Along with summer and spring comes a horde of diseases that result from overexposure to the outdoors. Being outdoors for long hours exposes us to the attack of innumerable insects. Of these, the most fatal one is the infection from tick bites, or, in other words, Lyme disease. Lyme disease could pose little threat if not treated properly.
Borrelia infection and its toxins cause abnormalities in skin, digestive system, joints, heart and nervous system. In an Ayurveda view, these toxins have the opposite effect to the essence of life ingredients (ojas) that provide human body with immunity, longevity and good overall proper health.
As per Ayurveda, there are three types of toxins based on their type of origin:
- Animal origin
- Plant origin
- Artificial origin (or man-made)
Toxins of Lyme disease causing bacteria are from Borreliosis and fall under the first group of animal origin. Lyme disease could be easily self-diagnosed based on early external symptoms and physical findings, along with the possibility of exposure to infected ticks. But if not treated at the right time the infection can spread to other parts of the body like joints, the heart, and the nervous system, which may lead to further complications.
The development of symptoms can be divided into three stages based on severity, advancement, and outward manifestation.
Stage I (Early Localised Disease)
One of the early symptoms of Lyme disease could show up within 3 to 30 days after being bitten by a tick. At this stage, the symptoms are minimal and less prominent. Early stage symptoms include:
- Stiff joints
- Muscle pain
- Swelling of the lymph nodes
Stage II (Early Disseminated Disease)
In the absence of proper treatment, the condition develops further and leads to the second stage, which is more complicated, and the symptoms could appear between 3 and 10 weeks after the tick bite. Common symptoms to watch for are:
- Rashes on different parts of the body
- Pain and stiffness in the neck
- Muscle weakness
- Irregular heartbeats.
- Pain in the back, hips, and legs
- Numbness in the hands or feet
- Swelling and pain in the tissues of the eye or eyelid.
- Eye pain or vision loss
- Nerve palsies
Stage III (Late Disseminated Disease)
This is the most advanced stage of the disease, and the condition can be very complicated and fatal for the patient. Stage III symptoms could appear anytime between 2 and 12 months after the tick bite. All the symptoms of the previous stages may be present, along with further complications like:
- Development of a skin condition called acrodermatitis chronic atrophicans, wherein the skin on the back of the hands and top of the feet get discolored and swell.
- Discoloration on the elbows and knees.
- The skin abnormalities can show up anytime, within months to years after a tick bite.
- Sensory nerve damage
- Brain inflammation
- Cranial neuropathy (specifically facial palsy)
- Psychological symptoms.
Ayurvedic Approach in treating Lyme disease
Ayurveda classifies Lyme disease as being caused by external toxins. Ayurvedic management of Lyme disease is aimed at alleviating the symptoms, arresting the development of the disease, and strengthening the immune system of the body. Single herbs and multiherbal formulations are used for this purpose. Such preparations could be administered orally or applied externally. Body detoxification mechanisms are used to pull out toxins from the body.
- The detoxification of the body is done through panchakarma therapy. It encompasses various Ayurvedic techniques, both internal and external, to get rid of toxins from body. Abhyanga is the main preparatory procedure of panchakarma which is followed by purgation therapies.
- Ayurveda therapies such as nasya will be included in the treatment plan to meet the specific individual conditions. Vasti treatments (internal cleansing) are the final and major treatment for removing toxins.
- Ayurveda also uses various herbs in various forms to address the condition.
In Ayurveda, micro-organisms such as microbes, bacteria, viruses, or parasites are characterised as “Krimi,” meaning worm in Sanskrit.
The primary goal of the ayurvedic treatment procedure is to
- Destroy the bacteria.
- Prevent the growth of the organism
- Safeguard the body from developing further symptoms.
- Strengthen the immune system.
- Provide nourishment to the body and its organs.
- Bring the body back to its functional capacity
Diet and Nutrition
Ayurveda is a holistic approach that gives great importance to diet. A personalised diet or Pathyam is prescribed to each patient. A list of compatible food items are given to the patient along with various instructions. The Pathyam is to be strictly observed.
For people infected with Lyme disease, a modified Vata-Pitta pacifying diet is prescribed.
The diet should include:-
- Vegetable juices
- Coconut water
- Ginger root
- Red pepper
- Cooked vegetables
- Cooked root vegetables, squashes, yam, tomato and pumpkin.
- Spices like cumin, coriander, black pepper, ginger, asafetida, garlic, fennel, saffron, and turmeric.
- Green salad with healthy dressing
- Healthy dishes like Kichadi
- Warm milk
- Avoid worry, anxiety, fear, stress and grief
- Maintain a proper sleep cycle
- Practise daily self-Abhyanga massage with warm ayurvedic oils
- Hydrate properly
- Get exposed to sunlight
- Practise pranayama daily
- Observe shavāsana (“corpse pose”)
- Avoid consuming spicy and fried foods
- Stay away from processed sugar
- Try to avoid bitter and astringent foods like cabbage, cauliflower, spinach, broccoli, potatoes etc
- Avoid black tea, coffee, alcohol, yoghurt, and chocolate, cocoa
So it is understood that Lyme disease can be affectively managed through Ayurveda. But it is important to strictly follow the procedures and diet prescribed by the best Ayurvedic doctors. Patients are also advised to take necessary precautions and reduce exposure to the risk factors.
At Ayurclinic, we have the best ayurvedic practitioners who are experts in various holistic ayurvedic practises.
Feel free to contact us via email or telephone. We will be happy to give you further details on ayurveda and Lyme disease treatment options in ayurveda.