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Herbs and Supplements for Lyme Disease
Application of Herbal Therapies For Lyme Disease and Coinfections
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Lyme disease is a chronic tick-borne disease that can affect all tissues and organs of the human body. Lyme disease is caused by spirochetes of the genus Borrelia, the most common are: Borrelia burgdorferi, Borrelia garinii and Borrelia afzalii.
Lyme disease can cause a number of symptoms, such as:
Herbs have turned out to be a very good alternative for many people suffering from Lyme disease. Treatment with herbs is often used in parallel with drug treatment. Many people also choose to use herbs after antibiotic treatment is finished, and for some, herbs have become the main pillar of the natural treatment of Lyme disease.
Of the natural treatments for Lyme disease, the best known herbal protocols are the Buhner protocol and the Cowden protocol. The approach of Buhner, Cowden or other prominent practitioners breaks the standard thinking about the treatment of Lyme disease. According to them, the use of only the antibacterial effect is insufficient. We cannot forget about strengthening the immune system, which as a result of Lyme disease infection is not only weakened, but also remodeled in a very specific way to fit the needs of bacteria. We cannot forget the cytokines induced during Borrelia infection, the protection of the endothelium, and the protection of the structures and cells that are infected by the bacteria. You should not only kill Lyme disease spirochetes, but also create such unfavorable conditions in the body that they cannot multiply, obtain food and conduct aggressive expansion through our body. Treatment of Lyme disease with herbs enables a multidirectional approach and has amazing results, provided that it is properly carried out.
Stephen Harrod Buhner is an outstanding American herbalist and author of many books and publications. Buhner has developed a protocol for the natural treatment of Lyme disease and tick-borne disease that relies on clinically tested herbs. In the latest update of his natural Lyme treatment protocol, Buhner took into account all the above-described aspects and selected a very effective set of herbs that comprehensively work on various mechanisms of Lyme spirochete infection. However, you must remember that herbal Lyme treatment cannot be based on single herbs. Herbs work synergistically with each other and properly selected herbal combinations, developed by phytotherapists specializing in this field, can bring a measurable effect in the context of the natural treatment of Lyme disease with herbs.
The main herbs in the Buhner Protocol are:
Buhner also selected herbs for many of the symptoms associated with Lyme disease. These include:
These are just a few of Buhner's many proposals. The use of herbs and the precisely described Buhner protocol is available in his book, Stephen Harrod Buhner, "The Natural Treatment of Lyme Disease and its Co-infections - Chlamydiosis and Spotted Fever Rickettsial."
The Cowden Protocol is a herbal Lyme treatment protocol developed by Dr. W. Lee Cowden recommended for people in the early and late stages of Lyme disease, as well as for minimizing the symptoms associated with Lyme disease. The Cowden protocol is also used for other tick-borne co-infections. The Cowden protocol uses 14 different Nutramedix products, including 7 herbs known as Microbial Defense, which exhibit antibacterial activity. It is based on ready-made sets of products composed of packages dedicated to each month of therapy.
The Cowden Protocol includes: Banderol, Burbur-pinella, Cumanda, Enula, Houttuynia, Magnesium malate, Mora, Parsley, Samento, Sealantro, Serrapeptase, Sparga, Stevia and Takuna.
You have to remember that everyone has Lyme disease individually. The type of accompanying symptoms, the severity of symptoms, a set of co-infections that synergize with each other, age, condition of the immune system, all these factors create an individual clinical picture of each patient with Lyme disease. Before starting the use of herbs for Lyme disease, read the guidelines of the Herbal Protocol of your choice and the contraindications.
In the treatment of Lyme disease, it is also very important to maintain a functioning immune system. A strong immune system is extremely important in the fight against Lyme disease and other infections. It is a natural weapon that nature has equipped us with. Be sure to take care of your immune system both during Lyme disease treatment and afterwards. By using herbal therapies throughout the fight against Lyme disease, you not only fight bacteria, but also rebuild and regulate your immune system.
Can microorganisms trigger herbal resistance ?
Antibiotic resistance among bacteria has become a real problem of our time. Bacteria can develop resistance to a single chemical compound that is a drug component. This has become a source of problems in treating many bacterial infections, including Lyme disease.
The advantage of natural therapies for the treatment of Lyme disease is the fact that bacteria are not able to become resistant to natural products. Herbs have certain attributes that chemical pharmaceuticals do not.
1. The chemical structure of herbs is more complex and therefore too complex for any resistance of bacteria to the herb to exist. Instead of a single chemical, plants contain hundreds or thousands of different compounds.
2. Plants have developed sophisticated responses to bacterial invasion over millions of years - complex chemicals in plants work in complex synergy with each other and nature has designed them to deactivate and destroy invasive pathogens through many different mechanisms.
3. When used properly, herbal remedies have very few side effects in humans, unlike many chemical medications.
Thanks to the comprehensive action of herbs on the numerous mechanisms of Lyme spirochete infection, the treatment of Lyme disease with herbs is becoming more and more popular.
Babesia is a parasitic protozoan that resembles malaria but is transmitted by ticks. Babesia causes the disease known as Babesiosis (other names are Babesiosis, Babesiosis). Babesia infection often coexists with Lyme disease and / or other tick-borne infections. The symptoms of babesiosis infection range from mild to severe. Mild forms very often go unrecognized because they are mistakenly taken for symptoms of Lyme disease. Early adopters often report high fever and chills. Chronic infections may be mildly symptomatic, and the most common symptoms are: intermittent fever or low-grade fever, chills and joint pain, chronic fatigue syndrome, sweating, and "inability to take a full breath".
Co-infection with Lyme spirochetes exacerbates the symptoms of both diseases, then their course becomes more severe and the consequences for the body are more serious. Symptoms may then include severe headaches, haemolytic anemia, central nervous system involvement, high fever and convulsions. A synergistic, mutually enhancing effect of Borrelia and Babesia spirochetes on the body was found. Borrelia DNA occurs more clearly and lingers longer in the bloodstream when co-infection with Babesia occurs. Then the negative effects on the joints, heart and nervous system are more serious. In some cases of co-infections, transverse myelitis with paresis of the arms and legs was found. The development of the disease is more rapid from the beginning, the convalescence period is longer, and the spectrum of symptoms is much wider.
Many herbs are very effective in combating Babesia infections, to which the protozoan does not develop immunity. As in the case of Lyme disease, also in the case of Babesiosis, the antimicrobial effect is only one of the elements leading to an effective therapy.
In the treatment of Babesiosis, attention should be paid to the important mechanisms of action of Babesia which impede its treatment. Babesia natural herbal treatment takes into account each of the following aspects.
Like malaria embryos, Babesia penetrates red blood cells - erythrocytes, where, by developing and reproducing, it destroys them. In addition, in the course of Babesia infection, there may be blockage of capillary blood vessels and microcirculation stagnation due to the deposition of fragments of damaged erythrocytes in the vessels. Their presence in the bloodstream can cause inflammation of the liver, kidneys and spleen.
Another important mechanism of Babesia infection is a strong negative effect on the immune system. Babesia changes the immune polarity in a very specific way, which changes the human immune response from Th 1 to Th 2. This leads to a poor reaction of the immune system to the infection and the body cannot eliminate this pathogen.
In the natural treatment of Babesiosis, the most commonly used herbs recommended by Buhner (listed on the official Buhner website buhnerhealinglyme.com) are: Alchornea cordifolia, Cryptolepis sanguinolenta, Sida acuta. These are herbs that exhibit a strong antiprotozoal effect and exhibit a systemic effect, i.e. they spread throughout the bloodstream, thus affecting every cell and organ. In addition, they strengthen the immune system, and Sida acuta protects the red blood cells. We recommend adding L-arginine to this protocol. Babesia is very sensitive to L-arginine, so supplementation with L-arginine helps to inhibit Babesia infection. Buhner’s protocol for Babesia is one of the most popular natural treatments of Babesia infection.
With more resistant infections, it is worth using the more comprehensive protocol recommended in Buhner's book "Natural Treatments for Lyme Coinfections: Anaplasma, Babesia, and Ehrlichia". In this case, the amount of herbs and preparations used is much greater, namely: Cryptolepis, Bidens pilosa, Artemisina, Sida acuta, Salvia miltiorrhiza, Milk Thistle, Ashwagandha, Panax ginseng, Licorice, Schisandra, L-arginine, Vitamin B2. In this combination of herbs for Babesia, in addition to acting against Babesia, strengthening immunity, protecting erythrocytes and organs, you will also enhance the regulation of the cytokine cascade, protect the endothelium, inhibit the arginase production as well as increase in the level of L-arginine and nitric oxide (NO).
Herbs used in the natural treatment of Babesia will comprehensively affect many infection mechanisms. If you want to use herbal therapy to treat Babesia, remember to read the protocol proposed by Buhner, as well as its contraindications.
Bartonella is one of the most common co-infections of Lyme disease. Like Borrelia, it is transmitted usually by ticks. Bartonella causes a disease called Bartonellosis.
In the presence of these two infections, the symptoms are exacerbated, especially when the central nervous system is involved. Common symptoms of Bartonellosis are: low-grade fever or temperature drops, periodic flu-like symptoms, chronic fatigue, swollen lymph nodes (often intermittent), abnormal skin sensation, tender subcutaneous nodules along the extremities, papular rashes, red or blue longitudinal rashes (sometimes similar to stretch marks), burning sensation, especially on the soles of the feet or stinging pains, hyperesthesia, headaches, eye problems, pain in the eyeballs, sleep problems, mood swings, cognitive impairment, jittery, anxiety, irritability, depressive symptoms.
Many herbs are very effective in combating Bartonellia (Bartonellosis). One of the most effective herbal protocol for treatment of this infection is Buhner’s protocol for Bartonella. You can read more about this protocol Stephen Harrod Buhner’s book "Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma."
Natural treatment of Bartonellosis takes into account both antibacterial activity, but also disrupts the vital functions of bacteria in the body, protects the tissues and organs it infects, inhibits the cytokine cascade and strengthens the immune system.
Herbs which exhibit strong antibacterial effect against Bartonella are: Houttuynia, Isatis and Alchornea cordifolia. Buhner recommends using these herbs as a mixture. The AHI Herbal Mix product is a ready-made mixture of these three herbs in the proportions recommended by Buhner.
Bartonella exhibits a strong affinity for two structures in the body: endothelial cells and red blood cells. Bartonella, after entering the host's organism, circulates in the host's bloodstream for about 3–4 days, and then inhabits the primary niche, which is the endothelial cells of blood vessels. Then, after a few days, the bacteria reach the erythrocytes (red blood cells), where they multiply. By attacking red blood cells, Bartonella also has access to heme, which ensures its survival. By splitting the heme into its constituent parts, it can obtain the nutrients it needs, including iron.
Protecting the endothelium and red blood cells from Bartonella invasion is one of the key elements for successful treatment. Preserving these structures is essential to disrupting its ability to nourish and multiply. Bartonella alone cannot produce the nutrients important for survival. By interfering with these factors, the spread of infection will be inhibited.
To protect the endothelium, Buhner used Japanese knotweed, EGCG and L-arginine in his protocol.
Sida acuta, on the other hand, will protect red blood cells.
In his protocol for Bartonella, Buhner also focuses on organ protection. In order to protect the heart, Buhner recommends Hawthorn, for liver protection - Milk thistle, and to protect the lymphatic system and the spleen - Red root.
Buhner also includes herbs that inhibit the cytokine cascade. Inhibition of the Bartonella-induced cytokine cascade is necessary to inhibit bacterial multiplication and disrupt bacterial nutrition. In most cases, this will reduce or even stop most symptoms caused by the infection. The key herbs for Bartonella which inhibit the cytokine cascade are Japanese knotweed and Cordyceps, but also supplementation with EGCG.
Strengthening of the immune system is also very important for successful treatment of Bartonella. The weaker the immune system is, the more the more severe is the infection and, consequently, the more severe are the symptoms. Boosting the immune system is just as important as having an antibacterial effect.
Rhodiola rosae (Mountain rose) and Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng, Latin Withania somnifera) are the two immune-boosting herbs suggested by Buhner.
Mycoplasma pneumoniae is another bacteria belonging to the group of Lyme co-infections. Mycoplasma is a bacterium that lacks a cell wall. Its outermost part is the cytoplasmic membrane. Mycoplasma, due to the lack of a cell wall, shows much greater flexibility and is therefore able to assume various shapes. The lack of a cell wall is also a feature that distinguishes it from other tick-borne co-infections.
Mycoplasma causes mainly infections of the respiratory and genitourinary systems. However, it is increasingly believed that it can cause systemic infections, affecting every organ and causing many chronic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis. The disease can be very different: from asymptomatic, through local symptoms (e.g. respiratory tract infections), to systemic infections. In a weakened organism due to another infection (e.g. Borrelia's spirochete or Chlamydia), mycoplasma infection can cause very serious symptoms. Mycoplasma can attack, among others, the nervous system, muscles (including the heart) and joints. The symptoms of infection with this pathogen are very similar to the symptoms of Lyme disease.
Disseminated infection can manifest itself in the following ways: fatigue that does not go away after rest, exercise intolerance, neurological dysfunctions, mental problems, cognitive problems, insomnia, depression, headaches, muscle and joint pain, joint swelling, pain in the lymph nodes, breathing problems, sweating, nausea, abdominal pain, fever, chronic conjunctivitis, skin changes (rashes, erythema), inflammation of the heart muscle, pericardium, liver, pancreas and other symptoms.
Many herbs are used in the natural treatment of Mycoplasma. One of the most effective natural methods of treating this infection is Stephen Buhner’s protocol for Mycoplasma from his book "Healing Lyme Disease Coinfections: Complementary and Holistic Treatments for Bartonella and Mycoplasma."
As with other protocols, Buhner places great emphasis on a comprehensive influence on Mycoplasma, which will cover the entire complex infectious mechanism. Natural treatment of Mycoplasma with herbs is based on both antibacterial and immune regulation, disrupting the cytokine cascade, protecting cells and organs attacked by bacteria, and replenishing nutrients that were "used up" during the infection.
Buhner selects a comprehensive set of Mycoplasma herbs that affects each of the above aspects. In his protocol for the natural treatment of Mycoplasma, he recommends introducing the following herbs to the therapy: Cordyceps sinensis, Chinese skullcap (Latin Scutellaria baicalensis), Isatis, Houttuynia cordata, Sida acuta, Schisandra, Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola rosae, Olive leaf. Herbal therapy should also be supplemented with N-acetyl-cysteine (NAC) and vitamin E.
Three of the above herbs: Schisandra, Siberian ginseng, Rhodiola rosae are recommended for use as a herbal mixture. ERS Herbal Mix is a ready-made product containing a macerate of these three herbs.
A big problem that arises during Mycoplasma infection is the consumption of a very large amount of nutrients by the bacteria during the infection process. Supplementing with nutrients is essential in the fight against symptoms associated with Mycoplasma infection. You can balance the nutrient deficiency with diet or additional supplementation. The nutrients necessary to supplement in the fight against Mycoplasma are: B vitamins, choline, zinc, copper, selenium, amino acids (L-tryptophan, L-threonine, L-serine, L-arginine) and essential fatty acids.
Natural treatment with Mycoplasma herbs will comprehensively affect many mechanisms of this infection. If you want to use herbs for Mycoplasma, remember to read the full protocol proposed by Buhner, as well as contraindications.
Chlamydia pneumoniae is a gram-negative bacterium, but with a cell wall much stiffer than is usually found in gram-negative bacteria.
Chlamydia is one of the tick-borne co-infections.
Chlamydia pneumoniae frequently affects the respiratory system, causing pneumonia (often referred to as atypical pneumonia), bronchitis, laryngitis, pharyngitis, rhinitis, sinusitis, and causes asthma symptoms.
Chlamydia pneumoniae is very important in the differential diagnosis of Lyme disease as it can cause nervous system disorders, myocarditis and reactive arthritis. The extra-pulmonary symptoms of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection over a very long period of time may be latent and are often difficult to recognize.
Chlamydia pneumoniae-induced reactive arthritis is often difficult to distinguish from Lyme arthritis. In the course of Chlamydia pneumoniae infection, attention should also be paid to Guillain-Bare syndrome. Guillain-Barré syndrome is an autoimmune disease that causes acute multi-root demyelinating inflammation, in which the immune system attacks parts of the peripheral nervous system, causing muscle weakness and tingling feelings in various parts of the body.
Moreover, Chlamydia pneumoniae can cause other symptoms, such as: chronic fatigue, burning sensation of various parts of the body, paralysis, strokes, problems with blood pressure, headaches, dementia, mental fog, mental disorders, pain in the testicles.
Many herbs are very effective in fighting Chlamydia. One of the most effective natural methods of treating Chlamydia with herbs is the Buhner protocol for Chlamydia from Stephen Harrod Buhner's book "Natural Healing of Lyme Borreliosis and the Coinfections Chlamydia and Spotted Fever Rickettsiosis ".
The main antibacterial herbs against Chlamydia pneumoniae are plants containing berberine. Such plants are, among others Barberry or Canadian goldenseal (Goldenseal, Latin Hydrastis canadensis). Chinese skullcap (Latin Scutellaria baicalensis) exhibits antibacterial properties against Chlamydia. Buhner also recommends the use of vitamin A. Retinol (a metabolite of vitamin A) inhibits the ability of Chlamydia to infect the endothelium and epithelial cells.
Chlamydia, like other intracellular pathogens from the group of tick-borne infections, induces the cytokine cascade. Cytokines are informational molecules that facilitate the infectious process of bacteria and the extraction of nutrients from the host cells. Therefore, the cytokine cascade must be inhibited to disrupt the infectious process of Chlamydia.
Salvia miltiorrhiza and Chinese skullcap (Latin Scutellaria baicalensis) are the main herbs to inhibit the cytokine cascade recommended by Buhner in his natural protocol for the treatment of Chlamydiosis.
Chlamydia also intercepts the host's immune system responses and functions. Chlamydia can therefore radically rebuild the human immune system in such a way as to adjust it to its advantage. A malfunctioning immune system does not notice the threat from bacteria and does not fight infection. Abnormalities in the work of the immune system often lead to autoimmune disorders. A deregulated immune system is a problem not only during the course of the infection, but also after the end of treatment, which will have further consequences. Herbs are very effective in modulating immune functions and restoring the proper functioning of the immune system.
Buhner's proposal in this case is three herbs: Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng, Latin Withania somnifera), Licorice and Cordyceps sinensis. According to Buhner's recommendations, these three herbs are recommended in the form of herbal mixture. The ACL Herbal Mix product contains ready-made macerate of Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng, Latin Withania somnifera), Cordyceps and Licorice.
The protection of cells and organs attacked by the bacterium is another integral part of treatment in Buhner's protocols. Bacteria have a tremendous, destructive effect on the organs. The protection of organs and cells should always be an integral part of any therapy. Salvia miltiorrhiza, Cordyceps sinensis and Bidens pilosa play a key role here as an essential part of the natural treatment of Chlamydia with herbs.
Natural treatment of Chlamydia will comprehensively affect many infection mechanisms. If you want to use herbs for Chlamydia remember to read the full protocol proposed by Buhner, as well as its contraindications.
Ehrlichia is a gram-negative intracellular bacterium that usually attacks white blood cells - leukocytes. Diseases caused by them are named after the type of leukocytes they attack. They are: human granulocytic Ehrlichiosis and human monocytic Ehrlichiosis.
Anaplasma is an intracellular pathogenic microorganism that attacks white blood cells, mainly polynuclear granulocytes (neutrophils, neutrophils).
Ehrlichia and Anaplasma were classified as co-infections of Lyme disease.
The most common symptoms of Ehrlichia infection are: pseudo-flu symptoms, i.e. fever above 38 ° C, headaches, muscle and joint pain, inflammation of the upper respiratory tract, cough, but also muscle and joint pain, malaise, thrombocytopenia, leukopenia, hyponatremia - sodium deficiency, nausea and vomiting, systolic heart murmurs, enlarged liver and / or spleen, enlarged lymph nodes, as well as mild skin changes - maculopapular rashes.
Anaplasma causes symptoms similar to those of Ehrlichia. In addition, it can also cause gastrointestinal symptoms, e.g. diarrhea.
There are characteristic changes in morphology during both Ehrlichia and Anaplasma infections. As the disease progresses, the level of white blood cells (leukopenia) decreases, the level of thrombocytes (thrombocytopenia) decreases, and indicators of liver function such as AST and ALT increase.
Buhner is one of the few herbalists who has described the mechanism of these infections in such depth and developed a herbal protocol for Ehrlichia and Anaplasma.
The natural treatment for Ehrlichia and Anaplasma is taken from the book by Stephen Harrod Buhner, "Natural Treatments for Lyme Coinfections: Anaplasma, Babesia, and Ehrlichia."
Herbal treatment of Ehrlichia and Anaplasma is done in the same way, so both of these infections were included together in the same protocol.
Buhner, as in all of his herbal protocols, points out that purely antimicrobial action is not enough. In his protocol, he takes into account the entire infectious mechanism of these bacteria.
The main antibacterial herbs against Ehrlichia and Anaplasma are: Houttuynia cordata, Salvia miltiorrhiza, Licorice, Kudzu (Pueraria labota), Chinese skullcap (Latin Scutellaria baicalensis).
These herbs also inhibit the bacterial-induced cytokine cascade. Inhibition of the cytokine cascade disrupts the infectious process and the acquisition of nutrients from the host cells by bacteria.
The influence of bacteria on the immune system is very significant. Ehrlichia attacks multinucleated blood leukocytes, therefore its main place of existence in an infected organism is neutrophils (also called neutrophils or neutrocytes). Neutrophils are the most numerous group of leukocytes. Leukocytes, in turn, are cells of the immune system. The bacteria impairs the normal functioning of neutrophils. So it uses our own immune system to find refuge from the attack of the immune system not only by hiding in immune cells, but also by impairing their functions. In addition, Ehrlichia inhibits the production of interleukin-2 in the spleen, contributes to the increase in the production of interleukin 4 and the reduction of the production of gamma interferon.
For the modulation of the immune system, Buhner recommends the use of herbs: Angelica sinensis, Astragalus membranceus, Licorice, Ashwagandha (Indian ginseng, Latin Withania somnifera), Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), Cordyceps, Houttuynia, Panax ginseng Salvia miltiorrhiza, Chinese skullcap (Latin Scutellaria baicalensis).
Ehrlichia has a negative impact on the functioning of organs such as the spleen, liver, bone marrow and the lymphatic system.
Milk thistle protects the liver.
Salvia miltiorrhiza will protect the spleen.
Herbs which protect the bone marrow are: Angelica sinensis, Astragalus, Licorice, Cordyceps, Korean ginseng (Panax ginseng), Salvia miltiorrhiza.
As many as 11 different herbs are included in the natural treatment protocol for Ehrlichia and Anaplasma. It is a very complex protocol. In his protocol, Buhner groups some of these herbs into mixtures, which greatly facilitates the implementation of the protocol.
A similar list of herbal mixtures prepared from herbs suggested by Buhner can be found in the following ready-made tinctures:
HS Herbal Mix contains macerate made of Houttuynia cordata herb and Salvia miltiorrhiza root (red sage).
CKC Herbal Mix contains macerate made of Chinese skullcap root (Latin Scutellaria baicalensis), Kudzu root (Pueraria Lobata) and Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis).
ALA Herbal Mix contains macerate made of Angelica sinesis root, Licorice root (Glycyrrhizae glabra) and Astragalus root (Astragalus membranceus).
Natural treatment with Ehrlichia and Anaplasma herbs will comprehensively affect many infection mechanisms. If you want to use herbs for Ehlichia and Anaplasma, remember to read the full protocol proposed by Buhner, as well as its contraindications.