The number of cases of Lyme disease has more than doubled over the last 15 years. Etymologists and other experts anticipate the number of incidents of Lyme disease to rise due to growth of the tick habitat resulting from a warming climate. Recently, scientists have discovered that the bacteria that causes Lyme disease is also carried by mosquitoes. And other insects carry other infectious bacteria. In the United States, 300,000 people a year are diagnosed with Lyme disease annually, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Lyme disease is caused by bacteria received from a Ixodes tick bite. These ticks are dependent on deer to reproduce and on mice to become infected; hence the reference to deer ticks. On the West coast of the United States these are also known as black-legged ticks. Many people associate Lyme disease with the East coast, but it is in fact found throughout the United States, as well as in more than 60 countries.
Lyme disease is dependent is caused by a spirochete bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is not transmitted until the tick has fed for several hours. In addition to the characteristic skin lesion(distinctive bull’s eye) known as erythema migrans at the site of the tick bite, Lyme disease is characterized by fatigue, headache, stiffness, muscle soreness and swollen lymph glands. Neurological symptoms can develop and persist for weeks to months. Lyme arthritis causes pain and swelling in large joints and can affect the person for years. It stars as a ringworm-like spot at the site of the bite. It can be very serious if not treated. In fact, if not treated, it can spread to the heart and nervous system as well as the joints. Symptoms may not develop for a few weeks, so you should keep an eye on the bite area.
Remedies for Lyme Disease
There are two approaches to dealing with Lyme disease. The first approach is to prevent contact with ticks. The second approach is treatment alternatives after a tick bite.
Examine your body and clothing after coming in from tick habitats such as woods or fields. Visually inspect all the nooks and crannies for ticks and remove any found promptly. Use a mirror to be sure to get a thorough visual. Even better, shower or bathe within 2 hours of coming indoors to remove ticks that may have found their way on to your person. Although they are a year-round threat, ticks are prevalent in warmer months (April to September) so be extra vigilant during these months. Don’t forget to also examine outdoor gear such as backpacks, coolers, blankets and clothing. Tumble drying clothes for up to an hour at high heat can kill any ticks on the garments.
After pets come in from outdoors – especially if they’ve been in fields or the woods – go over them with a fine-toothed flea comb. This will help to catch ticks that haven’t attached themselves yet. Concentrate around the neck and head and under the ears. Dogs are particularly vulnerable to ticks and the diseases they can cause. Since tick bites can be tricky to detect on dogs and symptoms of Lyme disease may not appear for 7 to 21 days or longer, observe your dog’s appetite and behavior for any changes. Cats are extremely sensitive to many chemicals so be sure to check with your veterinarian before applying any pesticides to them. There are various pesticide products that kill ticks that contain acaricide. These include dusting powder, sprays, topical treatments and collars. Some kill ticks on contact while others are absorbed by the dog’s blood and kill the tick when it feeds on the animal. Tick repellents called pyrethroids are also available. While these do not kill ticks, they can prevent bite wounds.
Use insect repellent when venturing out into the woods, a field or other natural habitat for ticks. There are positives and negatives that go along with all insect repellents. The number one ingredient found in commercial insect repellents is DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide), which the Environmental Working Group reports is maligned for being toxic. They also report that DEET’s safety profile is better than most people realize and that in fact, it is among a very small handful of effective insect repellent ingredients. A natural alternative to DEET is oil of lemon eucalyptus. The naturally occurring substancepara-menthane-3, 8-diol (PMD) is concentrated by refining the tree oil. The EPA defines refined oil of eucalyptus as a biochemical pesticide – a naturally occurring ingredient that uses non-toxic mechanisms to control pests. Biochemical pesticides can be approved by the EPA with less safety testing than chemical pesticides. ALL insect repellents must be used with caution with small children. Follow the instructions on the label of any products purchased.
Like creating defensible space in fire-prone areas, eliminating tick habitat can be helpful in preventing tick bites. If ticks don’t have a place to live, they are likely to go elsewhere. Specifically:
- Don’t let grass get too tall; mow it frequently
- Cut down brush and tall grasses close to the home and near the edge of a lawn
- Place patio furniture, playground equipment, sand boxes, fire pits
- Create a 3 foot defensible space of gravel or wood chips between wooded areas and the edge of the lawn
- Remove leaf litter and other organic debris
- Eliminate tick hiding places; get rid of any trash, old furniture or mattresses from the yard
A classification of pesticides known as acaricides can help reduce the number of ticks in the yard. There are acaricides that are easy to apply, relatively inexpensive and safe if applied according to label instructions. Fortunately, only small amounts of acaricides are required, however, they must be applied at the right time of the year. Specifically, acaricides are applied in the developmental stage where the tick is most likely to transmit Lyme disease. May and early June are the ideal times for application of acaricides. Alternatively, hire a pest control company to help manage ticks in your yard. Check with local health and/or agriculture agencies about the optimum time of year to apply tick-prevention pesticides in your area.
Two of the least toxic acaricides are diatomaceous earth and compounds containing phyrethin. Diatomaceous earth is the crushed fossils of diatoms. Food-grade diatomaceous earth is safe and non-toxic and works by mechanical action. It pierces the shell or exoskeleton of the tick. It then dehydrates and dies. Pyrethrins are natural chemicals that come from chrysanthemums. These do require direct contact with mites and ticks to be effective, although they are not as toxic as other insecticides.
Unfortunately, there is not currently a test that can determine if there is an active infection or if the infection has been cleared up. The consensus among experts is that the earlier an infection is treated, the better the likelihood of successfully eradicating Lyme disease in an individual.
Traditional Western medicine treats Lyme disease is with a course of antibiotics from several days to several weeks. There is controversy within the medical community whether or not Lyme disease can persist into a chronic condition. Doctors belonging to the Infectious Disease Society of America (IDSA) do not believe Lyme disease is a chronic condition. As a result, they rarely treat a patient with a course of antibiotics for more than four weeks. In any event, any course of antibiotics should be taken with a good probiotic supplement. This helps to maintain beneficial bacteria in the gut since antibiotics kill off both good and bad bacteria.
Bee Venom Therapy
Bee venom is a poison made by the bee to scare attackers away. (This is not to be confused with wasp venom. Wasps are different insects.) Bees eat pollen and their venom is completely clean. Bee venom contains melittin, a peptide that has been found to be an extremely effective antibiotic for Lyme disease. Melittin has also been found to have effective antiviral properties for some of the other viruses that accompany Lyme disease. This therapy can be uncomfortable for the first months but become easy once reactions cease.
Calcium Bentonite Clay
When taken internally, calcium bentonite clay travels through the body and attracts toxins including parasites and bacteria. The science of how this happens is because bentonite clay has a negative ionic charge. Material in the intestinal tract with a positive ionic charge is attracted to the clay molecule. Toxic material is absorbed by the clay and attaches to the surface. The clay and attached and absorbed toxins are eliminated from the body through ordinary waste processes together.
Since Lyme disease is a bacterial infection, drinking bentonite clay may help remove it from the body. The same clay that Earth’s Natural Clay sells as Drinking Powder was used in a study by Arizona State University involving methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Amazingly, it was found that the bentonite clay KILLED MRSA in the lab. A more recent study out of Arizona State University again proved that clay kills a range of pathogens, including MRSA, as well as E. coli.
Our calcium bentonite clay suitable for internal consumption is known as Drinking Powder. It is suitable for internal as well as external use. Many of our customers use our Drinking Powder as part of their daily ritual. Typically, the way to drink clay is to mix it 1 part clay to 8 parts filtered water. This creates a ‘batch’ of clay water. Just drink 1 ounce of the clay water daily for one week. After Week 1, drink 2 ounces of clay water each day. This recommendation is ideal for healthy individuals. People trying to address health concerns may choose to drink more clay in Week 3, 4 and 5. The most important aspect is to listen to your body, since everyone is highly unique and different from one another. Drinking clay is safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women, children and pets.
Detoxification will aid in giving the body room to overcome many maladies and return it to homeostasis. There are many raw foods including fruits, veggies, juices and green smoothies that aid the body’s detoxification processes. When it comes to diet and detoxification, processed foods should be avoided. Those that are feeling well and healthy should drink half their body weight in ounces of water on a daily basis. Try to drink 8 ounces of water every hour beginning first thing in the morning; set an alarm to remind yourself.
Regular use of a far infrared sauna is an easy and effective way to detoxify the tissues of the body, particularly for those who have a slow metabolism. Infrared waves penetrate the tissues several inches beneath the surface of the skin – much more so than traditional saunas. This enhances the body’s ability to burn calories as well as other natural metabolic processes. It also brings oxygen to tissue and enhances circulation.
Essential oils are rarely applied directly on the skin ‘neat’ or without first being mixed with carrier oil. Good carrier oils include hexane-free castor oil, sweet almond oil, coconut oil and olive oil. If new to using essential oils, mix the essential oil 1:10 with carrier oil and monitor the response over several days.
Eucalyptus citriodora is both antiseptic and antibacterial. It can be applied to the chest twice per day. This is also a natural insect repellent.
Rosemary 1,8 cineole chemotype is high in oxides; is antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antispasmodic and reduces inflammation. Apply Rosemary ct. 1,8 cineole at the site of the infection. If unsure of the location of the infection, apply to the bottom of the feet. This essential oil should not be used on children.
Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt is a Lyme disease expert and has also suffered from Lyme disease himself. Dr. Klinghardt prefers use of a line of herbal antimicrobials rather than long-term antibiotic use because of the impairment of gut flora with the latter. Since his protocol cycles various herbal microbials, it is believed that becoming resistant to these is not an issue. He also recommends focusing on boosting immune system function through diet and antioxidants. Herbal microbials included in Dr. Klinghardt’s treatment include:
- PC Samento (Amazon cat’s claw)
- PC-Noni (a concentrated, energy-enhanced extract of Noni)
- Artemisinin (Sweet wormwood)
- Andrographis paniculata (King of Bitters)
- Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
- Smilax glabra (Sasparilla)
- Stephania tetrandra and Stephania cepharantha (Stephania root)
Other Natural Remedies
These may be useful in treating Lyme disease:
- Cilantro –a natural chelator of heavy metals.
- Curcumin – reduces brain swelling and neurological toxins
- Grapefruit seed extract – may treat the cyst form of the Borrelia spirochete
- Krill oil – reduces inflammation
- Melatonin – to help with insomnia
- Probiotics – to restore healthy gut flora during and after antibiotics as well as improving immune function
Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt claims to have rescued many people from orthopedic surgery by injecting ozone directly into the hip joint. He states that this therapy is 100% effective if Lyme disease is solely confined to the joint space. The ozone kills the spirochetes after one or sometimes two treatments.
Stress in all of its forms can be detrimental to optimal health and wellness. Battling an infection or other illness stresses the body; not feeling well also takes its toll on mental health. For these reasons, it is especially important to engage in stress reduction activities. Examples include:
- physical exercise
- tai chi
- listening to music
- connecting with nature outdoors.
Find a practice that you enjoy and make it part of your daily routine.
Readers are advised to seek competent, professional medical advice in administering any treatment of Lyme disease. The treatment options and remedies referenced here are generic and not intended for use by anyone without professional medical help.
The Doctors Book of Home Remedies, edited by Deborah Tkac, 1990, Rodale Press, Emmaus Pennsylvania
Nature’s Farmacy, Lorene Davies, 2009
Natural Detoxification, A Practical Encyclopedia, Jacqueline Krohn, MD, Frances Taylor, 2000, Hartley and Marks Publishers Inc, Pt. Roberts, WA