Sacred Journeys: Preventing and Treating Lyme Disease
I like to spend these summer days happily working outside in the bush harvesting plants for Algonquin Tea Company. I am also planning a number of camping trips in the coming months. This year I will be doing my outdoor adventures with a higher level of mindfulness than usual because Lyme-bearing ticks are on the rise in our beautiful part of the world.
Lyme is a bacterium (Borrelia burgdorferi) that can infect deer and mice. If a deer tick or blacklegged tick bites an infected animal, the tick then takes on the Lyme bacteria. Borrelia is an extremely intelligent bacteria that has more DNA than any other bacteria in the world. Its presence in the body has been difficult to detect because it disguises itself as other things, at will.
Lyme bacteria is present in 20 to 30% of ticks in Ontario. When a tick bites, it bores into the skin and excretes an anesthetic (so you don’t notice it) and then vomits up its stomach juices to help your blood to flow. Unfortunately, as soon as it excretes its guts into your skin, the Lyme bacteria can enter your bloodstream. Getting to a clinic quickly is preferable.
Identifying and Removing Ticks
So what do ticks look like? The young nymph ticks can be as small as a period after a sentence, and translucent. But they can swell to the size of a reddish adult tick, which could fill the space between the tongs of a dinner fork. Small, indeed, but if you look you will find it.
A tick can sometimes wander around on the body for two hours to find an ideal spot before it bites. You can remove it before it bites by using lint rollers on your clothes and skin when you come in from a walk. If the tick has bitten you, use fingers, tweezers, or a key, but be sure to get right to the mouth of the creature, twist a bit to the left, and pull straight out. Don’t over-squeeze the tick, for it may not have begun exporting into your bloodstream, but if panicked, it often does. Keep the tick so it can be tested for Lyme.
Advice from a Lyme-Literate Doctor
Neurologist Dr. Petra Hopf-Seidel has taught about Lyme worldwide. She is very vocal about the fact that the Canadian medical system is not providing proper tests for Canadians, and not prescribing the right antibiotics for the job. The popular ELISA test is not very sensitive. (A patient can get a positive result from one test and a negative result from a second test.) A Johns Hopkins study found that 75 per cent of these tests resulted in false negative results.
If you are bitten, Dr. Hopf-Seidel recommends that you:
- Try to keep the tick and get it tested to find out if it carries Lyme.
- Get your doctor to prescribe an intercellular antibiotic like tetracycline.
- Take the antibiotic for 30 days minimum to destroy the eggs laid by a tick.
If you think you may have contracted Lyme disease, read Dr. Hopf-Seidel’s material to identify symptoms. All the info that she has gathered for those who have been bitten is found here: http://tinyurl.com/y9wh75j6
As well, search for resources, like doctors who specialize in Lyme treatment. A smart option is to order proper lab tests. Hopf-Seidel has listed IGeneX labs on her website for a kit specialized to test blood for Lyme. You will need a requisition from your doctor to get the company to send the kit, but it is reliable. This may need to be your strategy until good tests are available to Canadians and doctors are better informed.
Not sure if you got a bite, or you didn’t keep the tick? The bite does not always hurt, so you might not know you have been bitten, but in 50 per cent of cases there is a circular expanding rash to let you know to have it checked out immediately. Other symptoms that can turn up in the first month are migraines, fatigue, swollen joints and lymph nodes, fever or chills.
Even months after an untreated Lyme bite, symptoms might express as nerve weirdness, rapid heartbeat, facial paralysis or mental confusion. As an example, a health conscious and physically fit associate of mine unknowingly contracted Lyme but showed no symptoms. Then, under emotional stress at work, she became very ill with shifting, intense joint pain and facial seizures. It took years to be properly diagnosed. Once that occurred, 30 days of tetracycline cleared it up.
Treatment Options and Dietary Tips
If you do contract Lyme, there are currently two ways to deal with it that I know of. First, take intercellular antibiotics for 30 days. Second, focus on following dietary recommendations – stay off sugar and anything that feeds candida (including beer). Healthy fats like Udo’s Oil and avocados are essential as well.
The best defence against Lyme is a strong immune system. I am working with Dr. Henry Bieler’s principles – see http://www.wow.com/wiki/Henry_G._Bieler. He contends that eating any cooked protein requires a great deal of our immune strength to metabolize it. (This includes beans.) Why? Like fats, proteins suffer a transfer of electrons and molecules upon cooking, creating trans fats and trans proteins respectively. The latter then become hydrophobic, which are unable to be absorbed in our hydrophilic (water-based) system; thus, our immune system is diverted, temporarily working overtime, after we eat cooked proteins. Fortunately, digestive enzymes and a good probiotic supplement can act synergistically to assist in mitigating this stress on our immune system.
Editor’s note: Digestive enzymes are best taken with meals; probiotics are best taken on an empty stomach before bed or in the morning.
However you support your immune health, the best strategy against potential tick bites is prevention: wear long pants, shoes that cover toes, and a hat. Check yourself after a walk, and check your pets (use a flea comb to comb out their fur after each walk). According to a show that recently aired on CBC, the best natural remedy for repelling bugs, including ticks, is a mix of lemon oil with eucalyptus oil. And I hear that black seed oil is a favourite in Europe. Be safe and alert this summer, and remember don’t pee in long grass!
Advice on Essential Oils for Repelling Insects
Dr. Sabina DeVita Ed.D.
Are you concerned about what to do about ticks, mosquitoes, and other flying insects? These little creatures not only cause trouble and irritation due to their presence, but also spread many severe diseases like dengue fever, malaria, and Lyme disease (the latter from ticks). We have natural solutions that are very effective! Essential oils can be a great defence against seasonal threats when used appropriately.
“Purification,” a Young Living blend of lemongrass, rosemary, melaleuca (M. alternifolia), myrtle, and citronella oils, provides outdoor protection for a variety of those unwanted bugs. Mosquitos and other flying insects dislike “Purification formula” aromas.
Bug busting on your own will work well with any of these oils too … blend 10 drops lavender, 8 drops lemon eucalyptus, 10 drops Palo Santo and 10 drops melaleuca in an 8-ounce spray bottle of water, with a few grains of sea salt. This combination helps to keep ticks and mosquitoes away. Here’s another tick bug-out recipe: blend 20 drops lemongrass, 20 drops eucalyptus, and 20 drops “Thieves” formula in a 4-ounce spray bottle of water, then shake and spray.
Remember – for proper removal of ticks, the CDC outlines the proper procedure here: https://www.cdc.gov/ticks/removing_a_tick.html
For a special FREE Young Living account to buy your own top-quality, highest grade essential oils at wholesale: www.MyYL.com/drsdevita
Natural Insect Repellents
by Paul Henderson
Herbalist Michael Vertolli says that essential oils with insect repellant properties come in three general categories: lemony scented oils such as citronella, lemon grass, lemon, and lemon verbena; conifer oils like pine, fir, spruce, cedar and cypress; and general aromatics like basil, lavender, eucalyptus, and geranium. “I prefer to mix one or two items from each of these three categories,” Vertolli writes. “In total, you can use 15-20 drops of all essential oils for every 25 mL of your base [do not use 15-20 drops of each oil].”
As a base, Vertolli says you can use vegetable oil, oil/alcohol, or water/alcohol/glycerin.
Through a polling of various experts on the topic it has been suggested that bugs are repelled by: garlic (they hate the smell of sulphur); elder leaves; catnip; tansy leaves; lavender; pennyroyal; sassafras; lemongrass; peppermint; and marigold.
Another popular repellant amongst those I spoke with was neem oil. Neem is an East Indian herb used not only to repel bugs but to heal wounds. “Neem is a wonderful plant and recognized in many countries for its healing and insect repellant properties,” says herbalist Carol Little. This is illustrated well in a quote she provided from a 1993 article in the Journal of the American Mosquito Control Association: “Two percent neem oil mixed in coconut oil, when applied to the exposed body parts of human volunteers, provided complete protection for 12 hours from the bites of all anopheline (mosquitoes that carry malaria) species. Application of neem oil is safe and can be used for protection from malaria in endemic countries.”
Editor’s Note: Dr. Joseph Mercola has posted an excellent article on his website containing new research showing that picardin and lemon eucalyptus oil are two excellent alternatives to DEET. To read the complete article, including warnings about use of DEET for young children, click on this link: http://tinyurl.com/n9vnzyl
Editor’s note: Regarding herbal pest repellants for pets, we like to use a spray-on product formulated by holistic veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker for repelling fleas and ticks on cats, dogs, and horses. It’s called “Dr. Mercola Natural Flea and Tick Defense.” It contains lemongrass oil, cinnamon oil, sesame oil, castor oil, and purified water. This product can be combed through the pet’s coat before they go outside. And recently there have been some new products added to the line, including a herbal repellent collar, and a topical herbal repellent for dogs. For more information or to order online:http://products.mercola.com/healthypets/pest-repellents/