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Essential oils for Lyme Disease


Essential oils for Lyme Disease

Essential oils derived from garlic and other common herbs inhibit the activity of the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Lyme disease is an arthritic condition caused by bacteria that are spread by ticks. These oils may be effective in reducing Lyme symptoms that persist despite traditional antibiotic treatment.

Researchers evaluated lab-dish studies of 35 essential oils, which are extracted from plants or their fruits and contain the aroma or essence of the plant. Oils from cinnamon wood, garlic cloves, myrrh trees, cumin seeds, thyme leaves, and allspice berries, among others, had high killing activity against dormant and slow-growing “persister” forms of the Lyme disease bacterium. Researchers discovered that these essential oils were even more effective than typical Lyme drugs at killing the “persister” types of Lyme bacteria.

Lyme disease is often treated with doxycycline or another antibiotic for a few weeks. It aids in the healing of the illness and the alleviation of symptoms. However, between 10% and 20% of patients experience persistent symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain, which are referred to as “chronic Lyme infection” or “post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome” (PTLDS) and can last months or years in some circumstances. Essential oils and other therapies can be beneficial in these cases.

Alternative treatments for Lyme disease do not substitute medical treatment and can be used along with medical treatment with the knowledge of your treating doctor.


Essential oils in the treatment of Lyme disease: what does the research say?

According to a study at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, oils from garlic and numerous other common herbs and medicinal plants have potent antibacterial activity against the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. Moreover, these oils may be especially helpful in treating Lyme symptoms that persist despite normal antibiotic treatment.

The study, published in the journal Antibiotics, included lab-dish tests of 35 essential oils extracted from plants or their fruits that contain the plant's main scent or "essence." The researchers discovered that 10 of them, including oils from garlic cloves, myrrh trees, thyme leaves, cinnamon bark, allspice berries, and cumin seeds, had potent lethal effects against dormant and slow-growing "persister" Lyme disease bacteria.

"We discovered that these essential oils were even more effective than typical Lyme medications at eliminating the 'persister' types of Lyme bacteria," says senior author of the study Ying Zhang, MD, PhD, professor in the Bloomberg School's Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology.

In the United States, an estimated 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease are diagnosed each year. For a few weeks, standard treatment with doxycycline or another antibiotic usually clears the infection and relieves symptoms. However, between 10% and 20% of patients experience persistent symptoms such as fatigue and joint pain, which are referred to as "persistent Lyme infection" or "PTLDS” and can last months or years in certain cases.

This lingering syndrome's cause is unknown. However, it is known that Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease can enter a stationary phase, wherein many cells divide slowly or do not divide at all. Slow-dividing or quiescent cells are "persister" cells, which grow spontaneously under nutrition deprivation or stress conditions and are more antibiotic resistant. Other medications or medicinal compounds that can kill persistent Lyme bacteria have been sought by certain researchers so that these compounds can be used to treat people with chronic Lyme symptoms.

Zhang and his colleagues have been at the vanguard of these efforts. They investigated FDA-approved medications for activity against persister Lyme bacteria in 2014 and discovered numerous options, including daptomycin (used to treat MRSA), that were more effective than the current Lyme antibiotics. They reported in 2015 that in lab-dish testing, a three-antibiotic combination (doxycycline, cefoperazone, and daptomycin) effectively eliminated Lyme persister bacteria. Essential oils from oregano, cinnamon bark, clove buds, citronella, and wintergreen killed stationary-phase Lyme bacteria even more effectively than daptomycin, the most powerful of the tested medications, according to a 2017 study.

Zhang and his colleagues expanded their lab-dish testing to include 35 additional essential oils, revealing that 10 have substantial killing power against the stationary-phase Lyme bacteria cultures at doses as low as one part per thousand. Five of these oils, produced from garlic bulbs, allspice berries, myrrh trees, and spiked ginger lily blooms, may alter fruit and eliminated all stationary-phase Lyme bacteria in their culture dishes in 7 days at this concentration, with no bacteria growing back in 21 days.

Cinnamaldehyde, the fragrant primary element in cinnamon bark oil, performed well, as did oils from thyme leaves, cumin seeds, and amyris wood.

These lab-dish tests are still in the early stages of development, but Zhang and colleagues want to expand their study by experimenting with live animals in the future, including tests in mouse models of persistent Lyme infection. If the tests go well and the effective doses appear to be safe, Zhang plans to conduct preliminary human trials.

At this point, these essential oils appear to be viable candidates for treating persistent Lyme infection, but we will need to conduct properly planned clinical trials in the future.


Study of 35 essential oils against Lyme disease

The activity of another group of 35 novel essential oils, as well as control medications, against a stationary-phase culture of a 7-day-old B. burgdorferi in 96-well plates incubated for 7 days was investigated in this study. Even at a 0.05% concentration, cinnamon bark essential oil showed very high activity against B. burgdorferi at the stationary phase in a prior study. They included cinnamaldehyde (CA), the main constituent in cinnamon bark, in this screen to identify the active components of cinnamon bark essential oil. The activity of the 35 essential oils and CA against B. burgdorferi culture at the stationary phase was observed. Even though the autofluorescence of Litsea cubeba essential oil was too strong to determine its activity at 0.2% concentration, all other essential oil candidates, except parsley seed, showed significantly higher activity than the doxycycline control at 0.2% concentration.

Comparing with the control antibiotics doxycycline, cefuroxime, and daptomycin, 16 essential oils and CA at 0.2% concentration had a high activity against B. burgdorferi growth at the stationary phase.

Ten essential oils (garlic, allspice, cumin, palmarosa, myrrh, hydacheim, amyris, thyme white, Litsea cubeba, and lemon eucalyptus) and CA showed significant anti-microbial activity compared with the currently used doxycycline at a concentration of 0.1%. Because of their amazing activity even at 0.1%, the most active essential oils were garlic, allspice, cumin, palmarosa, myrrh, and hydacheim. At 0.1% concentration, CA also demonstrated a lot of action.

They found no difference in activity between the doxycycline control and the other six essential oils (cornmint, fennel sweet, ho wood, birch, petitgrain, and head relief), which showed strong activity at 0.2% concentration. Both essential oils showed strong activity against stationary-phase B. burgdorferi, as confirmed by fluorescence microscopy.


What is Lyme disease, and how does it affect you?

Lyme disease is becoming more widespread in the United States, with over 300,000 people afflicted each year, making it more common than breast cancer. Lyme disease, which is caused by the spirochete B. burgdorferi, has long been thought to be largely a tick-borne illness. After a tick bite has occurred and the tick has been securely removed, only minimal swelling and itching are usually left. Other symptoms will emerge if the tick is carrying Lyme disease.

The "bull’s-eye" rash, which develops around the bite like a target, is the most well-known Lyme symptom. However, some people never get a rash, so don't rely on that as your only indicator! Lyme disease can also cause flu-like symptoms such as aches and pains.

Lyme disease can progress into more chronic illnesses, including arthritis, aching muscles and joints, memory problems, headaches, numbness or weakness, and severe fatigue, if it isn't treated promptly. Because Lyme disease is a serious risk, tick bites should be avoided first and then continuously monitored if avoidance fails.


Essential oils to prevent ticks

When it comes to Lyme disease, prevention is crucial. Even when persistent symptoms may be prevented, Lyme disease symptoms and treatment can be difficult. No one wants to deal with that type of pain and inconvenience, and no one should have to live with the long-term repercussions if they discover how to naturally treat Lyme disease.

Northern US coastlines, the Mid-Atlantic, Wisconsin, and Minnesota are most vulnerable to Lyme-carrying ticks; however, all states are at risk. To prepare and protect your family from tick bites and Lyme disease, use these oils with your standard lemon, eucalyptus, and citronella oils for a more diverse strategy.


Citronella is usually the first thing that comes to mind when we think about bug repellents. Citronella candles and sprays can be used to prevent ticks. Citronella, on the other hand, may not be the first choice for ticks.


Cloves are safer for children than citronella. A 2014 study compared the effects of two oils on ticks: clove and citronella. While citronella was beneficial, clove outperformed it significantly, with an efficacy of more than 90%. Use clove in outdoor diffusions where ticks are likely to be present. Use direct sprays, ground/surface treatments, and topical preventative applications when diluted.


Vetiver essential oil was investigated for its efficacy against ticks and their larvae in tests. Vetiver can keep ticks at bay even better than regular therapies. Application: In tick-infested areas, ground and surface treatments and topical application for bug repelling properties are beneficial.


The essential oil profile of oregano, a popular kitchen herb, is quite strong. Oregano essential oil is used in pest control and Lyme prevention. It is an antibacterial or antibiotic oil with significant effects on the skin that require dilution. Topical bug repellents are used in this application. Because oregano can be irritating to the skin, make sure you dilute it well and use it as part of a bigger combination.


Study findings show that 5% oregano and spearmint oils have potential as natural garment repellents with efficacy equivalent to 20% DEET repellents.


Tick death rates were virtually 100% after being exposed to garlic essential oil. If you can't find garlic essential oil, make your own garlic oil infusion to use in your ground and surface treatments.

You can't go uncovered if you're going to be in regions where ticks are a major risk. Essential oil compositions tend to be the smarter choice for learning how to treat Lyme disease naturally, as several oils appear to be more effective than commercial ones.

Keep these simple body oils on hand to apply to exposed skin if tick exposure is expected to be high. Hikers, campers, and those who enjoy outdoor activities, which take them into the woods, should be aware of the dangers. Keep in mind that these oils are strong, so keep them away from your eyes and mouth.