Lyme Disease – An Analysis
Herbs & Essential Oils for Lyme Disease

by Jeanne Rose

What is Lyme? “Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is an emerging infectious disease caused by bacteria belonging to the genus Borrelia. Borrelia burgdorferi is the predominant cause of Lyme disease in the United States, whereas Borrelia afzelii and Borrelia garinii are implicated in most European cases.

Lyme disease is the most common tick-borne disease in the Northern Hemisphere. It is transmitted to humans by the bite of infected hard ticks belonging to several species of the genus Ixodes. Early manifestations of infection may include fever, headache, fatigue, depression, and a characteristic skin rash that is reddened and called erythema migrans. Left untreated, late manifestations that involving the joints, heart, and nervous system can occur. In a majority of cases, symptoms can be eliminated with antibiotics, Diagnosis and treatment should occur early in the course of illness. Late, delayed, or inadequate treatment can lead to late manifestations of Lyme disease that can be disabling and difficult to treat.

Some groups have argued that "chronic" Lyme disease is responsible for a range of medically unexplained symptoms [such as fibromyalgia] and others that go beyond the recognized manifestations of late Lyme disease, Long-term antibiotic treatment is warranted in such cases”. … Wikipedia

People sometimes confuse Lyme Disease with a Poison Oak or Poison Ivy rash. I asked one of the Herbal Studies Course students, Carol Simon, if she would discuss this and here is the response.

Posion Ivy Rash - Jeanne Rose

Lyme rash/bit - Jeanne Rose

Poison Ivy Rash Lyme rash/bite

“There are no similarities between a tick bite and the rash from Poison Ivy (except possibly for a localized rash). The Poison Ivy rash shows up in a day or two. If I am exposed I will immediately look for Jewelweed. I break open the freshly picked stems and rub the juice on the area that has been exposed. If a rash appears, a Jewelweed infusion can be brewed, cooled and applied as a wash. To soothe the itch and to help the blisters dry, I add several drops of Peppermint essential oil to Calamine Lotion and apply this frequently. The best remedy for Poison Ivy/Oak is prevention.”1

In regards to Lyme Disease and tick bites, the best remedy again is prevention. Wear light-colored clothing. Maybe the medical profession will someday design a preventative pill like they give to our pets that would prevent the tick from biting. But for now, Prevention is the key.

Carol Simon goes on to say, “ticks are another story. There are four species most commonly found in her area (Pennsylvania). Of these, the American dog tick and the Blacklegged Tick (Ixodes scapularis) are the most prevalent. It is suggested that the best way to keep ticks from attaching is to stay away from wooded areas and places with high grasses and brush. Wear light-colored clothes, long sleeves, a hat and use tick repellent. Always check your body for ticks after being outside in a tick-prone area and/or if you have pets that run outside. It is important to scan your body after being in any of the commonly tick-infested areas as the longer the tick is attached the more likely a disease will be transmitted.

If you have a tick attached to your skin, use forceps or tweezers to remove, grasp the tick close to the skin surface and pull straight back and out. Try not to crush the tick. Place the tick in between two pieces of scotch tape in case it needs to be tested and put the scotch taped tick somewhere where you can find it. Wash the bite area and then place a drop of Tea Tree, Litsea cubeba, Lemon Eucalyptus or even Lavender essential oil placed on the bite area and this will help to disinfect the area.”1

The “bull’s eye rash” may appear within a few days and most often, flu-like symptoms are experienced. The rash may never appear. Carol Simon goes on, “I have had Lyme Disease and never had a “bull’s eye”. The first symptom I experienced was severe arthritis in my neck, and then extreme exhaustion, blurred vision, headache and muscular aches and pain. I am still dealing with the effects of this disease after 7 years. Lyme is difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic so many types of ailments including chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS).”1

If untreated Lyme Disease may cause permanent damage to the nervous system and joints. However, when you take the antibiotics they may cause the disease to go dormant. As soon as you stop taking them, the spirochete may come again and be active.1

Tick World in the Redwoods and Jeanne Rose home 1964-65

History & Background: I personally have never treated anyone for this disease – and what I am about to write is an investigation of the problems, interviews with people who have treated it and the possible herbs and essential oils that can be used to alleviate and reduce the symptoms and other palliatives while you are going to our physician for antibiotic treatment. Always combine both the conventional and aromatic/herbal medicines for best results.

Lyme disease outbreaks rose in the northeast U.S. (1975) when the deer predators were mostly eliminated and the deer population exploded leading to the explosion of deer ticks and their tiny …”nymphal offspring that tend to acquire and pass the Borrelia bacterium to the human bloodstream.” See pages 116-118 in William Stolzenburg’s book, Where The Wild Things Were, for a discussion of why we need predators to maintain a healthy environment.

Alternative Treatments for Lyme Disease – Think of the entire picture of your health, clean up your Bowel, Kidney and Liver. Get your teeth taken care of. Your mouth is and teeth are the doorway to your body. Bad teeth can be a precursor to many problems including heart disease. “Lyme spirochete feed on the collagenous tissue - of the brain, joints, nerves and muscles. They also create toxins and hide behind heavy metals. Since we tend to retain metals, it is wise to do some sort of detoxifying program.”1

Herbs – Season your food. Start using herbal and antiviral foods immediately after removing any ticks. Use Garlic up to 16 cloves per day.1 Use lots of Oregano and Rosemary to cleanse the blood. Clean the liver with the bitter herbs of Chicory and Dandelion greens.1 This won’t cure but it will assist the healing process. Take herbals such as Boswellia, Corydalis, Willow Bark, Pau d’arco and Turmeric. Echinacea, for example will boost the immune system. Take antibiotic garlic tablets. Thyme, Hops, Oregano and Rosemary are also good herbs to use as food or herbal supplements. Sweet Annie (Artemisia annua) can be eaten or taken as a tea (in small doses as it is used to treat malaria which is also caused by a spirochete.1 Lyme spirochetes colonize the bladder and for this drink Papaya leaf and Spearmint herb tea. Enzymes found in Pineapple and Papaya help with fighting inflammation. Eat plenty of naturally fermented foods.1

Cleanse all the organs with as many of these herbs as possible, start slowly, do not start with all of them at once. Try some of the special items that are listed on the website at the Special Order area.

Essential Oils – Anti-fungal, antibacterial and antiviral essential oils can be both applied and taken internally. These include Rosemary, Oregano CT carvacrol. The essential oils should be taken diluted – 2 drops in a capsule of olive oil. Essential oils can also be inhaled for calming and relaxation. Use the oils that are in the Stress Relief Kit.

Baths/Lotions - Take hot baths with Epsom salts, baking soda, clay, Seaweed and herbal infusions such as Rosemary and Marjoram as these will assist the body to remove toxins.1 Bugle Weed (Ajuga reptans) can be used in the bath or taken as a tea.1 It is good for neutralizing heavy metal poisons.1 Bugleweed is a specific for over-active thyroid glands, and it will aid the weak heart where there is associated build-up of water.3 The Herbal Body Book by Jeanne Rose is an excellent resource for the use of herbs in cleaning and healing the body.

Massage/Acupuncture – Use different massage oils such as Calendula Infused Oil and especially Bruise Juice with essential oil blends that are both anti-inflammatory and analgesic (pain-killing) to provide relief from pain and stiffness.1 I recommend essential oils of Rosemary, Helichrysum, Sage and Basil.2 Increase internal use of glucosamine and Turmeric when flare-ups occur.1 Occasional lymph drainage massage might be beneficial, but be careful as too much can cause the Herksheimer reaction.1 (Herksheimer reaction is a term that describes the principle that you get worse before you get better)

Find an expert in acupuncture and see what they recommend.

Diet & Foods – Eat vegetables to alkalize your body. Lyme spirochetes like yeast, so stay away from refined foods and white foods. Reduce carbohydrates in your body such as pasta, rice and bread. Stay away from trans-fats, most fats except for Olive oil. “Cleanse the bowels with fibrous foods that include whole grain, nuts, seeds and fruits.”1 Build up your immune system with healthy living. Eat Purslane as it is high in essential fatty acids. Confront Borrelia head-on and take what you need to fight the bacteria. Carrots, tomatoes juiced with plenty of garlic. Thyme, Hops, Oregano and Rosemary are also good herbs to use as food or herbal supplements. Here is where your home garden really comes in handy.

Vitamins & Other Supplements - There are other natural supplements that may help speed the recovery of those affected by Lyme disease. Omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFAs) found in fish oil supplements and in supplements containing evening primrose oil, borage oil, and flaxseed oil, have been used for treatment of the fatigue, arthritis, heart disease, and neurological problems associated with Lyme disease. In addition, B-complex vitamins may help to maintain proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems, and research indicates that taking supplements containing the enzyme Coenzyme Q10 (also called ubiquinone) can also strengthen the immune system and provide the body with increased antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection — see vitamin

Visualization & Meditation. Use these techniques to help yourself heal. Imagery (with visualization and meditation) provides a way to communicate with your subconscious mind. When you "see" an image in your mind it is a collaboration between your conscious and subconscious. The image you see will always be different from what others see because it is formed from your own memories and experiences. Imagery is like a personalized, guided dream with emotions. The recommended therapy to combat stress and its attendant harm upon our bodies and minds is to ‘relax and lighten up.’ Sounds simple enough to me, but when we look at this more deeply, we are merely prescribing a regimen that is bound to fail as therapy.

Two major reasons account for this: One is that it is not natural to relax. The other reason for failure is that people do not know how to relax and require training and practice before they can. “Mental or Guided Imagery” can be taught and enables people to learn how to relax and reduce their stress and pain levels. Essential oils can aid this process. “Relax. Inhale the odor right for you. These feelings of hostility and impatience are really just in your head.”

When you inhale scent it is vaporized into molecules as a gas. The molecules are inhaled up the nose; absorbed by the sensory mucosa, sent to the olfactory nerve that directly affects the limbic system and hypothalamus. The limbic system is the seat of memory, learning and emotion. These molecules are also affecting the intellectual process. The hypothalamus affects the pituitary and has control of aggression. The pituitary affects the adrenal and sexual glands, which has effects on the sexual response. These are all interacting dynamics. What you inhale is what you are - so inhale pure aromatic oils such as those in the Mediation and Stress Relief kits.

Use the essential oils that will help you to relax and to ‘get inside yourself’. These essential oils will be the stress-relieving ones (see the Stress Relief Kit) or the ancient oils (see the Meditation Kit). Use them every day for at least 10-15 minutes to relax and assist the healing in the body.

Education and Study.
Herbal Studies Course students when asked about Lyme Disease gave the following information. For Lyme disease my friend chews a small bite of Tobacco leaf, a bit every day for 10 days. It is a poison but she swears that it will treat the Lyme disease (I suggest caution with this) . … J. Rose2

“I just wanted to write on the value of the Seasonal Herbal section of the Herbal Studies Course. Two weeks ago I went camping for a week and acquired an annoying insect bite on my arm. It was itchy and sore and had a black center. I didn't think much about it until it turned into a perfect purplish/red circle. Ironically, I was doing research for Chapter 8 in the Seasonal Herbal on Lyme disease. I pulled up an image on Lyme disease and there was the exact picture of my bite! I called the doctor the next day and got on antibiotics. The bite has since healed but I just wanted to share this important story. Perfect timing!” …Betsy L.

“Dear Jeanne Rose. I am diagnosed with Fibromyalgia and one of the doctors I went to mentioned that a lot of my symptoms (aching muscles and joints, tiredness, etc.) sounded a lot like un-diagnosed Lyme disease and said that most likely since it had been so many years since I had begun to experience the symptoms that a Lyme test would be negative at this point. (I was tested and it was negative). It was interesting that he brought this up though; because right around the time my symptoms started I did live in an area where I could have been exposed to a tick and actually my mother was diagnosed with Lyme disease at that time. So, it does make me wonder what Fibromyalgia really is or what causes it and if there could be any possible correlation, or even that certain things that might help with Fibromylagia may help with Lyme. (Maybe not necessarily with everyone, but at the very least in my case.) This would be interesting to pursue.” …BM

1. Carol Simon of Berks County, Pa is an avid student of anything herbal and is currently enrolled in Jeanne Rose’s Institute of Aromatic Studies. Carol studied horticulture at the Barnes Foundation in Merion, PA and Longwood Gardens in Chadds Ford, PA and is certified in several holistic healing modalities. Carol plans to share her knowledge and love of plants by offering workshops for women to empower them with the wonders and gifts of Nature.

2. Jeanne Rose is a herbalist/aromatherapist who changed the current practice of American herbalism when she began her public work in 1969 with the publication of her first book, Herbs & Things. She is an accomplished author of 24 books on herbs, distillation, botanical perfumery, and all things aromatic, a teacher of natural botanical perfumery, skin care and SPA formulas and a well-known academic enthusiast. She has led seminars and consulted about plants from the growing to distilling in her copper still to using them in SPA, perfume, and every imaginable way. Visit her at and read credentials.

3. David Hoffman is a well-known herbalist trained in England with several excellent books to his credit.

Anonymous. Private letters to Jeanne Rose
Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Studies Course
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Studies Course
Simon, Carol. Private communications from the Herbal Studies Course. a
Stolzenburg, William. Where The Wild Things Were: Life, Death, and Ecological Wreckage in a Land
   of Vanishing Predators. Bloomsbury, New York, 2008.
Wikipedia. Lyme Disease


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