Bacteria is all around us.
Every day we come into contact with both friendly and unfriendly strains – in the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink and virtually everything we touch; bacteria live on us and in us, adhesive microorganisms we cannot possibly hope to escape entirely.
And, of course, we wouldn’t want to: this is a symbiotic relationship, one which helps us properly digest food and absorb valuable nutrients. But not all bacteria is good.
In this article, we'll take a closer look at the principles of Ayurveda, and ask whether it can help those battling Lyme disease.
Lyme Disease: A Dangerous Bacterial Infection
Public awareness of Lyme disease is at an all-time high: most of us are aware that it is spread to humans by infected ticks.
Lyme disease is caused by a specific type of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi and is usually carried at first by mice, who in turn transfer it to ticks.
If left untreated, this dangerous bacteria can lead to severe health issues including heart problems, nerve damage and arthritis.
One tell-tale sign of Lyme disease is a rash, sometimes known as a ‘bullseye rash’ due to the circular area of redness in the centre of which is an angry red dot.
However, this rash does not afflict everyone infected with Lyme disease, meaning the condition can go undiscovered until more serious symptoms manifest themselves.
Since early detection greatly lessens the impact of the disease, prevention is hugely important: if you are camping, hillwalking or hiking this summer, be sure to wear suitable clothing when walking through areas of forestry or long grass.
You should also use a repellent formulated for ticks, midges and other biting insects, and carry a tick-removal tool in your bag. If possible, favour light-coloured clothing to make spotting ticks easier.
Lyme disease affects 3,000 people each year according to the NHS – a tenfold increase since 2001. However, many charities focusing on the disease actually set the figure much higher, anywhere between 30,000 and 45,000.
In recent years, Lyme Disease UK (LDUK) managed to form an All Parliamentary Party Group after meeting MPs at Westminster, so awareness is certainly growing. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence have also published new guidance on the condition.
Sadly, at present there is no gold standard test for Lyme disease. And since the majority of people will not recall having been bitten, the potential for misdiagnoses is massive – hence the discrepancy between charities’ estimates and the aforementioned NHS figures.
Differing Perspectives on Lyme Disease
Early symptoms of Lyme disease are not dissimilar from those of flu: high temperature, headaches, pain in the muscles, fatigue, swollen lymph nodes, a general feeling of stiffness in the neck.
When the infection spreads, however, a surfeit of symptoms across the endocrine and neurological body systems is triggered.
Despite this, there remains an element of pushback to the threat of Lyme disease. The fact that it cannot even be confirmed without the use of blood tests at private laboratories (whose results are generally not accepted by the NHS) should indicate that there’s a serious disconnect at play here.
Some practitioners dismiss the idea of chronic Lyme disease out of hand, while others believe a short course of oral antibiotics is sufficient to solve the problem and reject the notion of long-term treatment.
According to a joint survey run by Caudwell LymeCo and Lyme Disease UK in 2016, 29% of Lyme disease patients experienced symptoms for a decade before being diagnosed, while two-thirds of respondents had been sick for over two years.
This is a truly shocking state of affairs.
Ayurveda: A Natural Solution?
There are many medical and herbal treatments suggested for Lyme disease and other bacterial infections. Detoxing is one popular course of action, usually alongside antibiotics, and this helps the body remove endotoxins and other unfriendly bacteria.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to check with your doctor or dietitian before embarking on such a protocol. Due to a lack of accepted therapy, some of those afflicted by Lyme disease favour a mixture of conventional and alternative treatments.
One product specifically formulated to offer targeted immune support, for sufferers of Lyme and other bacterial infections, is Bacterial Defense. A combination of bacteria-balancing natural ingredients, the supplement relies on principles of Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine, harnessing the power of active constituents in well-known plants to support homeostasis among the trillions of bacteria residing both inside and outside the body.
These plant extracts are combined with pure benzoic acid and refined cinnamic acids to combat the hostile bacteria you might be unlucky enough to encounter on your travels.
To be clear, Bacterial Defense is not an antibiotic: it is a concentrated formula containing bioactive food substances, synergistically chosen to maintain balance among bacteria including Borrelia burgdorferi, Bacillus subtilis, Borrelia mayonii and Candida albicans.
Constituents comprise clove buds, cat’s claw root, eucalyptus leaf, jambolan leaf, pomegranate fruit, lemon balm leaf, rosemary leaf and thyme leaf/flower.
The formulator of Bacterial Defense, incidentally, is Mark Timon – author of Controlling Bad Bacteria: A Guide to Natural Remedies Against Lyme Disease & Other Bacterial Infections.
Timon alludes to researchers whose work has “identified effective Lyme disease microbicides in cat’s claw extract, grapefruit seed extract, monolaurin (glycerol monolaurate) from coconut, Baikal skullcap’s baicalein (a flavonoid), clover’s flavone, luteolin and stevia rebaudiana leaf extract.
“Latent forms still proved more difficult. Only a few of the natural compounds were found effective against latest Borrelia. They include kelp and extracts from wild cherry, grape seed, black walnut green hull, and apricot seed.”
In other words, there are quite a number of natural ingredients which may prove helpful in combating dreaded Lyme.
When you disappear into the wilderness or heathland, take Bacterial Defense with you and consume three vegetable capsules per day. By being diligent about following the aforementioned rules when out and about, you’ll have some much-needed peace of mind where ticks are concerned.
If you’re concerned about ticks, you can join Lyme Disease UK’s Facebook Discussion Group; the website is also a valuable resource with information on local groups, regular blogs and details on upcoming events.
Whatever you do, don’t let ticks spoil a good day’s exploring this summer!
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Since the majority of people will not recall having been bitten, the potential for misdiagnoses is massive