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Herbs won't cure Lyme Disease, but many CAN help you manage your symptoms better. Which herbs have potent anti-inflammatory properties?

Are you being treated for Lyme Disease, or facing post-treatment Lyme Disease syndrome — also sometimes called chronic Lyme Disease? Herbs with anti-inflammatory effects do not represent an alternative treatment for your condition, nor does taking them mean you don't need to be under the watchful eye of a physician. They may, however, make your life easier and less painful in combination with more mainstream treatments. 

What Are We Actually Talking About Here?

The term "chronic Lyme Disease" is quite popular, which is indeed why you see it used in the headline up above. It's prudent to remember that chronic Lyme Disease is not, actually, a clinical diagnostic category, however [1]. The term "chronic Lyme Disease" may be used by people who still have symptoms after being diagnosed and treated for Lyme Disease with antibiotics, and their situation is also known as post-treatment Lyme Disease syndrome. It may be used by those who have late-stage Lyme Disease that has gone on so long it now feels chronic. Then, there's people who have never had a Lyme Disease diagnosis and whose diagnostic process may even have ruled Lyme out — but who believe, for various reasons mainly related to the nature of their symptoms, that they really do have "chronic Lyme Disease".

I've said this over and over as I've written a series of articles about Lyme, including describing signs you might have chronic Lyme Disease and dangerous alternative treatments for chronic Lyme Disease. It's as important as it is repetitive, though — proper diagnosis is essential to proper treatment, and the adoption of a term that doesn't have any particular meaning can stand in the way of a cure for your symptoms. 

The topic of anti-inflammatory herbs is a different matter though. Whether you have Lyme, post-treatment Lyme Disease syndrome, or something as yet undefined that you think could be Lyme, you're almost certainly suffering from inflammatory conditions or symptoms — such as arthritis [2]. That means you can safely benefit from many herbs with anti-inflammatory effects, as long as they're not your only treatment. 

What herbs should you be looking into using?


Frequently used in Asian cooking, you'll either love or hate turmeric. With its demonstrated anti-inflammatory activity, mainly due to curcumin, one of its components [3], it has been shown to help manage arthritis [4]. As a common culinary ingredient, you'll not be surprised that turmeric has been found to be completely safe to ingest orally [3].

Turmeric also has a long history of being used as a medicine, especially in Ayurveda, and people inhale it and occasionally use it in the form of an enema as well, however. While there's no particular evidence that this is unsafe, there isn't any conclusive proof that it is, either. I say ask your medical doctor before doing these things. 


Garlic won't cure chronic Lyme Disease, but allicin, its rather powerful active component, does have both antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties [5]. The good news is that you're most likely already using garlic in your everyday cooking, and while turning that up a notch may cause people to complain about your breath, it's otherwise completely safe. 


This is starting to look like a "who's who" in Asian cooking, no? Anyone fighting chronic inflammation will be happy to learn that research proves that ginger can help [6]. It makes a wonderfully potent addition to the team — in taste and action. 


This is where we start to move away from common cooking ingredients. Boswellia (Indian frankincense) is made from the Boswellia serrata tree, and inhibits inflammation [7]. Rodent studies deem Boswellia "relatively safe" in moderate doses [8]. You'll find supplements, in the form of capsules, online or at certain health foods stores — but you may want to check whether using it is a good idea with your doctor first. 


Stephania is a group of plants rather than one species, and some of them have been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine for a very long time. The main one is Stephania tetrandra, which has proven anti-inflammatory effects [9]. It also contains toxic compounds [10], so caution is advised. Don't DIY this, and use it under the care of a TCM practitioner if you must experiment with Stephania.

Uncaria Tomentosa And Uncaria Guianensis

Native to the Amazonian region, Uncaria tomentosa and Uncaria guianensis are vines also known as "cat's claw" because of the shape of their thorns. Traditionally used to cure numerous ailments including arthritis, there is evidence that cat's claw has anti-inflammatory properties. Medicine made from the bark of cat's claw appears to be safe when used orally for a short amount of time [11], but we'd advise you to check in with your doctor before going ahead.

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