Study Finds Cistus Incanus and Other Botanicals May Help With Lyme Disease

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best herbs treatment for lyme disease

I’m excited to find another study that suggests Cistus Incanus and other botanicals may help with Lyme Disease. Published in February 2020, the research comes from the Journal of Frontiers in Medicine. It investigates several botanical and natural treatments commonly used by Lyme disease patients. Best of all, the research found 9 of these herbal products to be highly active against Borrelia burgdorferi (1). Read on because the results are very promising!

Lyme Disease Symptoms Can Last for Many Years

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States and Europe. It is estimated to affect 300,000 people a year in the United States and 65,000 people a year in Europe (2). Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected blacklegged ticks. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system (3). Once infected, some individuals may experience side effects for several years before becoming well again. A recent retrospective analysis documented 63% of patients experienced persistent symptoms after receiving antibiotic treatment for Lyme disease (4).

Botanical Medicine in the Treatment of Lyme Disease

Since traditional antibiotic approaches fail to resolve all symptoms in some individuals, many have turned to herbal medicine for help. There have been hundreds of personal reports of people using herbal remedies with good outcomes for the treatment of Lyme disease symptoms. Botanical medicine has been around for thousands of years, beginning almost 5,000 years ago in Mesopotamia. The safety of botanical treatments has been well documented in traditional systems of medicine, such as Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese Medicine. Past studies have also shown that botanical medicines have antimicrobial activity against Borrelia.

Beautiful magenta Cistus Incanus flowers.

Cistus Incanus May Help in the Treatment of Lyme Disease

This study finds Cistus Incanus to be highly active against Borrelia. Cistus Incanus is a plant which has a long tradition in the history of folk remedies and been used in ancient times for various medicinal and therapeutic purposes. Cistus incanus is also known as Cistus Creticus, and has been used interchangeably in research. Some of the documented uses include boosting the immune system, wound healing, respiratory infections, and Lyme disease. A past study has shown Cistus to have anti-Borrelial effects in vitro (5). Research from 2019 confirmed that use of Cistus Creticus by Lyme disease self-help groups may be considered a reasonable approach to therapy (6).

The study used the brand BioPure Healing Products 45% ETOH of Cistus Incanus, showing good activity against Borrelia. I have found this company on with very good reviews of the product.

The Biopure brand is clinical study grade it is pricey, so I am including my own suggestion below.

The Results of the Study

The results showed that 7 of the 14 natural treatments were found to have good activity against Boriella culture. In comparison to the control antibiotics doxycycline and cefuroxime. The two most active herbs were Cryptolepis sanguinolenta and Polygonum cuspidatum.

Cryptolepis Sanguinolenta Most Effective Against Borrelia

The study found Cryptolepis sanguinolenta extract to be the most effective against Boriella burgdorferi, causing complete eradication! The antibiotics used as a control in the study, doxycycline and cefuroxime and other active herbs could not eradicate B. burgdorferi completely.

This is the first ever study on Cryptolepis sanguinolenta and Borrelia, and the results are truly promising! I hope more research is done in the near future. Already there have been online reports by individuals who report having good results with Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. If you are interested Cryptolepis sanguinolenta can be purchased on

Good Activity Against Borrelia

  • Cryptolepis sanguinolenta
  • Polygonum cuspidatum (Japanese knotweed)
  • Cistus incanus
  • Juglans nigra (Black walnut)
  • Artemisia annua (Sweet wormwood)
  • Uncaria tomentosa (Cat’s claw)
  • Cistus incanus
  • Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap)

Little or No Activity Against Borrelia

  • Stevia rebaudiana
  • Andrographis paniculata
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • Colloidal silver
  • Monolaurin
  • Antimicrobial peptide LL37

A Final Note

The study was done in vitro, meaning that it was done using test tubes rather than human or animal. This may be a limitation of the study as sometimes results found in in vitro studies do not translate well to human conditions. More testing need to be done. bbefore using any natural remedy you should always check with your primary care provider, pharmacist, and herbalist if it’s safe for you.

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  1. Feng, J., Leone, J., Schweig, S., & Zhang, Y. (2020). Evaluation of Natural and Botanical Medicines for Activity Against Growing and Non-growing Forms of B. burgdorferi. Frontiers in medicine, 7, 6.
  2. Shapiro ED (May 2014). “Clinical practice. Lyme disease” (PDF). The New England Journal of Medicine. 370 (18): 1724–1731. doi:10.1056/NEJMcp1314325. PMC 4487875. PMID 24785207.
  3. Lyme disease home | CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  4. Adrion ER, Aucott J, Lemke KW, Weiner JP. Health care costs, utilization and patterns of care following Lyme disease. PLoS ONE. (2015) 10:e0116767. 10.1371/journal.pone.0116767
  5. Hutschenreuther, A & Birkemeyer, C & Grötzinger, K & Straubinger, Reinhard & Rauwald, H. (2010). Growth inhibiting activity of volatile oil from Cistus creticus L. against Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. in vitro. Die Pharmazie. 65. 290-5. 10.1691/ph.2010.9762.
  6. Rauwald, Hans & Liebold, Tobias & Grötzinger, Kristina & Lehmann, Jörg & Kuchta, Kenny. (2019). Labdanum and Labdanes of Cistus creticus and C. ladanifer: Anti-Borrelia Activity and its Phytochemical Profiling. Phytomedicine. 60. 152977. 10.1016/j.phymed.2019.152977.
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