essential oils more effective than antibiotics for killing bacteria that causes Lyme disease

Ticks freak us out! They’re terrible little creatures that latch on and regurgitate bacteria that can cause Lyme disease into your blood. These ticks are becoming a bigger and bigger problem for both you and your dog, and, so, the number of cases of Lyme disease is on the rise. What can you do?

Our little dog once came home from a walk covered in black legged ticks. It was quite disgusting and quite terrifying.

Infected black legged ticks can cause Lyme disease. Conventionally, people infected with Lyme disease are given doxycycline or another antibiotic for two to four weeks. However, in 10%-20% of people, symptoms persist. In these cases, the bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, have likely entered a “stationary phase” in which they divide slowly or not at all. These slow dividing or dormant cells are called “persister cells,” and they are resistant to antibiotic treatment.

New preliminary research suggests that a number of essential oils may kill persister cells more effectively than antibiotics. This research is very preliminary: Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria were exposed to these essential oils in the laboratory and not yet in an actual human body. So, the positive results give hope, but not promise.

In this study, 35 essential oils were tested against Borrelia burgdorferi. The bacteria in the study were persister cells in the stationary phase. Ten of the essential oils demonstrated significant killing activity against the tough to treat bacteria.

Five of the essential oils—including garlic, allspice, litsea and myrrh—killed all of the stationary phase Lyme bacteria. Other essential oils that had promising performances include thyme and cumin. Litsea is not a well known or much discussed essential oil, but recent research is also finding it to be one of the most effective mosquito repellents.

A 2017 study by the same researchers found that the essential oils of oregano, cinnamon, clove, citronella and wintergreen killed stationary phase Lyme bacteria more effectively daptomycin, the most powerful antibiotic.

Hopefully, future studies on humans will bear out the promise of these powerful essential oils.


Antibiotics 2018;7(4):89


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The Natural Path is intended for educational purposes only and is in no way intended for self-diagnosis or self-treatment. For health problems, consult a qualified health practitioner for a comprehensive program.

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