What is Lyme Disease?
Lyme disease is a multi-faceted, bacterial infection caused by the spirochete bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. The infection is transmitted from the bite of an infected, small, black-legged tick, known as Ixodes or Deer Tick. The infected tick must be attached for a period of 1-2 days, allowing the bacteria to spread throughout the body. Generally, Lyme is not transmissible by human contact, with the possible exception of vertical transmission from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Tick bites often go unnoticed because the tick is so small during the nymph stage it may evade detection. Excretions from the tick also impair the ability to palpate any irritation or discomfort from the bite. Despite the high number of cases diagnosed each year, bacterial transmission is rare; only about 1% of identified tick bites actually result in the transmission of Lyme disease. 1
The Center for Disease Control, has estimated that upwards of 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States alone. Although US numbers are high, Lyme has been found all over the world and on almost every continent. Many cases go undiagnosed each year because the symptoms are often mistaken for those of other diseases or immune disorders. Misdiagnosis can be devastating to those infected, as it causes a delay in proper treatment and allows bacteria to spread throughout the body. 1
If the infection is caught early, before the bacteria has an opportunity to spread through the blood stream, the mild flu-like symptoms can usually be treated successfully with a single dose or series of doses of specific antibiotics. However, antibiotics often remove beneficial gut bacteria, thereby causing an imbalance in intestinal flora and often leading to other health concerns. So it is always advisable to take a probiotic to replace and maintain healthy gut flora after any antibiotic treatment. 2
The sooner the treatment, the faster the recovery. Once the bacteria have entered the bloodstream, they quickly spread to various organ systems throughout the body. Chronic symptoms begin to appear, often affecting the central nervous system, eyes, joints and heart. When this happens chronic treatment is required to combat the disease and reduce symptoms. 3
Early Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Symptoms often begin during the months of May- September, when the nymph stage of the Deer Tick is plentiful. The classic dermatologic sign of Borrelia infection is the Bull's Eye rash, although not all cases of Lyme are discovered in this way. It is estimated that 70-80% of those infected do experience this rash. Flu-like symptoms, muscle soreness, and fever often accompany the skin lesions in the early period. The other 20-30% that do not manifest the classic signs and symptoms are at risk for becoming the next chronic sufferers of Lyme Disease. 2
|* Flu-Like Symptoms||* Headache|
|* Body/Muscle Soreness||* Fever|
|* Vomiting||* Skin Rash|
An early prognosis is made by analyzing the symptoms and testing for specific bacterial antibodies in the blood. However, blood tests can be falsely negative in the early stages of the disease if there is not enough time for antibodies to develop or the patient’s immune system has not begun to interact with the antibodies. Because Lyme disease suppresses the immune system, 20-30% of patients do not produce adequate antibodies and have falsely negative blood tests. The infection may also be due to a bacterial strain that has not yet been identified or was not included in the blood test. 1,3
Chronic Symptoms of Lyme Disease
Chronic symptoms of Lyme disease are serious and debilitating and greatly affect the patient’s overall quality of life. These can occur after months of misdiagnosed or inadequately treated disease. Severe symptoms may become chronic and often debilitating.
|* Neuropathy (various forms)||* Insomnia|
|* Depression||* Fibromyalgia|
|* Migraines||* Brain Fog|
|* Vertigo||* Facial Palsy|
|* Anxiety||* Personality Disorders/ Mental Illness|
|* Eye Inflammation||* Swollen Lymph Nodes|
|* Auto-Immune Disorders||* Arthritis|
|* Skin Disorders|
The symptoms of Lyme Disease vary greatly from person to person. The disease can affect a single organ or an entire body system. Multisystem involvement is not uncommon in Lyme Disease. Various infections and co-infections display themselves physically in a wide variety of ways. To add to the challenge, the incubation period before symptoms are revealed can last from several days to several months and even years for some. 2
Using Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy to Support Lyme Disease
How can holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy help? First, it is important to emphasize that holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy compliments and supports allopathic therapy; it does not replace it. Because Lyme Disease sufferers experience a wide variety of symptoms, a personal and professional consultation must includes a detailed client intake and health history, in order to create a total protocol that will provide the most effective support. The therapist must work in conjunction with all allopathic care to minimize disease symptoms, increase the quality of life and decrease long-term disease sequelae. Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy assists in restoring homeostasis within the body systems, which will in turn, assist in addressing the root cause and elimination of the disease from the body. A holistic, balanced protocol does not only include recommendations for the use of essential oils. It also includes dietary assessments and adjustments. Vitamins, herbs and other supplements are carefully chosen to work in conjunction with the allopathic care that the client receives from a personal physician. Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy has a track record of providing relief for the many symptoms of Lyme disease, supporting allopathic treatment as it directly addresses the root cause of the disease.
Essential Oil Recipes to Help Alleviate Common Lyme Disease Symptoms
Vomiting & Nausea
3 drops Sweet Orange ~ Citrus senesis
3 drops Ginger ~ Zingaber officianalis
2 drops Peppermint ~ Mentha piperita
3 drops Cardamom ~ Ellataria cardamomum
1 drop Spikenard ~ Nardostachys jatamansi
* Blend in 1oz carrier of choice. (2% dilution)
3 drops German Chamomile ~ Matricaria recutita
3 drops Roman Chamomile ~ Anthem nobilus
3 drops Palmarosa ~ Cymbopogon martini
2 drops Balsam Copaiba ~ Copaifera officianalis
*Blend in 1 oz Trauma Oil blend. (2% dilution)
4 drops Lavender ~ Lavandula angustifolia
3 drops Peppermint ~ Mentha piperita
1 drop Vetiver ~ Vetivera zizanoides
2 drops Sandalwood ~ Santalum paniculatum
*Blend in 1oz carrier of choice. (2% dilution)
2 drops Grapefruit ~ Citrus paradisi
4 drops Ho Wood ~ Cinnamomum camphora
3 drops May Chang ~ Litsea cubeba
2 drops Ylang Ylang ~ Cananga odorata
1 drop Vetiver ~ Vetivera zizanoids
*Blend in 1 oz carrier of choice. (2% dilution)
3 drops Petitgrain ~ Citrus aurantium var. amamra
3 drops Bergamot ~ Citrus bergamia
2 drops Ylang Ylang ~ Cananga odorata
2 drops Cedarwood ~ Cedrus atlantica
1 drop Vetiver ~ Vetivera zizanoids
* Blend in 1 oz carrier of choice. (2% blend)
Arthritis/Body Ache-Muscle Soreness
3 drops Plai ~ Zingiber cassumunar
3 drops Birch ~ Betula lenta
3 drops Kunzea ~ Kunzea ambigua
3 drops Sandalwood ~ Santalum paniculatum
* Do NOT use Birch if you are taking blood thinners or allergic to aspirin. *Blend in 1 oz carrier of choice. (2% dilution)
Aromatherapy, Essential Oils & Lyme Disease Prevention
Of course, prevention is the best approach to Lyme disease and here, too, essential oils have proven effective. There are several essential oils shown to repel the nymphs of Ixodes ticks:
Tea Tree ~ Malaleuca alternifolia (4)
Amyris ~ Amyris balsamifera (5)
Osage orange ~ Maclura pomifera (5)
Geranium ~ Pelargonium graveolens (6, 8)
Common Tansy ~ Tanacetum vulgare (7)
Lavender ~ Lavandula angustifolia (8)
Incense Cedar ~ Calocedrus decurrens (9)
Western Juniper ~ Juniperus occidentalis (9)
*Essential Oils being very volatile must be re-applied frequently for thorough protection.
Lyme disease is common, chronic and often debilitating. Practitioners of Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy can help by referring clients with suggestive symptoms to allopathic physicians for diagnosis and prompt antibiotic treatment, and by recommending holistic and supportive measures to those undergoing such treatment. These include alleviating pain, decreasing anxiety, aiding sleep and inhibiting nausea and vomiting. Moreover, it should also be noted that Rock Rose (Cistus creticus) essential oil inhibits the growth of Borrelia burgdorferi. (10) Thus Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy has the potential to ease the suffering of victims of Lyme disease, prevent transmission by repelling the Ixodes nymph and strike at the root cause as well by inhibiting growth of the causative bacterium.
Getting a professional aromatherapists help and advice when dealing with such a serious disease as Lyme is of the utmost importance. The Institute offers aromatherapy blending consultations for any issue, including Lyme disease. Check our our Consultation page for more information on how to schedule an appointment.
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Lyme disease. Retrieved from: https://www.cdc.gov/lyme/
2. lymedisease.org.(2015). About lyme. Retrieved from: https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/lyme-disease/about-lyme/
3. American Lyme Disease Foundation. (2017). What is Lyme disease? Retrieved from: http://www.aldf.com/lyme-disease/
4. Iori , A., Grazioli, D., Gentile, E., Marano, G., & Salvatore, G. (2005). Acaricidal properties of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (tea tree oil) against nymphs of Ixodes ricinus. Veterinary Pathology. 129(1-2): 173-176.
5. Carroll, J. F., Paluch, G., Coats, J., & Krammer, M. (2010). Elemol and amyris oil repel the ticks Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) in laboratory bioassays. Experimental and Applied Acarology. 51(4): 383-392.
6. Tabanca, N., Wang, M., Avonto, C., et al. (2013). Bioactivity-Guided Investigation of Geranium Essential Oils as Natural Tick Repellents. J. Agricultural Food Chem. 61 (17): 4101–410.
7. Pålsson, K., Jaenson, T.G., Baeckström, P. & Borg-Karlson, A.K. (2008). Tick repellent substances in the essential oil of Tanacetum vulgare.
8. Thomas G., Jaenson, T., Garboui, S. & Pålsson, K. (2006). Repellency of Oils of Lemon Eucalyptus, Geranium, and Lavender and the Mosquito Repellent MyggA Natural to Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Laboratory and Field. J. Med. Entomolgy. 43(4):731-736.
9. Dolan, M.C., Dietrich, G., Panella, N. A., Montenieri, J. A. & Karchesy, J. J. (2007). Biocidal activity of three wood essential oils against Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae), Xenopsylla cheopis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae), and Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). J. Econ. Entomology. 100(2): 622-625.
10. Hutschenreuther, A., Birkemeyer, C., Grötzinger, K., Straubinger, R.K. & Rauwald, H.W. (2010). Growth inhibiting activity of volatile oil from Cistus creticus L. against Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. in vitro. Pharmazie. 65(4): 290-295.