Lyme disease, a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. It is a prevalent disease in the United States, with tens of thousands of reported cases each year.
Treating Lyme disease poses challenges as the bacteria can assume different forms and evade the immune system. While antibiotics are commonly used, their success rate varies, and some patients continue to experience symptoms even after treatment, a condition known as Post-treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS) or chronic Lyme disease.
The signs and symptoms of Lyme disease include a bull’s-eye rash (erythema migrans), fatigue, fever, chills, headache, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes.
A recent study conducted by Johns Hopkins University investigated the effectiveness of certain herbs in treating Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria associated with Lyme disease. The study compared these herbs to common antibiotics such as doxycycline and cefuroxime and found that some herbs outperformed antibiotics in treating different forms of the bacteria.
The top seven herbs for Lyme disease treatment identified in the study are:
- Cryptolepis: Research from Johns Hopkins University has shown that Cryptolepis is highly effective in treating both motile and persister forms of Borrelia burgdorferi, surpassing common antibiotics like doxycycline and cefoperazone. It has demonstrated promising results in combating Lyme disease bacteria. Cryptolepis offers a natural alternative with potent antimicrobial properties.
- Japanese Knotweed: Japanese knotweed has been found to be highly effective in treating Borrelia burgdorferi. It exhibits strong antimicrobial activity against the bacteria, making it a valuable herb for Lyme disease treatment. Research suggests that Japanese knotweed may help reduce the symptoms and progression of the disease.
- Cat’s Claw: Cat’s claw is another herb that has shown promising results in treating Lyme disease. It possesses antimicrobial properties and immune-boosting effects. Research indicates that cat’s claw may help reduce inflammation and support the immune system in fighting off the infection.
- Chinese Skullcap: Chinese skullcap has been found to have antimicrobial effects against Borrelia burgdorferi. It may help inhibit the growth and spread of the bacteria. Chinese skullcap also exhibits anti-inflammatory properties, which can aid in reducing symptoms associated with Lyme disease.
- Artemisia (Wormwood): Artemisia, commonly known as wormwood, has demonstrated positive effects against Lyme disease bacteria. It exhibits antimicrobial properties and may help combat the infection. However, it’s important to note that wormwood should be used cautiously due to its potential toxicities and is typically recommended for short-term use only.
- Black Walnut: Black walnut has shown promise in treating Lyme disease, primarily due to its antimicrobial properties. It may help inhibit the growth of Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. However, like artemisia, black walnut should be used with caution and for short durations due to potential toxicities.
- Cistus Incanus (Essential Oil): Cistus incanus, in the form of essential oil, has demonstrated effectiveness against Borrelia burgdorferi. It possesses antimicrobial properties that can aid in combating the bacteria. Cistus incanus essential oil may serve as a natural alternative for Lyme disease treatment.
Cryptolepis was found to be the most effective in treating both motile and persister forms of Borrelia, surpassing common antibiotics like doxycycline and cefoperazone. Japanese knotweed, cat’s claw, and Chinese skullcap also demonstrated high efficacy. Although artemisia and black walnut showed promising results, their potential toxicities restrict their use to short-term treatments.
Certain commonly used herbs such as Andrographis, stevia, grapefruit seed extract, and monolaurin did not exhibit significant activity against Borrelia in this particular study. However, Andrographis is still considered valuable due to its immune-boosting properties and ability to target other microbes potentially involved in chronic Lyme disease.
Using herbs for Lyme disease treatment offers several advantages, including their effectiveness against both motile and cyst forms of Borrelia, broad-spectrum coverage against various types of bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi, modulation or enhancement of immune system functions, preservation of normal gut flora, and a balanced body microbiome. Furthermore, herbs have a low potential for toxicity, allowing for long-term use.
It is worth mentioning that a separate study conducted in 2018, focusing on in vitro (in culture cells) experiments, suggested that ten plant-derived essential oils could help combat B. burgdorferi.
The findings from studies conducted by Johns Hopkins University and others emphasize the potential of herbs and essential oils as viable treatment options for Lyme disease, with certain alternative treatments exhibiting superior results compared to conventional antibiotics. Further research is needed to explore the use of these herbs and their long-term effects, providing a better understanding of their role in Lyme disease treatment.
You can find many of these herbs online, and it would be good to use them if you’ve been exposed to Lyme disease or think you may have been from a tick bite.
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