, I've lived it myself with my son. That is something that I am very careful with, I find it very important to integrate [into my practice].
There is a core protocol. We look at nutritional detoxification in the beginning, see what has been done [before] and then what needs to be done currently. Once the labs come back that is when we proceed to customize. Now customization can take many shapes depending on your patient's knowledge, [prior] research, and preferences of course.
I'm able to do muscle testing or muscle testing combined with laboratory tests. Looking at the hardcore biomarkers, looking at the soft markers for all of the conditions that I treat, that is where the magic happens! I end up creating a specific algorithm for each patient at that time.
I had a patient, Tyler, with a five year history of seizure disorders, he was having 5-7 seizures a day! This poor [boy] had been treated biomedically for autism and then for Lyme disease. Nobody had thought of mold biotoxin illness!
We discovered Tyler's playroom was in what looked like a clean beautiful looking basement, but behind the moisture barrier there was a lot of mold so he's been exposed to that for a while. Once we started treating step-by-step the way it had to be treated, his seizures stopped, he's come off seizure medication and blood pressure medication. At the age of 11 years, it's ridiculous that a little kid should be on so many medication so he’s had an amazing recovery.
You've mentioned, in your book, many of your patients are unable to tolerate pharmaceuticals and I was wondering if you could describe what that looks like in a clinical setting?
Yes, so unable to tolerate pharmaceuticals means literally that!
So, I found that there really weren't protocols for mold biotoxin illness that is plant-based. There wasn't any formal proper step-by-step plan completely plant-based approach to a mold biotoxin illness. Especially one that that had the complete approval of Dr Schumacher, he is the original genius behind the chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) diagnosis, it was based on 20-30 years of deep research.
What I do, it's a plan based step-by-step approach. A big client population in my practice is children with autism spectrum disorder from severe, to mild, to high functioning. Now there's a lot of research out there that talks about that demonstrates the immunocompromised status of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, as well as leaky gut issues, right a lot of gut dysfunction so I would say 99.9% of parents of children on the spectrum, they don't want to use anything conventional.
Several practitioners have mentioned to me that if they’re treating an autistic client, they cannot take pills. The fact that the entire BioNexus Health range is liquid-based that's fantastic for autistic clients isn't it?
Yes it is, but you know it's very interesting that mothers of children on the spectrum (I used to be one myself), they are absolutely genius when it comes to finding ways to sneak in whatever needs to be snuck in!
There are so many different administration modalities. Such as a nebulizer, topically, or orally. Overall, the BioNexus brand was created for a child on the spectrum with sensory issues and yes, that's why they are all liquid.
When you're using a protocol with someone do you find that it's best to use a particular diet to support their health along the way?
The only thing I request is gluten free and sugar-free, that's all. If there are a lot of gut issues I find the diet that works best is the specific carbohydrate diet, the SCD diet. It completely eliminates food for gut bacteria.
I might have committed sacrilege, but I was able to modify the SCD diet for my son! We could add in some carbs because he was very thin. With mold biotoxin illness there are two ways that your weight goes; either you dramatically lose a lot of weight because of the inflammation, or because of the leptin mechanism in the brain you keep gaining weight for no reason. So, I was the weight gain and my son was the weight loss!
My whole life I’ve been really petite, and at the time I was four times heavier. I tried everything, exercise etc but once I addressed biotoxins that's when the weight just started to fall off me
You may have to be low carb low amylose for 3-4 months in the beginning but you can start weaning back on once you've recovered a little. Being able to eat grains becomes important if you're trying to gain weight but there is a specific technique to it how you introduce grains back into the diet without causing any kind of up ticking or relapse or any kind of PANS/PANDAS type reactions in in the children or even the adults.
As with everything, it's on a case-by-case basis.
How long is it that people tend to take your products and follow your protocols before they start to see results in their health?
Ah, that I can generalize a little bit. It can be anywhere from two weeks to two months, when they first start to see measurable changes. It depends on the underlying severity of issues! If you've been toxic for 40 years you're not going to see any major change in two weeks, it's going to take longer.
I treated a young man with autism and Lyme disease, his mom said that 19 years of bedwetting stopped after a week of using the BioNexus protocol. A week! He’s like a different person because he's not embarrassed anymore.
Now, if it's a child… another example I’ll give you, I remember a child, Graham, his mom was ecstatic, she wanted to increase the gut butter and I said: “You know, we just started Graham on the gut butter, a couple weeks ago?”
And she says: “Oh my God, Dr Dashore, it's been so wonderful! There’s no more pain, he's not complaining of stomach pain, he's focusing better, he's listening better! He's giving his younger brother hugs. It's just been crazy!”
It wasn't even two weeks, it was like week and a half. I was so happy, that’s the best part of my job!
Hearing about kids bouncing back immediately that must be fantastic! Do you mind describing a little bit about the triple extraction technique and your Herb Cell Max?
Yes, triple extraction means water, glycerine, and alcohol. All gluten-free, organic, and all allergen free. Now, the water comes from a beautiful high vibrational spring up in the mountains of Pennsylvania.
One of the things that I’ve heard from practitioners, when you open the BioNexus Herbal products you don't get drowned in the alcohol. It smells wonderful. Also, upon muscle testing (whereas many similar products will test as too much alcohol) for the patient, BioNexus products end up testing well. I would attribute that to the high vibrational production of BioNexus products.
We literally make one gallon per product at a time in big glass jars or glass baths. When a practitioner places an order [in the US], it usually has been made two days prior. The shelf life is pretty long, simply because you have the benefits of the triple extraction process.
You asked about Herb Cell Max, it’s my own brand. It's something that that I came up from my research trying to see what would be the most efficacious method of delivery. We know that young plants, for example sprouts, are easy to digest which has additional benefits because it gets assimilated into the cell.
Plant stem cells studies have shown they are extraordinarily high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds when they are that young. It helps me reduce the dosage so that translates for lower cost for my patients.
When it comes to your blends, what made you decide to use the specific ingredients rather than similar herbs that may have had the same effect or have the same properties?
That would be a combination of years of research and a lot of spirituality! After scientific research, I would still end up with maybe two options for the blend and I could muscle test, I would then end up with a conclusion. Once I had the final ingredients and then we would try it on myself first and then my son. Finally, we would introduce it to my patients.
Now, I want to make this very clear. My son and I, it wasn't self-experimenting or anything of that sort! The benefits of these herbs have already been established. We already knew there would be benefits, so we were just mostly trying to tease out the exact dosage and concentration aspects.
That brings me to my next question, there a significant amount of trial and error before you got your formulations spot on. Do they tend to remain the same or do you make changes based on client experiences?
Yes, that is where the compounding comes into play. We had the farm, then we established the apothecary once all the procedures were in place. Once production was going really well I decided to introduce frequency medicine to further customize the blends.
For example, I have 37 patients with the COVID exposure and a few of them came back from the ICU with compromised lungs. I knew that the IS blend would have to be fortified with something like Solomon Seal, a beautiful rare herb which has a lot of benefit for pulmonary conditions.
So any kind of combinations that I need to make to cater exclusively to a patient I'm able to do that.
You've obviously got a lot of passion for your work! If your son hadn't been so ill, do you think you ever would have gotten to this point?
No! That's an honest answer… the inspiration has been my son.
They say nobody does more in-depth or more thorough research than the mother of a special needs child or the father of course. There are some amazing dads out there but it's interesting, I see patients from so many different cultures and the reason why the word ‘mother’ comes to mind is because if something goes wrong with the child it is the mom that's blamed. “You must have done something wrong”.
My heart goes out, I’ve been there myself, the inspiration was my son and I would not have gone down this whole herbal development path if it weren’t for him. I trained with master renowned master herbalists for years and then it took another two and a half years to complete my PhD, the major was herbal medicine and the minor was quantum physics! My thesis was herbal medicine for autism.
The passion came from the amazing results that I saw with my son.
How important is it to you that a practitioner has passion?
Passion is important but even more important than passion is compassion. I feel passion and confidence will take you a long way but compassion will earn you patient compliance.
Financial gain should never be the first objective, obviously everyone has bills to pay and [as a manufacturer] you have to charge a fair price for the products. They are labour intensive -as well as extremely high quality- but it is important to keep in mind what the patient is going through.
Something that takes a patient practitioner relationship a long way is to put yourself in the patient's shoes. It's not always about the bottom line.
I like to say, nothing really hits home until it hits your home
That probably resonates with a lot of practitioners, especially now. What would you say is your favourite aspect of your work?
I'm an introvert and, for me, spending time in nature at the farm with my herbs, talking to my herbs, and yes I am the crazy lady who talks to her plants! I find a lot of peace and joy spending time in nature. It's just amazing the amount of healing and knowledge that that we get from the herbs and how generously the plants share all of their beneficial compounds for us as humans.
The second best aspect is interacting with my clients. I don't have any extended family here in the United States. It's just myself, my husband, and my son. All of my patients from around the world are part of my extended family, I treat everyone like I would my own family member, no difference, and I love to hear success stories.
Little Hannah, for example, with right-sided paralysis (arm and leg) and a facial palsy. In a few months she is climbing up and down the stairs without holding on to the rails. She's not screaming in pain!
I have patients who've been severely debilitated bed-bound teenagers, missed years of school, now being able to go back to high school get straight A's the cognitive recoveries.
I'm just kind of lighting up! I just love what I do, it's so rewarding.
That definitely comes across in the way you speak. Were there any other examples you wanted to share?
Yes, Sophie and Sammy (siblings) they'd both been sickly. We later found out it was PANS/PANDAS and Lyme disease. Their house was moldy because they live in Louisiana and there's been a lot of hurricanes and [humidity].
They’d tried everything conventional allopathic medicine could offer with hardly any benefit. It was a round after round of antibiotics, there was never any permanent resolution.
It took about seven months because they were so deeply affected, both of them are doing fantastic now. Sophie hasn't had any infections in in a very long time and last winter she just cruised through it. Sammy is the same, he's back to his sports!
Their mom said something so touching to me the other day: “For the first time in nine years, I feel like a mother. So far it's been a struggle, the guilt, the self-blame, everybody else blamed me too. [Now] I’m enjoying motherhood”.
We were both in tears, and I said: “I’m so happy to hear you say that. It has just made my day”.
That's lovely, and ultimately it's what you do it for isn't? It's what all of our practitioners will do it for, to give people that quality of life back.