Alternative Lyme disease treatments

The role of natural antimicrobials for treating tick-borne illnesses.

A close up of coloured red and blue microorganisms as seen through a microscope with dark blobby centres.

Alternative Lyme disease treatments are popular either used alone or in conjunction with antibiotics.1 The most effective alternative treatment reported by patients in the MyLymeData Registry in 2019 was herbal protocols. This shouldn’t be a surprise because many modern patented medicines come from plants and many herbal protocols have antimicrobial properties with 68% of patients using them reporting that they were either moderately or very effective with a low side effect profile.

Incorporating herbal protocols

Many physicians who treat complex disseminated Lyme and tick-borne diseases are using integrative medicine, incorporating herbal protocols into their treatment plans. Many have reported that herbals are better tolerated, bacteria do not appear to become resistant and patients require fewer antibiotics. 

Researching herbal treatments

The pharmaceutical industry would likely be interested in many of these herbal treatments if they could be patented. As research is costly, there are only a handful of studies done in this area, often paid for by private foundations such as the Bay Area Lyme Foundation and the Steven & Alexandra Cohen Foundation. Importantly, these studies have shown that several of these herbal and alternative agents are more potent at killing Borrelia in vitro [in the test tube] than some commonly prescribed antibiotics.

The Use of Natural Bioactive Nutraceuticals in the Management of Tick-Borne Illnesses

The primary objective of this paper by Shor and Schweig is to provide an evidence-based update of the literature on the use of bioactive phytochemicals, nutraceuticals, and micronutrients (dietary supplements that provide health benefits beyond nutritional value) in the management of persistent cases of Borrelia burgdorferi infection (Lyme disease) and two other tick-borne pathogens, Babesia and Bartonella species.  Recent studies have advanced our understanding of the pathophysiology and mechanisms of persistent infections. These advances have increasingly enabled clinicians and patients to use a wider set of options to manage these frequently disabling conditions. The broader toolkit holds the promise of simultaneously improving treatment outcomes and decreasing our reliance on the long-term use of pharmaceutical antimicrobials and antibiotics in the treatment of tick-borne pathogens such as Borrelia burgdorferi, Babesia and Bartonella.


Shor, S.M.; Schweig, S.K. The Use of Natural Bioactive Nutraceuticals in the Management of Tick-Borne Illnesses. Microorganisms202311, 1759. https://doi.org/10.3390/microorganisms11071759


  1. For information about the MyLymeData Registry, see the MyLymeData Viz Blog: “MyLymeData is one of the largest patient-driven registries in the nation, with over 16,000 patients enrolled. It was created by patients, is run by patients and will address the issues that Lyme disease patients care about.” https://www.lymedisease.org/mylymedata-viz-blog/

Stay safe in the outdoors

Your support can change lives

Similar Posts