For people with recurring fatigue, shortness of breath, and a pale complexion that are diagnosed with Babesia, Bartonella, or Mycoplasma
by Greg Lee
A few years ago, I decided to grow sweet potatoes in my garden. Tiny sprouts grew into long vines with lavender flowers and triangle shaped leaves. At harvest time, one of the potatoes was much thinner than the others. When I picked it up, the center had been hollowed out by some unknown pest.
How is a hollowed out sweet potato like a person with a low red blood cell count caused by a tick co-infection?
Similar to a hollow potato, a person can have their red blood cells eaten out by tick co-infections
Ivan wondered each morning if he would be able to make it out of bed. Some mornings, Ivan felt debilitating fatigue and could barely make it to the bathroom. Other days he felt good enough to get up and go to work. He hoped he had enough energy to make it through the day. His Lyme literate doctor diagnosed him with anemia due to a Babesia infection and placed him on anti-malarial medications to stop the infection. He felt better for a while.
A Babesia infection can destroy red blood cells which can lead to anemia
People diagnosed with Babesia, Bartonella, and/or Mycoplasma co-infection(s) can have their red blood cells (RBCs) destroyed by their infections. Babesia and Bartonella slip inside of and eat out the insides of RBCs. Mycoplasma pneumonia can stimulate the immune system to produce antibodies that destroy RBCs. As more and more RBCs get destroyed, a condition called hemolytic anemia can occur which is defined as the abnormal destruction of these cells faster than bone marrow can produce them. Symptoms of anemia can also affect the brain.
Anemia can also mess up your problem solving ability, thinking speed, and memory recall
In one study, anemic women scored worse on planning, speed, spatial working memory and strategy tests than those with normal iron levels. When their iron levels increased after eating iron rich foods, their scores increased significantly1. In another study on a similar protozoa infection to Babesia, Severe Malarial Anemia (SMA) is associated with long-term impairment in cognitive ability, whereas Cerebral Malaria (CM) is associated with additional impairment in the areas of attention and associative memory. SMA is hypothesized to be a major contributor to long-term neuro-cognitive impairment in children2. Anemia can also produce symptoms of extreme fatigue, pale complexion, and shortness of breath. Infectious anemia can persist despite being treated with antimicrobial drugs.
Unfortunately, drug resistant strains of Babesia, Bartonella, and Mycoplasma can cause relapsing anemia
Ivan found that his symptoms of fatigue, brain fog, and memory recall problems slowly returned a few months after taking different anti-malarial drugs. His electrodermal scan indicated the signature frequencies of Babesia, Bartonella and Mycoplasma pneumonia. Unfortunately, Babesia microti has been able to develop antimicrobial resistance to azithromycin-atovaquone3. Strains of Bartonella have demonstrated antibiotic resistance to azithromycin, pradofloxacin and enrofloxacin4; gentamicin5; rifampin6; quinolones7; and fluoroquinolones8. Strains of Mycoplasma pneumonia has been able develop resistance to macrolides (Azithromycin, Clarithromycin, Erythromycin, Fidaxomicin, and Telithromycin)9.
What else besides medications can help reverse symptoms relapsing anemia symptoms in people with multiple co-infections?
Here are five herbs for relieving recurring symptoms of anemia from co-infections
In Chinese herbal medicine, there are groups of herbs that are classified as “Blood Building or Tonifying” and “Blood Invigorating” herbs. Many of these have been used safely for thousands of years to treat patients with anemia. Within these groups, there are five main herbs that have helped patients like Ivan to reduce or eliminate recurring fatigue, brain fog, and memory problems related to an underlying anemia. Ivan received a liposomal mixture of these herbs, which contains microscopic particles of his herb formula that were wrapped in a fat called lecithin. Liposomal mixtures penetrate more deeply into cells than their non-liposomal equivalent medications. Liposomal drugs were 40 times more effective at delivering medicine into and clearing out a malaria infection from red blood cells in a mouse study10.
Build Blood Herb #1: Angelica sinensis, Chinese name: Dang Gui
This herb derives its name from a tragic love story. A newly married man is taunted by other men in his village. He goes off to prove his manhood by seeking his fortune. He tells his wife that she is free to remarry if he does not return in three years. Three years passes and she remarries. He returns and both of them are heartbroken. She becomes bedridden as a result of her heartbreak. He gives her a root which brings her health back. Dang translates to “should” and Gui can be translated to “come back11.”
“Dang Gui is characterized as sweet, warm, and acrid. It has been used for treating anemia for thousands of years. This herb is also used for symptoms of pale complexion, brittle nails, dizziness, blurred vision, and palpitations. It has also been used to treat postpartum fatigue, weakness, insomnia, excessive dreaming and worrying, forgetfulness, hot flashes, irritability, abdominal pain, menstrual disorders, blood stagnation which is similar to hypercoagulation, insufficient lactation, traumatic injuries, numbness and pain in the extremities, coldness, sores, abscesses, ulcers, swelling, burning, constipation, cough, and dryness.
This herb is cautioned in patients with abdominal distention, loose stools, or diarrhea. It is contraindicated in patients with excess heat. It is suggested that Dang Gui may potentiate the effects of anticoagulant or anti-platelet drugs. In multiple studies, Dang Gui increases overall blood circulation by decreasing blood viscosity, reduces plasma cholesterol and triglyceride levels, and decreases the risk of atherosclerosis. It has also increased macrophage activity, protects the liver. This herb has shown an inhibitory effect on Salmonella typhi, E. Coli, Corynebacterium diptheriae, Vibrio cholerae, alpha-hemolytic streptococcus, and beta-hemolytic streptococcus.
It has been used to treat the following conditions: low back and leg pain, arrhythmia, coughing, stroke, migraine, nephritis, pain, upper gastrointestinal bleeding, liver disease, menstrual pain, uterine prolapse, insomnia, herpes zoster, alopecia, psoriasis, and deafness12.”
Build Blood Herb #2: Cooked Rehmannia Root, Chinese name: Shu Di Huang
“Cooked rehmannia is characterized as sweet and slightly warm. This herb has been used for blood deficiency, pale complexion, dizziness, palpitations, insomnia, menstrual disorders, irregular menstruation, chronic uterine bleeding, infertility, restless fetus, miscarriage, and postpartum issues. It is also used for soreness and weakness of the low back and knees, vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, tidal fever, night sweats, cough, wheezing, and frequent urination. This herb is used to replenish vital energy, also called “Jing” in Chinese. Jing depletion symptoms include premature gray hair, forgetfulness, blurry vision, impotence, and developmental delay in children.
This herb is cautioned in patients with slow digestion, excess mucus, or stagnation. It is often used with Dang Gui13.”
Build Blood Herb #3: Ligusticum Root, Chinese name: Chuan Xiong
“Ligusticum is characterized as sweet and warm. This herb is used to activate life energy (Qi) and blood circulation. It is used to treat gynecological disorders, irregular menstruation, amenorrhea, dysmenorrhea, difficult labor, postpartum bleeding, abdominal pain with chest and gastric distention, stabbing pain in the chest and abdomen, angina, bone spurs, numbness and paralysis of the extremities, traumatic injury pain, non-healing ulcers and sores, headaches, cerebral thrombosis, cerebral embolism, trigeminal nerve pain, and musculo-skeletal and joint pain.
Ligusticum has been found to: lower blood pressure, increase blood perfusion, have a marked antiplatelet and anticoagulation effect, reduce brain swelling, sedate the central nervous system in animal studies, and have a protective effect against radiation in animal studies. It has been used to treat cerebral ischemia, Alzheimer’s disease, and migraine headache.
This herb is contraindicated in patients with heat signs, dry mouth, and a red tongue. It is used with caution in cases of hypermenorrhea. It is suggested that ligusticum may potentiate the effects of anticoagulant or antiplatelet drugs. This herb is often used in combination with Dang Gui and rehmannia14.”
Build Blood Herb #4: Polygonum multiflorum, Chinese name: He Shou Wu
This herb also has an unusual story associated with it. “A man named Neng Si was born chronically weak. He had never married and gave up on having children. He enthusiastically followed a Taoist teacher who lived on a mountain. After falling into a drunken stupor in the forest, he awoke and found a pair of vines entwined together. He dug up the root of the plant, which he showed to a hermit from the mountain who told him to take it. He swallowed a small amount each day. In seven days, he started to feel an unknown vitality flowing through his veins. He could barely control his new found sexual desire. Over the next several years he became strong, his hair grew dark again, and he eventually fathered several boys15.”
“The characteristics of this herb are sweet, bitter, astringent, and slightly warm. It is used to replenish Jing or vital energy, nourish the blood of the liver and kidneys, eliminate toxins, treat malarial disorders, moisten the intestines and unblock bowels, and lower cholesterol and treat cardiovascular disorders. This herb is especially used with patients with anemia, postpartum women, the elderly, and people that are recovering from a chronic illness. Polygonum is used to treat dizziness, blurred vision, gray hair, soreness and weakness of the low back and knees, early signs of aging, anemia, numbness of the limbs, menstrual disorders, irregular menstruation, abnormal uterine bleeding. It also is used to treat toxic sores, abscesses, scrofula, goiter, neck lumps, non-healing sores, constipation, high cholesterol, angina, coronary heart disease, hypertension, insomnia, schizophrenia, and epigastric pain.
It has also been used to treat malarial toxins and symptoms of fever, chills, weakness, and fatigue. In multiple lab studies, polygonum slows the aging process and increases life expectancy, increases T-lymphocytes, and white blood cells, and increases hormonal secretions by the adrenal and thyroid glands. This herb is used with caution in patients with loose stools or diarrhea. It is contraindicated in patients with excess mucus16.”
Build Blood Herb #5: White Peony Root, Chinese name: Bai Shao
“The properties of this herb are bitter, sour and cool. White peony is used to strengthen the blood and moisten dryness in the body. This herb treats a dull and pale complexion, dizziness, tinnitus, and brittle, pale nails. White peony regulates menstruation and helps to alleviate pain. It is used to treat these conditions: irregular menstruation, dysmenorrhea, uterine bleeding, breast distention, pre-menstrual symptoms, mood swings, restlessness, and gestational and post-partum disorders. Other conditions treated by this herb include: night sweats, spontaneous sweating, and excessive perspiration.
White peony is also used to treat long standing pathogenic illnesses with symptoms of muscle spasms, twitches, tremors, alternating flexion and extension of the extremities, tonic-clonic spasms, and convulsions. It is also used to treat excess heat conditions marked by dizziness, tinnitus, flushed face, red eyes, irritability, bad temper, headache, vertigo, poor balance, delirium, burning diarrhea, burning upon urination, and loss of consciousness. White peony is also used to treat numbness, spasms, and pain in the muscles, tendons, sinews, and extremities. It is also used for epigastric, intercostal, flank, hypochondriac, and abdominal pain.
This herb is contraindicated in patients with eczema or rashes that are aggravated by wind. It is also contraindicated in post-partum patients with stabbing fixed pains or who are still bleeding. White peony may cause drowsiness or sedation. People who operate heavy machinery need to exercise caution.
White peony has an inhibitory effect against Bacillus dysenteriae, E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Pseudonomas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Beta-hemolytic streptococcus, Diplococcus pneumoniae, and some dematophytes17.”
The proper combination of liposomal blood building herbs can help to relieve persistent fatigue, memory problems, shortness of breath associated with anemia caused by co-infections. These herbs can be used simultaneously during antibiotic therapy.
Blood building and invigorating herbs can help relieve persistent anemia fatigue and cognitive problems
Let’s go back to the potatoes in the garden. Next season, I found out that putting chicken wire around the potato bed was able to keep out tunneling potato pests. Just like potatoes protected by a fence, a combination of liposomal blood building and invigorating herbs helped Ivan to protect and maintain his red blood cell count. As a result, he felt more energized, had a healthier skin color, and enjoyed greater mental clarity on his job. Since some of these remedies have cautions and contraindications, work with a Lyme literate Chinese medicine practitioner to develop a proper, safe, and effective strategy for your condition.
>> Next step: Click here to take our Stealthy Co-infection Quiz to see which tick infections may be causing your symptoms.
P.S. Do you have experiences where remedies, or treatments helped to reverse anemia symptoms caused by Babesia, Bartonella, or Mycoplasma? Tell us about it.
1. Leonard, Alecia J., Kerry A. Chalmers, Clare E. Collins, and Amanda J. Patterson. “A Study of the Effects of Latent Iron Deficiency on Measures of Cognition: A Pilot Randomised Controlled Trial of Iron Supplementation in Young Women.” Nutrients 6, no. 6 (June 23, 2014): 2419–35. doi:10.3390/nu6062419. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4073160/
2 Bangirana, Paul, Robert O. Opoka, Michael J. Boivin, Richard Idro, James S. Hodges, Regilda A. Romero, Elsa Shapiro, and Chandy C. John. “Severe Malarial Anemia Is Associated with Long-Term Neurocognitive Impairment.” Clinical Infectious Diseases: An Official Publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 59, no. 3 (August 1, 2014): 336–44. doi:10.1093/cid/ciu293. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24771329
3 Wormser, Gary P., Aakanksha Prasad, Ellen Neuhaus, Samit Joshi, John Nowakowski, John Nelson, Abraham Mittleman, Maria Aguero-Rosenfeld, Jeffrey Topal, and Peter J. Krause. “Emergence of Resistance to Azithromycin-Atovaquone in Immunocompromised Patients with Babesia Microti Infection.” Clinical Infectious Diseases: An Official Publication of the Infectious Diseases Society of America 50, no. 3 (February 1, 2010): 381–86. doi:10.1086/649859. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20047477
4 Biswas, Silpak, Ricardo G. Maggi, Mark G. Papich, and Edward B. Breitschwerdt. “Molecular Mechanisms of Bartonella Henselae Resistance to Azithromycin, Pradofloxacin and Enrofloxacin.” The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 65, no. 3 (March 2010): 581–82. doi:10.1093/jac/dkp459. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20022937
5 Biswas, S., D. Raoult, and J.-M. Rolain. “Molecular Mechanism of Gentamicin Resistance in Bartonella Henselae.” Clinical Microbiology and Infection: The Official Publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 15 Suppl 2 (December 2009): 98–99. doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02178.x. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20584166
6 Biswas, S., D. Raoult, and J.-M. Rolain. “Molecular Characterisation of Resistance to Rifampin in Bartonella Quintana.” Clinical Microbiology and Infection: The Official Publication of the European Society of Clinical Microbiology and Infectious Diseases 15 Suppl 2 (December 2009): 100–101. doi:10.1111/j.1469-0691.2008.02179.x. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19929979
7 Del Valle, Luis J., Lidia Flores, Martha Vargas, Ruth García-de-la-Guarda, Ruth L. Quispe, Zoila B. Ibañez, Débora Alvarado, Pablo Ramírez, and Joaquim Ruiz. “Bartonella Bacilliformis, Endemic Pathogen of the Andean Region, Is Intrinsically Resistant to Quinolones.” International Journal of Infectious Diseases: IJID: Official Publication of the International Society for Infectious Diseases 14, no. 6 (June 2010): e506–10. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2009.07.025. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19969497
8 Angelakis, Emmanouil, Didier Raoult, and Jean-Marc Rolain. “Molecular Characterization of Resistance to Fluoroquinolones in Bartonella Henselae and Bartonella Quintana.” The Journal of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy 63, no. 6 (June 2009):
1288–89. doi:10.1093/jac/dkp133. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19369272
9 Ji, Misuk, Nam-Sihk Lee, Ji-Min Oh, Ji Yoon Jo, Eun Hwa Choi, Soo Jin Yoo, Hyo-Bin Kim, et al. “Single-Nucleotide Polymorphism PCR for the Detection of Mycoplasma Pneumoniae and Determination of Macrolide Resistance in Respiratory Samples.” Journal of Microbiological Methods 102 (July 2014): 32–36. doi:10.1016/j.mimet.2014.04.009. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24780151
10 Moles, Ernest, Patricia Urbán, María Belén Jiménez-Díaz, Sara Viera-Morilla, Iñigo Angulo-Barturen, Maria Antònia Busquets, and Xavier Fernàndez-Busquets. “Immunoliposome-Mediated Drug Delivery to Plasmodium-Infected and Non-Infected Red Blood Cells as a Dual Therapeutic/prophylactic Antimalarial Strategy.” Journal of Controlled Release: Official Journal of the Controlled Release Society 210 (May 23, 2015): 217–29. doi:10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.05.284. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26008752
11 Foster, Steven, and Yue Chongxi. Herbal Emissaries: Bringing Chinese Herbs to the West: A Guide to Gardening, Herbal Wisdom, and Well-Being. Inner Traditions / Bear & Co, 1992. P. 65. https://www.amazon.com/Herbal-Emissaries-Steven-Foster/dp/0892813490
12. Chen, John K., Tina T. Chen, and Laraine Crampton. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press, 2004. pp. 918-923.
13. Chen, John K., Tina T. Chen, and Laraine Crampton. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press, 2004. pp. 924-927.
14. Chen, John K., Tina T. Chen, and Laraine Crampton. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press, 2004. pp. 614-617.
15. He Shou Wu. https://www.dragonherbs.com/prodinfo.asp?number=542
16. Chen, John K., Tina T. Chen, and Laraine Crampton. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press, 2004. pp. 927-929.
17. Chen, John K., Tina T. Chen, and Laraine Crampton. Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology. Art of Medicine Press, 2004. pp. 930-934.
Image credit: “Sweet potatoes” by (c) 2005 Jérôme SAUTRET –
image by myself. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Sweet_potatoes.JPG#/media/File:Sweet_potatoes.JPG
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