A number of Chinese herbs can be useful for the many different aspects of Lyme Disease. Lyme Disease is a bacterial infectious disease caused by the spirochetal organism, Borrelia Burgdorferi. It is usually caused by a tick bite. The prevalence of the disease is greatest in the northeastern United States, but there have been situations of the illness in all lower 48 states. The disease is easy to treat with antibiotics in its initial stages, but it is often not detected at that point. There is a bull’s eye rash that is characteristic of the disease, but many people never get the rash. The rash looks different in people with darker pigmentation, making it easy to mistake it for other skin conditions, including bruising or eczema. The wide variety of symptoms that a person can have in its later stages makes it hard to acquire a proper diagnosis, and the medical testing for the illness is nevertheless not very accurate in many situations.
People with later stages of Lyme need treatment on a number of different levels. At the very basic level, herbs that are anti-bacterial, specifically against spirochetal bacteria, are an important part of treatment. Herbs that have been shown to have activity against spirochetal bacteria include coptis (huang lian), andrographis paniculata (chuan xin lian), isatis (ban lan gen/qing dai), phellodendron (huang bai), scute (huang qin), forsythia (lian qiao), smilax (tu fu ling), and gardenia (zhi zi). Garlic is also a useful antibacterial supplement for those with Lyme Disease.
Lyme disease can lower body temperature and create poor blood circulation. A person is also likely to feel cysts, lumps, and swellings in different areas of their body that often change and move. The bacteria walls itself off, and creates an ecosystem in which it can grow and thrive and the person with the disease ends up in harsh pain, with horribly low energy, and neurological problems. The disease thrives in a low temperature, low oxygen ecosystem, and that is the ecosystem it creates within the body. People with the disease often have signs and symptoms similar to someone with harsh altitude sickness (also caused by a low oxygen ecosystem). Chinese herbs that clear blood stasis and break blood stagnation can be very useful for this aspect of the disease. The herb, pseudoginseng (san qi), can be extremely advantageous for people with Lyme Disease. It contributes blood circulation and oxygenation in the body, and can force open the cysts that protect the bacteria from being killed off. It also can help clear some of the brain fog that people with this disease have by improving blood circulation and oxygenation to the brain. Frankincense (ru xiang), and myrrh (mo yao) can also help by improving blood circulation, especially to the joints, where the bacteria often hides in cartilaginous tissue where blood circulation tends to be poorer. An herb that is frequently used by people with Lyme Disease, teasel root, is advantageous because it improves circulation in the body and also has a warming affect. All of these herbs can help considerably with the intense and chronic pain that those with later stages of Lyme disease experience.
Certain Chinese herbs can be used to reduce the person’s sensitivity to cold and enhance microcirculation in the body. Herbs such as clove, cinnamon, ginger, and siegesbeckia can be useful for this purpose.
The lymphatic system and the metabolism are often compromised in people with Lyme Disease. The bacteria frequently hides inside the walls of white blood cells, and results in swollen and congested lymph glands. People with the disease often have symptoms of hypothyroidism and a slowed metabolic rate already if all of their thyroid tests are normal. In Chinese Medicine, herbs that treat phlegm are frequently used for conditions related to a slow metabolism and a congested lymphatic system. The Chinese herb, prunella vulgaris (xia ku cao), and scrophularia (xuan shen) are very useful for inflammation, congestion, and infection of the lymphatic system. Herbs such as citrus aurantium, kelp, epimedium, and Siberian ginseng, can be advantageous for improving a sluggish metabolism in people with Lyme Disease who have signs or symptoms of an underactive thyroid.
Another aspect of Lyme Disease is harsh and weakening fatigue and a total without of energy. This can be due to a large number of different factors. Poor oxygenation and blood circulation and lowered metabolism and body temperature are part of the picture. The person’s adrenal glands may not be functioning properly either. Someone with Lyme Disease may also have a large number of digestive problems that consequence in a without of adequate nutrition. The disease itself can cause chemical changes in the brain that create harsh depression and an inability to concentrate, which is weakening in addition.
In Chinese medicine, herbs that nourish the qi and blood can help this without of energy. The herbs can enhance the person’s digestive functioning, sustain the functioning of the brain, sustain proper functioning of the adrenal glands, and enhance the person’s ability to manager stress. They can also help the proper functioning of the mitochondria in their production of ATP in the cells, which helps a person’s energy at a very basic level. Siberian ginseng, schizandra, licorice, and astragalus are all good herbs for improving a person’s energy level, digestive functioning, and their ability to manager stress. White peony, dong quai, and wolfberry nourish the blood and reduce fatigue. Polygonum and eucommia can help enhance a person’s adrenal response and can enhance brain functioning. Bupleurum, longan fruit, zyzyphus seed, dragon bone, oyster shell, and magnolia bark can be advantageous for the depression, anxiety, without of concentration, and sleep problems that people with Lyme Disease experience.
As you can see, Lyme Disease is a complicate illness with many aspects. Chinese herbal medicine has numerous herbs in its pharmacopia that can treat the many different aspects of this disease in a comprehensive and holistic manner.