Why You Need These Herbs for Fighting Drug-resistant Babesia
For people with recurring Babesia sweats, fatigue, and headaches despite multiple rounds of antibiotics
by Greg Lee
Have you ever heard of a plant called amaranth? Native Americans used to eat the leaves and seeds of this plant. Today, cotton farmers are having a big problem with amaranth. A species called Palmers Amaranth has developed resistance to a commonly used pesticide called Roundup. Despite repeated pesticide spraying, this strain of amaranth can be seen as towering over neighboring cotton plants.
How is pesticide resistant amaranth similar to new strains of Babesia infections?
Similar to pesticide resistant weeds, antibiotic resistant strains of Babesia are showing up in patients
Dr. Richard Horowitz at the 2011 International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society (ILADS) conference reported that Babesia infections are spreading world-wide. A group of his patients with Babesia have shown resistance to the drug Mepron. Mepron is an anti-protozoal drug used to kill Babesia. Drug resistant Babesia infections are also showing up in other studies1. Fortunately, there are anti-protozoal herbs that are also effective at fighting Babesia.
Natural herbs for treating malaria are also effective against Babesia
For his Babesia patients that are not improving with anti-protozoal medications, Dr. Horowitz has had some success in reducing or eliminating their symptoms by adding herbs like Cryptolepis sanguinoleta, Artemisia annua, and an extract of turmeric called curcumin to their treatment.
Cryptolepis is an effective anti-malaria herb that works against resistant Babesia
In one study, Cryptolepis sanguinoleta was 100% effective at clearing malaria infections in seven days2. Dr. Horowitz described how Cryptolepis was highly effective for one woman diagnosed with Babesia who kept relapsing after five years of anti-protozoal medications and herbs. Given that this herb is found in Ghana, demand for this herb often exceeds the supply in the USA. Other anti-malarial herbs used against Babesia have greater availability.
Artemisia annua is highly popular anti-malarial herb used against Babesia
Artemisia annua contains a compound called artemisinin, primarily in the upper third of the plant. In China, high doses of artemisinin, 800mg to over 1 gm/day, have been effective for clearing the malaria parasite3. This compound is also effective in treating the spirochete leptospirosis, inhibits the protozoa Leishmania major, and has anti-fungal properties. Similar to artemisia, turmeric contains an anti-malarial compound.
Curcumin also kills the malaria parasite and Babesia
The main constituent of turmeric root is the yellow compound curcumin. It is being researched for it anti-cancer, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Curcumin is also being studied for treating Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease because of its anti-amyloid activities4. In lab experiments, curcumin is highly effective at killing the malarial parasite5. Another study demonstrated the positive effect of combining curcumin and artemisinin for treating malaria in mice6. Adding a black pepper extract called piperine significantly increases the uptake of curcumin7. Dr. Horowitz reported improvements in his drug resistant Babesia patients with curcumin. However, he said that these herbs work for some but not all patients.
Are there other herbs that can help eliminate a drug-resistant Babesia infection?
Here are three additional herbs that have demonstrated anti-malarial and/or anti-Babesia properties
In lab and animal experiments, these herbs have anti-malarial and anti-babesial properties. They have reduced symptoms of brain fog, fatigue, and headaches in patients diagnosed with Babesia.
Herb #1: Radix Dichroae, Chinese name: Chang San8
The properties of this herb are acrid, bitter, and cold. Chang San is used to expel phlegm in the chest and diaphragm manifesting as epigastric fullness, distention and pain by inducing vomiting. It also treats malaria disorders characterized by fever and chills. Raw Chang San is commonly given with Semen Arecae, Chinese name: Bing Lang, to relieve vomiting. In multiple studies, the active compounds beta-dichroine and gamma-dichroine were found to be 100 times more potent than quinine for treating malaria.
This herb is also effective against Plasmodium gallicinaeum, Plasmodium lophurae, Plasmodium relitum, and Plasmodium cynomolgi. It also treats arrhythmia and has antiamebic properties. Chang San also lowers fevers and high blood pressure. Caution: this herb is used with caution for people who are weak or deficient because it can induce vomiting.
Herb #2: Fructus Bruceae, Chinese name: Ya Dan Zi9
The properties of this herb are bitter, cold, clears heat, eliminates toxins, treats malaria, treats cancer, and softens hard nodules. This herb also treats chronic intermittent dysentery caused by protozoans and amoebas and the inability to fully defecate. Ya Dan Zi is used to treat malaria characterized by alternating fevers and chills. It also treats cancers of the colon, breast, esophagus, stomach, cervix, and rectum caused by toxic heat. In one study of 388 cancer patients, 71% of the participants had prolonged life span.
For treating malaria, 10-15 seeds of Ya Dan Zi are ground into powder and placed in a capsule due to the bitterness of the herb and swallowed three times a day. In a four week experiment, the compound Bruceine A from Fructus Bruceae was effective in eliminating symptoms of Babesia gibsoni in dogs. However, the infection was not completely eliminated after four weeks10.
This herb is contraindicated for long-term use or in high doses. Administration is stopped once the desired healing results are achieved. This herb is also contraindicated during pregnancy, and in children and elderly patients. It is also contraindicated in patients with sensitive stomachs or sensitive digestive tracts as it is very irritating to the gastrointestinal tract. Ya Dan Zi is also contraindicated in patients with pre-existing kidney or liver disorders.
Herb #3: Folium Clerodendri Trichotomi, Chinese name: Chou Wu Tong11
The properties of this herb are acrid, bitter, sweet, and cool. It also treats musculoskeletal pain, numbness of the extremities, paralysis and hemiplegia. Topically, this herb also treats eczema and itching in the skin. Chou Wu Teng also lowers blood pressure to treat hypertension. ). There are no documented cautions or contraindications with existing medications at the time of publication.
The right herb combination can help you to overcome a drug-resistant Babesia infection
Just like pulling out pesticide resistant weeds, the proper combination of anti-protozoal herbs helps you to overcome a drug-resistant Babesia infection. Since some of these herbs come with cautions on their use, work with a Lyme literate herbalist to develop a proper, safe, and effective herbal strategy for your condition.
1. Wormser GP, Prasad A, Neuhaus E, Joshi S, Nowakowski J, Nelson J, Mittleman A, Aguero-Rosenfeld M, Topal J, Krause PJ. Emergence of resistance to azithromycin-atovaquone in immunocompromised patients with Babesia microti infection. Clin Infect Dis. 2010 Feb 1;50(3):381-6.
2. K A Bugyei, G L Boye, and M E Addy. Clinical Efficacy of a Tea-Bag Formulation of Cryptolepis Sanguinolenta Root in the Treatment of Acute Uncomplicated Falciparum Malaria. Ghana Med J. 2010 March; 44(1): 3–9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2956309/
3. S. Dharmananda. Ching-Hao and the Artemisias Used in Chinese Medicine. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/chinghao.htm
4. S. Dharmananda. Neuroprotective Herbs and Active Constituents, Approaches to Preventing Degenerative Diseases. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/neuro.htm
5. L. Cui, J. Miao, and L. Cui. Cytotoxic Effect of Curcumin on Malaria Parasite Plasmodium falciparum: Inhibition of Histone Acetylation and Generation of Reactive Oxygen Species. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2007 February; 51(2): 488–494. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1797756/
6. Nandakumar DN, Nagaraj VA, Vathsala PG, Rangarajan P, Padmanaban G. Curcumin-artemisinin combination therapy for malaria. Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2006 May;50(5):1859-60. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1472230/
7. Mimche PN, Taramelli D, Vivas L. The plant-based immunomodulator curcumin as a potential candidate for the development of an adjunctive therapy for cerebral malaria. Malar J. 2011 Mar 15;10 Suppl 1:S10. http://www.malariajournal.com/content/10/S1/S10
8. Chen, John K., and Tina T. Chen. 2004. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc., pp. 1028 – 1029.
9. Chen, John K., and Tina T. Chen. 2004. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc., pp. 229 – 231.
10. Nakao R, Mizukami C, Kawamura Y, Subeki, Bawm S, Yamasaki M, Maede Y, Matsuura H, Nabeta K, Nonaka N, Oku Y, Katakura K. Evaluation of efficacy of bruceine A, a natural quassinoid compound extracted from a medicinal plant, Brucea javanica, for canine babesiosis. J Vet Med Sci. 2009 Jan;71(1): 33-41. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19194074
11. Chen, John K., and Tina T. Chen. 2004. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc., pp. 341 – 342.
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