Never before have ticks incited so much fear in dog owners … and Lyme disease is at the root of that fear, for good reason.
Almost everyone knows someone, human or dog, who’s battled Lyme disease. It’s the most common vector-borne illness in the United States … with an estimated 300,000 human cases per year.
We don’t know the number of cases in dogs, as Lyme isn’t always correctly diagnosed.
The geographical range for the tick species that carry Lyme disease … and actual cases of Lyme disease … has increased dramatically since 1975 when it was first diagnosed in Lyme, Connecticut.[View maps of Lyme disease incidence in the US and Canada.]
Lyme disease is fast becoming the “disease of our times.” It’s spread through tick bites … and maybe even by other biting insects.
But not everyone develops symptoms.
It depends on how the immune system reacts to the organism.
How Lyme Infection Works
The primary organism that causes Lyme, Borrelia burgdorferi, is evolving rapidly into many different species and strains … trying to evade attack by antibiotics.
On top of that, several organisms can work synergistically to create the disease. Most of these organisms are difficult to detect with blood tests.
[RELATED: The Surprising Cause Of Lyme Disease In Dogs]
For example, when Borrelia is starved or attacked, it changes shape.
It takes on the form of a cyst … and then emerges when conditions improve.
These latent forms often don’t show up on tests, even though they still create havoc in the body.
Symptoms can come and go as well, moving about the body.
Lyme disease can take several different courses of disease once it enters the body of a human or animal.
4 Ways Lyme Disease Appears
#1 It can go undetected or undiagnosed … and can be asymptomatic.
When Lyme is asymptomatic, the body’s immune system clears it … without needing drugs to kill the organism.
#2 Symptoms appear … and the patient gets an initial course of antibiotics very early on.
Conventional Lyme disease treatment is usually a 3-week course of Doxycycline … and no more symptoms appear.
#3 About 20% of patients still have chronic symptoms after the initial course of antibiotics.
These chronic symptoms of Lyme disease in dogs include:
- Debilitating fatigue
- Muscular and joint pain
- Cognitive and neurologic impairment
This “persistence of infection” can happen in dogs, mice, monkeys and humans.
Even though these patients remain chronically symptomatic … it’s very difficult to find the organism on culture after antibiotic treatment.
#4 Patients who are undiagnosed.
Lyme isn’t diagnosed in all patients … even though they carry the infection in its latent or “persister” form. They’re symptomatic … but doctors don’t recognize their symptoms as Lyme disease.
This chronic form of Lyme disease is becoming more prevalent … in both human and dog populations.
Western medicine doesn’t have any clear-cut answers for curing it.
There are antibiotics that may help against the persister forms of Lyme disease. But these drugs can be very expensive. And they can be difficult to dose, or have significant side effects.
So … researchers at Johns Hopkins University set out to find a different solution. They started investigating essential oils.
Essential Oils Can Help
Essential oils are volatile liquids extracted from plants. They contain highly concentrated plant compounds.
The microbiologists at Johns Hopkins decided to look into essential oils. They’d read reports of their antimicrobial activities. They’d also seen anecdotal reports of persistent Lyme symptoms improving with essential oils.
What The Research Said
In the first study in 2017, the researchers evaluated 34 essential oils against Lyme disease organisms. They used a culture that mimics the persistent phase of the organism.
“We were able to identify 23 essential oils at 1% concentration that are more active than the control persister drug Daptomycin … three of which, oregano, clove bud, and cinnamon bark, highlighted themselves as having a remarkable activity even at a very low concentration of 0.125%.
“Among them, oregano and cinnamon bark essential oils demonstrated the best activity as shown by complete eradication of stationary phase B. burgdorferi even at 0.05% concentration.”
So, translating … they found 23 different essential oils that worked against the persistent form of Lyme disease.
And they worked better than one of the strongest antibiotics they have … even at very low concentrations.
The most effective oils were:
- Oregano oil
- Cinnamon bark oil
- Clove oil
“The top three hits, oregano, cinnamon bark, and clove bud completely eradicated all viable cells without any regrowth in subculture in fresh medium.”
So the oils wiped out the Lyme disease permanently.
In the second study, they screened 35 more essential oils. And they found 10 more with strong activity against the persistent phase of Lyme disease.
The top 10 essential oils that worked the best against Lyme disease were:
- White thyme
- Litsea cubeba (a Chinese herb known as May Chang or mountain pepper)
- Lemon eucalyptus
The researchers observed that 16 of the essential oils tested worked … better than three of the strongest antibiotics used against chronic Lyme disease.
Garlic essential oil was the most potent oil against the encysted type of Borrelia. Its activity was as effective as oregano and cinnamon bark essential oils … the two most active essential oils identified in the first study.
There are still some questions. If you have a dog with chronic Lyme disease, don’t rush out and start putting the oils on your dog!
Are Essential Oils Effective?
First, it’s important to remember that these initial studies were done in a petri dish on a growth medium … like the way they test antibiotics against specific forms of bacteria.
So we still don’t know how effective they are to the organism inside the body.
But it seems highly likely that they’re at least as effective … (if not more so) …as the commonly prescribed antibiotics.
Are Essential Oils Safe?
The other issue is how to safely use the oils … using non-toxic delivery methods with effective concentrations.
The fact that the oils are effective at such low concentrations is a plus. Small amounts of oil can work … and a little goes a long way.
Garlic, oregano, cinnamon and clove oils are all potent oils.
So I don’t recommend dousing animals with them … or even widely diffusing them for long periods of time. Put a little on your finger and place it under your nose and you’ll understand.
If your dog has Lyme disease, use these oils cautiously … and preferably with advice from an experienced professional.
I’ve used all these oils with patients, applying Caroline Ingraham’s Applied Zoopharmacogosny method … with no toxicity problems. Her method lets the animals self-dose and walk away if they want. So your dog can opt out if it’s too much for him.
Back To Ancient Medicines!
It’s so interesting that in these times of great technological growth, the increase in the human population (combined with the resulting ecological damage) is driving us back to the plant world for solutions.
The ancient Chinese actually recognized these complicated diseases and called them Gu syndromes.
They understood the causes were multiple parasites and microorganisms throughout the body … producing a variety of syndromes, from chronic fatigue to debilitating physical problems.
Perhaps we’re coming full circle … experiencing diseases that are best helped by medicine used thousands of years ago.