5 Herbs Proven Potent Against Babesia

 In Co-Infections & Associated Illnesses, Herbal & Traditional Wisdom, Holistic Tools & Strategies

Babesiosis is a common tick-borne co-infection with Lyme disease that infects the red blood cells and endothelial cells that line the blood vessels.  In addition to transmission via tick bite, it may also be contracted through blood transfusion, organ transplant or to a fetus during pregnancy.

It is notoriously difficult to treat and requires a long treatment time, due to the slow cycles of regrowth that are typical with Babesia protozoa.  Conventional medical treatment involves combinations of drugs such as atovaquone, azithromycin, clindamycin and quinine.  These medications may have difficult-to-tolerate side effects, and Babesia species may also grow resistant to their effects.

At our clinic, we have successfully treated cases of Babesia in patients who either could not tolerate or chose not to take pharmaceuticals for Babesia with herbs and lifestyle modifications.  When we hear of high-quality research that validates our clinical experience, it’s exciting!

As one of the co-authors, Sonjya Schweig, MD stated in an interview, “Due to limited therapeutics and a rise in treatment resistance, current treatment options for this disease are inadequate. Many patients rely on herbal therapies for which [until now] there is only anecdotal evidence of efficacy.” 

The new research demonstrated that 5 of the 46 herbs they tested had significant inhibitory activity against Babesia duncani in vivo.  The herbs are:

  1. Cryptolepis sanguinolenta (Cryptolepsis)
  2. Artemisia annua (Sweet Annie, a type of wormwood)
  3. Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap, or huang qin)
  4. Alchornea cordifolia (African Christmas bush)
  5. Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed, or hu zhang)

The Cryptolepsis (90% ethanol extract) also exhibited no regrowth after 6 days of subculture.  This means that Babesia was not able to develop resistance to the anti-microbial effects of the herb (which is a big problem with drug treatment).

Pretty amazing!  These are herbs that we use often as decoctions (tea), tincture, or in capsule form for our patients.  All of them have broad-spectrum effects, addressing Lyme borreliosis, parasites, and other types of infection simultaneously.

Typical treatment time for our patients with Babesia is 1-2 years (depending on severity), which often involves a layered approach that utilizes herbs, essential oils (Robust is our anti-Babesia EO remedy), as well as an anti-inflammatory diet and detoxification support.

Much gratitude to the Bay Area Lyme Foundation for partial funding of this study, as well as to the dedicated collaboration of researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, California Center for Functional Medicine, and FOCUS Health Group, Naturopathic.

Yours in health,

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