herbs more effective than drugs for Lyme disease

Maybe. It is possible that herbs offer a better answer than drugs to the rising problem of Lyme disease.

Ticks are terrible little creatures that latch on to you and regurgitate bacteria into your blood that can cause Lyme disease. 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?

Lyme disease is caused by a bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi that is regurgitated into your blood stream by black legged ticks. Lyme disease is increasingly a problem in many areas because of climate change and changes in animal populations. It is another of those problems that is on the rise because of the way humans interact with animals and the environment.

The conventional treatment is 2-4 weeks of antibiotic therapy, but that therapy is ineffective in at least 10-20% of people. The real numbers may be worse: a recent study found that 63% of people have persistent symptoms after antibiotic therapy (PLoS ONE 2015;10:e0116767), possibly leaving them with significant disability that affects their quality of life.

Treating Lyme disease is especially difficult when the Borrelia burgdorferi has 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.

Previous research has pointed to the possibility 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.

Though still very preliminary, new research has added to the hope for a safe, natural treatment. It found that several herbal extracts are effective against persister cell Borrelia burgdorferi at least when the bacteria is exposed to the herbal extract in a test tube, which, admittedly, is very different than when the treatment is actually attempted in a human body.

Though some natural antimicrobials, like stevia, andrographis, grapefruit seed extract, ashwagandha and colloidal silver were ineffective, seven herbal antimicrobials were very effective when compared to the antibiotics doxycycline and cefuroxime. Effective herbal extracts included, amongst others, Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, black walnut, Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed), Artemisia annua (Sweet wormwood), cat’s claw and Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap).

One of the most effective of the herbs, the little known Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, may be anti-inflammatory and preliminary research suggests that it may be anti-malarial. Black walnut was also very effective. Black walnut is a powerful antiparasitic and is especially good for tapeworm. Japanese knotweed is rich in the antioxidant resveratrol. It may be anti-tumour, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory. Artemisia annua is one of the most exciting treatments for malaria.

Though extremely preliminary, this study adds to the hope that herbal treatments may be proven effective against Lyme disease in future studies.


Front Med 2020:doi.org/10.3389/fmed.2020.00006


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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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