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Herbal Medicine for Lyme Disease and Other Tick-Borne Infections

Numerous tick-borne infections cause problems for humans and animals worldwide. Lyme disease is the best known, butbabesiosis, bartonellosis, anaplasmosis, ehrlichiosis, RockyMountain spotted fever, and many others are also serious problems. Many studies have confirmed that herbs and herbal extracts can help to repel the several types of ticks (as can nonchemical means such as wearing long pants and tucking the minto socks) that spread these diseases, as well as inhibit their reproduction. Corymbia citriodora (lemon eucalyptus) and its compound para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) have most convincingly been shown to be effective. 2-Undecanone and nootkatone with carvacrol have also shown some promise.Despite many claims of efficacy, no published clinical research could be located on any herb or herbal constituent to treat any tick-borne illness and thereby validate these claims. Dipsacus fullonum (fuller’s teasel) is used as a case study to show a promising herb that has simply no research on whether it helps people with Lyme disease or any tick-borne infection.In vitro and animal studies show some promise for herbs and herbal compounds such as Brucea javanica (Java brucea) and artemisinin, but they have not been studied in clinical trials.There remains a black hole in terms of supported herbal treatments for these infections that urgently needs to be filled with credible clinical trials.