The homeopathic treatment of Lyme disease.
The treatment of Lyme disease may be one of the more challenging of diseases for homeopathy to treat. Known to be caused by a spirochete bacteria, Borrelia burgdorfi, it is now known to be compounded by a number of co-infections including viruses, parasites, fungi and molds and other bacteria. It seems the primary bacteria is able to allow the unleashing of other disease causing factors. Also, in more alternative circles it has been recognized that the underlying constitutional issues of mental/emotional distress, childhood traumas and illnesses, heavy metal toxicity, environmental pollutants and stresses etc all compound the susceptibility to Lyme and the reactive capacity of the organism.
None of this is new information for the homeopath, who in looking at root causes, generally focuses more on the soil of the individual than on the contagious factors that have precipitated the condition. However, is it enough to simply find the correct “constitutional” remedy for a person or do other protocols need to be covered, including remedies for the most obvious acute symptoms, or for the serious chronic neurological complications, or nosodes to cover both chronic miasmatic conditions and the actual nosode for the spirochete bacteria.
Also, given the focus on the psycho/dynamic factors of each person, is it more important to address the emotional patterns of conditioning that may be predisposing a person to sickness in the first place, especially if these are deep seated and chronic in nature. Is it also important to look at adjunct therapies to help support the treatment, whether it is the use of herbs, minerals, vitamins and various detox supports to protect the organism during the struggle against the disease.
Within mainstream classical homeopathy, there is a tendency to always look for the “golden nugget”, the one remedy that will cover all the mental and physical conditions in one and to give the minimum dose necessary to stimulate the organism’s capacity to combat all of the conditions above, however complex that may be. While in some cases, that may be enough, will it always work, even if one has found the correct remedy, or given the complexity and the intensity of chronic Lyme cases, is that really enough. Perhaps there is an over reliance on this methodology at the expense of looking for supportive and more adaptable methods of looking for a complete therapeutic profile.
It has been recognized that Lyme disease looks very much like Syphilis. Both diseases are spirochete bacteria, both have distinct phases of action, affecting similar areas of the body – joints, bones, nerves, mental functioning. Both are elusive diseases and “arrived” on the scene as if from nowhere. Both have a “mercurial” aspect to them, and especially now with Lyme disease, the confusion in the medical community about how to treat the condition and even the diagnosis of it is similar to how people first struggled to accept and recognize Syphilis and its cause. The syphilitic component to the disease needs to be recognized as a key to the possible treatment of the condition, both in remedies used and adjunct therapies possibly needed.
The conventional use of antibiotics for the conditions is controversial if done long term which some Dr’s recommend, in some cases for 1-2 years. The evidence suggests that long term antibiotic therapy alone is not effective and the risks of side effects and immune suppression are very apparent. Short term use of antibiotics is more justified if they are given soon enough after primary infection. However, even then, perhaps 30-40% of people have some kind of chronic sequelae. Also, the conventional tests for Lyme do not count for much and are often wrong. Both Western Blot and ELISA tests often fail to register antibodies to the bacteria if done in the first two weeks of infection or after eight weeks. Also, they can register false positives. However, for many people who have not been given any diagnosis of their condition and simply told they have chronic fatigue, knowing that it could be Lyme disease is a relief. It is now being realized that people who were being diagnosed as having Chronic fatigue, Epstein Barre, Multiple sclerosis, Parksinons, Depression, Bi-polar disorder and many others are in fact the result of Borrelia infection and therefore have Lyme disease.
It is also being seen that the initial acute red rash around the bite (erythema migrans) and consequent acute reaction – fever, aching, joint pains etc is being seen less and less and more and more people have a variety of the chronic symptoms. Similar to many diseases, including Syphilis and AIDS, the disease has moved on, morphing into a more chronic picture. However, with Lyme disease, we are still in a period in which more and more people are getting it, and it is threatening to become one of the major diseases of our age.
The fact of why such a disease should manifest now brings up interesting questions, some of a more philosophical and spiritual nature, as well as looking at the shifting environmental influences of weather patterns and changing climates. Are there more ticks now because of climate change or because natural predators have been destroyed by pesticides, or is it because man’s relationship to the land has reached a point of exploitation and disconnect that this disease is a feedback mechanism of nature. Is it also simply the Syphilitic impulse needing a new vent as AIDS is being controlled and perhaps suppressed.
Whatever it is, the fact is that as homeopaths we need to be prepared in how to address this condition and to share this information. In exploring the various methodologies from other more alternative practitioners, it brings up the same questions again for homeopaths. The difficulty with some methodologies from a homeopathic point of view is that it seems too reductionist, with therapies for the many facets of the problem: for the bacterial infection itself, to dealing with neurotoxins, and other co-infections, to stimulating the immunity of the person, addressing the psycho-dynamic issues, dealing with existing heavy metal toxicity in the body etc. The detoxification process can seem to be very complex, especially using methods such as Dr. Klinghardt’s, a well-known Lyme specialist Dr.
Also, by admitting to the underlying issues of susceptibility, including genetic predisposition, childhood trauma, environmental pollution, ancestral baggage etc, it brings up the possibility of there being many ways to approach dealing with the condition. From a conventional homeopathic approach, treating the dynamic roots – the constitutional/miasmatic predisposition would then seem to be even more justified, even when looking at the multi pronged approach of Dr. Klinghardt. However, it is most likely that the constitutional approach will be more effective in more chronic cases, once the Lyme has been active for a while, revealing underlying susceptibilities. If one sees a case where the initial symptoms are clearer, ideally with a clear etiology and history of the Erythema migrans rash, then a more local remedy like Ledum may well be the first step to take in treatment. As always, the symptoms need to be followed, whether physical or psychological.
The approach advocated by Wolf Storl in his book Healing Lyme Disease Naturally speaks very highly of the use of Teasel root as a radical treatment to address the spirochete infection. He explores other natural methods, especially the use of other herbs and also looks at the way Syphilis was treated effectively in the Americas by native people – advocating frequent sweats, vigorous exercise, the use of Guaicum resin in large doses and a strict diet. He gives evidence that this effectively cured Syphilis. Could it do the same for Lyme disease is a good question.
Based on this, the following is a suggestion of possible approaches to treating Lyme disease. The compiling of data of people’s experiences in this area will bring more knowledge as to how effective homeopathy can be and what the best approach may be. For simplicity, the disease is separated into 3 areas, based on the stages of development of the disease.
1st Stage: The bite, the local eruption and acute picture of fever, aching and local joint inflammation, with stiffness of the back, neck and flu like symptoms. (It should be noted that in 50% of Lyme cases, this initial stage is not seen, or is missed). It may be that a simple fever is seen and no bite is detected. That may then go away and then later, there may be a lacking in energy and general depletion. Other cases may see no bite or initial fever but then one joint may become stiff, painful and inflamed.
Homeopathic Remedy: Ledum palustre is the well-known remedy to give both prophylactically and curatively for any bite, especially in Lyme disease. It will help prevent the disease developing. The earlier it is given the better. A 30c three times daily for one week is sufficient in the beginning. If symptoms of joint inflammation and pain, wandering pains and other characteristics of Ledum are present, then a 200c may be needed, given once a day for one week or until symptoms have improved.
Borrelia nosode 30c should be given SD for 5 days in order to help prevent the disease developing. It is more useful prophylactically than curatively.
Kalmia and other remedies from the Ericaceae family can be considered.
Other “flu” type remedies may well be considered, especially Eupatorium perfoliatum (recommended in a tea form for treating the co-infection of Babesia)
2nd Stage: More chronic joint pain, wandering pains throughout the body in muscles and joints, exhaustion, general depletion, depression, chronic fatigue type conditions. There may be some nerve paresis, neurological problems, facial paralysis, numbness, tingling, and mild encephalitis. This stage often gets missed as it can look like so many diseases that Lyme is often not considered. Any case of chronic fatigue type of symptoms should be considered for Lyme disease. If chronic fatigue is seen with any neurological condition, then that is a strong indicator.
Homeopathic Remedy: Ledum again is a strong consideration.
Guaicum should be considered, based on its used in Syphilis in the past. It could be tried in a low potency, repeated frequently.
A “chronic” remedy based on the whole symptom picture. This would include many of the “fatigue” remedies, such as the acids, Kali phos, Zincum, Gelsemium etc and neurological remedies as well. It would also include the correct constitutional remedy if that could be found.
3rd Stage: Neurological symptoms, various forms of paralysis looking like MS, RA, Parkinsons, Dementia, Depression, bi-polar conditions, Lupus, Scleroderma later stage syphilis, psychosis etc. Heart symptoms can also occur
Homeopathic remedies: The 3rd stage reflects the more strong syphilitic influence in the case, requiring a more syphilitic remedy that could be the deepest constitutional remedy for the person or it could be remedy that most closely covers the strong pathology in the case. Ideally it would be both. Remedies to consider would be Guaicum, Mercurius, Plumbum, Platinum, Argentum metallicum etc. However, any neurological remedy should be considered. The German homeopath Peter Alex in his book Healing Lyme, recommends the remedy Aurum arsenicosum as a possible genus epidemicus remedy for Lyme, at least in Germany.
The nosode Syphilinum would have to considered here also, perhaps as an intercurrent.
Based on the work of Wolf Storl in Healing Lyme Disease Naturally, the following protocol should be employed as well.
The use of steam baths, on a daily basis. The temperature should not exceed 42 degrees, with exposure between 15-30 minutes. (Caution should be taken with not giving too much heat too quickly as this may create some aggravation and dissipation of energy. Build up slowly).
Fairly vigorous exercise to keep the body active and heated up.
The use of Teasel root, the dose varying, from 3 tsp to 3 tbl 3 times a day. In very sensitive cases, it can begin with 1 drop in water on day 1, to 1 drop twice on day 2, one drop thrice on day 3, and following on adding one drop daily, but always taking it 3 times a day until on the 9th day, it is 3 drops 3 times a day.
Artemesia in a tea form can also be used daily in cases that have the Babesia co-infection. In these cases, symptoms may resemble Malaria, with intermittent fever, weakness, aching and general fatigue. (Some people recommend Artemisinin, the extract from Artemesia. However, the whole plant used is generally better handled by the body).
Cats claw can also be used along with or after the teasel as necessary.
Japanese knotwood (Fallopia japonica). This is used when neurotoxins are prevalent and is recommended as one the most important remedies in the treatment of Lyme complications.
There are other herbs mentioned in the book by Storl (Healing Lyme Disease Naturally)
A Rife machine can be used also when symptoms are strong or there is a relapsing condition. This technology is discussed in the book Out of the Woods, by Katina Makris.
Mineral supplementation: There is evidence that with Lyme and its co-infections serious depletions in various minerals, vitamins takes place. Copper, magnesium and manganese are depleted with Borrelia and iron is depleted with Babesia. Selenium is also often required and Iodine is mostly needed. Supplementation with high quality individual minerals may therefore be needed, both to support the immune system and help any detoxification process in the body.
Buhner also suggests the following supplements:
– Vitamin C
– Zinc picolinate with copper
– Glucosamin sulphate
– Pregnenolene (a precursor to all steroid hormones of the human body.
– DHEA (anti ageing hormone, produced by the adrenal gland. A forerunner of the sex hormones.
– ALA (alpha lipoic acid).
– Vit B complex
– Vitamin E.
Diet: An anti-inflammatory diet should be given, minimizing or ideally eliminating sugar and simple starchy food. Also dairy food should be minimized. More alkaline food should be given with fresh vegetable juices being added. Red meat should be avoided and ideally a more vegetarian diet.
Wolf Storl: Healing Lyme Disease Naturally, North Atlantic Books.
Katina Makris: Out of the Woods.
Dr Diedrich Klinghardt: Lyme-Borreliosis, A Look Beyond Antibiotics
Stephen Buhner: Healing Lyme