Japanese knotweed may be more effective than antibiotics to address the growing problem of Lyme disease
- Scientists discovered that antibiotics are not always effective for two to four weeks
- About 10 to 20 percent of patients still had symptoms after taking antibiotics
- Researchers found two plants better than antibiotics in fighting infections
- Japanese knotweed and Ghanaian quinine were found to be anti-inflammatory
Japanese knotweed may be more effective than antibiotics in tackling Lyme disease, new study has discovered.
The tick-born infection that can cause meningitis and facial paralysis currently sees 365,000 new cases in the US and Europe alone.
Researchers at the John Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health discovered that antibiotics are not always effective for two to four weeks, with approximately 10 to 20 percent of patients continuing to experience symptoms after treatment.
Lyme disease patients at a late stage may include joint pain, memory problems, facial paralysis, heart palpitations, and severe headache.
Looking at nature to address the problem, the researchers found two plants that outperformed antibiotics in combating the infection: Japanese knotweed and Ghanaian quinine.
Japanese knotweed (photo) was one of the two plants that scientists said performed better than antibiotics to fight the infection
A typical skin rash caused by Lyme disease after a person was bitten by a deer tick
The latter is a shrub that contains a chemical that is used to treat malaria, hepatitis and tuberculosis in West Africa.
Japanese knotweed, a traditional Asian drug, contains polyphenol resveratrol that has been found to have anti-tumor and anti-inflammatory effects and protects the nervous system and heart.
A single seven-day treatment with one percent Ghanaian quinine was able to completely eradicate the bacteria and it did not even grow under optimum conditions.
Other successful plant extracts were black walnut, cat’s claw, sweet wormwood, Mediterranean rock rose and Chinese skull.
Dr. Ying Zhang said: “This study provides the first convincing evidence that some of the herbs used by patients such as Cryptolepis, black walnut, sweet wormwood, cat’s claw and Japanese knotweed have powerful effects against Lyme disease, especially the dormant persistent forms, that are not killed by current Lyme antibiotics.
“These findings are exciting because they offer opportunities for better treatment of persistent Lyme disease, which is not helped by current standard treatment.
A warning sign ‘beware of ticks’ in an affected area of a forest. Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected ticks
“We are interested in further evaluation of these powerful herbal medicines through animal testing and clinical trials.”
The researchers also discovered that some herbs were not successful. Grapefruit seeds, green chiretta, ashwagandha, candy leaf (also known as stevia), fuller teasel and Japanese teasel had little or no effect.
Dr. Sunjya K. Schweig, CEO and co-director of the California Center for Functional Medicine, added: “Many thousands of Lyme patients today, especially those with later-stage symptoms who have not been treated effectively, are in great need of effective , accessible treatment options. “
The study was published in the journal Frontiers in Medicine.
WHAT IS LYME DISEASE?
Lyme disease is caused by a bacterium that is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected ticks with black legs.
The most common symptoms of the disease are fever, headache, fatigue and skin rash called erythema migrans.
The disease can usually be treated with several weeks of oral antibiotics.
But if it is not treated, the infection can spread to the joints, the heart and the nervous symptoms and can be fatal.
WHAT HAPPENS IF YOU ARE INFECTED?
These symptoms may occur during the first three to 30 days of infection:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Erythema migrans (EM) rash
The result occurs in approximately 80 percent of the infected people.
It can expand to 12 inches (30 cm), and ultimately give off the appearance of a target or a bull’s eye.
Later symptoms of Lyme disease include:
- Severe headache and neck stiffness
- Extra result
- Arthritis with joint pain and swelling
- Face paralysis or Bell’s paresis
- Problems with short-term memory
- Nerve pain