Essential Oils for Lyme Disease: How to Use Natural Plant Extracts to Treat Bacterial, Viral, Fungal, and Parasitic Infections
DISCLAIMER: CONSULT WITH A DOCTOR BEFORE DECIDING ON A TREATMENT PLAN FOR ANY DISEASE OR INJURY.
Garlic Essential Oil
Garlic is a powerful medicinal plant with antiviral, antifungal, antiparasitic, and antibacterial properties. We use garlic so much in food that most people don’t realize just how potent this herb actually is! Garlic essential oil is a more concentrated way to deliver garlic oil (and its pathogen-fighting constituents) to the body. In the treatment of Lyme disease, garlic essential oil is one of the most effective essential oils to use to combat stationary phase Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. It may be administered in the following ways:
- Orally by combining 1-2 drops of the essential oil with another unrefined oil like extra virgin olive oil or extra virgin coconut oil. Take 2-3 times per day.
- Topically by combining 1-2 drops of the essential oil with a carrier oil like bitter apricot kernel oil (this carrier oil is particularly good for Lyme disease treatment, or the treatment of other serious diseases like cancer or autoimmune disease; pure, unrefined almond oil is a good second choice). Apply to the skin daily as needed.
Garlic is a safe medicine to use in people of all ages, including children, and it can also be used in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.
Myrrh Essential Oil
Myrrh is another one of the best essential oils to use in the treatment of Lyme disease. It is a tree resin from trees in the Commiphora genus, and has been used for thousands of years both as a perfume and as a medicinal treatment. Even when administered at a very low dosage, such as via an essential oil applied at the appropriate dilution, myrrh has been shown to be able to kill dormant, persistent Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria. It may also be able to stimulate the immune system to attack the bacteria, and has also shown efficacy in the treatment of other bacterial infections, parasitic infections, and fungal infections (meaning that it may be able to help treat some Lyme co infections at the same time). It is also a noted analgesic.
Below are ways that myrrh essential oil can be administered to treat Lyme disease:
- Take 1 drop under the tongue once a day. Hold it under your tongue for 30 seconds to allow it to absorb before you swallow completely. You may also add 1 drop to a veggie capsule if you prefer and take the myrrh that way.
- For topical use, combine 3-6 drops of myrrh essential oil with 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil (again, apricot kernel oil or pure, unrefined almond oil are the best choices for Lyme disease patients). Apply to the skin 2-3 times per day. Some of the best areas to apply this mix are on the stomach, chest, and back/neck.
Myrrh should not be used in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding since it can cause uterine contractions (and therefore can provoke miscarriage or premature labor). People on blood thinning medication should be aware that myrrh may make these medications less effective, and individuals with diabetes should know that myrrh can lower blood sugar levels.
Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme is another culinary herb that most people are unaware has potent healing properties, including antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties. It is the third particularly effective essential oil against Lyme disease. Like garlic and myrrh essential oils, thyme essential oil is not only able to kill the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, it can also get around biofilm. Thyme is an antioxidant and an immuno-regulator, and has special healing effects on the cardiovascular system, including increasing blood flow throughout the body, toning and strengthening the muscles of the heart, and relaxing the arteries, among other effects. Thyme is also an excellent detoxifier.
Take thyme essential oil according to the dosing guidelines outlined below:
- Combine 2-3 drops of thyme essential oil with a salad dressing or unheated sauce to use culinarily while incorporating its medicinal benefits.
- Put 2 drops of thyme essential oil in a veggie capsule and take 1-2 times daily.
- Dilute 3-6 drops of thyme essential oil in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (such as apricot kernel oil) and apply to the skin 1-2 times per day.
As an emmenagogue (a kind of herb that stimulates menstruation), thyme should not be taken during pregnancy. Young children should also not be given thyme essential oil (especially not internally or combined with DMSO).
Allspice Essential Oil
Allspice berry is the product of the Pimenta dioica tree, a plant native to Mexico, Central America, and nearby areas. Like many other plants on this list, allspice is used culinarily and is an important part of Caribbean, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Polish cuisine (among other cuisines). Medicinally, allspice berry has antibacterial and pain-killing activity, and may also have some antifungal, antiviral, and anticancer properties. Allspice also contains eugenol, a compound present in clove that is noted for its potent healing powers, as well as quercetin and gallic acid, other important healing plant constituents. Although it’s not in the “Top 3”, allspice essential oil is similarly powerful in targeting and killing Lyme disease bacteria.
Allspice essential oil has some activity against the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, and may be used therapeutically as part of a Lyme disease treatment protocol. Below are some ways to consider administering allspice berry essential oil:
- Add 3-6 drops of allspice essential oil to 1 teaspoon of a carrier oil like apricot kernel oil or pure, unrefined almond oil. Apply to the skin daily. When applied to the stomach/abdomen, it can help relieve gastrointestinal discomfort, and applied to the back it may be able to relieve areas of tension or pain.
- Take 1-2 drops of allspice essential oil with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil or another unrefined edible oil. Take this dose 1-2 times per day.
Cumin Essential Oil
Cumin is a culinary spice often used in Asian cuisine, as well as in Latin American cuisine. It also has a long history of medicinal use and has been used as an antibacterial, digestive aid, detoxifier, and systemic tonic that strengthens and tonifies muscles and tissues throughout the whole body. In addition to targeting Borrelia bacteria, cumin essential oil has activity against E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Staphylococcus faecalis and has traditionally been used both internally and topically to kill pathogenic bacteria.
- Take orally either by diluting 2 drops of cumin seed essential oil in a glass of water, or putting 2 drops in a capsule to take.
- Add 3-6 drops of cumin essential oil to 1 teaspoon of apricot kernel oil, pure, unrefined almond oil, or another carrier oil. Apply to the skin daily. Apply to the stomach to relieve gastrointestinal discomfort.
Though cumin in amounts found in food is fine to eat during pregnancy, use of cumin essential oil during pregnancy should be avoided. The plant is sometimes used to encourage menstruation and/or regulate the menstrual cycle, and therefore may cause miscarriage or premature labor in pregnant women.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil has demonstrated antibacterial activity against the Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria, in addition to being able to effectively combat E. coli, Staphylococcus aureus, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, as well as some Streptococcus bacteria and even Haemophilus influenzae. This essential oil has also been used medicinally as a topical treatment for pain, as well as to stimulate the immune system, lower blood sugar levels, treat sinus issues, and remedy some fungal infections. Eucalyptus essential oil generally is only used topically or in a steamer. It should not be taken internally (some people use eucalyptus in mouth rinses or homemade toothpastes; don’t swallow the mixture, always spit it out).
For Lyme disease treatment, eucalyptus oil may be applied topically, diluted in a carrier oil. It may be particularly useful for the treatment of pain related to Lyme disease.
Spiked Ginger Lily Essential Oil
Spiked ginger lily essential oil (from the Hedychium spicatum plant) is a less commonly known essential oil, but another that may prove useful in the treatment of Lyme disease. It is another essential oil that has been proven to have action against Borrelia burgdorferi infection, and was shown to be able to completely eradicate this bacteria in 7 days with no recurrence of growth 14 days following eradication. Its antimicrobial properties have also been studied in regard to methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, Shigella flexneri, Pasteurella multocida, and E. coli. Spiked ginger lily essential oil may also have some antifungal properties.
Spiked ginger lily essential oil has important antibacterial qualities, but it is also an analgesic, meaning it can relieve pain. The plant also has sedative effects, and is said to help relieve anxiety/depression, fatigue, and stress. It should not be taken internally, but it may be rubbed on the skin topically when combined with a carrier oil, or it can be put in a diffuser.
May Chang Tree Essential Oil
May chang (Litsea cubeba) is a flower tree native to China and Southeast Asia. The essential oil of may chang can also have a significant and lasting effect on Borrelia burgdorferi infection, as well having been used traditionally for the treatment of digestive issues, asthma, back pain, irregular menstruation, muscle aches and pains, and even cancer in some cases. May chang essential oil also has some antiviral and antifungal properties in addition to having an anti-inflammatory, immunosuppressive effect that is well-suited to the treatment of autoimmune conditions.
May chang is also known as Chinese pepper or Mountain pepper, and essential oil from the Litsea cubeba plant may be referred to by these names as well. Previously, it was known as Tropical Verbena or Exotic Verbena, since the smell of may chang is similar to verbena.
May chang essential oil can be taken in the following ways to treat Lyme disease:
- Apply topically by diluting 3-6 drops in 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Focus on applying the oil to areas where you are experiencing pain or fatigue, or if you aren’t experiencing pain, apply it to the back or abdomen.
- Dilute 3-6 drops of may chang essential oil in 1 teaspoon of an edible carrier oil, such as extra virgin coconut oil, and then put a few drops of this mix into a capsule to take internally once a day.
- Diffuse and breathe in the may chang essential oil to relieve emotional or mental discomfort, and to remove pathogens from your environment.
Amyris Wood Essential Oil
Amyris wood essential oil comes from the Amyris tree (Amyris balsamifera), and may also be known as West Indian sandalwood. Amyris wood is anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and detoxifying, and in essential oil form it has been studied in regard to its antibacterial action against the Lyme bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, particularly when its entered a stationary phase, such as when a person suffers from chronic Lyme disease. This essential oil may also provide relief from anxiety, insomnia, irritability, and depression. Amyris essential oil may have antiviral, antiparasitic, and antifungal properties as well.
Amyris wood essential oil may be administered in the following ways for the treatment of Lyme disease:
- Topical application of amyris wood essential oil may be diluted with a carrier oil like apricot kernel oil and applied directly to the skin. Apply as close to the affected area as possible (i.e. in neurological Lyme disease, consider applying to the neck, shoulders, and spine; in Lyme carditis, apply on the chest over the heart; when you’re in pain, apply the diluted oil directly to the areas in pain, etc.)
- Diffuser use – Add amyris wood essential oil to water in your essential oil diffuser. Breathe throughout the day to gain emotional benefits. Combining diffused amyris essential oil with topical application of the oil may provide the most benefit.
Do not take amyris essential oil internally since it may cause severe gastrointestinal upset, including vomiting, diarrhea, or abdominal cramping. Avoid topical application of amyris oil during pregnancy, though use in a diffuser is acceptable.
DMSO for Autoimmune Disease
DMSO (dimethylsulfoxide) is a powerful medicine that can be used both by itself as well as in combination with other therapies, including CDS/MMS, some essential oils or other kinds of therapeutic oils, vitamins and minerals, and more. It is one of the least toxic medicines we work with with a toxicity level similar to water, but because DMSO is a solvent and can potentiate (make stronger) the medicines and substances that it combines with, it requires careful attention to detail when using it medicinally. DMSO can be extremely potent and can work very well with certain medicines, but it’s important that people using DMSO do their due diligence to learn about how to use this medicine safely and correctly before getting started.
We discuss DMSO as a treatment for autoimmune disease in more depth in our Autoimmunity Book, which at the time of this writing will be released in August, 2022. We also look more closely at DMSO as a stand-alone medicine and at some therapies it combines well with in our book “Complementary Therapies That Can Be Used with Chlorine Dioxide Solution (CDS) / Miracle Mineral Solution (MMS) – Volume 1”.
Essential Oils and Dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) as a Lyme Disease Treatment
In this section, I’m going to focus on the use of DMSO in combination with essential oils for the treatment of Lyme disease. Again, please note that DMSO shouldn’t necessarily be combined with just any essential oil. The essential oils below have been studied in regard to their potential to be combined with DMSO.
Essential oils may be diluted and combined with DMSO according to the following instructions (these instructions can be used with the essential oils below in addition to the other dosing indications listed in each section):
- Use a dry scale (yes, a dry scale) to measure 50 grams of the essential oil you’ll be using. Use a glass bottle, place it on the dry scale, and then add the essential oil. Subtract the weight of the empty bottle from the weight when the essential oil is added to measure out 50 grams.
- Combine this 50 grams of essential oil with 100 grams of DMSO (use the same method as before to measure this amount of DMSO. This will give you a solution that is approximately a 1:3 ratio of essential oil to DMSO.
- Close the bottle tight and shake well to combine.
Another method is to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, like pure, organic apricot kernel oil, unrefined almond oil, or hexane-free castor oil at a ratio of 3-6 drops essential oil to 1 teaspoon of carrier oil. Then, apply this oil to the skin, and apply DMSO (or water-diluted DMSO if you have extra sensitive skin) over the top of the oil and rub in well.
There are some important things to remember when combining DMSO with essential oils, which I’ve listed below:
- Essential oils are more powerful than they seem. Some people are very sensitive to certain essential oils, or even essential oils in general. For this reason, it’s important to start with a lower dose of essential oils and work up to a higher dose over a period of time that feels comfortable to you. Increase the dosage slowly enough that you can pay attention to your body.
- DMSO is also powerful. People with sensitive skin may need to dilute 99.9% or even 70% DMSO with some water before applying it directly to their skin, with or without carrier-oil-diluted essential oils. Applying a mixture of carrier oil + essential oil to the skin at the same time as DMSO will help keep the skin moisturized, which is important with DMSO since DMSO can take water away from the skin and make it dry. If you experience uncomfortable itching or burning, get some clean, purified water and apply it to your skin (the sensation is likely to go away quickly after this if it’s caused by the DMSO).
- Do not take DMSO internally or apply it topically if you’re taking a prescription medication. DMSO can combine with other drugs, medications, and substances exceptionally well, and may make prescription medications stronger. While this property of DMSO can be used therapeutically (such as by administering tiny doses of chemo drugs in combination with DMSO in DMSO potentiation therapy), lack of awareness of this property can lead to negative results. So, if you’re taking any kind of chemical medication, avoid taking DMSO in any way at the same time without adequate medical supervision by a practitioner familiar with DMSO.
- Again, think carefully before combining an essential oil with DMSO! Not all essential oils are suitable to combine with DMSO. The ones that I’ve included in the list below have specifically been studied in regard to their use in combination with DMSO to treat Lyme disease and other health issues.
Helichrysum Essential Oil + DMSO
Helichrysum essential oil comes from the Helichrysum italicum plant, otherwise known as the curry plant or Everlasting Flower. It is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antioxidant, and has been used to treat fungal and antibacterial infections, including Borrelia burgdorferi infection in Lyme disease. Helichrysum essential oil may be able to help reduce inflammation in the joints and muscles, digestive system, and respiratory system, particularly when combined with DMSO. Both helichrysum and DMSO are pain-killing, anti-inflammatory medicines, and are likely to work even better when combined for the treatment of pain related to Lyme disease. Daily topical use of helichrysum essential oil with DMSO may also be able to treat internal bacterial infections since DMSO can carry the helichrysum through the skin, into the bloodstream, and even into the cells themselves.
Some Lyme disease sufferers have noted that external, topical use of helichrysum essential oil (with or without DMSO) helps reduce Lyme-related inflammation, aids detoxification of the nervous system (including the brain) and liver, and can be valuable for skin-related manifestations of Lyme disease.
Other medicinal applications of helichrysum essential oil include the treatment of acne, skin inflammation, the common cold, constipation, bloating and gas, Candida albicans overgrowth, liver and gallbladder problems, wound healing, and more.
Frankincense + DMSO
Frankincense is a tree sap from the Boswellia serrata tree, and has been used for thousands of years as a medicine, a spice, and an incense. Traditionally, frankincense as an analgesic/pain-killer, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic, and has been used to treat asthma, chronic diarrhea, oral infection or other dental issues, osteoarthritis and other arthritic conditions, bacterial infection (including Borrelia burgdorferi infection), Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, and more. It is also a noted treatment for brain cancer in particular, but has also been used to treat breast cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer, melanoma/skin cancer, and colon cancer, among others. Frankincense has also been used to increase cognitive function and memory and can ease digestive issues.
In addition to having an antibacterial effect against Borrelia burgdorferi, frankincense also exhibits antibacterial action on Cryptococcus neoformans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In the treatment of Lyme disease in particular, frankincense essential oil + DMSO can help relieve pain and achiness throughout the body when applied topically. When taken internally by itself or applied externally with DMSO, frankincense can also help regulate an overactive immune response. To take frankincense essential oil internally, place 2 drops of the essential oil into a capsule and take it once a day.
Frankincense may be combined with a carrier oil and DMSO as a treatment for Lyme disease. A combination of frankincense, bitter apricot kernel oil, and DMSO will be particularly effective in the treatment of autoimmune conditions, cancer, and neurological conditions (including neurological Lyme disease).
Cinnamon Essential Oil + DMSO
There are a few different plants that are considered to be cinnamon plants, but cinnamon essential oil should come from the “true” cinnamon plant, Cinnamomum verum, the Ceylon cinnamon tree. Cinnamon essential oil can cause a burning sensation when applied directly to the skin or taken orally without dilution, so keep this in mind when working with cinnamon essential oil. Start at a lower, diluted dose, and work up very slowly to ensure that you don’t accidentally cause any negative effects.
Cinnamon’s antimicrobial effects are well studied. The essential oil of cinnamon can be used to cure the Lyme disease Borrelia burgdorferi infection, and has also been used as an effective treatment against other bacterial infections caused by Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, among others, especially in combination with DMSO. In the treatment of Lyme disease, cinnamon essential oil may also provide support and healing for neurological symptoms (including cognitive decline and memory loss) and pain (by improving blood circulation), and may also relieve some cardiovascular symptoms like those seen in Lyme carditis.
Cinnamon essential oil’s healing effects are made stronger by DMSO. A diluted combination of carrier oil + cinnamon essential oil should be applied to the skin, and then DMSO can be applied on top of this. To take cinnamon oil internally with DMSO, add 1-2 drops of the oil to a capsule and then take with fresh water that contains DMSO (make sure the cup you drink from is glass!).
Wintergreen Essential Oil + DMSO
Wintergreen (Gaultheria procumbens OR Gaultheria fragrantissima), also known as boxberry or eastern teaberry, is an evergreen shrub native to the Northeastern United States. Wintergreen has a light, mint-like scent and is a familiar smell to many people. Methyl salicylate, chemically a relative of salicylic acid, is the active component in natural wintergreen essential oil that is used medicinally to treat pain and achiness.
Wintergreen is a natural painkiller, which is of course valuable for Lyme disease patients, but it also has antibacterial activity against Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacteria, and E. coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and Staphylococcus aureus. It also has activity against the dermatitis-causing bacteria Paederus fuscipes. Wintergreen essential oil combined with DMSO can topically help treat arthritis, headaches, nerve pain, muscle tension and cramping, bone and joint pain, tendonitis, and relieve swelling.
Wintergreen essential oil is a strong medicine, and should not be applied directly to the skin. Always dilute it first. Follow the guidelines below to use wintergreen essential oil for Lyme disease treatment:
- Wintergreen essential oil should only be taken orally under the guidance and supervision of a qualified practitioner. Only take 1-2 drops per day in a capsulized form followed by a glass of water. Keep in mind that taking wintergreen essential oil internally may cause a skin rash, acid reflux or heartburn, mouth sores, headache, or digestive discomfort. Always try applying the essential oil to your skin as described below first before trying to take it internally.
- To apply topically, first start by combining 3 drops of wintergreen essential oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil and apply to an area of the skin without DMSO. If you react fine to this, and it doesn’t cause redness or burning, the next time you apply the oil, rub some DMSO into the skin after applying the essential oil.
Women who are pregnant should avoid using wintergreen essential oil, as should children. People who are allergic to aspirin, have a bleeding disorder, or who are taking blood thinner should also avoid this essential oil, as should people taking anti-diabetic or asthma medications.
Peppermint Essential Oil + DMSO
Peppermint essential oil is an important essential oil to have in any medicine kit. Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) essential oil has a broad spectrum of action and can be used by itself or in combination with DMSO for the treatment of Lyme disease and its symptoms. In addition to having antibacterial activity against Borrelia burgdorferi, peppermint essential oil also has been studied in the treatment of bacterial infections with Streptococcus pyogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, and E. coli. It is also an antiviral and can target Influenza A, Herpes simplex, Newcastle disease, West Nile, and Semliki Forest viruses, as well as some fungal infections.
Peppermint essential oil can help relieve indigestion, pain (including headaches, migraines, and menstrual pain), and more. It has a stimulating and invigorating scent that has been said to lift the mood and increase energy.
To use peppermint essential oil with DMSO, follow the guidelines below:
- Combine 3-6 drops of peppermint essential oil with 1 teaspoon of a pure carrier oil, like bitter apricot kernel oil, and apply to areas where you have pain or are experiencing symptoms. Rub the oil into the skin and then apply 10 drops of DMSO on top of this and rub in well.
- Follow the instructions in the introduction to this section to combine peppermint essential oil with DMSO. Remember that peppermint essential oil is a very strong oil and it can cause skin irritation for some people, so it should be used at a lower dose at first. Always test the mixture you make on a small area of skin before applying to a larger area.
- Take peppermint oil internally by drinking 1-5 drops in a glass of water (start with a lower amount of oil), or place this amount into a veggie capsule to take internally. Follow the peppermint essential oil with a glass of water with 10 drops of DMSO if you wish to incorporate DMSO (make sure you’re using a glass container to mix the DMSO and water!).
- Add the peppermint essential oil to a diffuser to re energize yourself and your space.
Clove Essential Oil as a DMSO Substitute
Clove essential oil is made from the flower buds of the Eugenia caryophyllata tree. It has been proven to be one medicinal essential oil that can kill Borrelia burgdorferi bacteria more effectively than antibiotic treatment. Besides being an effective Lyme disease treatment, clove essential oil is also an antifungal and antiparasitic, and is a powerful remedy for Candida albicans overgrowth and many common parasite infections. Clove essential oil also has action against Staphylococcus aureus, E. coli, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa.
Clove essential oil is an analgesic (pain-killer) and anti-inflammatory. It is often used in mouthwashes or as part of homemade toothpaste for the treatment of bacteria in the mouth and as a way to relieve pain from toothache or dental problems. It can also be applied topically to the skin, albeit with caution and dilution since pure clove essential oil can be irritating to many people’s skin, for relief from arthritic pain or other types of pain and achiness. Clove essential oil can also be taken internally (again, at sufficiently low doses to avoid aggravating or instigating a stomach upset) to relieve gastrointestinal problems like gas, bloating, or indigestion.
Some sources say that clove essential oil may work similarly to DMSO, in that it may help relieve pain and encourage transdermal absorption of other essential oils or substances that it’s combined with. If a person doesn’t have DMSO, they may use clove essential oil (diluted with a carrier oil) instead to encourage the absorption of another essential oil. For example, a combination of 3 drops of clove oil, 3 drops of frankincense oil, and 1 teaspoon of apricot kernel oil could be rubbed into the skin.
Avoid taking clove oil directly in the mouth without diluting it with another culinary oil or placing it in a capsule, again, diluted with another culinary oil (like coconut oil). It can cause a burning sensation in the mouth and throat that’s difficult to resolve.
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