(Natural News) Lyme disease can be difficult to treat. If caught early, a round of antibiotics can clear up the infection and resolve symptoms, but that isn’t always the case. Roughly 10 to 20 percent of sufferers go on to experience ongoing symptoms like joint pain and fatigue. Known as persistent Lyme infection, it can last for months or even years, but now scientists from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health have found a natural solution that could finally put it to rest.
It’s not known what causes lingering Lyme disease, but cultures show that the persister cells – which can be dormant or slow-dividing – form naturally in stress conditions or during nutrient starvation. Unfortunately, they can be quite resistant to antibiotics, which has led researchers to look for other treatments that may be able to help sufferers.
In a study published in the journal Antibiotics, researchers carried out lab dish tests of 35 different essential oils. These oils, which are pressed from fruits or plants and contain the main fragrance, or essence, have proven valuable in a host of physical and mental health applications, and now it looks like we may be able to add persistent Lyme disease to that list.
A 2017 study showed that the essential oils of oregano, clove buds, wintergreen, citronella, and cinnamon bark worked better on stationary phase Lyme bacteria than the most powerful antibiotic available to treat the problem, daptomycin. This prompted the researchers to carry out another study looking at even more essential oils.
Of the 35 essential oils they tested this time around, ten demonstrated a strong killing activity on slow-growing and dormant persister forms of the bacterium in Lyme disease. In fact, the researchers say the essential oils worked even better than standard Lyme disease antibiotics at killing the persister cells.
The oils that proved effective included those of garlic cloves, thyme leaves, cumin seeds, myrrh trees, allspice berries, amyris woods, spiked ginger lily blossoms, and cinnamon bark. They managed to get the job done at concentrations of a mere one part per thousand. In fact, five of the oils, including garlic, killed all of the stationary-phase Lyme bacteria in just seven days, with no bacteria growing back in 21 days.
Next, the researchers would like to test essential oils in mice models and live animals. If the tests go well and the doses appear to be safe, they plan to carry out tests in humans.
Lyme disease on the rise
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, tick-borne diseases like Lyme are climbing across the country, with nearly 60,000 cases reported last year and countless more going undiagnosed. In fact, Johns Hopkins researchers believe there are 300,000 new cases of the illness in our country each year.
The CDC reports that studies show people who are given prolonged courses of antibiotics for lingering Lyme disease do not fare any better than those given a placebo in the long term. In addition, long-term antibiotic treatments for the disease carry serious complications, so the new finding could be a real game-changer when it comes to helping people get rid of the disease.
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