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Are you considering using herbs for Lyme disease treatment?

If so, I’ve put together a list of the most common and effective herbs for Lyme that I hope will help you in your research.

I know I have a medical disclaimer at the bottom of every page, but I feel like this post needs an extra one.

Please note that it is important to ask your doctor or herbalist before starting any new herbal treatment for Chronic Lyme.

I’m simply sharing what I’ve learned on my own journey with Lyme disease and the research available, so that you can make an informed decision on how you want to move forward.

For each of the herbs, I’ll do my best to provide its scientific name as well as any common names it goes by. Also, if the herb is recommended as part of a popular Lyme disease herbal protocol, then I will note that as well, along with who recommends it.

This master list of Lyme herbs only contains those recommended by leading Lyme literate physicians, naturopathic doctors and master herbalists. These include but are not limited to:

  • Dr. Lee Cowden, M.D.
  • Stephen Harrod Buhner, Master Herbalist
  • Dr. Bill Rawls, M.D.
  • Phyllis A. Balch, Certified Nutritional Consultant

Before I present the list of herbs, let’s discuss a few frequently asked questions.

What Is Lyme Disease?

If you don’t already know (though I bet you do if you’re reading this article), Lyme disease is the most infamous tick-borne disease, though most ticks carry and transmit multiple co-infections along with it. [1]

The specific bacteria responsible for Lyme disease is a spirochete known as Borrelia burgdorferi. It’s a corkscrew-shaped bacteria that burrows deep into the various tissues of its host. [2]

My own experience with Lyme disease and the reports of several doctors have shown me that if left untreated and allowed to morph from acute to chronic stage, Lyme acts as an autoimmune disease, resulting in inflammatory responses in multiple body systems, depending where the Lyme bacteria migrate. [3]

Wherever the bacteria lands and “digs in” will dictate what sort of symptoms you experience. That’s why Chronic Lyme symptoms are so widespread from person to person. That’s also the reason why successful treatments differ from one person to the next.

Do Herbs Work for Lyme Disease?

The Lyme bacteria is notorious for being elusive, easily evading and even adapting to protect itself against modern treatment methods. This is one reason why herbal remedies for Lyme disease have become so popular.

Because Lyme disease is so complex, its treatment must be multi-faceted. A successful herbal protocol is one that attacks it from every angle while simultaneously supporting and strengthening body systems.

These include using antibacterial herbs to eliminate the pathogen itself as well as herbs to restore affected tissues, to reduce nervous system inflammation, to boost the immune system and more.

The ultimate goal in using herbs for Lyme disease is to restore the body’s ability to work properly and heal itself.

If you’re looking for a quick fix, herbs may not be for you. First of all, there is no “quick fix” for Lyme disease. However, people do report faster results with prescription antibiotics, but they also destroy your good gut bacteria.

So it’s just a matter of weighing the pros and cons of each and deciding which route you want to try.

What Herbs Cure Lyme Disease in Humans?

There is no one individual herb that is said to be a “cure” for Lyme disease. For decades now, we’ve been conditioned to believe that for any given disease, there is one specific remedy that works across the board for all people.

That type of mentality doesn’t take into account the fact that each person is biochemically unique. And when you throw Lyme disease into the mix, you now have to consider how and where the bacteria has affected that particular person.

As someone who has suffered with Lyme disease for years, it’s incredibly frustrating to hear “what works for me might not work for you,” but it is true.

There are simply too many moving parts for one herb to be a blanket cure for Lyme disease.

When looking for herbs to treat Lyme disease, you need to consider the synergistic effect of herbs and that most of the time, herbal combinations are more effective than single herbs taken separately.

I’ve been actively treating Lyme disease for over a year now. In that time I’ve tried all sorts of treatments from prescription drugs to herbal remedies for Lyme. Each one has their benefits and downfalls.

It would be irresponsible of me to say that one form of Lyme disease treatment is better than the other.

This article is not meant to persuade you to try a naturopathic treatment for Lyme disease. However, herbs can be an effective method of treatment for many people. [4]

With that said, I’ve put together this list of herbs for Lyme disease for those of you who are interested in learning more and are considering working herbs into your protocol.

As mentioned earlier, the herbs I present today will include only those studied and recommended by top Lyme-literate physicians and master herbalists.

25 Herbs for Lyme Disease

25 Herbs for Lyme Disease

 

1 – Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)

Though there are 28 species of andrographis, it is the Andrographis paniculata that is most widely used in medicine today. Known as “King of Bitters,” it has been used in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries.

In the Lyme world, andrographis is popular for being an anti-spirochete, meaning it is uniquely suited for defense against spirochete bacteria, which of course is what Lyme is.

A 2014 study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Disease looked closely at the phytochemistry and pharmacology of this versatile herb and found it to be a potent antimicrobial with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and immunostimulant properties. [5]

Its primary chemical constituent is andrographolide, which is among the most studied chemicals on the planet. [6] This chemical, along with several other compounds, give andrographis its antipyretic (fever reducer) and anti-cancer action as well as its anti-inflammatory and anti-spirochete benefits.

It is one of the few treatments for Lyme disease that is able to cross the blood-brain barrier and address the neurodegeneration that’s often associated with late-stage Lyme or Chronic Lyme.

Outside of Lyme disease, andrographis has been studied for its beneficial effects on metabolic conditions such as diabetes, cancer, hypertension, obesity and more. [7]

Andrographis has also been shown to have a positive impact on multiple sclerosis as shown in a September 2017 study published in CNS Drugs. [8]  These findings are significant for Lyme disease as well since it is often misdiagnosed as MS and shares many of its symptoms.

*Recommended by Buhner, Master Herbalist*

 

2 – Milk Thistle (Silybum marianum, Blessed milk thistle, Mary thistle, Cardus marianus)

 

Native to North Africa and southern Europe, milk thistle has been used for centuries to treat various liver conditions. It is by far the “king” of the herbs when it comes to liver support and protection.

Its primary constituent is known as silymarin, which is responsible for its antioxidant protection and regenerating ability for liver cells. Of all the known herbs, milk thistle is the most researched liver-protective herb that beloved for its safety and low toxicity. [9]

Research on milk thistle’s mechanism of action in regard to the liver is diverse, but researchers have summarized that its hepatoprotective benefits may be due to its antioxidant activity, its ability to boost protein synthesis and its ability to protect against toxins at the membrane level.

For people with Lyme disease, the liver gets congested easily. Once congested, toxins build up and cause all sorts of problems. Milk thistle is a fantastic herb to complement just about any treatment protocol.

In fact, my doctor prescribed it along with certain antibiotics and antifungals as a means of supporting my liver through the treatment process. I’ve also heard dozens of Lyme patients testify to its ability to lower their previously elevated liver enzymes.

 

3- Echinacea (Echinacea purpurea, Coneflower)

 

Echinacea is one of those herbs that has even grown popular within traditional medicine. Research has shown it to have potent antidiabetic, antihypertensive and antiviral properties. [10]

Echinacea is also popular for its ability to strengthen the immune system, especially in the case of the common cold or flu virus. In fact, a 2007 study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut’s School of Pharmacy revealed that echinacea can reduce your chances of catching a cold by over 50%, and if you do catch one, it can shorten the duration of it by 1 to 4 days. [11]

Besides its immune boost, echinacea is used for Lyme disease largely for its clinically demonstrated anti-inflammatory properties. [12] This is thanks to certain compounds within echinacea that work to suppress the body’s inflammatory response. It has been indicated in the treatment for Crohn’s disease, arthritis, ulcers and more.

It is well known that Lyme disease has a certain affinity for collagen, which is one of the reasons joint pain is so prevalent within the Lyme community. [13] Echinacea’s efficacy for joint pain related to arthritis can be helpful in some cases.

 

4- Mullein (Verbascum thapsus)

 

Mullein has a naturally soothing effect on the body’s mucous membranes, perhaps due to its composition which is 3% mucilage. Other than mucilage, mullein contains saponins, flavonoids and tannins as well as healthy fats and oils. [14]

I have long used mullein leaf oil for earaches and ear infections, both for its soothing properties and its antibacterial actions.

Mullein’s ability to fight bacteria was studied in depth by researchers at Clemson University in 2002. Their studies showed that mullein was effective against several strains of bacteria, including E. coli, Staphylococcus epidermidis, Klebsiella pneumoniae and more. [15]

Besides being antibacterial, mullein is also antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, which likely provides the most benefit for Lyme disease, especially those patients who suffer from Lyme-related Bell’s Palsy and facial nerve pain.

Mullein root tincture has been incredibly effective at easing nerve-related complications.

 

5- Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis, Orangeroot, Yellow puccoon)

 

The two aspects of goldenseal that stand out as far as Lyme disease is concerned are its antibacterial properties and its ability to promote bile flow and therefore break up obstructions and encourage healthy bowel movements.

The health of the liver and spleen are often compromised in individuals with Lyme, so anything that supports the function of these two organs is a welcome addition. Goldenseal naturally increases bile flow as well as digestive enzymes, which makes the liver’s job easier.

Goldenseal’s makeup consists primarily of a few active alkaloids – canadine, palmatine, hydrastine and most importantly berberine. [16]

This alkaloid, berberine, is where goldenseal packs most of its antibacterial punch.

One of the best benefits of herbs for Lyme disease is their ability to increase each other’s effectiveness when paired together. Goldenseal is unique in that its own constituents work together to boost the antibacterial power of its already potent constituent, berberine.

Berberine in itself is effective against various protozoa, bacteria and fungi, and the other components of goldenseal work to increase those benefits.

This synergistic action was studied extensively in 2011 and published in Planta Medica. [17]Goldenseal has also been touted for its liver-protective benefits similar to milk thistle. In one 2011 study published in Pharmacognosy Research, goldenseal protected the livers of rats from acetaminophen-induced toxicity. [18]

 

6- Japanese Knotweed (Hu Zhang, Polygonum cuspidatum)

 

Japanese knotweed is considered a broad antimicrobial, meaning it works against a wide range of pathogens, including spirochetes.

Lyme disease ravages certain areas of the body more so than others. One such area is the endothelium. The endothelium refers to the lining of the interior surface of your lymphatic vessels and blood vessels.

There are many herbs for endothelial protection, but Japanese Knotweed is by far the most effective.

Besides Lyme disease, Japanese Knotweed has proven especially effective against one of its co-infections, bartonella. It works by interrupting the cytokine pathways that bartonella uses to thrive.

One reason why Japanese Knotweed is so effective is because it easily crosses the gastrointestinal lining and circulates into the bloodstream. Once there, it is able to cross the blood-brain barrier where it can lend its benefits to the entire central nervous system.

The benefits of Japanese Knotweed are due in large part to its high concentration of resveratrol – an incredibly powerful antioxidant that has been shown to increase circulating T cells within the body. This action works to decrease autoimmune activity and encourage appropriate immune responses in immunocompromised individuals. [19]

Besides all that, Japanese knotweed may be used to decrease Herxheimer reactions by supporting detox pathways and blocking endotoxins.

*Recommended by Buhner, Master Herbalist. Part of his herbal protocol for Lyme*

 

7- EGCG (Epigallocatechin gallate)

 

If you haven’t heard of EGCG, you’ve surely heard of green tea. Epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG for short) is a catechin that makes up 50-80% of the total catechins in green tea.

Particularly useful for Lyme disease, EGCG has been studied extensively for its ability to inhibit the growth and spread of Babesia, another common co-infection of Lyme. A 2010 study published in Parasitology journal showed that dosages of 5 and 10 mg/kg body weight of EGCG per day eradicated Babesia infection in just 14 days. [20]

EGCG has also been studied as an alternative to prescription drugs used to increase regulatory T cell activity in autoimmune diseases. The 2011 study led by researcher Emily Ho, PhD, revealed that EGCG appears to influence what genes get expressed or “turned on” so to speak without altering underlying DNA codes. [21]

This T cell regulation plays a critical role in suppressing damaging autoimmune actions, so these findings are especially beneficial for those with autoimmune conditions.

One final note on EGCG:

According to Stephen Buhner, there seems to be an absorption issue with it, and he recommends taking EGCG with Japanese knotweed or quercitin to boost absorption.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

8- Chinese Skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)

 

In the Lyme disease world, Chinese skullcap is known as a cytokine remodulator. The plant has many beneficial constituents with the most notable being potent antioxidants known as flavones.

Two in particular, Baicalin and Baicalein, have been shown to downregulate oxidative stress within many tissues, especially the liver.

Chinese skullcap also encourages a healthy inflammatory response while promoting healthy cellular growth.

It’s antioxidant effects combined with its anti-inflammatory actions and healthy cell promotion is perhaps why Chinese skullcap has shown some cancer-fighting properties in test tube and animal studies.

In fact, one study published in the International Journal of Molecular Medicine followed patients with fibrosarcoma – an extremely metastatic, aggressive cancer of the connective tissue. [22] Those who supplemented with Chinese skullcap extract saw a significant decrease in the growth of cancer cells as well as a reduction in the size of tumors.

Fun fact: During the 19th century, skullcap was nicknamed “mad dog” in America for its ability to heal people and animals of rabies.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

9-  Red Sage  (Chinese sage, danshen, Salvia miltiorrhiza)

 

Red sage is another cytokine remodulator that is recommended by Stephen Buhner, Master Herbalist. Also commonly known as Danshen, it is currently undergoing various trials and may be the first herbal Chinese remedy to be approved by the FDA.

The many purported benefits of red sage include:

  • Lowered risk of atherosclerosis
  • GI disease prevention
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Better detoxification
  • Improved liver function

Speaking of liver function, red sage has the ability to boost liver regeneration and repair liver damage as shown by a 2007 study published in the journal, Liver International. [23]

Many of the recommended herbs for Lyme disease are protective and supportive in nature as opposed to strictly bacteria killers. This is the case with red sage. It is both an immunomodulator useful for autoimmune diseases and a protector of organ functions such as the liver, which is often compromised in those with Lyme disease.

As a note of caution, red sage has natural blood-thinning and blood pressure-lowering properties.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

10- Kudzu (Pueria lobata)

 

Kudzu is loved for its neuroprotective actions and ability to reduce brain inflammation as well as its ability to restore collagen. As mentioned earlier, Lyme bacteria really like collagen for some reason, so collagen depletion is a major problem within Lyme disease.

Besides its many benefits for the brain, kudzu root has shown antibacterial action against Mycoplasma, a common co-infection.

Lyme disease follows the weakest link philosophy and tends to attack the weakest area within the body first and hardest. For many individuals, the brain is a prime target. Especially in cases of Chronic Lyme or late stage Lyme, neurological issues are common.

Protecting the brain and even reversing previous damage is of utmost importance with Lyme disease. Kudzu is among the best herbs for Chronic Lyme for this purpose.

Not only has it been shown to reduce brain swelling, it also strengthens and protects the central nervous system.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

11- Astragalus (Astragalus propinquus, Huang-qi)

 

Astragalus is one of the core herbs for acute Lyme infections as it encourages proper immune function. However, some research has contraindicated it for Chronic Lyme. That’s because Chronic Lyme almost always results in autoimmune dysfunction. In this case, the immune system is already hyperactive but in a bad way, attacking your body’s own cells.

Because of its immune-stimulant properties, astragalus could make this situation worse.

For recent Lyme infections, however, astragalus is one of the best herbs to either prevent the Lyme bacteria from trashing the immune system or to reverse an infection that has already started to take hold but is less than 6 weeks old.

During early stage Lyme disease, astragalus works by boosting your Th1 immune response, resulting in higher levels of Th1. These Th1 cells are highly effective against acute Lyme infections. [24]

Astragalus is among the most studied herbs of all time. In fact, a branch of the National Institute of Health cites nearly 800 studies that involve astragalus.

Within that research, we find several components of huang qi (or huang chi) that play a role in its many benefits. These include:

  • Saponins
  • Amino acids
  • Flavonoids
  • Mucilaginous compounds
  • Minerals
  • Gluconic acid
  • And more

Astragalus also appears to have an adaptogenic effect, enhancing the body’s ability to manage a specific stressor.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

12- Cordyceps (Cordyceps sinensis)

 

Cordyceps is most popular for its immune modulations, anti-inflammatory actions and its positive effects on liver and kidney function. [25]

Of all the items on this list of Lyme disease herbs, cordyceps is by far the most interesting as far as its origin is concerned. If you were too see a picture of fresh cordyceps before processing or powdering, you would see what looks like a caterpillar.

That’s because cordyceps is a fungus that grows on a specific type of caterpillar and only during certain times of the year. This fungi literally attacks their host, replacing its tissue with theirs and sprouting long stems outside the host’s body.

When I first learned about cordyceps, my reaction was:

Who was the first person to look at a fungus-mutated caterpillar and think “hmmm, I think I’ll eat that and see if it’s medicinal”?!

Strange….but I guess we’re all glad they did because its benefits are many.

Its actions on the immune system are four-fold: [26]

  • Stimulates NK cells (Natural Killer cells)
  • Stimulates macrophage activity
  • Decreases inflammatory cytokine responses
  • Boosts cellular immunity

Cordyceps has also been shown to protect against the co-infections Bartonella and Mycoplasma.

Beyond that, a 2003 study published in Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology showed that cordyceps effectively decreases inflammation by suppressing certain inflammatory mediators. [27]

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

13- Ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus, Eleuthero, Siberian ginseng)

 

Ginseng has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine and throughout the world as a protective agent and adaptogen for reducing both physical and mental fatigue.

Interesting tidbit:

After the Chernobyl accident in 1986, many Russians were given ginseng (also known as eleuthero) to protect against the effects of radiation.

The benefits of ginseng cover a whole host of symptoms experienced with Lyme disease, including:

  • Improve blood circulation
  • Support liver detoxification
  • Relieve chronic fatigue
  • Boost immune function
  • Encourage proper immune response
  • Improve memory and mood

One condition commonly associated with Lyme disease is mast cell activation disorder (MCAD), which involves the misfiring of mast cells, resulting in excessive histamine and systemic inflammation.

Siberian ginseng has proven effective in controlling histamine release as shown in a 2001 study published in Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology. [28]

Siberian ginseng is beneficial for Neurological Lyme as well thanks to its ability to inhibit brain inflammation and microglial activation. A 2005 study published in Phytotherapy Research revealed this action in patients with brain ischemia. [29]

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

14- Rhodiola (Rhodiola rosea, Golden root)

 

Rhodiola is a renowned adaptogen that improves the chances of recovery from chronic illness such as Chronic Lyme disease. It appears to be both a physical and mental stimulant that helps clear brain fog, decrease fatigue, improve memory and more.

In fact, it is the primary adaptogen that is HMPC/EMA-approved for regulating stress by influencing the release of stress hormones while simultaneously boosting energy metabolism. [30]

Some research also suggests that it helps increase oxygen delivery to important tissues and areas like the heart.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

15- Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa)

 

Cat’s claw (very different from cat’s foot) is a popular immunomodulator in the Lyme community. By the way, “immunomodulator” is just a fancy word for calming an overactive immune system without suppressing it.

Studies have shown that cat’s claw increases white blood cell counts, including the all important natural killer cells and T lymphocytes. Researchers believe this is made possible by the plant’s oxindole alkaloids found in its roots and bark.

These include 7 different alkaloids with the most notable being Isopteropodin (Isomer A), which acts as a free radical scavenger while boosting the body’s immune response.

Besides its immunoprotective properties, cat’s claw soothes the GI tract as well, which is beneficial for leaky gut often suffered by those with Lyme disease.

It also appears to be a potent anti-inflammatory as shown in a 2002 Austrian study in which RA patients who supplemented with 60 mg per day of cat’s claw for a year enjoyed a significant reduction in swollen and painful joints. [31]

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

*Recommended by Cowden in his Nutramedix Samento blend*

 

16- Chinese Cat’s Claw (Uncaria rhynchophylla, Gou Teng)

 

Chinese cat’s claw is best known for its ability to restore damaged tissue and its neuroprotective actions. In several studies, it has proven effective in the treatment of inflammation-related neurological symptoms.

Chronic inflammation in the brain, which is all too common in tick-borne disease, plays a key role in neurodegenerative conditions. Uncaria rhynchophylla can help in this regard by preventing certain brain cells from activating in response to inflammation. [32]

A 2013 study published in Molecular Medicine Reports indicates that this potent neurological benefit is thanks to one of cat’s claw primary indole alkaloids, hirsutine (HS). The study showed that HS reduced the production of neurotoxic factors while protecting against inflammation. [33]

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

17- Lion’s Mane (Hericium erinaceus, Lion’s mane mushroom)

 

In Buhner’s herbal protocol for Lyme, lion’s mane is recommended for restoring damaged tissues, but the scope of this medicinal mushroom’s benefits extend far beyond that.

Several studies have indicated that lion’s mane has neuroprotective, anti-cancer, immune-modulating and antioxidant properties, largely thanks to a few important compounds like its β-glucan polysaccharides. [34]

Because of its ability to promote nerve growth factor gene expression, along with its anti-inflammatory actions, H. erinaceus has been studied in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s.

Research has shown promising results for improving cognitive function, repairing neurological degradation, supporting the central nervous system. In fact, some studies have even revealed a compound in the lion’s mane mushroom that stimulates brain neurons to regrow. [35]

On top of that, a groundbreaking 2016 study showed that lion’s mane can actually suppress the production of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) while also activating Nrf2 (a factor that regulates cellular antioxidant status). [36]

So bottom line, lion’s mane is a potent antioxidant.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

18- Butterbur (Petasites hybridus, Petasites, Purple butterbur, Coltsfoot)

 

Butterbur is largely studied for its ability to relieve migraines and lower histamines. In fact, butterbur is the primary ingredient in a well known medication known as Petadolex.

One 12-week study following 60 patients suffering from migraines took either 50 mg of Petadolex twice daily or a placebo. In the group taking Petadolex, patients enjoyed a 60% decrease in migraine frequency. [37]

Butterbur is believed to be effective at relieving pain due to its ability to decrease the sensitivity of neurons. It works by decreases the activity of TRPA1, a protein found on the surface of sensory neurons. A decrease here equals a decrease in pain level. [38]

Butterbur is also a potent anti-inflammatory thanks to one of its constituents known as petasins – molecules that suppress the body’s production of inflammatory molecules such as interleukins, leukotrienes and more. [39]

Butterbur extracts also have a neuroprotective effect as shown in mice studies where components within butterbur prevented the death of neurons in the brain. [40]

However, butterbur does contain compounds called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are toxic to the liver. These can be removed in a lab though.

So if you choose to add butterbur to your herbal Lyme protocol, look for brands that are certified Pyrrolizidine Alkaloid Free, usually seen on the bottle as “PA free.” This is to prevent liver damage.

Also, most herbalists recommend pulsing butterbur, meaning you would take it for 2 weeks, then stop for 2 weeks, then take it for 2 weeks, etc.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

19- Glycyrrhiza (Glycyrrhiza glabra, Liquorice, Licorice)

 

Glycyrrhiza, a component of licorice, is an excellent herb for adrenal support and therefore chronic fatigue. Among other actions, it works by restoring normal cortisol rhythms.

Glycyrrhiza also offers potent antiviral activity. According to one study published in the Chinese Journal of Virology, licorice contains triterpenoids that carry the potential to become “a novel broad-spectrum antiviral medicine.” [41]

Other benefits of licorice include:

  • Relieve stomach ulcers
  • Dyspepsia
  • Sore throat, cough and cold
  • Adrenals
  • Ease constipation

Personally, I experienced an increase in heart palpitations when supplementing with a glycyrrhiza tincture. I later learned that licorice acts as a stimulant that can elevate blood pressure and increase palpitations if you are already susceptible to them.

For this reason, licorice supplements may not be best for those with Lyme carditis or a history of heart arrhythmia.

Also, licorice is very rarely used by itself. It is almost always paired with other herbs as it is a potent synergist that assists gastrointestinal absorption and improves the efficacy of supplements it is taken with.

*Part of Buhner Protocol for Lyme*

 

20- Anise (Pimpinella anisum, aniseed)

 

The primary benefit of anise or aniseed is as a cleanser, helping eliminate toxins (both manmade and biotoxins) from the central nervous system, brain and other organs.

Anise is highly recommended by Dr. Cowden as part of his Lyme disease herbal protocol. It is infused within his Pinella supplement, and he has had many patients report improved brain fog after a single dose.

In its essential oil form, anise seed oil is a natural antiseptic with digestive, expectorant and antispasmodic properties. Its most active component is anethol, which has been shown to potent antifungal effects. [42]

*recommended by Dr. Cowden*

 

21- Resveratrol from Japanese Knotweed

 

I know we’ve already discussed Japanese Knotweed, but Resveratrol (a substance found in certain plants like Japanese knotweed, grapes and red wine) deserves its own section and a closer look.

Resveratrol is one of the most studied and potent antioxidant supplements. One of the most notable is a 2017 study published in Oxidative Medicine and Cellular Longevity.

Patients supplemented with 1 g of Resveratrol per day for one month. Results included increased overall antioxidant capacity as well as an increased number of circulating T cells. [43]

Resveratrol also works to protect nerve tissue, suppress proinflammatory molecules, support healthy heart function, improve blood flow and more.

Some researchers believe the benefits of Resveratrol can be attributed to its effect on gut microbiota and ability to stimulate stem cell production. [44]

 

22- Sarsaparilla (Smilax officinalis, Smilax, Honduran sarsaparilla, zarzaparilla)

 

Sarsaparilla has been shown to aid in a variety of symptoms commonly experienced in those with Chronic Lyme disease.

For instance, sarsaparilla has been used to effectively treat psoriasis. Researchers believe that one of its main natural steroids, sarsaponin, binds to endotoxins that cause psoriasis lesions and clears them up.

Its effect on syphilis is notable, considering Lyme disease is a spiral-shaped bacteria (spirochete) similar to syphilis. Before antibiotics were the go-to norm, many medical professionals treated syphilis cases with sarsaparilla.

Sarsaparilla also has benefits for the following:

  • Arthritis
  • Cancer
  • Liver protection

Besides being effective on its own, sarsaparilla is known as a “synergist,” boosting the bioavailability of whatever supplement or herb it is paired with. Researchers believe this is thanks to its saponin content.

For this reason, many herbal Lyme disease treatments include sarsaparilla in their protocols. It can also play an important role in gastrointestinal restoration.

*Recommended by Dr. Rawls*

 

23- Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna, Hawthorn berry)

 

In the world of naturopathic medicine, a “tonic” refers to a substance that has proven positive effects on a certain organ or organ system. Hawthorn is known as a tonic for the heart, making it especially useful herbal remedy for those with Lyme Carditis.

A few of its beneficial actions on the heart include:

  • Strengthens muscle contractions
  • Increases blood flow to the heart
  • Dilates blood vessels (improving circulation as a result)
  • Reduces heart palpitations
  • Lowers LDL cholesterol
  • Normalizes blood pressure

As a result of all of these actions, hawthorn helps increase oxygen delivery to tissues – an important part in combating chronic fatigue associated with Lyme disease.

A meta-analysis found in the National Institute of Health stated that hawthorn extract “holds significant potential as a useful remedy in the treatment of CVD” aka cardiovascular disease. [45]

*Recommended by Rawls*

 

24- Pau D’Arco (Handroanthus impetiginosus, Taheebo, Lapacho)

 

Pau d’Arco is used for many things, but it’s an especially helpful herb for Chronic Lyme thanks to one of its constituents, lapachol. Found in the inner bark, lapachol helps activated immune cells, including lymphocytes (like T cells) and granulocytes (WBCs that “eat” foreign bacteria).

Pau d’Arco also contains quinones, which makes it a strong antimicrobial. It also possesses antifungal properties and has been used to control Candida overgrowth and other yeast-related issues.

Plus, in vitro studies indicate that it can boost the body’s ability to scavenge free radicals by activating Nrf2. [46]

 

25- Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale)

 

One of the constituents of dandelion include sterols, which are similar to the sterols synthesized by adrenal glands in the human body. For this reason along with a few of its other properties, dandelion root popular for its adrenal support.

Another benefit of dandelion root as a naturopathic treatment for Lyme disease is its effect as a liver tonic. Dandelion is known to promote bile flow and acts as a liver cleanser. Many herbalists have used dandelion root as a natural remedy for liver congestion and to protect against hepatic cell death.

Beyond that, some test tube studies have proven dandelion to have potent anti-inflammatory actions. One study followed mice with inflammatory lung disease who supplemented with dandelion root. They experienced a significant decrease in lung inflammation as a result. [47]

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