How Warming Herbs Help Your Immune System to Fight Lyme Disease and its Co-Infections
For people that are abnormally cold due to their Lyme, Bartonella, or Babesia infections
by Greg Lee
When I was a teenager, I went on a month long Outward Bound training course with several other people. We would hike by day and at night we’d build a fire and cook dinner. One evening, our adventure was interrupted by an ominous gust of wind and then a rainstorm. Our efforts to keep the fire going worked at first. However, the rain kept coming and eventually put the campfire out. As I watched the last wisps of smoke from the fire, I imagined shivering that night to stay warm inside a damp tent.
How is a campfire that is drowned in a rainstorm similar to chronic tick infections that attack your immune system?
Just like rain on a sputtering campfire, multiple tick infections can dampen your immune system
Gerald noticed that he began to feel much colder in winter. It would take 30 minutes in a hot sauna for him to feel warm again. After the sauna, he felt as if he had sweated out of a bunch of toxins. Unfortunately, his chronic fatigue, feeling toxic, and brain fog would soon return along with being deeply cold again. He discovered that his house had a thriving mold colony caused by water damage in the basement. He was also diagnosed by his Lyme Literate Doctor with Lyme disease, Babesia, and Bartonella co-infections.
Toxins from Lyme disease and co-infections zap your ability to heat up and kill infections
The hypothalamus has organs that sample the blood stream and regulate changes in body temperature. When it detects the presence of infections, the hypothalamus induces a fever to heat up and kill off infectious germs. Unfortunately, toxins released by Lyme, mold, and co-infections can get absorbed by the hypothalamus and block its ability to induce germ killing fevers1. When antibiotics, herbal medicines, and treatments kill off these infections, more toxins can be released and produce a Herxheimer reaction. These toxins can persist in some people lacking specific genes.
Toxins can be hard to eliminate in people who are missing anti-toxin HLA genes
Gerald is missing several Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) genes for eliminating toxins. After extended periods of time in his moldy home, many of his symptoms got much worse: irregular heart rate, insomnia, fatigue, and mental confusion. He would also have spikes in symptoms every four weeks which correlated with the lifecycle of his Lyme disease infection.
Cleaning the mold out helped Gerald feel better immediately
After an Environmental Relative Moldiness Index (ERMI) test showed high levels of toxic mold, Gerald and his wife hired a remediation company to clean out their entire house. Most walls and ceilings were stripped down to the stud timbers. The entire heating and cooling system was either cleaned or replaced. Leaks in the foundation were sealed. After venturing back into his newly renovated home, Gerald did not have an immediate flare up of his symptoms. However, he still had a very low body temperature and recurring symptoms of insomnia, brain fog, and fatigue.
What else can help Gerald to boost his immune system in fighting his multiple toxic infections?
Warming herbs help boost the immune response against tick borne infections
Warming herbs, also called Yang strengthening herbs in Chinese medicine, help to raise your body temperature which can help kill off infections. For every 0.2 degrees Celsius that body temperature is increased, approximately 50% of your infections are killed off2. There are three herbs that have been effective at heating up people with low body temperatures caused by their Lyme disease and tick borne infections.
Warming herb #1: Fructus Evodia, Euodia, or Bee Bee Tree Fruit, Chinese name: Wu Zhu Yu3
The properties of this warming herb are bitter, acrid, and hot. This herb is used to dispel cold, dry dampness, activate Qi energy circulation, and relieve pain. Dampness in Chinese medicine can be translated to mean infection and their effects. Evodia treats pain characterized by a cold, fixed, and stabbing nature. It has been used to treat epigastric and abdominal pain, hernial pain, dysmenorrhea, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea with undigested food, cold extremities, spasms, and headache at the top of the head. The classical Chinese character for this herb shows two hands lifting up on either side of a head.
Evodia has also been used to treat migraine headaches, acid reflux, “cocks crow” or early morning diarrhea, chronic dysentery, hypertension, mouth and tongue ulcers, eczema, and sores on the scalp. This herb is contraindicated in patients with excess heat and dryness. Short-term use and small doses are recommended due to its low level of toxicity.
In animal studies, Evodia prevents and treats stomach ulcers by reducing gastric acid secretions. In mice studies, this herb has antidiarrheal properties. It has a marked effect in decreasing blood pressure in several animal studies. In a rat study, it had a slight effect but not significant effect on raising body temperature4. This herb inhibits Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, and some dermatophytes. It also inhibits the growth of the helicobacter pylori bacteria5.
Recent studies have focused on the anticancer properties of an alkaloid compound called evodiamine found in evodia. This compound has inhibited proliferation, invasion, and metastasis in the following cancer cells: breast, prostate, leukemia, melanoma, cervical, colon, and lung6.
Warming herb #2: Galanga or Alpinia, Chinese name: Gao Liang Jiang7
The properties of this warming herb are acrid and hot. It is used to dispel coldness from the middle of the body especially the spleen and stomach. This herb has been used to treat epigastric and abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, food stagnation, intestinal cramps, and diarrhea. Galanga has also been used to treat sharp, stabbing pain in the chest or abdomen, intestinal cramps, acute and chronic diarrhea.
This herb has demonstrated analgesic effects on the gastrointestinal system. It has been effective at preventing and treating peptic ulcers and diarrhea. Water extracts of this herb have been shown to decrease intestinal peristalsis. Galanga has been effective at treating angina. It has an inhibitory effect on Bacillus anthracis, Corynebacterium diptheriae, Diplococcus pneumoniae, Salmonella typhi, Staphylococcus aureus, B-hemolytic streptococcus, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis hominis. This herb also has a weak antimalarial effect in mice and is used topically for treating eczema and ringworm8. Due to its warming nature, this herb is contraindicated in patients with excess heat and dryness.
Galanga essential oil has many bioactive compounds including: Limonene, gamma-Terpinene, alpha-Terpinolene, 1-Undecene, Borneol, para-Cymen-8-ol, alpha-Terpineol, and Z-Citral. This essential oil was more effective at killing E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella sonnei, Salmonella typhi than gentomycin9.
Warming herb #3: Turmeric, Chinese name: Jiang Huang10
The properties of this spice herb are acrid, bitter, and warm. It is used to activate blood circulation and eliminate blood coagulation. This herb is used to treat stabbing, fixed pain caused by blood stagnation or hypercoagulation. Turmeric is also used to treat hypochondriac pain due to liver stagnation, abdominal pain due to blood stagnation, chest pain, epigastric pain, dysmenorrhea, and hepatitis with hypochrondriac pain.
It is also used to treat “painful obstruction syndrome” especially in the upper limbs. This herb reduces swelling from sores and lesions caused by toxic heat along with blood hypercoagulation. Turmeric is contraindicated during pregnancy. This herb is also contraindicated in weak patients that do not have blood stagnation.
The main constituent of turmeric is the compound curcumin. Curcumin is being researched for its properties for fighting cancer, killing viruses, reducing inflammation, treating Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s Disease because of its anti-amyloid activities11. In lab experiments, curcumin is highly effective at killing the malarial parasite12. Another anti-malarial study demonstrated the efficacy of combining curcumin and artemisinin in mice13. Adding a black pepper extract called piperine significantly increases the uptake of curcumin14. Boiling curcumin for ten minutes increased its bioavailability twelve-fold in another study15.
What happens when these warming herbs are used by people with multiple infections?
Warming herbs helped Gerald to finally warm up his popsicle toes
Gerald’s average morning temperature hovered around 95 degrees Fahrenheit. After taking daily a mixture of liposomal herbs, his temperature began to slowly rise. For the first several weeks, he felt more fatigue and brain fog due to the die off of his infections. After four weeks of taking a daily mixture of anti-infection and warming herbs, his average morning temperature hovered around 97 degrees. His wife complained less about his cold feet. Then his symptoms shifted.
For the first time in many months, Gerald felt like a new person
He reported having a greater amount of energy and increased clarity in his thinking. Work tasks that required mental mental concentration and focus, became easier and easier for Gerald. He found that he had enough energy to restart exercising again. By increasing his dose of warming herbs, Gerald’s morning temperature was raised to around 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Also, his recurring symptoms were less frequent and less severe. Warming herbs can help the immune system to heat up and fight off multiple infections.
Warming herbs can help the immune system to cook off infections
My outdoor adventure had a happy ending. We were able to find dry kindling, restart the fire and dry off after the rain passed. Similarly, warming herbs can help restart the immune system’s ability to heat up the body and kill off multiple infections. Since some of these herbs are contraindicated in people with excess heat or dryness, work with a Lyme literate herbalist knowledgeable in warming herbs to develop a proper, safe, and effective strategy for your condition.
1. Klinghardt, D. A Deep Look Beyond Lyme. 2012 Physician’s Round Table. January 28th, 2012. Tampa, FL.
2. Klinghardt, D.
3. Kano Y, Zong QN, Komatsu K. Pharmacological properties of galenical preparation. XIV. Body temperature retaining effect of the Chinese traditional medicine, “goshuyu-to” and component crude drugs. Chem Pharm Bull (Tokyo). 1991 Mar;39(3):690-2. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2070449
4. Chen, John K., and Tina T. Chen. 2004. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc., p. 452 – 454.
5. Evodia Fruit – Wu Zhu Yu. http://www.acupuncture.com/newsletters/m_july09/wuzhuyu.htm
6. Jiang J, Hu C. Evodiamine: a novel anti-cancer alkaloid from Evodia rutaecarpa. Molecules. 2009 May 18;14(5):1852-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19471205
7. Chen, John K., and Tina T. Chen. 2004. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc., p. 460 – 461.
8. Alpinia galanga. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpinia_galanga
9. Prakatthagomol W, Klayraung S, Okonogi S. Bactericidal action of Alpinia galanga essential oil on food-borne bacteria. Drug Discov Ther. 2011 Apr;5(2):84-9. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22466145
10. Chen, John K., and Tina T. Chen. 2004. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. City of Industry CA: Art of Medicine Press, Inc., p. 623 – 624.
11. S. Dharmananda. Neuroprotective Herbs and Active Constituents, Approaches to Preventing Degenerative Diseases. http://www.itmonline.org/arts/neuro.htm
12. 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/
13. 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/
14. 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
15. Kurien BT, Scofield RH. Heat-solubilized curcumin should be considered in clinical trials for increasing bioavailability. Clin Cancer Res. 2009 Jan 15;15(2):747; http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2693878/
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