Modern science is still at the very early stages of understanding Lyme disease but medicinal botany and herbalism has been here before – Borrelia the bacteria at the centre of Lyme is a spirochete just like syphilis and leptospirosis – two diseases successfully and contemporarily treated with herbs that attack or affect the spirochete directly rather than just carpet bomb the whole system with antibiotics.
I am not saying discount antibiotics altogether and I acknowledge that if antibiotics are deployed in time – close to bite/infection or for sufficient duration (several weeks) then it will save a lifetime of multiple symptoms and medical frustration and when it comes to chronic Lyme, that has been misdiagnosed as Fibro or M.E or other, then once given correct diagnosis and follow up with antibiotic treatments – the antibiotic regime is still the most effective cure in the stats of those recovered.
What I am saying is that there is a whole other arsenal too that should be deployed to destroy the Borrelia before it takes hold or to diminish it when it flares up from a latency. And those big guns are the anti-spirochetal herbs. Before we get into them or them into us, here’s how it works.
A spirochete is a corkscrew-shaped bacterium that can and does bores into vessel walls and even into tissues and cartilage – so bunkering itself out of reach of most antibiotics. Unlike other bloodstream trapped bacteria, spirochetes can screw their way through the blood vessels and escape the blood stream beyond the natural immune system and the prescribed antibiotics.
This is why that other famous spirochete –syphilis – was so difficult to eradicate for so long. It was bunkered beyond the reach of medicine. Currently syphilis and leptospirosis are treated very effectively in China with anti-spirochete herbs and many of those herbs have moved into Lyme treatment protocols.
Part of what these anti-spirochete herbs do is to unscrew the bacteria back out of cells and tissue and into the blood stream to be met by your own immune system and any combination of antibacterial herbs and antibiotics deemed effective.
Notable anti spirochetes include Green chiretta aka Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata), Chai Hu (Bupleurum spp), Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis) – all utilized to warm the cells and muscles thus encouraging the bacteria out into the bloodstream but also to exert analgesic and anti-inflammatory action for chronic Lyme arthritis-like pains.
In medicinal botany evaluations of TCM, the ‘spirochete killers’ include Allicin – the active antibiotic agent of raw garlic; Coptin and berberine, two active antibiotic and neuroprortective agents of Chinese goldthread (Coptis chinensis) and Houttuynin an active antibacterial from the chameleon plant (Houttuynia cordata)
One of the most potent choices you can make is sarsaparilla (Smilax glabrae) a killer of spirochetes and a natural anti-inflammatory but perhaps even more importantly it is and endotoxin binder. So as all the other herbs kill and disrupt the Borrelia bacteria as it breaks down and reacts to its agitation it releases harmful substances into the body tissues and blood stream potentially triggering toxic overload and prompting bad reaction – if we can clump and mop up then we lessen the damage and clear the toxins quicker.
Sarsaparilla would be beneficial too to Herxheimer reactions – those adverse reactions to conventional antibiotic treatments for spirochetal infection that result in fever, chills, headache, myalgia, tachycardia, hyperventilation, etc.
Liver detox herbs would we useful and lymph prompting herbs too – to fully cleanse the system. It is currently thought that ‘Lyme arthritis’ may be more a result of the dead bacteria than living damage – so catching, killing and detoxing early should be on the radar.
It is never a good idea to self-medicate with only half the picture so do visit a qualified herbalist and find a regime that compliments your constitution and doesn’t clash with current medications.