≡ Menu

Natural Treatments for Lyme Disease

lyme disease natural treatment garlicIt is important to note that antibiotic treatment is the only recommended treatment for eradicating the Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato and that there are no known herbal, nutritional, or complementary medicines or therapies that can successfully treat the infection itself. That said, the symptoms of Lyme disease often respond well to treatments of this nature following, or sometimes during, antibiotic treatment itself.

Acupuncture is one such therapy which can help relieve the pain and fatigue many suffer with Lyme disease as well as improving mobility and easing depression.

Many herbal and nutritional anti-inflammatories can be helpful in treating Lyme disease symptoms, with natural pain-relievers, such as White Willow, also available as an alternative to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen and naproxen. Herbs and nutritional supplements can cause adverse reactions themselves however, and may interact with other medications a patient is taking or may need to take.

Dangers of Natural Medicines with Lyme Disease Treatments

Some herbal remedies may affect the metabolism of antibiotics for example, which may cause the antibiotic to be less effective than it should be or could increase the risk of liver toxicity, particularly when acetaminophen, antibiotics, and herbs such as black cohosh or comfrey are taken together. Other remedies can affect the clotting of the blood, increase the risk of photosensitivity, or increase the absorption of tetracycline antibiotics.

Some anti-inflammatory herbal remedies are included on this list of possible problematic interactions, such as bromelain which may increase doxycycline absorption. Seemingly innocuous nutritional supplements such as dolomite or calcium can also affect medications by forming insoluble complexes with tetracycline antibiotics and thus reducing their effectiveness; medications are usually recommended to be taken at least two hours before or four or more hours after these mineral supplements. Ensuring that the prescribing physician is aware of all herbal and nutritional supplements being taken can help reduce the risks of problematic interactions and facilitate a good treatment outcome for Lyme disease.

Popular Natural Lyme Disease Treatments

A selection of those remedies used by some patients to help with Lyme disease symptoms include:

  • Acupuncture
  • Andrographis
  • Aromatherapy
  • Artemisia
  • Bee venom
  • Cat’s claw
  • Colloidal silver (although this may affect antibiotic and NSAID actioins)
  • Garlic
  • Glutathione
  • Grapefruit seed extract (which may affect drug metabolism)
  • Homeopathy
  • Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
  • Olive leaf extract
  • Resveratrol
  • Rife machine (a controversial device with no clear supportive evidence)
  • Vitamin C

Any patient considering the use of any of these remedies should consult their physician first as interactions with drugs can be dangerous and may compromise treatment.

Probiotics and Lyme Disease

Probiotic therapy is often recommended for those who have taken antibiotics and with Lyme disease sufferers sometimes having several rounds of antibiotics when infection is persistent or recurring, these are strongly suggested to rebuild the good bacteria population in the bowel. A probiotic supplement containing at least 5-10billion colony-forming units (CFUs) and including Lactobacillus acidophilus is recommended to reduce the incidence of yeast infections such as candida overgrowth, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as diarrhoea.

Alternative Tick Removal Techniques

Alternative remedies for tick removal are not recommended as they appear to offer no advantages for reducing the risk of Lyme disease transmission and may in fact increase this risk. Folk remedies such as applying paraffin or essential oils, and trying to burn the tick off are dangerous in many cases and unnecessary. Appropriate use of tweezers for pulling the tick out without twisting or squeezing the tick too tightly is recommended. Those struggling to do this themselves, such as when a tick bite is in a hard-to-reach place, can obtain assistance from a doctor who will also then be able to advise on monitoring for symptoms of infection with Lyme disease.

More Research Needed for Natural Lyme Disease Treatments

None of the alternative remedies used for Lyme disease have undergone clinical testing specifically for the condition, although some evidence exists for a number of herbal remedies’ benefits for immune system health, anti-inflammatory action, and other effects which may benefit those suffering from the condition. Alternative remedies alone have not been found successful in treating Lyme disease but many doctors are happy for patients to use suitable remedies for symptom control during antibiotic treatment, assuming that such remedies do not interact with the drugs themselves.