Lyme Disease -
An Overview/Treatment with Chinese/Wholistic Medicine
by Marjorie Singler, L.Ac., M.A., NCCAOM Dip.Ac.
Lyme disease is caused by a spirochete organism called Borrelia Burgdorferi, named after the person who discovered it, William Burgdorfer. An excellent website to find articles about lyme diagnosis, testing, treatment, controversies and other explanations is www.healthcentersofamerica.com . Scroll down to the bottom of this website and click on “lyme disease table of contents” to get various articles on lyme disease or click on the link here http://www.HealthCentersofAmerica.com/information.cfm?id=132 There are many other well-written informative articles about lyme disease, one of which I will refer the reader to go to Richard Bierman's article www.healthfreedomsolutions.com to get an very good overview of the western and complementary treatments as well as the symptoms and diagnosis of Lyme disease.
What I will try to address in this article is to write a relatively simplistic overview, which can help the reader to understand how Chinese medicine and other natural therapies can help to both ameliorate and cure their Lyme disease.
There are many alternative treatments of lyme disease. The best treatments should include the following:
2) Strengthening the immune system
3) Killing the spirochete and it associated co-infections
(e.g. Babesia, Bartonella,, Erlichia.)
4) Keeping a hypo-allergenic diet and taking supplements that keep the
body more alkaline
5) Keeping the meridians balanced by reducing inflammation, getting rid of
excesses and strengthening deficiencies.
6) Increasing the circulation with exercise and acupuncture/physical
therapy, etc. and
7) Decreasing the stress load by meditation, yoga, or acupuncture and
8) Minimizing the hertzeimer reactions (temporary aggravation of symptoms
caused by die-off of organisms so that the patient can function
The early acute stage of Lyme disease is generally very effectively treated with appropriate antibiotics.This is an important concept to understand, especially for those who tend to always use naturopathic therapies. However, many non lyme literate medical doctors will only give antibiotics for 1 month and it is now believed that 2-3 months are more adequate. If the organism is not adequately killed in that 1 month, it can grow dormant in a cyst form and later develop into the spirochete from in the blood when conditions are more favorable for it to cause a more severe form of the disease even years later.
The western medicine guidelines for symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease can be found as very well described by one of the lyme literate medical doctors (LLMD), Dr. Burrascano, MD at the website: http://www.betterhealthguy.com/images/stories/PDF/LYMDXRX2008-October.pdf When the Lyme disease is diagnosed in later stages, it is much harder to treat and more resistant to antibiotics.
There are many alternative therapies that can also kill the Borrelia spirochete besides antibiotics. These include, Chinese herbs, rifing, western herbs, and homeopathic nosodes (highly diluted remedies made from attenuated Borrelia burgdorferi). However, killing the organism is not always enough to completely eradicate symptoms, especially since it is hard to tell from lab tests (at best, only 60% accurate) whether one has completely eradicated the disease. One must also carry out the above mentioned tasks of detoxification, strengthening the immune system, increasing the circulation, destressing, and balancing the body with acupuncture energetic bodywork and a individualized herbal prescription addressing all the deficiencies and excesses of the meridians. Many alternative practitioners have found that it is easier to get rid of the Borrelia spirochete AFTER or while the most probable co-infection of Babesia is properly treated. Dr. Yale Zhang in New York (www.sinomed.org) has designed an herbal protocol which addresses this, and he has his patients take the active ingredient of garlic or allicin and/or the acive ingredient of Artemesia annua. He then later adds herbal formulations with the anti-spirochete herb Smilax(R-5081), along with herbs that increase micro-circulation (circulationP) and herbs that decrease the auto-immune and hertzeimer response (AI #1).He has treated over 300 patients with Lyme in this way very successfully.
Many Lyme patients find that they improve by using the Rife machine. These machines are modeled similar to the original design by Dr. Royal Rife in the 1930's. The Rife machine works by using various frequencies of electricity or radio waves in the ranges of 100-2000hertz. Dr. Rife found that there is a certain frequency that destroys certain organisms, e.g. bacteria, parasites,prions, and viruses.These frequencies kill the various organisms much more easily than the human cell since bacteria and viruses do not have a cell wall. The cell wall found in human cells is hard to destroy,thus, human cells are not adversely affected by the Rife machine. Thus, many lyme patients find that they get very good improvement using the Rife machine every 1-2 weeks.
Some of the Chinese herbs that have anti-spirochete action are: Smilax, Oldenlandia, Artemesia, Andrographis, Japanese Pokeweed(Poygonum cuspaditum). Western herbs known for anti-spirochete action include teasal or dipsacus, and cat's claw, or una-de-gato. There are many various formulations that contain these herbs as described in Richard Bierman's website. (previously mentioned). The herbs known to kill Babesia are: concentrated extracts of the active ingredient of Artemesia annua,. There are some particular lab tests for diagnosis as described in Dr. Burrascano's article on western Guidelines to treatment of Lyme disease. These tests (such as Western Blot) are important to carry out for Lyme disease, and it is important to use a Lyme literate medical doctor (LLMD) in obtaining a good diagnosis. There is a difference between the tests that the Center for Disease control (CDC) uses to diagnose Lyme and the more definitive tests that the LLMD uses. Many non-LLMD's only use the CDC's guidelines to diagnose Lyme, which can be very incomplete and inaccurate. In addition, many LLMD's give antibiotics 2weeks BEFORE one takes the western blot test because the antibiotics can “drum up” the latent cyst phase so that the spirochete can be more easily detected in the blood.
There are also some tests that have been used to ascertain how the patient is improving. Dr. Burrascano also describes the CD57 (marker protein) tests which have been used to ascertain how sick the patient is with Lyme, and when to stop antibiotic treatment. (He uses 60 as a value to discontinue antibiotic treatment). Dr. Stricker, from San Francisco, pioneered this study in which he looked at 88 patients with symptoms of Lyme and found that when their symptoms were worse, their CD57 was lower, and when they were significantly better, their CD 57 values were much better. However, Dr. Burrascano states that these values do not go up gradually, but go up very fast once the patient achieves a certain level of wellness. There is another test called the Visual contrast test, which measures the neurotoxin load on the patient, and can assess if the patient is getting better. More research needs to be done in this area to confirm that these indicators are valid markers for lyme and the patients' degree of illness.
Traditional Chinese Medicine looks at the 12 pulses and their 30 different qualities along with observations of various qualities of the tongue for accurate diagnosis. Some of the patterns for treatment in traditional Chinese medicine terminology include: damp heat in the spleen and/or liver, liver chi congestions, liver fire, heart fire, liver wind, deficient spleen, lung, and kidney chi, deficient kidney yin and yang, deficient liver, spleen, and heart blood, heat toxin, deficiency of kidney essence. There can be a myriad of any or all of these combinations of these imbalances that are present in a patient. These patterns of imbalance can be addressed with herbal formulas and acupuncture points that are individually based on the patients' own pulse and tongue diagnoses.
In summary, there are many natural herbal therapies which can be used successfully for treating Lyme disease, and many times they can be very effective without the use of antibiotics. However, the use of antibiotics should be decided on a case by case basis in chronic Lyme disease, and should be very seriously considered in acute Lyme disease. For the patient that is severely debilitated with chronic lyme disease, strong recommendations are made to use the rife machine for optimal results in addition to nutritional/herbal supplementation. Diagnosis of symptoms should optimally be made by a Lyme Literate Medical Doctor, and the addition of other supportive therapies such as acupuncture, physical therapy, chiropractic, counseling, support groups, etc, can help to speed up the eradication of the disease, provided that the patient is receiving appropriate herbal or antibiotic therapies that eradicate not only the spirochete, but also the co-infections These herbal therapies should also treat the root imbalances of the person that made them susceptible to getting sick from the transfer of the organism, and any degenerative changes that may have occurred during the course of the disease process. There is much further research and health education that needs to be done in terms of effective treatments and accurate diagnosis of Lyme disease. Hopefully, there will be more appropriation of funding for this to occur in the near future. This integration of 2 different approaches has helped many patients to feel empowered to recover from the disease.
Lyme Disease Protocols
Two of my favorite protocols are those from Drs. Cowden and Burascano. Each approaches Lyme Disease in different ways and I find that each protocol contains significant information of value. I highly recommend reading both protocols and then making a decision on which approach feels more appropriate for your individual situation.
Dr. Yale Zhang's Lyme and Chinese Medicine
Dr. Klinghardt's A Look Beyond Antibiotics and Lyme Protocol 2008
Dr. Burrascano's Diagnostic Hints and Treatment Guidelines
(2008 Revision shared with permission)
Dr. Garth Nicolson's Diagnosis and Therapy of Chronic Systemic Co-infections in Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Infectious Diseases
ILADS Treatment Guidelines
Dr. Lee Cowden's Lyme Protocol
NutraMedix Lyme Protocols
1. Lyme and Rife by
2. Healing Lyme by Steven Harrod Buhner
3. www.healthfreedomsolutions.com- article by Richard Bierman
4. “Treatment guidelines for Lyme and other tick-borne illnesses” by Dr. Burrascano- .
5. “Coping with Lyme disease” by Denise Lang
7. Lyme disease by Dr. Yale Zhang
Lyme Disease books
and "Beating Lyme Disease.
For those interested in more alternative treatments, one of the more promising appears to be Rife machines. This is expertly covered in “When Antibiotics Fail: Lyme Disease and Rife Machines”.
Another excellent book on rife and frequency healing is “The Handbook of Rife Frequency Healing”
“Healing Lyme ” by Stephen Buhner. It expertly covers various alternative approaches to the treatment of Lyme Disease using herbs
An excellent book on the co-infection Babesia is "The Health Care Professional's Guide to the Treatment and Diagnosis of Human Babesiosis: An Extensive Review of New Human Species and Advanced Treatments.
In early 2007, Bryan Rosner's second book “The Top 10 Lyme Disease Treatments was released and contains a collection of great information. Later, ”2008 Lyme Disease Annual Report was released.
In 2008, Ken Singleton, MD, released his book titled “The Lyme Disease Solution”. I believe this is the single most comprehensive book on the market on Lyme disease today.
Other exciting Lyme books in 2008 include: Lyme Disease Survival Guide , Lyme-Autism Connection , and The Experts of Lyme Disease .
Mold and Biotoxin-Mediated Illnesses
One of the books that I read later in my understanding of Lyme Disease and neurotoxin-mediated illnesses was “Mold Warriors”. I found the book to be an excellent source of information on both mold and Lyme Disease and how the biotoxins they produce impact the body in very serious ways.
Digestive Disorders / Parasitic Infections
In terms of books on digestion and the many disorders that can occur, “Optimal Digestive Health” is by far the most comprehensive that I have read. For specific details on parasitic disorders, both “The Parasite Menace” “The Parasite Menace” and “Guess What Came To Dinner”. have provided me with valuable information.
Detoxification / Immunity
“Detoxification and Healing” “Detoxification and Healing” and
“The Road to Immunity” “ are both excellent. I especially liked ”The Road to Immunity It contains a wealth of information and I highly recommend it.
I believe that Multiple Scleroris is often undiagnosed Lyme disease or induced by other infectious agents. Healing Multiple Sclerosis is an excellent book that covers many possible causes of Multiple Sclerosis as well as offering treatment options.
It is my strong belief that if one understands and can treat autism, Lyme disease is a subset of the complexities of autism. In many cases, autism is in part due to infection with Lyme disease. Issues such as heavy metal toxicity are involved in both disorders. I have started reading books on autism in order to more fully understand the complex nature of diseases caused by a combination of infections and toxins. “Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies” is an excellent book on the topic of autism with a significant amount of information that is helpful for those battling Lyme disease as well.
Bryan Rosner and Tami Duncan collaborated on Lyme-Autism Connection which is a good read for those that do not yet understand that there is a likely connection between the two disorders.
Copyright 2009 by Marjorie Singler; all rights reserved.
Lyme Disease -
and Related Coinfections