Lyme disease

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Lyme disease is a condition caused by an infection from bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. It’s passed to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks or deer ticks. Ticks are small arachnids usually found in wooded or grassy areas.

Antibiotics are the main treatment for Lyme disease. In many cases, a two- to four-week course of oral antibiotics clears up the infection. But more severe cases might need intravenous antibiotics.

Still, up to 20 percent of people with Lyme disease continue having symptoms after antibiotic treatment. Some call this “post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome” or chronic Lyme disease. It may be related to an immune system response, but experts aren’t sure.

Can natural treatments be a more effective, gentler option? Read on to learn about the use of essential oils, oxygen therapy, and other popular natural treatments for Lyme disease.

Essential oils for Lyme disease

Essential oils are concentrated liquids from plants. Some of them have antibacterial properties, meaning they can kill bacteria.

A 2017 study evaluated the use of 34 essential oils to kill B. burgdorferi bacteria in a laboratory setting. Cinnamon bark, clove bud, and oregano essential oils killed the bacteria without any regrowth. <

These results are promising, but there’s no evidence that they work in humans with Lyme disease. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy, where the fragrant oils are inhaled through a diffuser or diluted in a carrier oil and applied topically. It’s not safe to ingest essential oils, especially in the quantities that you would likely need to treat Lyme disease.

Supplements for Lyme disease

Some people claim that immune system-boosting supplements can naturally treat Lyme disease.

These include:

vitamin B-1

vitamin C

fish oil

•alpha lipoic acid

magnesium

chlorella

•cat’s claw

garlic

olive leaf

turmeric

glutathione

However, there’s no evidence that any of these, or any other supplements, can get rid of Lyme disease.

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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Lyme disease

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves exposure to 100 percent oxygen at a high pressure. It’s often in a room called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to promote wound healing.

There isn’t much research about the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Lyme disease. But a 2014 case study from Taiwan reports that it treated Lyme disease in a person who hadn’t responded to antibiotics. Still, more large-scale studies are needed to understand whether it’s an effective treatment.

Chelation therapy for Lyme disease

Some people believe Lyme disease symptoms are linked to heavy metal toxicity from materials like lead or mercury. Chelation therapy is a method of removing heavy metals from the bloodstream.

It’s done using a type of medication called a chelator or chelating agent. This medication binds to metals in the bloodstream, collecting them into a compound that can be processed by your kidneys and released in urine.

Chelation therapy is an effective treatment for a buildup of heavy metals. But there’s no evidence that heavy metals contribute to Lyme disease, and chelation therapy won’t treat the underlying infection.

Other natural treatments for Lyme disease

The treatments discussed above are only some of the natural treatments that claim to treat Lyme disease. According to a 2015 study looking at the alternative treatments found during an Internet search, other natural treatments people use for Lyme disease include:

•saunas and steam rooms

•ultraviolet light

•photon therapy

•electromagnetic frequency treatments

•magnets

urotherapy (urine ingestion)

enemas

•bee venom

The investigators noted that there’s no research backing up these treatments, any many don’t have a logical rationale behind them.

Lyme disease natural treatment safety

If you decide to explore natural treatments for Lyme disease, talk to your doctor about the risks beforehand. Natural treatments, just like traditional treatments, can still be toxic or dangerous. But in combination with medical treatment, a complementary approach might improve health.

For example, a product called bismacine contains an injectable form of bismuth. This is a type of metal that’s a common ingredient in some digestive aids. But bismacine contains a higher dose of bismuth that’s injectable. Injecting a high dose of bismuth can cause bismuth poisoning, which can lead to heart and kidney failure.

Other natural treatments may interact with other medications or supplements you take. Your doctor can help you confirm whether any medications you currently take will interact with treatment you’re interested in trying.

The bottom line

If you’ve recently had a tick bite or think you might have Lyme disease, see your doctor right away. Antibiotics are the only proven treatment for Lyme disease, and it’s best to start taking them earlier rather than later. If you do decide to try natural treatments, check with your doctor first. They can help you avoid any risky medication interactions.

Article resources

•Feng J, et al. (2017). Selective essential oils have high activity against stationary phase and biofilm Borrelia burgdorferi. DOI:

10.3389/fmed.2017.00169

•Kuehn BM. (2013). CDC estimates 300 000 US cases of Lyme disease annually. DOI:

10.1001/jama.2013.278331

•Huang C-Y, et al. (2014). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as an effective adjunctive treatment for chronic Lyme disease. DOI:

10.1016/j.jcma.2014.02.001

•Lantos P, et al. (2015). Unorthodox alternative therapies marketed to treat Lyme disease. DOI:

10.1093/cid/civ186

•Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Lyme disease.

mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374655

•Shapiro ED, et al. (2014). Lyme disease. DOI:

10.1056/NEJMcp1314325

•Wright WF, et al. (2012). Diagnosis and management of Lyme disease.

my.ilstu.edu/~ddwilso2/nur475/Diagnostis%20and%20Management%20of%20Lyme%20Disease.pdf

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Lyme disease is a complicated infection that is caused by bacteria that’s transmitted from a tick or insect bite. The majority of cases of Lyme are due to a bite from a type of deer tick known as the black-legged tick, which can carry and pass on bacteria known as borrelia burgdorferi.  According to the Michigan Lyme Disease Association, more recently it’s also been found that other insects can also spread Lyme disease or cause similar infections — including other types of ticks, mosquitoes, and possibly spiders or fleas.

Overall, up to 300,000 Americans are diagnosed with Lyme disease every year, according to new research from the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), and many seek Lyme disease treatment. Lyme disease cases are largely concentrated in the Northeast and upper Midwest, with 14 states accounting for over 96 percent of cases reported to CDC.

Lyme disease symptoms can start with flulike symptoms, headaches, muscle and joint pain. Over time, the symptoms can continue to worsen and turn into a long-lived inflammatory response that is similar to an autoimmune illness.

It’s important to understand that although Lyme disease originates from an insect bite, symptoms are caused by an inflammatory infection that has a lot to do with the strength of someone’s immune system. Two people who are both bit by the same insect carrying the bacteria that causes Lyme disease can respond very differently. That’s why preventing and treating Lyme disease symptoms by improving overall immunity is key.

Lyme Disease Symptoms & Causes

The Most Common Lyme Disease Symptoms:

Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria that is transmitted by the tick or insect can spread throughout the body and cause a series of autoimmune-like reactions. Research done by the Department of Rheumatology at University of Würzburg in Germany shows that symptoms of Lyme disease are far-reaching and commonly affect the skin, heart, joints and nervous system. (1)

Symptoms and signs of Lyme disease include:

•A temporary (acute) “butterfly” skin rash that appears where the tick bite occurred (called erythema migrans). Many, but not all, develop a rash shaped like a bull’s eye that appears as a red ring around a clear area with a red center.  The CDC reports that around 70 percent of Lyme disease patients develop this rash

•Flu-like symptoms, especially shortly after being infected. These include a fever, trouble sleeping, neck pain, fatigue, chills, sweats and muscle aches

•Poor sleep, chronic fatigue and lethargy

•Digestive issues, including nausea and loss of appetite

•Achiness and joint pains. The CDC has found that around 30 percent of Lyme patients develop symptoms of arthritis (2)

•Long-term many people experience mood changes, included increased depression and fatigue

•Cognitive changes are also a long-term symptom and include forgetfulness, headaches, brain fog, misplacing things and trouble concentrating

The “REAL” Cause of Lyme Disease:

As mentioned above, Lyme disease is triggered by an infection caused by a tick bite, but there’s much more to Lyme disease than that. I believe the real cause of chronic Lyme disease — meaning the type that cannot be effectively treated using antibiotics and lasts for more than six months — is related to these four things:

1Weakened immunity

2Inhibited cellular function and protection

3Systemic bacterial infection

4Environmental factors including exposure to mold and parasites

Someone struggling with Lyme disease may have all of these 4 issues, or only one. Some people are able to overcome Lyme disease much more easily than others. Post Lyme Disease Syndrome (PLDS) is how many doctors refer to the condition once it becomes chronic and continues to cause ongoing symptoms for many months, or even years. (3) These patients do not respond to conventional treatments and can experience significant hardships, so much so that their quality of life is reduced due to Lyme disease.

According to medical experts, there might be hundreds of thousands of people who have Lyme disease and don’t even know they require Lyme disease treatment. According to Columbia University Medical Center, not everyone who tests positive for the bacteria that causes Lyme will experience Lyme symptoms. (4)

Wondering how it’s possible that one person can have Lyme and show no symptoms, and yet others can have chronic symptoms that can be crippling at times? The bottom line is that everyone is hosting a range of different viruses, bad bacteria, fungus and even cancer cells in their body at any given point in time; what’s really important is how strong your immunity is at keeping these invaders at bay.

 

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Conventional Treatment for Lyme Disease

Healthcare providers often have difficulty diagnosing Lyme disease because many of its symptoms are similar to those of other infectious or autoimmune illnesses, such as the flu, arthritis or lupus. Several tests are now available for diagnosing Lyme disease. The most popular way of making a diagnoses is using a combination of the Western blot and ELISA tests, which measure specific antibodies in the blood. Some experts, however, feel that this testing has flaws and is not always conclusive.

Another test that may be effective in diagnosing Lyme disease is direct microscopy, which is done by fewer laboratories, including Fry Labs in Arizona. In my opinion, this is the preferred method. It’s often performed by holistic health practitioners in combination with other physical exams.

•Once Lyme is diagnosed, the most common conventional Lyme disease treatment utilized today is prescription antibiotics.

•The CDC reports that the majority of people can overcome Lyme disease after receiving a course of antibiotics for several weeks. The most common antibiotic treatment for Lyme infection is a combination of amoxicillin, cefuroxime axetil or doxycycline antibiotics taken for 2–4 weeks. (5) However, not everyone will respond well to these antibiotics, including those with infections that spread through the central nervous system.

•The National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Disease reports that the sooner treatment begins after infection, the quicker and more complete the recovery will likely be — so people who wait a while before being diagnosed might not react positively to antibiotics. (6)

•Antibiotics treat a small part of Lyme disease (the actual infection) but not the entire condition and series of symptoms. Plus, antibiotics can cause side effects and can’t always be used in pregnant women or those who are allergic/reactive.

•Antibiotics can weaken the immune system over time by negatively altering gut bacteria, especially if they are used for an extended length of time. They kill not only harmful bacteria, but good bacteria that we need for strong immunity, too. This means that antibiotics can possibly make Lyme disease bacteria spread even more and worsen in some people.

Lyme Disease Prevention Tips:

Prevention and early treatment is very important for managing Lyme disease. Steps you can take to to prevent getting Lyme disease include: (7)

•Using a natural bug spray or insect repellent (such as one made from essential oils) when you’re anywhere that has a high amount of insects. This includes the woods, garden, beach or when you’re hiking or camping.

•Wearing long pants, long sleeves and long socks to keep ticks off the skin. Also try wearing lighter-colored clothing so you can spot insects and ticks more easily.

•Checking your skin after you’ve been in the woods or elsewhere outdoors. Look over exposed skin so you can remove ticks promptly.

•If you’re pregnant, be careful to avoid outdoor areas where ticks might be found. It’s best to avoid hiking or camping in tick-populated areas to reduce your risk.

•Last and not least, as you’ll learn more about below, improving overall immune strength before you even get infected will give you the best chance of having a minimal reaction.

4 Natural Treatments for Lyme Disease

1. Eat to Improve Immune Function

The best way to overcome chronic Lyme disease is by naturally boosting your immune system, lowering inflammation and managing the root causes of your symptoms. Your body can overcome Lyme disease for good only once you control the inflammatory responses it’s triggering.

My basic dietary advice for anyone struggling with an inflammatory condition is to try removing grains, fruit and sugar from your diet while consuming anti-inflammatory foods — mostly vegetables, nuts, seeds, coconut, bone broth, organic meat and raw cultured dairy.  If you want to learn more about this approach to controlling leaky gut syndrome and inflammation, you can find out much more detail in this article about healing leaky gut and autoimmune diseases.

Some of the best foods for naturally raising immunity include:

•High-antioxidant foods: fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens and other brightly colored veggies or berries, are the best sources of antioxidants and many other key nutrients. They help control free radical damage and inflammation, lower risk for nutrient deficiencies, and can protect you from Lyme complications.

•Bone broth: bone broth naturally contains the amino acids called proline and glycine, which can help repair a “leaky gut” and enhance immune function. Your gut/digestive health is highly tied to overall immune functioning; in fact, around 70 percent or more of your immune system lives in your gut! Foods that help replenish your gut with healthy bacteria and also rebuild the lining of the your GI tract control inflammation and allergies along with the many symptoms they can trigger.

•Probiotic-rich foods: Research published in the Journal of Applied Microbiology shows that probiotics can help reduce infectious disease progression and symptoms. (8) Probiotic foods include kefir, amasai and yogurt (ideally raw goat’s milk yogurt, which is one of the highest sources of probiotics). Fermented vegetables like sauerkraut, kimchi and kvass can be beneficial and should be added to your diet regularly. To truly kill off the bad bacteria we must overcrowd it with “good bacteria” (also known as probiotics). Probiotics help good bacteria to grow and flourish in the GI tract, which has a huge impact on your overall immunity and health.

 

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2. Supplements to Help Improve Cellular Function

The next step in Lyme disease treatment is improving cellular functioning and protection. Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, along with viruses and parasites, can attack healthy cells and weaken your defenses. In order to restore cellular health, consider adding these essential nutrients to your regime:

•Vitamin D: Vitamin D3 naturally boosts immunity and plays a role in regulating inflammation. I recommend you supplement with around 5,000 IU daily, especially if you’re vitamin D deficient, live in the northern region of the world and don’t get much direct sunlight exposure (the best way for your body to make its own vitamin D).

•CoQ10: CoQ10 can help protect your brain and nervous system from degradation and inflammation, while also lowering symptoms like joint pain and aches. It’s commonly used by patients with ongoing fatigue and autoimmune disorder symptoms, including those with fibromyalgia. (9) Most physicians recommend taking 200 milligrams twice daily.

•Medicinal mushrooms: Studies show that medicinal mushrooms (this includes cordycep, reishi and maitake mushrooms) promote an adaptive immune system which helps control autoimmune reactions. (10) These can be found in various supplement forms and have been proven to reduce reactions to inflammation and stress. Medicinal mushrooms boost an intracellular antioxidant called superoxide dismutase (SOD) that protects your cells. They can also increase function of natural killer cells that can kill off bad bacteria.

•B-Complex: B vitamins support many metabolic and cellular functions, plus they help fight infections and improve neurological health. Vitamin B-6 is especially important for Lyme patients, or just about anyone dealing with the affects of stress or fatigue.

•Omega-3 fatty acids: These fatty acids are highly anti-inflammatory and support neurological/cognitive functions. In addition to consuming food sources of omega-3s (for example, wild-caught fish and nuts and seeds), I recommend supplementing with 1,000 milligrams of fish oil daily, specifically one that contains astaxanthin which boosts absorption.

•Magnesium: Magnesium is an electrolyte with hundreds of roles in the body, from supporting nerve signaling to reducing muscle aches. Many people are magnesium deficient, and those with Lyme disease can’t afford to run low since stress and illness only increases the body’s need for more.

•Turmeric: Turmeric is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help reduce joint pain, headaches, and damage to blood vessels or nerves.

•Probiotics: In addition to consuming probiotic-rich foods, I recommend supplementing with probiotics with at least 8 strains and 50 billion units daily. I believe this is the most important factor in destroying Lyme.

 

 

3. Get Enough Rest & Manage Emotional Stress

Chronic stress, whether physical or emotional, has been proven time and time again to weaken the immune system and increase someone’s risk for getting sick. Stress can trigger inflammation and cause hormonal imbalances, while also disturbing digestive functions and worsening many Lyme disease symptoms. To prevent a Lyme infection from continuing to worsen and spread, you must address stress if you are truly going to heal.

• In order to combat chronic stress, I recommend you schedule times of rest into your week, along with “fun times” meant to spend with family, friends and also alone. This might seem silly or even too simple to work, but stress is a very serious issue that makes many people sicker than they need to be!

•Focus on getting plenty of rest. Lyme can contribute to fatigue and require that you get extra sleep, so balance activity with rest and relaxation.

•I suggest you also practice forgiveness, address past emotional trauma, and work on healing through spirituality and guidance. Many people with Lyme and autoimmune conditions have deep-seeded emotional issues that interfere with healing. A good friend of mine, Dr. Alex Loyd, has a book called The Healing Code you may consider reading.

•Supplementing with adaptogenic herbs such as ashwagandha can naturally reduce the effects of stress and help balance cortisol levels.

•Other methods for helping to control your stress response include meditation, joining a support group, reading, journaling, exercising, using essential oils and spending time in nature.

4. Reduce Mold & Parasite Exposure

According to Lyme disease experts and research done by the Department of Microbiology-Immunology at Northwestern University, environmental triggers (in particular viruses, bacteria and other infectious pathogens) are thought to play a major role in the development of autoimmune diseases. Parasites and mold exposure can contribute to lasting Lyme disease symptoms by stressing the immune system. (11)

• To naturally treat parasitic infections and toxicity I recommend using activated carbon (activated charcoal), which has been proven effective in helping the body expel harmful substances.

Bentonite clay can also be beneficial and works in a similar way to bind to things like chemicals and heavy metals. However, make sure to take these two supplements on an empty stomach because they can also bind to essential minerals you need.

•To specifically treat parasites, I’d suggest consuming a diet low in sugar and high in healthy fats, along with taking and consuming probiotics.

•Herbs that can help kill parasites include wormwood, black walnut, oregano, garlic and grapefruit seed extracts.

Bonus Treatment: We just wrote an article about how stevia may kill Lyme disease. While it sounds too good to be true, there is legitimate evidence suggesting a beneficial stevia side effect could include killing Borrelia burgdorferi, the pathogen responsible for Lyme disease.

Customization & Precautions When Treating Lyme Disease

Remember that every person with Lyme disease is different — not all will show all the common Lyme disease symptoms described above, suffer from deficiencies or deal with high amounts of stress. That’s why customization, patience and being open-minded are important. Different things for Lyme disease treatment work for different people, so don’t lose hope.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your Lyme disease symptoms. here’s what I recommend:

•Focus first on changing your diet. Reduce nutrient deficiencies, improve gut health and lower your intake of harmful ingredients that are found in processed/packaged foods.

•Make sure to take it easy on yourself. Give yourself rest, sleep nine hours a night, reduce stress and address emotional issues. Remember that stress, guilt, anger and frustration only make things worse.

•Then try different supplements. Listen to your body and try to pay close attention to what works bet.

•Naturally overcoming Lyme disease can take time, so remember to not just treat Lyme but instead focus on getting your body into a healing state for good.

Read Next: Lyme Disease Symptoms to Keep an Eye On

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To date, no clinical studies have shown benefit from long-term antibiotic therapy for chronic Lyme disease.

 

Why Antibiotics Have Limited Use for Chronic Lyme

#1. Borrelia is a highly evasive stealthy microbe

Borrelia clears the blood quickly and uses its corkscrew shape to penetrate deeply into tissues (including joint cartilage, brain, nerve tissue) where it is protected from antibiotics and the immune system. It can penetrate into cells, give up the corkscrew shape, and live inside of cells, thus gaining protection from the immune system and antibiotics. If confronted with a full antibiotic assault, it rolls up into dormant cyst and rides out the storm until the antibiotics are gone.

#2. Borrelia grows very slowly

Antibiotics work best on highly threatening microbes that grow very rapidly and are densely congregated in localized areas in the body (like a pneumonia). Borrelia grows very slowly in the body and only occurs in very low concentrations in tissues.

#3. Borrelia becomes part of the microbiome

Borrelia is a master at blending in with the trillions of other microbes that make up the human microbiome (the sum of all microbes in the body). Overwhelming the host is not its mission; it simply needs to scavenge enough resources to survive. Borrelia’s stealthy ability to lay low makes diagnosis and treatment a real challenge.

#4. Microbial coinfections complicate therapy

Borrelia never occurs alone. There are many stealthy microbes (Mycoplasma, Chlamydia, Bartonella, EBV, CMV, others) that can occupy space in the microbiome. Sometimes they occur as coinfections with the tick bite, but they can already be present in the microbiome, without causing symptoms, when infection with Borrelia occurs.

#5. Chronic use of antibiotics disrupts the microbiome3,4

Stealthy microbes, such as Borrelia (and also the co-infections), win by persistence, not aggression. They can hang on, protected from antibiotics by living inside cells and staying isolated in the deepest recesses of the body. Frequent use of antibiotics kills off normal flora in the gut and skin, allowing overgrowth of pathogens like Candida (yeast), C. Diff. and MRSA skin infections. Antibiotic-resistant pathogens are more threatening than the microbes that cause Lyme disease.

#6. Chronic use of antibiotics disrupts the immune system4

Disruption of the normal flora by antibiotics and emergence of antibiotic resistant pathogens causes significant gut dysfunction. Because 70% of immune system functions are located in the gut, immune functions are also adversely affected. This adds fuel to the fire to an immune system that is already heavily taxed by an ongoing tug-of-war with stealth microbes.

#7. Antibiotics can damage mitochondria inside cells5

Mitochondria, the powerhouses present in every cell in the body, were once primitive bacteria. A billion years ago, these high-energy bacteria were hijacked by cells of higher living creatures to produce energy. They became part of cells of all higher life forms, but they still retain bacteria-like characteristics. Having bacteria-like characteristics makes mitochondria susceptible to damage by many types of antibiotics. This may be why many people experience fatigue with antibiotic use.

#8. Antibiotics can disrupt protective biofilm in the colon6,7,8

Borrelia can exist in biofilms, but how much this contributes to resistance to treatment is controversial. Possibly more concerning is the effect antibiotics have on natural biofilms in the colon. Friendly microbes create biofilm in the mucous lining of the distal small intestine and the large colon. This type of biofilm is protective and essential for a healthy colon. Long-term use of antibiotics can disrupt this protective barrier and increase risk of gut illnesses such as ulcerative colitis and colon cancer.

#9. People are still searching for solutions

Possibly the most compelling suggestion that antibiotic therapy has significant limitations is this: if antibiotics really worked for chronic Lyme, people wouldn’t be searching for other solutions. But people are scouring the Internet every day, by the thousands, for solutions to chronic Lyme disease that actually work.

Note: The primary situation where antibiotics have proven value is in early treatment of infections with more virulent tick-borne microbes such as Rickettsia rickettsii (the cause of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever), Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, and in some cases, Babesia. These microbes typically present with high fever and severe symptoms during acute infection. Being more virulent, they typically respond better to antibiotic therapy and generally, 1-2 months of antibiotics is curative if infections are caught early.

 

Desperate for Solutions

7 Reasons to Choose Herbs:

#1. Herbs provide a wide spectrum of antimicrobial properties

Plants have to deal with a wide range of microbes, including bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi, just like any other living creature. Not having an immune system, plants deal with the problem by producing sophisticated spectrum of biochemical substances. Instead of one chemical, like an antibiotic, a medicinal herb contains hundreds of chemicals that suppress microbes in different ways; therefore resistance is almost unheard of, even with very long term use. Some herbs provide more potent antimicrobial properties than others. While herbs would never be a good choice for treating a life-threatening illness like pneumonia, they are perfect for suppressing stealth microbes associated with chronic illness.

#2. Using multiple herbs together is synergistic

Different herbs offer a slightly different range of benefits, therefore multiple herbs can be used together to cover for all possible stealth microbes involved. In fact, this is the preferred way of doing herbal therapy (a concept called “synergy”). This provides for a wide spectrum of activity against a wide range of microbial threats. You can think of it as an orchestra of healing — the sum of multiple herbs is more powerful than each herb individually.

#3. Herbs are inherently safe*

Over the millennia, humans naturally selected certain plant substances for use as medicines. These plants, now known as medicinal herbs, have chemistry that meshes well with human biochemistry. Not surprisingly, medicinal herbs are well tolerated by most people and can be safely used for extended periods of time.

*Please consult with a qualified healthcare provider before beginning a new herbal therapy program. Herbal therapy may not be right for you if you have certain health conditions, are on medications, or are pregnant or breastfeeding.

#4. Herbs enhance immune functions

Herbs reduce inflammatory messengers (called cytokines) generated by the microbes, shift the balance of the immune system away from inflammatory processes, and restore the ability of the immune system to function normally. These balanced elements are some of the essential keys to getting (and remaining) well.

#5. Herbs support a balanced microbiome*

Plants have to deal with the same friend-versus-foe microbe problem that we do. The sophisticated spectrum of biochemical substances present in herbs support the normal balance of microbes of the body (microbiome), while offering resistance to potential threats at the same time. This unique feature of plant medicines works quite differently than synthetic antibiotics.

#6. Herbs help the body deal with biofilms and cyst forms*

The immune system of the body is well equipped to deal with both biofilms and bacterial cyst forms. These bacterial survival strategies only become a problem when immune function is disrupted. By protecting and supporting normal immune function, herbal and natural therapies may enhance the ability to slowly etch away at any biofilms present and mop up bacterial cyst forms.

#7. Herbs provide a wide spectrum of other benefits*

Herbs protect organ systems in the body, including cardiovascular, liver, and nerve functions. Herbs balance hormone systems, especially adrenal hormones, and protect cellular function. Herbs are anti-fatigue and improve stress tolerance. No drug on earth can provide the range of benefits present in medicinal herbs!

*Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

 

Creating the Perfect Environment for Healing

More than anything else, chronic Lyme disease is a breakdown of the body’s ability to fight off everyday threats and heal itself. It isn’t as much the microbes themselves as it is that the microbes are no longer constrained by a strong immune system.

I had likely harbored Borrelia and other stealth microbes long before I got sick — everyone harbors some stealth microbes in the grand mix of their microbiome. For me, years of rigorous night call, eating on the run, and other bad health habits weakened my immune system enough to allow the microbes to flourish.

Creating a healing environment within my body was essential for my recovery. Though herbs were essential for my recovery, I recognized that I also had to curb the habits that contributed to

Herbal Formula #1: Antimicrobial Support

This synergistic blend provides the core herbs from the Buhner protocol, including Japanese knotweed (trans-resveratrol), andrographis, cat’s claw, and sarsaparilla, along with stabilized allicin from garlic to extend coverage against protozoa, viruses, and yeast.

Herbal Formula #2: Immunomodulation, Symptom Reduction

Reishi mushroom and cordyceps in this formula reduce inflammatory messengers (cytokines) generated by the microbes and normalize immune functions. Chinese skullcap, which provides activity against Mycoplasma and viruses, and rheumannia, which suppresses autoimmunity, are also key ingredients in the formula (initially this formula contained eleuthero, but it was too stimulating for some people with chronic illness).

Herbal Formula #3: Cellular Support, Optimal Detoxification

The natural ingredients in this formula, including glutathione and NAC, in this supplement are designed to optimize detoxification and counter damage caused by free radicals at a tissue level and inside cells. This is essential for restoring energy to the body at a cellular level. These same ingredients protect tissues from toxins and help remove toxins, including heavy metals from tissues.

Herbal Formula #4: Daily Nutrients, Cardiovascular Function

This formula provides essential vitamins and nutrients in activated form. This is very important for people with methylation mutations (MTHFR), who need activated B vitamins (5-methyltetrahydrofolate, pyridoxal-5-phosphate, methylcobalamin) to get well. The formula also contains herbal ingredients, including hawthorn, French maritime pine bark, and resveratrol, for optimizing blood flow and supporting cardiovascular function. Optimal tissue protection is provided by milk thistle for liver support and a variety of herbal antioxidants.

 

Building A Solid Restorative Foundation

The supplements are essential; it’s hard to get well without them, but recovery is a process. To guide people through the process, I created a an email course. Over 6 months, participants receive brief emails several times a week.

The emails are a blend of inspirational, instructional, and educational content. They are designed to answer almost any question that might come up in a timely fashion. With each day that passes, the emails step you through the process of getting your life back

A guide for restoring normal intestinal function and embracing clean eating is also included. Learn more about Dr. Rawls’ herbal protocol »

 

Life As It Should Be

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Although I do things differently now, I’ve come to really enjoy a healthful lifestyle. The trade-offs are worth it—things seem to improve for me every year.

My joints are in great shape. My energy levels are sustained throughout the day and I’m as active as I want to be.

As for the borrelia microbe, I may still harbor it. Whether anyone ever gets rid of it is a complete unknown. But the most important thing is that I’m living a normal life, free of symptoms and also free of many of the effects of aging that most people of my age experience.

Over the years, I’ve compiled everything I’ve learned into a book called Unlocking Lyme to help guide the way for others.

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REFERENCES:

1. Berende A, ter Hofstede HJ, Vos FJ, et al. Randomized Trial of Longer-Term Therapy for Symptoms Attributed to Lyme Disease. N Engl J Med. 2016;374(13):1209-1220.

2. Rudenko N, Golovchenko M, Vancova M, et al. Isolation of live Borrelia burgdorferi senso lato spirochaetes from patients with undefined disorders and symptoms not typical for Lyme borreliosis. Clin Microb Infect. 2016;22(3):267. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

3. Perez-Cobas AE, Gosalbes MJ, Friedrichs A, et al. Gut microbiota disturbance during antibiotic therapy, a multi-omic approach. Gut. 2013;62(11):1591-1601. Epub 2012 Dec 12.

4. Morgun A, Dzutsev A, Dong X, et al. Uncovering effects of antibiotics on the host and microbiota using transkingdom gene networks. Gut. 2015;64(11):1732-1742. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

5. Kalghatgi S, Spina CS, Costello JC, et al. Bactericidal antibiotics induce mitochondrial dysfunction and oxidative damage in Mammalian cells. Sci Transl Med. 2013;5(192):192ra85.

6. Macfarlane S, Woodmansey EJ, Macfarlane GT. Colonization of mucin by human intestinal bacteria and establishment of biofilm communities in a two-stage continuous culture system. Appl Environ Microbiol. 2005;71(11):7483-7492.

7. Macfarlane S, Dillon JF. Microbial biofilms in the human gastrointestinal tract. J Appl Microbiol. 2007;102(5):1187-1196.

8. Macfarlane S, Bahrami B, Macfarlane GT. Mucosal biofilm communities in the human intestinal tract. Adv Appl Microbiol. 2011;75:111-143.

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Lyme disease is a condition caused by an infection from bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. It’s passed to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks or deer ticks. Ticks are small arachnids usually found in wooded or grassy areas.

Antibiotics are the main treatment for Lyme disease. In many cases, a two- to four-week course of oral antibiotics clears up the infection. But more severe cases might need intravenous antibiotics.

Still, up to 20 percent of people with Lyme disease continue having symptoms after antibiotic treatment. Some call this “post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome” or chronic Lyme disease. It may be related to an immune system response, but experts aren’t sure.

Can natural treatments be a more effective, gentler option? Read on to learn about the use of essential oils, oxygen therapy, and other popular natural treatments for Lyme disease.

Essential oils for Lyme disease

Essential oils are concentrated liquids from plants. Some of them have antibacterial properties, meaning they can kill bacteria.

A 2017 study evaluated the use of 34 essential oils to kill B. burgdorferi bacteria in a laboratory setting. Cinnamon bark, clove bud, and oregano essential oils killed the bacteria without any regrowth. <

These results are promising, but there’s no evidence that they work in humans with Lyme disease. Essential oils are used in aromatherapy, where the fragrant oils are inhaled through a diffuser or diluted in a carrier oil and applied topically. It’s not safe to ingest essential oils, especially in the quantities that you would likely need to treat Lyme disease.

Supplements for Lyme disease

Some people claim that immune system-boosting supplements can naturally treat Lyme disease.

These include:

vitamin B-1

vitamin C

fish oil

•alpha lipoic acid

magnesium

chlorella

•cat’s claw

garlic

olive leaf

turmeric

glutathione

However, there’s no evidence that any of these, or any other supplements, can get rid of Lyme disease.

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Hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Lyme disease

Hyperbaric oxygen therapy involves exposure to 100 percent oxygen at a high pressure. It’s often in a room called a hyperbaric oxygen chamber to promote wound healing.

There isn’t much research about the effectiveness of hyperbaric oxygen therapy for Lyme disease. But a 2014 case study from Taiwan reports that it treated Lyme disease in a person who hadn’t responded to antibiotics. Still, more large-scale studies are needed to understand whether it’s an effective treatment.

Chelation therapy for Lyme disease

Some people believe Lyme disease symptoms are linked to heavy metal toxicity from materials like lead or mercury. Chelation therapy is a method of removing heavy metals from the bloodstream.

It’s done using a type of medication called a chelator or chelating agent. This medication binds to metals in the bloodstream, collecting them into a compound that can be processed by your kidneys and released in urine.

Chelation therapy is an effective treatment for a buildup of heavy metals. But there’s no evidence that heavy metals contribute to Lyme disease, and chelation therapy won’t treat the underlying infection.

Other natural treatments for Lyme disease

The treatments discussed above are only some of the natural treatments that claim to treat Lyme disease. According to a 2015 study looking at the alternative treatments found during an Internet search, other natural treatments people use for Lyme disease include:

•saunas and steam rooms

•ultraviolet light

•photon therapy

•electromagnetic frequency treatments

•magnets

urotherapy (urine ingestion)

enemas

•bee venom

The investigators noted that there’s no research backing up these treatments, any many don’t have a logical rationale behind them.

Lyme disease natural treatment safety

If you decide to explore natural treatments for Lyme disease, talk to your doctor about the risks beforehand. Natural treatments, just like traditional treatments, can still be toxic or dangerous. But in combination with medical treatment, a complementary approach might improve health.

For example, a product called bismacine contains an injectable form of bismuth. This is a type of metal that’s a common ingredient in some digestive aids. But bismacine contains a higher dose of bismuth that’s injectable. Injecting a high dose of bismuth can cause bismuth poisoning, which can lead to heart and kidney failure.

Other natural treatments may interact with other medications or supplements you take. Your doctor can help you confirm whether any medications you currently take will interact with treatment you’re interested in trying.

The bottom line

If you’ve recently had a tick bite or think you might have Lyme disease, see your doctor right away. Antibiotics are the only proven treatment for Lyme disease, and it’s best to start taking them earlier rather than later. If you do decide to try natural treatments, check with your doctor first. They can help you avoid any risky medication interactions.

Article resources

•Feng J, et al. (2017). Selective essential oils have high activity against stationary phase and biofilm Borrelia burgdorferi. DOI:

10.3389/fmed.2017.00169

•Kuehn BM. (2013). CDC estimates 300 000 US cases of Lyme disease annually. DOI:

10.1001/jama.2013.278331

•Huang C-Y, et al. (2014). Hyperbaric oxygen therapy as an effective adjunctive treatment for chronic Lyme disease. DOI:

10.1016/j.jcma.2014.02.001

•Lantos P, et al. (2015). Unorthodox alternative therapies marketed to treat Lyme disease. DOI:

10.1093/cid/civ186

•Mayo Clinic Staff. (2018). Lyme disease.

mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374655

•Shapiro ED, et al. (2014). Lyme disease. DOI:

10.1056/NEJMcp1314325

•Wright WF, et al. (2012). Diagnosis and management of Lyme disease.

my.ilstu.edu/~ddwilso2/nur475/Diagnostis%20and%20Management%20of%20Lyme%20Disease.pdf

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13 Comments

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Debra Bullion

Shivan, in your conversation with dr Messinger you said your feet hurt. That was my 1st symptom of many to come from clinical Lyme/bart. Many of my symptoms are better, but not my feet. Are your feet better? What did you do to help them? We’re there any particular treatments that helped you. You look great!
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Shivan Sarna

I hope your feet feel better. I have to watch that I’m not on them too many hours at a time. I’m really careful with my shoe choices..
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Trisha Kirby

Same here with shoe choices for hurting feet. I noticed if I do a foot detox bath (I got a nice inexpensive one on ebay) and use a foot massager before I go to bed, my feet feel a lot better the next day. Might get same results from an epsom salt foot bath as well. Donna Eden also recommended spooning the feet with the bottom of a stainless steel spoon, to ground yourself.
Like · Reply · 1d

Niteen Barghavan

DNA connexions is a poor test. my doctor sent in blank samples and they tested positive for different bugs
Like · Reply · 2 · 2d

Shivan Sarna

OMG! Wow.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Martha Ray Barger

Hearsay is a danger… but we need objective groups that test the testers. Not sure we can get that confidence in today’s age of marketing and spin.
Like · Reply · 2d

Shivan Sarna

Martha Ray Barger So true.
Like · Reply · 2d

Pamela Bishop

Thank-you Shivan. One suggestion. Next time could you do 3 to 4 interviews a day. I have lost 3 pounds just listening and taking notes every day. But many thanks for putting such interesting and knowledgeable people together. I will be spending the rest of my life and my money pursuing my health. I want to get back to full health even at 71! Thanks.
Like · Reply · 2 · 2d

Elena Khovanskaya

Could you tell again what is the name of that online 46 questions test for Lyme?
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Susan Lutes

Dr. Richard Horowitz Lyme questionnaire — Google it. If you score 46 or higher, you could have a Lyme infection.
Like · Reply · 1d

Gaby Lee

Very enlightening. Excellent communicator (well, both of you)!
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Shivan Sarna

Thank you!
Like · Reply · 2d

Marjorie Johnson

I forgot to mention back in 1992 I was checked for Lyme which was negative but in 2014 the Igenex lab showed past Borrelia infection (a couple bars highlighted) and Babesia B. Duncani. I am wondering if after a trip to Puerto Vallarta might have been where everything started. I had intestinal problems will there and diagnosed a few years later with IBS. In 2009, Blastocystis Hominis was found. I had eaten some Ceviche, not knowing any better. My partner at the time had no bowel issues. It was around this time I was diagnosed with Candida as well. Not sure what came first..the chicken or the egg. Any help with this?
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Marjorie Johnson

This talk explained alot of my symptoms and reasons for the SIBO/IBS and SIFO. I am grateful for this information. Hopefully, my practitioner in Santa Rosa can help me to feel better.
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Blancalilia Mohammed

I got Babesia. I saw the tick in my abdomen but was not attach to me , it was only walking. . I was in the garden and I allways check myself for ticks. I wrongly assume that it din’t bite me . I took a shower and I forget about it. I didn’t recalled how long after the incident of the tick borne event , I started geltting weaknesses , and not to take the story too long , few weeks I was very ill , loss weight, and I needed 3 blood transfunctions and Istll sufferings the consequences of it. So please this is very serious desease, I almost loose my life.
Like · Reply · 2d

Shivan Sarna

I hope that these are the right words for the right time for you. Underlying cause? Lyme – could it be? Watch him bust me for not getting it quite right in the beginning:)
So helpful!
Like · Reply · 2d

Kat Muto

Ok Shivan, now I have tested positive on two tests for the B Burgdorferi on IgM, but negative on the IgG (Western Blot). I have long thought I have Lyme, but I doubt they will diagnose this on me here in Switzerland. I need to do some further testing perhaps in the states or just try to do the treatment. I think it’s a chronic situation. Can I contact Tom to have a consult. Tell me about the foot pain because I have it and sharp, stinging pain, numbness and burning at times I thought was neuropathy from something else. The pressure in my head and ears, pain in neck, blurred vision, cognitive issues and so on. I also suspect parasites and am trying to get that figured out after just having had treatment for C Diff. I think SIBO is just a minor problem which lingers with all this other stuff. Please send a message if it’s possible to do a consult with Tom or someone else you recommend. Thanks, Kat Muto
Like · Reply · 1d

Debbie Harlan

What do you treat first Sibi or Lyme?
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d

Pamela Bishop

Alkaline water. Does it help or hurt?
Like · Reply · 1 · 2d
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