13.6 C
Tuesday, June 6, 2023
HomeScienceUtilizing Indigenous Herbs to Combat Lyme Disease: Researchers from Estonia Explore the...

Utilizing Indigenous Herbs to Combat Lyme Disease: Researchers from Estonia Explore the Possibility.


An efficient analysis lab focuses on the chemical properties of a wide variety of plants. Credit: Bill Rain Lanette and Merika Fahr

Approximately one in three insects in Estonia and up to one in four in Tallinn carry the bacterium that causes borreliosis. TalTech scientists are investigating the possibility of using medicinal plants that grow in Estonia to fight Lyme disease and destroy the bacteria that causes it.

The arrival of warmer weather and more people spending time outdoors create risks that need to be addressed. Ticks, which are likely to carry at least one pathogen, can attach themselves to human skin in normal areas. The abundance of ticks in Estonia and the prevalence of tick-borne pathogens have increased significantly in the past decade.

Findings from the recently published National Institute of Health Development project “Mail a Tick!” showed that among the six major viruses/bacteria included in the study, at least one pathogen was detected in 62.3% of all ticks examined. Known tick-borne diseases include tick-borne encephalitis and borreliosis.

More and more causes of Lyme disease

It is possible to vaccinate against encephalitis as a viral disease; Moreover, immunity develops as a result of infection with the disease. There is no preventative treatment for Lyme disease. Once infected, there is no immunity and the consequences can be severe. Lyme disease is caused by a group of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, which enter the human bloodstream through tick bites.

The first sign of infection is a swollen red patch around the site of the bite, but this is absent in up to a third of cases. According to scientific articles published in many scientific journals such as Frontiers in neuroscienceAnd painAnd scalpelAnd Clinical microbiology and infectionSymptoms in the later stages of the disease can include damage to the joints, nervous system, skin, and heart.

According to the National Institute of Health, approximately 28% of Estonian ticks are carriers of B. burgdorferi and more than 2,500 people contract Lyme disease each year. A comparison of the latest data with the results of surveys conducted in 2006-2009 and 2012-2014 shows that the prevalence of Lyme disease in ticks has increased two to three times in some places throughout Estonia.

It is important to know that tick-borne diseases can also be transmitted in cities. A 2018 National Institute for Health Development survey of green areas in D.C. showed that an average of 35% of ticks collected from urban areas carried at least one pathogen, with Lyme disease-causing bacteria accounting for up to 25% of ticks in some places.

Innovative treatments are needed

Lyme disease is treated with antibiotics, which are generally effective in the acute phase of the disease. However, if the disease goes unnoticed and treatment is delayed, it may develop into a chronic condition.

Persistent symptoms are caused by more resistant forms of B. burgdorferi, that is, round-body and biofilm forms, which are not as sensitive to antibiotics as bacteria in their original form – corkscrews or single spirochetes.

New treatments are needed to fight resistant forms of the bacteria. There are many examples in the research literature of the effectiveness of various plant-derived compounds or phytochemicals against Lyme disease.

The Automated Analytical Research Group of TalTech has been involved in the research of Estonian plants for a long time, and the main goal of the group in recent years has been to identify effective phytochemicals against B. vulgaris for the treatment of chronic Lyme disease.

Although many Estonian plants are known as medicinal herbs with antibacterial properties, the claimed beneficial properties are often not confirmed by scientific methods. The chemical study of Estonian plants allows the identification of specific plant compounds responsible for various therapeutic properties.

Estonian researchers fight Lyme disease with local herbs

Plantago lanceolata is one plant that is expected to contain phytochemicals with antibacterial properties. Credit: Bill Rain Lanette and Merika Fahr

What plants did chemists study?

The Instrumental Analysis Research Group works on a wide range of plants that grow in Estonia and are somewhat known as medicinal plants. As a result of the research, an overview of the chemical composition and beneficial properties of several indigenous plant extracts will be available. The first part of the botanical research focuses on the chemical characterization of the studied species, the identification of the main groups of compounds present in them, and the antioxidant properties of plant extracts.

The antioxidant activity of the extract indicates its potential therapeutic uses as an antibacterial agent and in the treatment of diseases associated with oxidative stress, such as cancers. Using an appropriate solvent and extraction protocol, it is possible to isolate compounds with antibacterial properties from plants, with which the researchers hope to identify those suitable for treating Lyme disease.

A detailed summary of this work can be found in an article recently published in the special issue of Moleculeswhich describes the identification and characterization of phytochemicals present in various Gallium species growing in Estonia.

Extracts of Galium verum, Galium aparine, and Galium mollugo have been found to have antioxidant properties. The main compounds identified in the extracts belong to the polyphenols and irisin classes. Representatives of these classes of substances have shown a wide range of beneficial therapeutic properties in many previous scientific studies.

Polyphenols are known for the prevention and treatment of diseases related to oxidative and iridoid stress for their anti-inflammatory properties and as inhibitors of bacterial, viral and fungal growth. An extract made from the flowers of Galium verum has been found to have the most powerful antioxidant properties. In addition, volatile compounds were identified in Estonian gallium species, the phytochemicals of which were previously confirmed in all three plant species as inhibitors of bacterial and fungal growth.

The beneficial properties of Dipsacus fullonum L. have been confirmed.

The research team succeeded in confirming the anti-Borrelia properties of another plant growing in Estonia, Dipsakus fullonum L. The results of this research were published last year In a special issue of the magazine pharmaceutical Its importance in this field has been recognized. An iridoid-glycoside fraction was isolated from Dipsacus fullonum L. plant extract, which showed high activity against Borrelia and low risk to mammalian cells.

Since the compounds with efficacy against Borrelia account for about 15% of the total extract, the leaves of Dipsacus fullonum L. are an excellent natural extract source for novel lead compounds for the treatment of Lyme disease.

Plantain and honey are also examined

TalTech Automated Analysis Research Group scientists Merike Vaher, Piret Saar-Reismaa, Pille-Riin Laanet, Piia Jõul and Olga Bragina will continue their work on the chemical characterization of Estonian botanicals and the development of suitable extraction methods for compounds with remediation. Possible.

Among others, the activity of various Plantagos, different types of honey and Estonian pollen against Borrelia is currently being investigated and ongoing trials have shown promising results in both cases. The researchers at TalTech hope that the research findings will indicate new treatment options for clinicians and their patients, and pave the way for clinical trials to help people with chronic Lyme disease.

more information:
Pille-Riin Laanet et al, Screening of phytochemicals and antioxidant activity of selected Estonian gallium species, Molecules (2023). DOI: 10.3390 / particles 28062867

Provided by the Estonian Research Council

the quote: Estonian Researchers Investigate Use of Native Herbs to Fight Lyme Disease (2023, May 22) Retrieved May 22, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-estonian-local-herbs-lyme-disease.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without written permission. The content is provided for informational purposes only.

The author of what'snew2day.com is dedicated to keeping you up-to-date on the latest news and information.

Latest stories