Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease, and it has become more prominent due to climate change and urban developments spreading further into wooded areas. Treatment is typically effective and lasts anywhere between two and four weeks. 10-20% of those who are affected by this disease do not experience an end to their symptoms and develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. It is because of these statistics that other forms of treatment are being investigated. One of the most effective forms identified by doctors is ethnobotanical medicine.
About Lyme Disease
Lyme disease is a vector-borne disease caused by the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that is typically spread through ticks. According to the CDC, there are 30,000 cases reported annually, but the actual number of cases is probably much higher.
Symptoms of this condition arrive in stages, so they differ depending on how long one has been infected. Three to 30 days after being bitten by a tick, a rash will appear at the site of the infection. Symptoms will follow, including fever, chills, fatigue, headaches, pain in the muscles and joints, and swollen lymph nodes. In the days or months following infection, symptoms will evolve into severe headaches, additional rashes, neck stiffness, facial palsy, severe swelling and pain in the joints, arthritis, dizziness, shortness of breath, an irregular heartbeat, nerve pain, inflammation in the spinal cord and brain, shooting pains, numbness, tingling, and pain in the tendons, muscles, joints, and bones.
A diagnosis is obtained through the finding of characteristic symptoms, asking about exposure to ticks, ruling out other conditions, and various lab tests. A two step blood test will be conducted in order to confirm a diagnosis.
Rapid diagnosis is important for effective treatment. If it is caught during the early stages, antibiotics can be a quick cure. People may also develop post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, which requires additional treatment. Preventing tick bites or removing them quickly is a good way to avoid Lyme disease as well.
About Ethnobotanical Medicine
Researchers at John Hopkins and the California Center for Functional Medicine and Focus Health have identified 14 plant-based extracts that are effective in killing the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. These extracts have been tested in two settings: in vitro and in microcolonies. Both of these tests proved that extracts from cat’s claw, black walnut, Chinese skullcap, Mediterranean rockrose, and sweet wormwood were more effective than antibiotics in the treatment of Lyme disease.
Two extracts performed even better than the rest: Ghanaian quinine and Japanese knotweed. The former has been indicated in the treatment of malaria, hepatitis, tuberculosis, and septicemia. The latter has been proven to protect the heart and nervous system, along with having anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory properties.
While a variety of plant-based extracts were successful in killing the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, others were not. Many researchers were surprised by these results, as preclinical studies and previous research had suggested that they would produce positive results.
Medical professionals hope that the research they have conducted will help to treat those with Lyme disease, as well as prove the importance of herbal remedies.
Find the original article here.
Check out the original study here.