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LYME DISEASE

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Lyme borreliosis disease is a bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks. Ticks are tiny arachnids found in grassy woodland areas that feed on the blood of mammals such as deer, mice, dogs and humans. See tick size on image.

It is caused by the intracellular spirochete bacterium called Borrelia burgdorferi. Intracellular means that the spirochete gets into the cell and therefore is not always available to the antibiotics.

The cell membrane inadvertently protects the bacteria and shields it from the antibiotics. The bacteria can also hide dormant in the nervous system, among other places, where antibiotic drugs can not reach them.

Lyme disease was named after a cluster of cases that occurred in Old Lyme, Connecticut in the United States, in 1974 where physicians were treating an unusually large number of cases of what was first thought to be Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. deer bushy park ukThe disease may have various symptoms, the most common being a rash called erythema migrans. Today we know that we are looking at more than just a simple bacterial disease.

Many Lyme symptoms mimic other diseases, such as MS, Alzheimer's, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Fibromyalgia, ALS (Lou Gerig’s Disease) and other autoimmune disorders as well as Parkinson’s and many other ailments, making it difficult to determine whether a patient has Lyme or another disease. Because of this mimicry, many Lyme patients go undiagnosed until they are in a more chronic state and some never get diagnosed at all.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease and, in general, is one of the fastest growing infectious diseases today. In the USA around 250,000 new cases are reported per year and the UK Health Protection Agency (HPA) estimates that there are 2,000 to 3,000 cases of Lyme disease in England and Wales each year, and that about 15%-20% of cases occur while people are abroad.

The problem is that many go unreported due to misdiagnose. What may not be as well known is that Lyme disease can be transmitted through other means as well, including breast milk, semen, tears, saliva and bites from mosquitoes and mites.

Human beings become infected after being bitten by hard-bodied ticks (Ixodes species) that are infected with B. burgdorferi. Ticks become infected when they feed on birds or mammals that carry the bacterium in their blood. People who spend time in woodland or heath areas are more at risk of developing Lyme disease because these areas are where tick-carrying animals, such as deer and mice, live.

Parts of the UK that are known to have a population of ticks that can carry Lyme disease include:

  • Exmoor

  • New Forest in Hampshire

  • Richmond & Bushy Park

  • South Downs

  • Parts of Wiltshire and Berkshire

  • Thetford Forest in Norfolk

  • Lake District

  • Devon

  • Yorkshire Moors

  • Scottish Highlands

Most tick bites occur in late spring, early summer and during the autumn because these are the times of year when most people take part in outdoor activities such as hiking and camping.


Lyme disease can exhibit the following symptoms:

Persistent swollen glands, sore throat, fevers, chills, sore soles, especially in the morning, joint pain and/or swelling in fingers, toes, ankles, wrists, knees, elbows, hips, shoulders, numbness in the arms and/or legs, carpel tunnel syndrome, unexplained back pain, stiffness of the joints and back, muscle pain and cramps, obvious muscle weakness, twitching of the face or other muscles, confusion, difficulty thinking, difficulty with concentration, focus and reading, problem absorbing new information, searching for words and names, forgetfulness, poor short term memory, poor attention, disorientation: getting lost, going to wrong places, speech errors, such as wrong words or misspeaking, mood swings, irritability, depression, anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis (hallucinations, delusions), paranoia, bipolar, tremor, seizures, headaches, light and sound sensitivity, macular oedema, double or blurry vision with floaters, ear pain, hearing problems, such as buzzing, ringing or decreased hearing, increased motion sickness, vertigo, spinning, off balance, “tippy” feeling, light-headedness, wooziness, unavoidable need to sit or lie, fainting, flu-like feeling, tingling, numbness, burning or stabbing sensations, shooting pains, skin hypersensitivity, facial paralysis-Bell’s Palsy, dental pain, TMJ, neck creaks and cracks, stiffness, neck pain, fatigue, tiredness, poor stamina, insomnia, fractionated sleep, early awakening, excessive night time sleep, napping during the day, unexplained weight gain or loss, unexplained hair loss, pain in genital area, unexplained menstrual irregularity or milk production, breast pain, irritable bladder, erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, queasy stomach, nausea, heartburn, stomach pain, constipation, diarrhoea, constipation alternating with diarrhoea, low abdominal pain, cramps, heart murmur or valve prolepses, heart palpitations or skips, “Heart block” on EKG, chest wall pain or sore ribs, head congestion, breathlessness, “air hunger,” unexplained chronic cough, night sweats, exaggerated symptoms or worse hangover from alcohol, skin rashes, conjunctivitis (pinkeye), herpes, recurring Zoster/Shingles attacks.

It is important to get tested for Lyme Disease when symptoms of Parkinson's Disease appear as symptoms can be identical and are often misdiagnosed.


Nature Cures Remedies, Prevention and Cures

Homemade Natural Repellent Spray

In a spray bottle, mix 2 mugs of distilled white vinegar and 1 mug of water. To make a scented solution (to eliminate the vinegar odour) add 20 drops of any essential oil. Eucalyptus oil works as a tick repellent, while peppermint and citrus oils give off a strong crisp scent that also repel ticks and mosquitoes. Other tick repelling essential oils to use are:

  • 10 drops rosemary essential oil

  • 7 drops cinnamon essential oil

  • 3 drops cedar wood essential oil

  • 3 drops of rose geranium oil.

  • 2 tablespoons of sweet almond oil

After mixing the solution, spray onto clothing, skin and hair before going outdoors. Reapply every four hours to keep ticks at bay and examine your skin and hair when back inside to make sure no ticks are on the body.

Note: Essential oil is not suitable for pregnant or breastfeeding mothers

Repellent for Pets

For pets, add 1 mug of water to a spray bottle, followed by 2 mugs of distilled white vinegar. Then add two spoonfuls of vegetable or almond oil which both contain sulphur (another natural tick repellent).

Rose geranium essential oil is a good tick repellent for animals. Place a drop between the animal’s shoulder blades and at the base of the tail before going outside.

To make a repellent that will also deter fleas, mix in a few spoonfuls of lemon juice, citrus oil or peppermint oil, any of which will repel ticks and fleas while also creating a nicely scented repellent. Spray onto the pet's dry coat, staying away from sensitive areas including eyes, nose, mouth and genitals. When outdoors spray this solution on two to three times per day.

Removing Ticks

  • Use fine-tipped tweezers to firmly grasp the tick very close to the skin.

  • Don't squeeze it as squeezing can speed up infection.

  • With a steady motion pull the tick’s body away from the skin.

  • Then clean skin with soap and warm water.

  • Avoid crushing the tick’s body.

  • Do not be alarmed if the tick’s mouthparts remain in the skin. Once the mouthparts are removed from the rest of the tick, it can no longer transmit disease.

  • If the tick is crushed, clean the skin with soap and warm water or alcohol.

  • Don’t use petroleum jelly, a hot match, nail polish or other products to remove a tick

Be tested for deficiencies of zinc, the vitamin B complex and vitamin D as this can slow down Lyme recovery. Then improve the diet accordingly. See the Vitamins and Minerals pages to find out what foods to eat for these vital nutrients.

Probiotic foods can replenish the beneficial bacteria in the intestines that are wiped out by antibiotic Lyme disease treatment.
live organic yoghurt, miso, sauerkraut, kefir milk, kombucha, kimchi and brine pickles (made with lactic acid) are good sources of probiotics. It is advisable to consume probiotics at least an hour before other foods to enable enough friendly bacteria to survive and pass through the strong stomach acids.

Alpha lipoic acid works as an antioxidant in both water and fatty tissue enabling it to enter all parts of the nerve cell and protect it from damage and thus relieve peripheral neuropathy which can be caused by injury, nutritional deficiencies, chemotherapy or by conditions such as diabetes, Lyme disease, alcoholism, shingles, thyroid disease and kidney failure. Symptoms can include pain, burning, numbness, tingling, weakness and itching. Foods rich in alpha lipoic acid are: Brewers yeast, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, flaxseeds, organ meats, peas, rice bran, spinach, Swiss chard and tomatoes.

The herbs andrographis, banderol, cat's claw, burdock root, dandelion, Japanese knotweed, liquorice, nasturtium, olive leaf extract, samento, smilax and stephania all target Lyme disease and related tick-borne infections.

See also Nature Cures Pain and Inflammation for many natural remedies to alleviate the pain that can be caused by Lyme disease.

Try to include many of the foods below in the daily diet to benefit from their powerful properties. Eating a multitude of fruits and vegetables per day will set the body on the path to recovery very quickly. If appetite is low try blending steamed vegetables listed with the herbs and spices listed and serving as a potage soup. Similarly blend all the fruits together especially orange, tangerine, lemon and papaya with nutmeg and honey to provide a tasty nutritious smoothie which will aid speedy recovery.

Fish (4 times a week)
anchovies, bloater fish, carp, eel, mackerel, halibut, herring, hilsa fish, kipper, pilchards, salmon, sardines, shellfish, sprats, swordfish, trout, tuna (fresh only), whitebait

Dairy
live probiotic yoghurt

Vegetables
okra, chlorella, courgettes, turnips, parsnips, peas, onions, leeks, garlic, tomatoes, spinach, kale, alfalfa, ginger

Fibre
amaranth, barley, brown rice, buckwheat, millet, oats, psyllium husks, quinoa, rye

Fruit
tangerines, cranberry juice, blueberry juice, lemon, lime, grapes, peaches, apples, oranges, grapefruit, berries especially blackberries, pomegranate juice, soursop, papaya, raisins

Nuts
coconut

Seeds
flaxseeds, nasturtium, poppy, pumpkin, sesame, sunflower, watermelon

Herbs
andrographis, cat's claw, nasturtium, liquorice, burdock root, dandelion, Japanese knotweed/resveratrol, olive leaf extract, samento, smilax, banderol, stephania.

Spices
black pepper, cayenne pepper, nutmeg, turmeric (1 teaspoon of turmeric powder in warm water 3 x a day)

Derivatives
aloe vera juice, apple cider vinegar, green tea, flax oil, honey

Avoid: sugar, table salt, chocolate, white flour, white rice, baking powder, margarine, chlorinated water, pesticides, refined and processed food

 


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Nat H Hawes SNHS Dip (Advanced and Sports nutrition) is a qualified nutritional and sports therapist and author of the new book, Nature Cures, who has been researching natural foods and their health benefits since 2003. Click here to see what others think of the new book.

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