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Alternative Medicine and Lyme Disease, Part 3

James A. Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy

Although antibiotic therapy is the only proven effective method of treatment for Lyme disease, the use of natural supplements may help treat symptoms when used in combination with, rather in place of, commonly prescribed medications. James A. Duke, Ph.D., author of The Green Pharmacy, recommends taking herbs that boost the immune system along with antibiotics. Fighting the bacteria that cause Lyme disease can severely tax the immune system, and taking supplements containing herbs such as Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), and Echinacea (Echinacea purpura) may help to stimulate the immune system and increase the activity of immune cells called natural killer (NK) cells. In addition, garlic (Allium sativum), licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) and skullcap (Scutellaria) have been shown to inhibit the growth of bacteria, and may help fight the bacteria that cause Lyme disease as well.

Lyme disease can have a devastating effect on the central nervous system, so taking natural supplements that promote healthy functioning of the nerves and brain may help guard against potential damage to the CNS caused by this disease. Herbal supplements containing ginseng (Panax ginseng), Siberian ginseng (Eleutherococcus senticosus), or St. John’s wort (Hypericum perforatum) may help promote normal functioning of the nervous system, while gingko (Gingko biloba) has a long history of use for improving overall brain function, and may be helpful to those with Lyme disease experiencing cognitive difficulties.

There are other natural supplements that may help speed the recovery of those affected by Lyme disease. Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in fish oil supplements and in supplements containing evening primrose oil, borage oil, and flaxseed oil, have been used for treatment of the fatigue, arthritis, heart disease, and neurological problems associated with Lyme disease. In addition, B-complex vitamins may help to maintain proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems, and research indicates that taking supplements containing the enzyme Coenzyme Q10 (also called ubiquinone) can also strengthen the immune system and provide the body with increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection.

Many patients suffering from advanced Lyme disease develop severe muscle pain as well as rheumatoid arthritis, a painful inflammatory condition of the joints, and there are some natural supplements that could help ease their symptoms. Amino acid supplements containing creatine have been used to diminish muscular fatigue and pain, while Sam-e (S-adenosylmethionine), a form of the amino acid methionine, has been found to be helpful for the treatment of painful joints and studies indicate it may help improve symptoms of depression as well.

There are some herbal supplements that may help diminish inflammatory symptoms, including Butcher’s Broom (Ruscus aculeatus), Nettle (Urtica dioica), Cat’s claw, Devil’s claw (Harpagophytum procumbens), grapeseed extract (Vitis vinifera), B. willow bark (Salix alba), and ginkgo (Ginkgo biloba). Each of these herbs contains phytochemicals that help fight inflammation: Nettle contains anti-inflammatory saponins; grapeseed extract contains powerful natural anti-inflammatory compounds called procyanidins, which help improve circulation and inhibit the chemical reactions responsible for inflammatory pain and soreness; Cat’s claw contains quinovic acid and glycosides to help cool inflammation; Devil’s claw has both analgesic (pain relieving) and anti-inflammatory properties; B. willow bark contains salicin, a natural chemical from which aspirin is derived, which been proven to ease pain and reduce inflammation without thinning the blood or irritating the stomach; and ginkgo contains compounds called ginkgolides, which inhibit the production of inflammatory chemicals.

In addition, kudzu (Pueraria lobata) extracts may relieve tension in the muscles of the face and neck and help ease the recurring headaches that occur with chronic Lyme disease. Supplements containing feverfew (Tanacetum parthenium) are also generally accepted as an effective treatment for migraine headaches, and may be especially helpful to those with Lyme arthritis, since it has been shown in some studies to mimic the effects of anti-inflammatory NSAIDs and corticosteroids. Other herbs commonly used to reduce painful inflammation include yucca (Yucca breviofolia), nettle, turmeric (Curcuma longa), and bromelain (extract of Ananas comosus, or pineapple).

http://www.vitaminstuff.com/articles/al ... ase-3.html

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