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General characteristics

General characteristics

Tetanus (also known as 'lockjaw') is a condition that causes intense spasms or contractions of the nerves, effectively paralysing the muscles involved. It is caused by the Clostridium tetani, an anaerobic bacteria which is most commonly found in soil. An anaerobic organism can only thrive in conditions with little or no oxygen, such as a deep puncture wound that has closed over.

The tetanus bacteria produces spores which exist in a kind of dormant state in soil and in the faeces of some animals. After the spores enters the body, it attaches to the motor nerves and blocks the normal release of neurotransmitters that allow the muscles to relax. This results in powerful spasm and rigidity of the muscles affected (often begins with the muscles around the face and jaw) which if untreated can cause death.


Symptoms of infection with the tetanus toxin begin with nausea and rapid pulse and continue on to spasm and contractions in the muscles of the face which progresses on to other parts of the body, culminating in the diaphragm where breathing becomes very difficult and in some fatal cases, breathing becomes impossible.


Tetanus is a serious condition and a doctor should be consulted the moment you suspect infection.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

Magnesium has been shown to help reduce the severity of muscular spasms and tetany as cited in this article from Foods that are very rich in magnesium include pumpkin and other seeds, green leafy vegetables and black beans.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Strong plantain leaf tea should be used as a wash for the wound site and taken as a tea for several days afterwards.


Wash the wound with tinctures or strong tea of st johns wort and marigold and/or chapparal.


Lobelia tincture with crampbark tinctures can help to relax the rigid muscles.


Echinacea tincture can be taken to help the immune system deal with the infection.


St johns wort, skullcap and valerian can help to sedate.


The tincture of the stem bark of Phyllanthus muellerianus (Kuntze) has been used by the baka pygmies in Cameroon against tetanus and wound infections as a wash for the wound.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Here is a very interesting account of how a man "experienced and conquered the symptoms of tetanus". I highly recommend reading this!


Clean any wound sustained (when gardening, berry picking, stepping on rusty nail etc) as soon as possible and try to keep it as aerated as possible whilst still keeping it clean. Tetanus spores do not like oxygen and cannot thrive in its presence.


Iodine tincture, dilute hydrogen peroxide and boric acid can be used to wash the wound site as a sensible precaution against developing the tetanus infection.


Salt water also makes a good wash.


Taking grapefruit seed extract in water can help to kill any infection present.

Child watering plants




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