Can You Treat Lyme Disease with Essential Oils?
When I was younger, I worked on a research project which put me in close contact with the community of Lyme disease sufferers in my area.
I was deeply affected by the anguish of these patients and deeply disturbed by the way that much of the mainstream medical community had essentially abandoned them.
Lyme disease had impacted me on a more personal level as well, affecting more than one individual I am close to.
If you or someone you care for has contracted Lyme disease, you know that this disease can wreak havoc on a person’s life.
You also know that there are not an abundance of traditional treatment options out there—and that support and resources for Lyme disease patients can be scarce.
To start off, I will tell you about how you can treat Lyme disease using essential oils and considerations you need to think through before starting out.
Before I jump into recommendations, however, let’s talk a little bit more about why some patients make Lyme disease natural treatment decisions.
Why Consider Lyme Disease Natural Treatment Options?
There are at least two big reasons to think about looking into natural treatments for Lyme, including essential oils.
The first is the aforementioned lack of traditional medical support.
Lyme disease is a controversial, politicized issue, particularly in its chronic form. Many doctors insist that chronic Lyme disease doesn’t even exist. Some researchers who have looked for a cure have had their work suppressed as well (I met such an individual in my youth).
The other problem with relying on the traditional treatment for Lyme disease is that it often doesn’t work.
The CDC claims, “People treated with appropriate antibiotics in the early stages of Lyme disease usually recover rapidly and completely.”
But what does “usually” even mean?
If you have seen someone diagnosed with Lyme you know that “usually” is not an acceptable outlook and that many that seek conventional medical treatment get so frustrated with insurance companies, lack of progress and frustration that “usually” realistically becomes less than 20%.
This page cites a study conducted by Dr. Aucott at Johns Hopkins, stating that he, “looked at patients diagnosed and treated early. He found roughly 35% remained ill. Seven other studies have found that between 27% and 50% of patients remain ill. The CDC/NIH estimates that the percentage remaining ill is between 10-20%.”
Even the “10-20%” figure is frightening. Considering that up to half of patients treated early may end up with chronic Lyme, the antibiotic resistance displayed by the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria is quite harrowing.
This doesn’t mean you should try antibiotics for Lyme. If they have even a 50% chance of sparing you from a lifetime of suffering, that is still a pretty good success rate.
But if they are not working, it means you will need to look into alternative means to fight the infection, whether in the acute or chronic stage.
How Do Essential Oils Help the Body Fight Lyme?
So let’s talk about the essential oils for Lyme disease protocol. The basis for using essential oils to treat Lyme lies in their antimicrobial capabilities.
This 2017 study in Frontiers in Medicine took a look at the potential effectiveness of five different essential oils against Borrelia burgdorferi.
The researchers tried using a 0.25% concentration of oregano, clove bud, cinnamon bark, wintergreen, and citronella to see what the effects would be.
The researchers reported, “Interestingly, some highly active essential oils were found to have excellent anti-biofilm ability as shown by their ability to dissolve the aggregated biofilm-like structures. The top three hits, oregano, cinnamon bark, and clove bud completely eradicated all viable cells without any regrowth in a subculture in fresh medium, whereas but not citronella and wintergreen did not have this effect.”
Additionally, they said, “Carvacrol was found to be the most active ingredient of oregano oil showing excellent activity against B. burgdorferi stationary phase cells, while other ingredients of oregano oil p-cymene and α-terpinene had no apparent activity.”
More research is needed in this area of course, but Lyme patients do not have the luxury of waiting for the medical field to catch up with their needs.
But now you at least have some evidence to suggest that certain essential oils may help in your fight against the bacteria—and you even know which compound in oregano oil makes it so powerful.
What Are The Best Essential Oils for Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease essential oils can be broken down into a few different categories: those for treating the bacteria, those for treating various symptoms of the disease, and those for preventing the disease.
Essential Oils for Keeping Ticks Away
The following essential oils may help to keep ticks away. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is an understatement where Lyme is concerned.
- Not only is oregano oil potentially effective against the Lyme bacteria, but the carvacrol compound in it can kill ticks.
- Vetiver oil is commonly used as an insect repellent and may help to deter ticks.
- Garlic oil may be effective against ticks as well.
- This study showed that clove oil is significantly more effective against ticks than citronella oil.
Essential Oils for Combating Borrelia Burgdorferi
If you have already been infected with Borrelia burgdorferi from a tick bite (or from another source), here are some oils to consider trying:
- You already know from the study referenced previously that oregano, cinnamon bark, and clove bud essential oils are also excellent options for fighting the Lyme disease bacteria.
- Tea tree oil is another powerful antimicrobial oil well worth considering based on studies like this one. The study explains, “Antibacterial action of the film was found to be primarily due to the action of essential oils which resulted in leakage of vital fluids from the microorganisms.” In this case, those microorganisms were E. coli and S. aureus.
- Finally, think about using thyme oil, also renowned for its effects against bacteria.
Essential Oils for Lyme Disease Symptoms
Lyme disease can manifest a variety of symptoms, particularly after it progresses to the chronic form. Some of these can include joint pain, brain inflammation, weakness and muscle pain, fatigue, cognitive problems, headaches, sleep disorders, and mood disorders.
Here are some essential oils which may help you to combat some of these symptoms:
- Lavender essential oil is one of the most all-around useful oils. It can help mitigate depression, anxiety, and stress. It can improve concentration and may even help with headaches.
- Rosemary essential oil can boost concentration and reduce anxiety.
- Vetiver discussed previously as an insect repellent, may soothe anxiety.
Tips for Using Essential Oils
There are a few things which are important to know about using essential oils:
- You should purchase your essential oils in glass (not plastic) containers. You do not want compounds from the plastic leeching into your oils. If possible, keep your oils in amber or blue glass containers, not clear glass containers. Blue or amber provides protection from sunlight, extending the longevity of your essential oils.
- Store essential oils in a cool, dark location such as a cabinet. Do not leave them out in the bright sun or keep them in a hot place. If you have pets in the house or small children, make sure they are out of reach.
- Try experimenting with different ways of applying essential oils. You can apply an essential oil topically, but you also can get aromatherapy benefits just by sniffing the oil or using an oil diffuser. Essential oils can be mixed with water in a spray bottle (this may be useful if you are trying to keep ticks and other pests at bay), or combined with sea salts to be used as smelling salts. They can be incorporated into baths, lotions, ointments, hair rinses and more. You can also blend them into perfume oils and massage oils.
- Always dilute essential oils. Please take note that essential oils are highly concentrated. As such, you have to dilute them in a carrier oil to safely apply them to your skin. Good choices include grapeseed oil, olive oil, coconut oil, jojoba oil, and sweet almond oil. Look up the appropriate ratios before you attempt this.
You do not need to purchase big bottles of essential oils. Because they are so highly concentrated, you can use them in tiny amounts. They last quite a while and are very cost-effective.
Conclusion: Essential Oils Are a Natural Weapon to Add to Your Arsenal Against Lyme Disease
Antibiotics do successfully treat a lot of Lyme patients who do not delay in seeking treatment after a tick bite.
But it is believed that anywhere from 10-50% of patients who contract the infection do not recover in time to prevent the disease from becoming chronic.
This can be the case even when antibiotics are administered rapidly.
So it is up to you to take action to incorporate useful alternative therapies into your treatment of Lyme disease.
Scientific research supports the action of essential oils such as oregano, clove and cinnamon bark against Lyme bacteria.
Essential oils can also help treat Lyme disease symptoms and keep ticks away in the first place.
So try giving the oils recommended in this article a try. Hopefully, you will see results. While essential oils are not a proven cure for Lyme, they can make a positive difference in your life.
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The statements contained herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Neither PlanetOrganics nor its products are intended for the purpose of diagnosing, treating, curing, or preventing any disease. If you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or have a medical condition, consult your physician before using these products.