Herbs and Lyme
Lyme Disease and Herbal Treatment
How Lyme is spread
Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease and, in general, is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases today. But to get bitten by a tiny tick is highly unlikely despite it becoming more widespread. This is because you can get this infection via other than a tick bite. This is not at all well-known or appreciated. It is reported that Lyme can be transmitted through other means as well, including breast milk, semen, tears, saliva, and bites from mosquitoes and mites.
The parasite that causes Lyme
Lyme disease got its name from a town Old Lyme in Connecticut where in 1975 physicians were treating an unusually large number of children with what was first thought to be Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. Medical investigators eventually found that the condition was actually caused by a bacterial infection, Spirochete, a Borrelia infection. Today we know that we are looking at more than just a simple bacterial disease.
Lyme disease is the result of a spirochetal infection (Borrelia burgdorferi) transmitted to humans by deer ticks (mainly Ixodes scapularis, (though a relative, I. pacificus is the carrier in the Western U.S.). The infection sometimes results in a serious disease pattern, most often characterized by progressively worsening arthralgia (joint inflammation) though a central nervous system disorder or even a heart disorder may also arise. But there are a lot of other symptoms that can present, see below.
Borellia’s life in the body
Lyme bacterial parasites work hard to protect themselves by existing in a self-produced matrix. They secrete exopolysaccharides and exoproteins, effectively creating an armored shell around the community. Because of these methods, they remain undetected to the immune system and even antibiotics have a difficult time penetrating. Inside these shells, called biofilms, the bacteria communicate with each other regarding when to grow. When the community grows large enough, the biofilm breaks, flooding the system with huge numbers of these borellia parasites. This can happen over and over again – a pause in the progress of the condition and then a sudden worsening, a down-turn of the patient’s health.
It’s important to be prepared for, and fight this sudden massive reslease of bacteria in the body. There are many natural supplements that work to break these up, creating movement, including fish oil, antioxidants, herbal compounds (the ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus) and herbal tonics, and enzymes. Specific herbs can reduce the number of colonies and reduce the number of cells inside the colonies. These herbs are in the specific tonic for Lyme.
Lyme and the complexity of protozoa coinfections
In addition to the disease itself, many sufferers of Lyme also have co-infections, which can cause a lot more problems than the Lyme itself.
1. Babesia, the most common of the co-infections, is found in about 66% of Lyme patients.
Symptoms of Babesia are usually neurological in nature, and may include fever, chills, night sweats, weight loss, numbness, tingling, OCD, anxiety and depression. There are many herbs that can be effective in the treatment of Lyme/tic co-infection ailments like Babesia..
Babesia is a protozoa that feeds on iron and causes the destruction of red blood cells. One must be careful not to supplement with iron that cannot be utilized by the body.
2. Bartonella is another common co-infection that can wreak havoc in a Lyme patient. Bartonella causes what is referred to as “cat scratch fever.” It attacks the surface of the gut lining and also causes skin problems, sharp pains on the soles of the feet, painful migraines, and the sensation of something crawling under the skin.
3. Another noteworthy co-infection is Rickettsia, which manifests as fatigue, anorexia, anemia, fever, chills, headache, muscle pain, tremors and gut problems. It has a special affinity for the adrenal glands with a key symptom of adrenal fatigue.
Herbal adaptogens as well as nervine herbs chosen specifically for the patient are crucial to use for immune depletion along with adrenal building herbs.
There are any number of additional co-infections, not limited to but including twenty of newly identified piroplasms, for instance, Erlichiosis, parasitic mycoplasmas, STARI (possibly controversial) and tularemia (rabbit fever), as well as multiple parasitic and bacterial infections which it is believed also carry a host of viral cells as well. Several of the infections such as Ehrlichiosis and Anaplasmosis share the same symptoms: but may require different herbal medicines.
Most individuals with Morgellons disease report disturbing crawling, stinging, and biting sensations, as well as non-healing skin lesions as symptoms and require topical remedies as well as internal ones. There are more and more co-infections that are not even tested for. This is where the herbal approach to this complex condition comes into its own and is so effective because we can look at the specific symptoms rather than the name of the disease which is very limiting. Having said that it is highly recommended that Lyme patients take the specific herbal tonic for at least a month along with the ABC Powder and other remedies e.g. to detoxify the liver, support the bowel, etc as the first stage to treatment and progress to eradicate this pathogen.
Many Lyme symptoms mimic other diseases, such as MS, Alzheimer’s, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, ALS (Lou Gerig’s Disease) and other autoimmune disorders, as well as Parkinson’s and many other ailments, making it difficult to determine whether a patient has Lyme or another disease. Because of this mimicry, many Lyme patients go undiagnosed until they are in a more chronic state.
Basic facts about Lyme disease:
1. The tick bite directly introduces the pathogen into the blood stream (or it is passed on from a carrier);
2. The infection typically yields a blotchy red rash, often in a “bull’s eye” pattern of red skin colouration and swelling, about 3-20 days after the tick bite;
3. There may be flu-like symptoms, including fever, headache, sore throat, nausea, fatigue, swollen glands, stiff neck, aching muscles;
4. If unresolved there may be recurrences of fever and, usually after several months, arthralgia, usually in the knees, with swelling and hot sensations in certain areas throughout the body.
The tell-tale rash
It is estimated that 25-50% of those infected do not get the rash or flu-like symptoms, and that about half of those who experience the rash go on to experience joint inflammation and swelling. Lyme is also difficult to diagnose because less than 65% of Lyme sufferers display the telltale rash (erythema migrans), a painless, “bull’s-eye” shaped blotch on the skin the size of about 2-3cms, or the more diverse larger rash, or any sign at all. When the rash is present, there is no doubt that a person has Lyme. What’s more, the rash may take up to 1 month to even appear. To add insult to injury, many Lyme patients don’t even know when they got bitten or don’t remember getting bitten. This is because the tick is tiny (about the size of a poppy seed) and can of course easily go unnoticed; or it was unknown to them that the person they got close to had Lyme (and passed it on to them).
A patient can exhibit a combination of a wide range of presenting symptoms. By so doing, the herbal practitioner automatically assumes they’re dealing with Lyme and treat it as such.
The range of symptoms possible in Lyme is very complex:
– persistent swollen glands, sore throat, fevers, chills flu-like feeling;
– sore soles of feet, especially in the morning, joint pain and/or swelling in fingers, toes, ankles, wrists, knees, elbows, hips, shoulders, muscle pain and cramps, obvious muscle weakness, dental pain, TMJ, neck creaks and cracks, stiffness, neck pain, pain in genital area, low abdominal pain, cramps, chest wall pain or sore ribs;
– twitching of the face or other muscles. numbness in the arms and/or legs, facial paralysis-Bell’s Palsy;
– unexplained back pain, stiffness of the joints and back, tingling, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains, skin hypersensitivity;
– head congestion, confusion, difficulty thinking, difficulty with concentration, focus and reading, problem absorbing new information, searching for words and names, forgetfulness, poor short term memory, poor attention, disorientation, getting lost, going to wrong places;
– speech errors, such as wrong words or misspeaking;
– mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis (hallucinations, delusions), paranoia, bipolar, tremor, seizures;
– headaches, light and sound sensitivity, double or blurry vision with floaters, ear pain, hearing problems, such as buzzing, ringing or decreased hearing;
– increased motion sickness, vertigo, dizziness, off balance, “tipsy” feeling, lightheadedness, wooziness, urgent need to sit or lie, fainting fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina, insomnia, fractionated sleep, early awakening, excessive night time sleep, napping during the day;
– unexplained weight gain or loss;
– unexplained hair loss;
– unexplained menstrual irregularity or milk production, breast pain;
– irritable bladder;
– erectile dysfunction, loss of libido;
– constipation, diarrhea, constipation alternating with diarrhea, IBS type symptoms;
– heart murmur or valve prolapse, heart palpitations or skips;
– breathlessness, “air hunger,” unexplained chronic cough, night sweats, exaggerated symptoms or long bad hangovers from even a small amount of alcohol;
– skin rashes, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), herpes Zoster/Shingles.
Thankfully, herbal medicine is a system of medicine that diagnoses illness by using the symptoms of a patient to treat the whole person. In other words, no matter what label the orthodox system decides to put on a particular collection of symptoms at a particular time – Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, multiple sclerosis, whatever – we in herbal medicine treat the whole person, using the symptoms as the guideposts. That is not to say the orthodox diagnosis is unimportant – proper diagnoses can help herbal practitioners in their treatment protocol.
The herbal medicines are also used against side effects and die-off symptoms. These remedies should be changed according to the patient’s responses. Then once 75% of the symptoms are taken care of and the patient can manage the acute flair ups (which should lessen in frequency after a time as their health is restored) the Lyme disease is eradicated and their health is normalized. At that point constitutional remedies may be prescribed to support the immune system to maintain the patient’s health.
As an example of traditional prescribing that might be appropriate to Lyme disease, a herbal formula recommended for a heat toxin entering the blood and producing eruption of macules may include forsythia and coptis; other herbs that may be selected are carthamus, moutan, raw rehmannia, and Scrophularia. Our LymeShield Tonic deals specifically with the parasite and coinfections and directly with the symptoms of Lyme.
Many of these herbs have been researched and brought to light by herbalist Stephen Buhner. Many thanks Stephen!
Orthodox Medical Treatment
The current medical treatment for Lyme disease is a course of antibiotic therapy using doxycycline, amoxicillin, penicillin, or erythromycin. These are taken orally except in severe cases in which they may be administered intravenously instead. Many of those who become infected spontaneously recover within days or months even without antibiotics (no doubt, the bacteria eventually succumbs to the protective action of the immune system).
However, those treatments often produce unpleasant side effects, including nausea, diarrhea, sun sensitivity, vaginal yeast infections, rash, glossitis, abdominal pain and an eradication of their immune system. Many patients complain to me that these types of high dose antibacterial treatment can be almost as painful as the disease itself. Also, because of the aforementioned split in the orthodox medical system concerning the existence of a chronic form of Lyme disease many times a doctor will declare the patient cured of Lyme disease and then when the same symptoms reappear a month later re-diagnose the patient with chronic fatigue syndrome. Many people also find that the heavy use of antibiotics triggers an autoimmune response, complicating the disease, thus making it hard to treat. On top of treating the Lyme, it may be necessary to deal with an autoimmune response as well.
Managing Lyme Disease
Proper case management is the key to treating Lyme disease effectively. It is crucial to a rapid and permanent restoration of health. It involves first, a careful analysis of the progression of the disease and the patient. A practitioner must not only work on symptoms and the patient’s state of health at the time of the consultation but follow along step by step, gently stimulating the person’s energy progress, providing detoxification, while strengthening the patient along the way with the supportive nutrition found in a natural healthy diet and taking the nutririch ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus.
Good dietary changes, stress reduction techniques and any other therapies that balance or strengthen immune response help in the healing journey.
Using a well-balanced approach is crucial to obtaining a permanent restoration of health. I believe that the body can heal itself of any disorder if given the proper stimulus and support. Lyme disease is no exception. It makes sense to try an approach that will work with your immune system, and there’s nothing more powerful than a proper healthy diet and herbal medicines.
I have a specific herbal tonic for Lyme Disease and it is this that I recommend patients to start with and if necessary after a month or more after consultation the prescription can be changed to suit your need. As a priority I recommend that the patient also take the ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus as an important nutrient support for their whole body.
Tonics that may be useful to combine with LymeShield:
ABC Daily Herbal NutriPowder Plus
TireLess for ME and FMS and CFS
WormLess for parasites