Medicinal Herbs and Lyme Disease
Jean Schneider, Spirit Worker and Clinical Herbalist
The following info is a handout from some of the slides from the one hour talk for the Madison Herb Society at the Herb Faire 2019, by Jean Schneider. This is NOT a treatment protocol. Those with Lyme Disease need to see a professional for comprehensive personalized treatment. I do work with people with Lyme Disease, if you would like a Clinical Herbal consultation, please contact me through the website.
Borrelia burgdorfi bacteria
Lyme Disease is caused by the bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. It is a gram-negative bacterium, resistant to antibodies and antibiotics. Over 20 named Borrelia species in this group, and more unnamed. Each of these has subspecies and strains.
Infections of Borrelia bacteria should be referred to as Borreliosis. (please, no “Lyme’s”)
Borrelia is a spirochete. It is cork screw shaped and can literally drill into any tissue in the body, including the brain. The brain is protected by the brain-blood barrier, generally infections cannot access the brain nor can our immune systems. Borrelia frequents the brain, central nervous system, joints and connective tissue. They break down collagen for food.
Spirochetes have many different life cycle stages, some can stay dormant for YEARS in the body. They hide in biofilms and frequently form relationships with other pathogens.
They can change their DNA based on conditions in their hosts. Spirochetes can also invert themselves to avoid detection. They are masters at evading and confusing the immune system, getting the immune system to attack self-tissues.
Borrelia penetrate endothelial cells in order to move throughout the body. Endothelial cells and junctions found in blood vessels, heart, brain and lymphatic vessels. Then on to the central nervous system.
Borrelia initiate an inflammatory process that stimulates a cytokine cascade by the immune system (autoimmune). The Borrelia also create cytokines themselves.
A Sampling of Herbs for Lyme Disease (Borreliosis)
This is NOT a treatment protocol.
*Not all contraindications are listed. Some should not be used if: pregnant, nursing, or with some drugs.
Japanese Knotweed Polygonum cuspidatum or Fallopian japonica, Root
Antibacterial (gram-negative and gram-positive), anti-fungal, antiviral, ant-spirochetal, anti-mutagenic, immune modulator, anti-inflammatory, calcium channel adaptogen, CNS protectant and anti-inflammatory, CNS relaxant, antioxidant, vasodilator, inhibits platelet aggregation, antipyretic, cardioprotective, analgesic, astringent and sour. Broad anti-fungal, strongly against Candida albicans; gently and slowly breaks up biofilms, inhibits biofilm formation.
How it works for Lyme Disease
Strongly protective of endothelial cells. Prohibits Borrelia from moving throughout the body, especially the brain. Cytokine modulation - reduces cytokines produced by Borrelia (which protects body from endotoxin damage, reduces Herx reactions) reduces autoimmune reactions, modulates immune system, neuroregenerative, cardioprotective. Do not use with blood thinning drugs. (I keep this tincture in stock)
Milky Oats, Avena sativa, seed in the milk stage
Extraordinary restorative to the nervous system. Food for nerves, rebuilds nerves, nervine used for chronic stress, anxiety and nervous system ailments. Medicine must be made from the fresh plant in the milk stage. As a food category herb, high doses can be used. (I keep this tincture in stock)
Echinacea, Echinacea purpurea and Echinacea angustifolia
For acute Lyme, stimulates immune system, increases WBC count, lymphatic do not use in chronic Lymecontraindicated for those with autoimmune disease.
Baikal skullcap root, Scuellaria baicalensis, Chinese Skullcap (Huang-qin) Root
Anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, strongly anti-virala synergist, systemic herbstrongest of cytokine modulating herbsanti-spirochetal, cystic forms, persisters, biofilms, both alone and with doxycyclinenormalizes immune system, inhibits histamine release from mast cells - hyperimmune responses (hives, asthma, rhinitis)helps with allergic reactions, autoimmune diseasestypically used in formulas - but for Borrelia I use it separately. Use cautiously with blood thinners. (I keep this tincture in stock)
Garlic, allium sativum
Pungent, hot and dry herb1200mg per day for 8 weeks reduces tick bites - this may not be appropriate for everyonemodulates inflammation from an infectionaffective against many bacteria including staph, H-pylori, Candida albicans, e-coli.
Teasel Root, Dipsacus sylvestris, D. fullonum
Use the first year root. It is not a primary herb for Lyme Disease. Works for some and not others, can cause a Herx in some. Use for acute Lyme, use 1 drop doses, increase by one drop at a time. Stay at low doses. 1-3 drops 3 times per day is typical. See Matthew Wood books for more info.
Other herbs that can be helpful for spirochetal infections
Sarsaparilla, Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua, many pulse this herb), Oregon Grape Root (Berbers aquifolium). Many of these herbs work on co-infections too. Use the whole plant medicine versus extracted constituents (Berberine).