Posted on Apr 03, 2019, 5 p.m.
According to a study from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health a potent mix of essential oils from various herbs and medicinal plants may help to eliminate bacteria that causes Lyme disease, as published in the journal Antibiotics.
The essential oils were noted to help relieve persistent Lyme symptoms despite use of standard antibiotic treatments, which is good news as most antibiotics are linked to side effects like fatigue, diarrhea, skin rashes, increased fever, and increased aches.
Lab dish testing of 35 essential oils were conducted which revealed 10 to have potent killing activity which were more effective than standard antibiotics against dormant and slow growing persister forms of the Lyme disease bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi.
Within the USA there are at least 300,000 new cases of Lyme Disease annually, the standard treatment with doxycycline or an alternative antibiotic can take several weeks to clear the infection and address symptoms, and 10-20% of patients report persistent symptoms of joint pain or fatigue, such cases of PTLDS may last for months or even years.
Causes of the lingering syndrome have yet to be determined, data suggests cultures of B. burgdorferi can enter a stationary phase wherein the majority of cells divide slowly or not at all, the dormant or slow dividing persister cells can form naturally despite nutrient starvation or stress conditions.
Persister cells are also more resistant to antibiotics which has inspired researchers to find alternative cures that can kill the bacteria, if research is successful the tested compounds can be used to treat those with persistent Lyme symptoms.
Cinnamon bark, citronella, oregano, wintergreen, and clove bud essential oils were shown to kill stationary phase Lyme bacteria in 2017 lab studies; these oils were observed to be more potent than daptomycin which is one of the most effective drugs among treatments.
In this study lab dish testing was extended to include 35 other essential oils, results narrowed the list of potentials down to 10 oils that had powerful killing activity against stationary phase Lyne bacteria cultures at concentration of only 1 part per 1000. Five oils at this concentration derived from garlic bulbs, may chang, myrrh trees, spiked ginger lily blossoms, and allspice berries successfully killed all stationary phase Lyme bacteria in culture dishes within 7 days; after 21 days no bacterium grew back after these oils were used. Oils from cinnamaldehyde, amyris wood, thyme leaves, cumin seeds, and lemon eucalyptus were also noted to have performed well.
Dr. Ying Zhang and colleagues wish to follow up with their early research to continue the investigation of essential oil with testing involving live animals such as rodent models of persistent Lyme infections, if these studies go well, are effective and safe, then studies will then proceed to initial human testing.
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