Hello dear friends!
Let me take you back, many years ago, to my days in the microbiology lab at CSU. I was loving the opportunity to grow, identify, and isolate different strains of bacteria (I’m a geek, I know!), and took every chance I had to learn more and spend more time at the bench. One week, our lab class was given an assignment to test out various things for antimicrobial action. I had no idea how much that one project would change my perspective, and alter the course of my health later down the road.
Our assignment was to bring in a substance (from home) to test as an antibiotic on our set of petri dishes. The dishes were inoculated with a common strain of bacteria, and we were to administer our substance and monitor the action over the next few days. I chose rosemary essential oil (the only one in the class to choose an EO), simply because I’d read a little blog about it a few days earlier… with skepticism, I might add.
When I checked my dishes, I was honestly shocked at how well the rosemary oil had worked. And when it came time to compare results across the class, my project ranked second in effectiveness, out of 50 different substances! Rosemary essential oil was enough to kill over 90% of the sample, and everyone was surprised. Now, when I look back on that experience, I smile and hope that maybe, just maybe, someone else was convinced of the efficacy of EO’s!
Nowadays, as many of you know, I’m a huge fan of holistic, DIY stuff, and especially essential oils. I use oils every single day, and I love them so much, I’ve even made a bunch of my own blends (come check them out!). While many people think of essential oils as simply nice smells, they’re so much more than that. These concentrated plant oils have powerful, bioactive compounds that act on different parts of our mind and body, including the immune system, digestive system, and detoxification pathways.
When it comes to chronic illness, generally speaking, many of the physiological processes are disrupted. Through a holistic approach of herbal medicine, good nutrition, supportive lifestyle changes, and more, we can help bring our bodies back into balance, or at least help them along a bit! In my own experiences, when I combined lots of therapies together, and was consistent with them, I felt so much better. And one of those therapies was essential oils, or, in other terms, aromatherapy.
Healing from Lyme Disease is not for the faint of heart, I’ll just go ahead and say that! And aromatherapy, while it sounds all fluffy and woo-woo, is truthfully a great addition to anyone’s healing regimen. Modern scientific research is a bit behind, I admit, so you probably won’t find a ton of peer-reviewed studies on EO’s and Lyme. However, drawing on thousands of years of healing traditions, plant medicine, and biochemistry, we’ve identified a few oils that have benefits for those with Lyme.
I’ve personally experimented with EO blends applied to the skin, diffused into the air, ingested (I don’t recommend ingestion of oils, by the way), and simply inhaled. I’ve had good experiences, some downright profound, with different oils, when it comes to my Lyme symptoms. But instead of rambling on about those here, you can go ahead and ask me if you want to know!
So, I’ll go ahead and jump in!
Here are some fantastic essential oils for Lyme Disease:
Note: All of these oils are powerful and potentially irritating! They must be properly diluted prior to use! Scroll to the bottom of this post to find detailed instructions on ways to use these oils.
More than just a warming, seasonal spice, clove has some pretty incredible antibacterial actions. I take clove both, internally (as powdered herb) and externally (topically, or swished in the mouth). It works as an antiseptic and analgesic, and has been used in dentistry for thousands of years. Some also think clove EO works against the co-infection of Bartonella.
This sweet, herbal oil has actually been tested against certain types of Borrelia, MRSA, mycoplasma, and other bacteria, as well as a tick repellant. The best kind of thyme to use is known as “thyme linalool” or “sweet thyme,” because it’s gentler on skin and mucosal tissues. It blends well with lots of other antimicrobial oils, and smells pretty good too.
3. Tea Tree
A very common and potent antimicrobial is tea tree, also called melaleuca, and it is often used in cleaning products and antiseptic washes. While it can be very irritating to the skin (ask me about the time I spilled an entire vial of it on my hands!), when diluted and/or combined with other oils, it can be effective against Lyme and other underlying infections that are halting your recovery. It’s been shown to be powerful in fighting dozens of strains of bacteria, fungus, yeast, and some viruses.
This camphorous oil is very refreshing and cleansing, and makes a nice addition to EO blends for Lyme disease. It is a cooling oil and has effects not only on an antimicrobial level, but also on the GI tract and nervous system. It is especially wonderful for respiratory infections and brain fog, as it opens up the airways and stimulates cognition. It blends particularly well with lemon, and peppermint.
Another “kitchen” herb that is effective against bacteria is oregano. Many people use this oil to fight infections, and Lyme is no exception. You can easily find this oil pre-diluted in carrier oil, and whether you use topically, by ingestion or by inhalation, it is best to pulse this oil off and on during your treatment, because it’s so powerful (and it can be toxic in large doses, particularly to the liver).
Don’t underestimate this abundant and “average”-seeming oil. Lemon is strongly purifying and uplifting, and has actions on the cellular level, as well as a spiritual one. This EO has been shown to fight over a dozen different bacteria, enliven sluggish digestion, and lift brain fog. Lemon can be irritating to the skin (like all citrus oils), so make sure you dilute it properly. This one is light and fresh, and great to include in topical blends or in a diffuser.
This hot, sweet oil has been the subject of many different Lyme-killing protocols (some legitimate, some not), and that’s because of its powerful immune-stimulating and antibacterial properties. It’s important to get a very high quality cinnamon bark or leaf oil for this use (not the cassia type), and only use it in tiny amounts. Cinnamon is very strong and can be irritating (known as a “hot” oil), so it’s best blended with other oils and diluted before use.
When working with essential oils, safety is key. There have been way too many people that have gotten very sick because they didn’t take the proper precautions. Remember, these oils are strong and medicinal, so always use your common sense!
There are many different methods for administering essential oils, and I’ll touch on them briefly here:
Note: despite many protocols calling for ingestion of EO’s, I don’t advocate for that and won’t go into it here on this blog. If you truly want to try this method, I recommend finding a trained clinical aromatherapist.
- Place 5-10 drops of desired EO or EO blend into a water diffuser. This also acts as a humidifier. You can run your diffuser for as long as you like, even all day!
- Steam inhalation
- Place 5-10 drops of EO into a large bowl of steaming water. Hover face over the bowl, surrounded by a towel. Try to keep your eyes closed, to avoid irritation. Inhale steam for 10-15 minutes. It's like a therapeutic facial!
- Topical rub
- Dilute desired EO’s in a topically-safe oil (almond oil, jojoba oil, fractionated coconut oil, etc…) and rub onto skin. A dilution of 2.5% is recommended for adults. This method is particularly effective on: soles of feet, joints, scalp, and other highly vascularized areas like wrists, backs of knees/neck. Or you can make a customized massage oil for all-body therapy (just avoid mucous membranes!)
- Mix 5-10 drops of desired EO’s with bath salts (Epsom is my fave) and put ½ cup or so into your bathwater. You may want to wear swimsuit bottoms for this, as some of these oils can be irritating to sensitive tissues
So friends, what do you think? How many of you use essential oils already? Share your stories in the comments below!
And as always…
~ Hoping you feel as well as possible ~
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