I drank Phyllanthus niruri (Chanca Piedra) tea when I was battling Lyme disease. I will explain why. I’ll also share valuable information for others battling the disease.
Lyme Disease Can Be Exhausting
Medical statistics show that 75% of reported Lyme infections can be successfully cleared with a treatment of antibiotics if the treatment starts within 2 days of initial exposure. If you’re in an acute phase of infection with the Lyme borrelia, antibiotics should be your first resort.
For those 25% who are not helped by antibiotics and for the large number who are diagnosed long after initial infection, treatment with antibiotics alone is often disastrously ineffective. Battling Lyme disease can exhaust your mind, your body, your spirit, and your pocketbook.
A bacterial spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, is the cause of Lyme. Is there a way beyond (or in addition to) antibiotics to support the immune system to help it defeat Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi)? I believe there is.
Battling Lyme Disease with Phyllanthus niruri
Here’s my personal story of battling Lyme disease. I fought Lyme using prescribed antibiotics for nearly 4 years without success. Then I discovered Phyllanthus niruri (also known as Chanca Piedra and Stonebreaker). Using a decoction of the dried plant, I managed to become free of Lyme within 90 days.
Let me be perfectly clear. I am not claiming that Phyllanthus killed the Lyme pathogen. No studies will support such a claim. However, I am convinced that the decoction supported my immune system and interacted with the Lyme pathogen in ways that allowed my body to clear the infection.
I will admit, I was first excited to learn about Phyllanthus niruri’s well-earned reputation as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-plasmodial plant used in traditional medicine to attack the spirochete that causes syphilis. But the more I learned about Phyllanthus niruri, the more I appreciated elegance of the actions of its phyto-constituents. Phyllanthus niruri isn’t a hammer that pounds pathogens. Instead, it’s a fantastic support to the body’s immune system.
Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi), the Stealth Survivor
Lyme isn’t hard to kill in a petri dish. In fact, the Lyme disease pathogen (Borrelia burgdorferi) can’t even survive in vitro without tissue culture medium supplemented with mammalian serum. Yet Borrelia burgdorferi is very successful at colonizing host tissues and counteracting a host’s immune defense mechanisms. In some cases, it can persist even after antibiotic treatment.
Borrelia burgdorferi survives using stealth strategies. If Borrelia burgdorferi were a fighter jet, its stealth tech would be the equivalent to (or beyond) the most advanced jets flying today.
The stealth pathology of Borrelia burgdorferi involves four basic strategies: immunosuppression, variation, physical seclusion, and secreted factors. Let’s take a look at each of these evidence-based strategies and consider how Phyllanthus niruri may help defeat them.
The first strategy that Borrelia burgdorferi uses to survive is to suppress your immune system. Without trying to get too technical, the spirochete uses a variety of mechanisms to deactivate the humoral, innate, and complement immune systems. It essentially turns off the body’s early warning systems and instructs the first responders to go home.
Phyllanthus niruri can support those battling Lyme disease because it has been shown to be an immunomodulator. Specifically, it may “boost” or activate the same systems that Borrelia burgdorferi tries to turn off.
Second, your immune system can’t kill what it can’t see. The Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete uses a number of variation strategies to evade your immune system. These strategies include changing its surface proteins, altering its form, and undergoing genetic mutation. In simple terms, the spirochete changes the way it “looks” to your immune system, like a secret agent frequently changing cars and disguises to avoid detection. (To be fair to the sophistication of the Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) mechanism, it’s more like the car is a Decepticon Transformer.)
To understand this concept better, let’s take a closer look at the Borrelia burgdorferi genome. In addition to its linear chromosome, Borrelia burgdorferi has the largest number of plasmids of any known bacterium. Further, it has been shown that the genes related to Borrelia burgdorferi pathogenicity, including outer surface protein genes, are primarily located on the plasmids. The plasmids provide the rotating cassettes that alter the outer surface proteins as well as the genetic recombination that evades both immune and antibiotic attacks. Of interest is the fact that Borrelia burgdorferi loses its infectivity if two specific linear plasmids are removed (Labandeira-Rey, M., 2003).
Phyllanthus niruri can support those battling Lyme disease by disrupting plasmid transcription. This capability suggests that Phyllanthus niruri has the potential to stop the masking of the spirochete from the immune system. The extract may also effectively “delete” some of the plasmids by blocking their transcription (Takahiro, O., 2009; Lee, CD, 1996).
One of the more extreme survival strategies of Borrelia burgdorferi in the presence of antibiotic attack is to encapsulate itself in a cyst form. The extract of Phyllanthus niruri is an effective anti-plasmodial, which suggests that it can affect the cyst form, opening it to attack from antibiotics or the immune system. Further, the extract may disrupt the auto-resuscitation of these cysts by blocking Borrelia burgdorferi-signaling secretions (Chan, KG, 2013).
The third way that the Lyme spirochete plays hide and seek is through physical seclusion at intracellular and extracellular sites. Physical seclusion at extracellular sites (including the joints, eyes, and central nervous system) promotes survival of the Lyme spirochete because these sites are “privileged” from the immune response (Cabello, FC, 2007).
In addition, Borrelia burgdorferi engages in “cloaking” mechanisms by binding to proteoglycan, collagen, plasminogen, integrin, and fibronectin (Coburn, J., 2005). Binding to these substances can mask the bacterium and make it invisible to the immune system. One study of Lyme disease (Borrelia burgdorferi) showed that pathogenicity was reduced by 50% if a single particular binding strategy was modified (Xu, Q., 2007).
Phyllanthus niruri can support those battling Lyme disease (borrelia-burgdorferi) by disrupting binding mechanisms. This disruption makes it more difficult for the spirochete to reach these privileged locations and uncloaks the spirochete so that the body’s immune response can act on them (Nathanael, Y., 2016).
Fourth, direct Borrelia burgdorferi secretions (and secretions that Borrelia burgdorferi causes) can help the spirochete survive. One example is the secretion of pheromones used for quorum sensing in biofilms (Babb, K., 2005).
Phyllanthus niruri can support those battling Lyme disease (Borrelia-burgdorferi) by disrupting quorum sensing and breaking up biofilms. By interfering with this signaling, Phyllanthus niruri extract may also interfere with the auto-resuscitation of the cyst form (Manoharan, R., 2010).
Phyllanthus niruri: The Ultimate Support When Battling Lyme Disease (Borrelia burgdorferi)
Armed with weapons of “stealth pathology,” the Lyme spirochete is a formidable infectious agent. Phyllanthus niruri neutralizes or disarms many of the agent’s weapons, leaving the spirochete vulnerable to the power of the body’s immune response.
In addition, Phyllanthus niruri goes one step further to assist the body’s healthy response – Phyllanthus niruri extract has been shown to block both DNA and RNA transferase. Essentially, the extract can stop the spirochete from replicating. By blocking or slowing the replication of the spirochete, the bacterial load is diminished to a level that doesn’t overwhelm the body’s defenses.
After suffering from Lyme disease for almost four years, I discovered Phyllanthus niruri and drank Phyllanthus niruri tea three times a day for three months. I no longer have Lyme. That’s a personal story. The actions of the phyto-constituents of the plant are why I consider Phyllanthus niruri the ultimate support for those battling Lyme disease.