The Long Road to Managing Lyme’s Disease
There are many reasons people use alternative and complementary medicines, either exclusively or in conjunction with Western, allopathic medicine. Sometimes it is a cultural or religious decision, sometimes it is about inaccessibility, or negative experiences and discrimination. And sometimes, though not nearly often enough, it is recommended by the person you were told to trust the most with your health: your primary care physician.
Most doctors specialize and can be very good at diagnosing and medicating that one specific body part or organ they are the expert about, but often without acknowledging it is part of a whole system, a body system, an organism, you. If part of you is sick or ill, all of you feels it. It radiates into all aspects of your life, and cannot be isolated. More and more people are turning to alternative medicine because the western model does not address the root of the issue. Auto-Immune diseases have been especially hard for allopathic medicine to address and those afflicted have benefited from alternative, holistic approaches.
Lyme’s disease is a disorder that has left those infected to fend for themselves. It often has hard to explain symptoms that cannot be correlated. It can effect nearly every system in the body. It is because it is so multi-faceted and requires a whole body approach that western doctors have a hard time treating patients.
This is where naturapaths, herbalists, functional medicine and other alternative practices and lifestyle changes can be so helpful with Lyme’s disease. Anti-biotics alone are not enough. This bacterium is tricky, and builds safe houses yet impenetrable to full spectrum anti-biotics where it can co-habitate with other bacteria, yeasts and fungi.
Lyme’s treatment requires multiple angles and there is no one size fits all. Below are four therapeutic goals for Lyme’s. Not every plant or medicine listed is necessary, but be sure to be taking a couple things in each category. Address each category with herbs, diet, medications and/ or supplements.
Therapuetic Goals for Lyme’s Management
1. Anti-Microbial/ Anti-biotics
These are the herbs and medicines to actually kill the bacterium. Allopathically this will be Doxycycline. It is typically taken for 1-3 months. In the plant world, it could many things. The most commonly used being: Olive Leaf, Oregano Leaf, and Japanese Knotweed. The bacteria does not survive contact with silver, so taking colloidal silver is often an inferred application. Some practitioners suggest cycling the antibiotic usage, as it seems to come back out of hiding when not being attacked twice daily, as well as switching the herbs used so it doesn’t have a chance to build resistance.
Please note taking antibiotics for an extended amount of time can be detrimental to the body’s microbiome, especially in the gut. Take care to be eating fermented foods and supplementing daily with probiotics, taken two hours away from both prescription antibiotics and plant based ones. Saccharimyces will help with side effects of wiping out both good and bad bacteria and has a decent survival rate with antibiotics. If taking for more than 10 day cycle, invest in a full spectrum probiotic to keep the gut flora intact for the full cycle of antibiotics and continuing use afterwards.
Don’t Forget the Biofilm
Both allopathic and herbal remedies will only kill the bacteria in the blood stream. Many bacteria (and fungi and viruses) are known to hide and create a Biofilm to protect them from anti-biotics and attacks from the Immune System. Like i said, it is tricky. While taking antibiotics it is important to take herbs/ supplements to shave away the biofilm as well. These include: Berberine, Grafefruit Seed Extract (GSE), Oregon Grape, Andrographis, Teasel, Turmeric, Goldenseal, proteolytic enzymes, serrapeptase, Bromelain, garlic, cinnamon, and many other plant and supplement options. Work with an herbalist or alternative practitioner to find the herbs best suited for you.
You are your best defense. Boost the immune system so secondary infections won’t slow the healing process. Doctors are starting to give low doses of naltrexone to increase immune health and lower inflammation. Alternative options include: Vitamin D (2500IU daily), medicinal mushrooms such as Reishi, Cordyceps (will additionally nourish the adrenals and provide energy), and Maitake. Beta-glucans are a way to activate the immune system and white blood cells without over stimulating it. You may also consider Chinese Skullcap, Probiotics, and Larch.
3. Cellular/ Detoxification Pathway Support
As the Lyme bacteria are killed, the process and the remaining waste create a lot inflammation in the body. This is often the source of symptoms. Support your body’s detoxification pathways and reduce inflammation. Green Tea and Matcha are wonderful anti-oxidents. Fish oil is one of the best anti-inflammatories we have. In periods of healing shoot for 2000 mg per day, or eating deep sea fish 4-5 times a week. Turmeric has been used for centuries as medicinal food, and now science has shown it to reduce inflammation (as well as having sooo many other benefits, too many to mention here. But yes, it adds up to all the hype it gets. Take it.) Resveratrol (grape seed) is an anti-aging supplement assisting the body in getting rid of free radicals. NAC, Glutathione, and CoQ10 are powerful supplements to support the liver and overall detoxification process. Increase high anti-oxidant foods such as berries and dark greens. Remember, fiber is the last step necessary in detox.
4. Nourish the Body and Organ systems, address symptoms
Give the body the foundation it needs to improve overall function, down to a cellular level. Each cell needs to be as strong as possible to push out or resist. Options include: B-Complex (methylated), Resveratrol, Milk Thistle, Maritime Pine Bark. Also supporting circulation will help move herbs and supplements as well as white blood cells. This can be done with Nitric Oxide, Cayenne, Butcher’s Broom, Gingko, Larch, and/ or Hawthorn.
Sleep is so important, as well as controlling stress levels. None of these things will be effective if the body is inflamed through stress or unable to heal and restore its balance with sleep. Please address if needed.