Lyme disease, also known as ‘Lyme borreliosis’ is a tick-borne, infectious disease which is caused by a bacteria. It spreads from the bite from ticks infected by the bacterium. It is caused by the bacteria (of the type borrelia) known as Borrelia burgdoferi. The bacteria travel through the infected site to the central bloodstream and settle into various body tissues, causing different symptoms within the body. A person can also experience autoimmune activity triggered by this bacterium if Lyme disease is not treated correctly, and it can lead to chronic lifelong symptoms. Homeopathic treatment for Lyme disease helps moderate the immune system and helps reduce the severity of the symptoms caused by the bacteria.
Lyme Disease: Symptoms
Medically, Lyme disease in a person develops in three phases:
Early Localized Infection – It occurs within three to 30 days after the bite of an infected tick that transmits the infection. In this stage the, the infection is limited to the area of tick bite on the skin, and it does not spread in the body.
Erythema Chronicum Migrans (EM): It refers to outwardly expanding rash which occurs at the site of the bite of a tick. The rash is red and painless. The rash appears like a bull’s eye which is characterized as the innermost portion which remains dark red and indurated (firmer and thicker), the outer portion remains red, and the area in between both portions is clear. 70 – 80 % of the infected people represent with EM in early infection. 20 – 30 % of people can have Lyme disease without the EM rash.
EM is the hallmark of Lyme disease.
Flu-like Symptoms: The rash is often accompanied by fever, malaise, headache, muscular soreness and swollen lymph nodes.
Early Disseminated Infection – After the onset of local infection, within a span of days to weeks, the bacteria (Borrelia) begin to travel through the bloodstream.
EM rash may start to develop at various other sites of the body (apart from the original tick bite site).
Borrelia lymphocytoma: It is a purple colored lump that develops on the earlobe, nipple or scrotum. This skin condition is found in Lyme disease sufferers of Europe but is absent in North American patients.
Neuroborreliosis: It refers to acute neurological issues that appear in approximately 10-15 % of untreated people. The symptoms include facial palsy (loss of muscle tone of one or both sides of the face), meningitis which can cause severe headaches, a stiffness of neck and sensitivity to light, inflammation of nerve roots of the spinal cord, mild encephalitis which can lead to disturbance in sleep, mood changes or memory loss.
The adverse impact of this disease is the disturbance of the electrical conduction system of the heart leading to an abnormality of heart rhythms such as Atrioventricular block (AV block).
Late disseminated infection – Also termed as chronic Lyme disease or post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome (PTLDS), t includes symptoms of Lyme disease as a result of the immune response of the affected tissues of the body towards borrelia bacteria. In this stage, the infection spreads entirely throughout the body.
Untreated or inadequately treated Lyme disease patients can develop chronic or severe symptoms after several months of onset of this disease. These symptoms involve many parts of the body including the brain, joints, eyes, nerves, and heart.
Late disseminated infection includes:
Fatigue: The hallmark of chronic Lyme disease is a feeling of tiredness. Muscle aches and constant severe headache often accompany the fatigue. The fatigue can linger for many years. The symptoms can mimic chronic fatigue syndrome or fibromyalgia. (1)
Polyneuropathy: Patients experience shooting pains, numbness and tingling sensation in the hands and feet.
Lyme Encephalopathy: This includes neurologic symptoms. 5 % of untreated patients experience neurologic symptoms that involve insomnia (lack of sleep), cognitive difficulties, personality changes and a general feeling of being unwell, chronic fatigue and lethargy.
Chronic encephalomyelitis: It can be a progressive issue and affected person deal with:
- Cognitive difficulties
- Brain fog
- Issues in balancing
- Weakness of legs
- Bladder issues
- Pain in back
Psychosis: A rare occurrence in untreated Lyme disease cases, it refers to an abnormal condition of mind in which a person has false beliefs and sees or hears things that others do not see.
The patient can also experience anxiety and panic attacks along with delusional behavior accompanied by derealisation or depersonalization syndrome (the person feels being detached from oneself or reality).
Acrodermatitis Chronic Atrophicans (ACA): ACA is a chronic skin condition and has been noticed in elderly people in Europe. ACA starts as a reddish-blue patch of discolored skin, mainly on the back of feet or hands. The lesion starts becoming thin and wrinkled over several weeks or months. If not treated properly, it can become hairless and dry.
Lyme Arthritis: Arthritis in Lyme disease mainly affects the knees. In some people, it can involve other joints like elbows, wrists, hips, ankles, and shoulders. There is swelling of the affected joint with pain which is mild to moderate in intensity. There are chances of formation of Baker’s cyst (fluid-filled cyst behind the knee) which can rupture. Joint erosions are also seen in some cases.
Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme Disease
Homeopathic medicines for Lyme disease are selected according to the most prominent symptoms of the disease. These medicines help moderate the immune system and offer a natural treatment for Lyme Disease. There are no side effects of homeopathic treatment and it is safe for use in people of all ages.
The most commonly indicated medicines for Lyme disease in the conventional system of treatment are antibiotics- oral or intravenous, which are often prescribed for several weeks. Side effects related to intravenous antibiotics include lowering of white blood cells and mild to severe diarrhea.
Although some patients may require corticosteroids, painkillers, NSAIDs, and muscle relaxants in acute cases, these medications do not work long-term.
In cases of chronic Lyme disease, continued use of these medicines can give rise to side effects like loss of appetite and digestion issues, lowering of blood pressure, mental symptoms such as poor memory and mental fogginess, body pain and numbness.
Homeopathic Medicines for Lyme Disease
Arsenicum Album – Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme Disease with Chronic Fatigue
The homeopathic medicine Arsenicum album is a metal-based remedy which is prepared from Arsenic. Arsenicum album is prepared by isolating arsenic from various metals, such as cobalt, nickel, and iron. Highly diluted arsenic preparations are used to make of Arsenicum album. It is a well-indicated remedy for weakness and body fatigue in Lyme disease. Characteristic of this remedy includes a marked weakness and extreme restlessness. It is also indicated in cases of Lyme disease when there are tearing pains in the limbs, which gets worse during the night and while the person is at rest after exertion. There is a sudden decrease in strength during the second stage of Lyme disease, which is well indicative of this remedy.
Key indications for using Arsenicum Album for Lyme Disease:
– Extreme Restlessness
– Tearing Pains
Ledum Palustre – Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme Disease with Skin Rash
The homeopathic medicine Ledum palustre is prepared from Ledum, also known as marsh tea. Ledum or wild rosemary is a herb which is found in the marshlands all over the United States, Canada, and northern Europe. The fresh herb is dried and then powdered to prepare this remedy. Ledum belongs to the family Ericaceae.
Ledum is known for its antiseptic properties and is useful in preventing infections. Ledum palustre is a well-indicated remedy for insect stings, including tick bites. It is also indicated for a twitching sensation around skin rash. The area of the tick bite is cold to the touch.
Key indications for using Ledum Palustre for Lyme Disease:
– Tick Bite
-Twitching Sensation around the rash
Rhus Toxicodendron – Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme disease with Arthritis
The homeopathic medicine Rhus tox is prepared from poison ivy- a vine-like shrub. This shrub is found naturally all over North America and belongs to the Anacardiaceae family. The leaves and stalks of this shrub are collected at night to prepare Rhus Toxicodendron. Rhus tox has given tremendous results in arthritis, especially of knee joints in Lyme disease patients. There is stiffness and painful swelling of the knee joint which becomes better by warmth. It is also indicated for joint problems in the elbows and ankles in some instances of Lyme disease. A tingling sensation in feet and other places of the body is also treated with this remedy.
Key Indications for using Rhus Tox for Lyme Disease
– Knee Joint Arthritis
– Tingling Sensation
Belladonna – Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme disease with Constant Headache
The homeopathic medicine Belladonna is prepared from the Belladonna plant. Belladonna plant is also known by other names such as nightshade, devil’s cherry, and Atropa belladonna. It is a herbaceous plant, and it belongs to the Solanaceae family. Belladonna is a perennial plant and is found in Europe, North Africa, and Western Asia. The entire belladonna plant is used to prepare the belladonna medicine. Belladonna is a top graded medicine for migraine in patients of chronic Lyme disease. The headache is pulsating and throbbing in character. There is a feeling of extreme fullness in the head. Noise and light seem to worsen the headache of Lyme disease patients. Cold air, head bath with cold water acts as aggravating (increasing) factor for the migraine. Applying hard pressure on the head helps relieve the pain.
Kali Phosphoricum – Homeopathic medicine for Brain fog in chronic Lyme Disease
Kali phosphoricum is a well-indicated remedy for patients of Lyme disease where there is mental fatigue from overwork. There is dullness of mind, loss of memory, a lack of interest in talking and the person suffers from forgetfulness. The characteristic symptom of using this remedy is a low, nervous condition with sensitivity. The person is easily fatigued.
Aconitum Napellus – Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme Disease with Anxiety and Palpitations
The homeopathic medicine Aconitum napellus is prepared from the herb called aconite, also known as Monkshood. The aconite herb belongs to the family Ranunculaceae. The whole plant, leaving the root. is used to prepare Aconitum. This herb is indigenous to the region from the Himalayas to Europe. As a remedy, Aconite is recommended for Lyme disease patients when they suffer from anxiety as a result of chronic effects of this disease. Patients go into a state of mental and emotional shock and experience a fear of death. Panic attacks and shock, restlessness and inconsolable anxiety, tachycardia (heart rate that exceeds the normal resting rate) with palpitations, fainting palpitations with tingling in fingers and palpitations from motion and pulse are other symptoms that call for this remedy.
Conium – Homeopathic Treatment for Lyme Disease with Vertigo
The homeopathic medicine Conium is prepared from the hemlock plant. This plant is a perennial herbaceous flowering plant and belongs to the Apiaceae family. The plant originally belongs to Europe, particularly Britain, Africa and different regions of Asia. The leaves, roots and flowering stems of the hemlock plant are used to prepare Conium. The curative effects of Conium are seen in cases of Vertigo especially in Lyme disease (in the later stages of the disease).
Vertigo appears as a sensation where the person looking steadily at an object feels like the object is spinning.
Vertigo upon rising, or going down the stairs may be present, along with weakness and an inclination to sleep. There is numb feeling in the brain as if stupefied, which gets worse upon turning over in bed.
Thuja – Homeopathic Treatment for Delusions as a result of Lyme Disease
The homeopathic medicine Thuja is prepared by using the leaves and twigs of the thuja plant. Thuja tree belongs to the Cupressaceae family. Out of five, two species of Thuja trees are found in North America and the remaining three species are found growing in eastern regions of Asia. Thuja is a well-indicated remedy for delusions and has given good results in Lyme disease patients who have fixed ideas and delusions in later part of the disease. Delusions as if a strange person is by the side and delusions as if the body were fragile are present. There is dullness of mind with sadness. The person feels depressed, isolated and alone.
How to Distinguish Lyme Disease from Fibromyalgia?
Both fibromyalgia and Lyme disease can cause fatigue and pain, but there are many differences between them
The cause for fibromyalgia is not clear, but it is related to genetic factors, often triggered by stress (physical or emotional stress), and associated conditions like osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and Ankylosing spondylitis. Fibromyalgia gives rise to widespread pain and tender points, body fatigue, depression, headache, pain, and cramping in the lower abdominal region.
Lyme disease, on the other hand, is an infectious tick-borne disease caused by the bacteria of borrelia type. After the bite of the tick, the bacteria penetrate into the bloodstream and trigger symptoms inside the body. Symptoms of Lyme disease include a headache, chill, fever, swelling of lymph nodes and a rash called Erythema migrans. As the condition takes the chronic form, there are chances of developing arthritis, nerve involvement leading to numbness or tingling sensation, depression, anxiety, palpitations and short-term memory loss.
Although symptoms overlap between Fibromyalgia and Lyme disease, these diseases are distinguished by the presence of a rash which is a hallmark of Lyme disease (called Erythema Migrans). There is no such rash in fibromyalgia.
Chronic Lyme Disease: Causes and Transmission
The causative agent of Lyme disease is bacteria. The main type of bacteria causing Lyme disease in the United States are Borrelia burgdoferi and Borrelia mayonii. In Europe and Asia, Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are the causative bacteria. The primary vector for transmitting the bacteria to humans in Lyme disease is an infected black-legged or deer tick. Ticks which are frequently found on deer carry the bacterium in their stomach and transmit it to humans when they bite. People working in grassy and heavily wooded areas are more prone to get Lyme disease.
Lyme disease is not contagious.
Ticks crawl over your clothes or body for many hours before they get attached to your skin. Ticks are usually found in the scalp, groin or armpits, but they can attach to any part of your body. It takes at least 36 to 48 hours for an infected tick to pass bacteria to the body once it is attached to the skin. Most ticks cause infection in the nymphal stage (immature form of ticks, before larval stage) since they are very small in this stage and feed for a longer duration of time before they are detected.
Lyme Disease: Risk Factors
Exposure to wooded or grassy areas: Deer ticks thrive in wooded areas of Midwest and the northeastern region of the United States. Children and Adults with outdoor occupation working in these areas are at a high risk of contracting Lyme disease.
Not removing ticks properly after exposure: For transmission of bacteria from an infected tick to the human body, the tick needs to be attached to the body for at least 36 to 48 hours. The chances of developing Lyme disease grow low if the tick is removed within two days of exposure.
Lyme Disease: Complications
Lyme disease can cause permanent damage to the joints, brain, nervous system and heart. Significant complications of Lyme disease include increased risk of developing an autoimmune form of arthritis, as a result of chronic Lyme disease (even after the treatment) which includes:
Lyme Disease: Management
Prevention is the most important step when it comes to Lyme Disease. Some preventive measures include:
- Use insect repellent and bug sprays.
- Use tweezers to remove ticks even if your body is exposed to ticks.
Dealing with Lyme Disease:
Since in the later stages Lyme disease takes the autoimmune form, the best way to manage chronic Lyme disease is by boosting your immune system.
Sleep and Management of Emotional Stress:
Stress triggers inflammation and disturbs the hormonal balance of the body. One should get enough sleep (at least 6 to 8 hours per day) and avoid stress to improve body functioning.
Foods to Eat
Consume anti-inflammatory foods like vegetables, nuts, and seeds, and antioxidant-rich foods like green leafy vegetables and berries.
Foods rich in probiotics (like yogurt) help to reduce the progression of Lyme disease.
Supplements to improve cell functioning include:
Vitamin D3 – It helps to boost the immunity, and so supplements rich in vitamin D3 should be a part of the daily diet.
Omega -3 Fatty Acids – These fatty acids play an anti-inflammatory role and improve cognitive functions. Fish-oil supplements should be taken daily.