What, beyond antibiotics, may support the immune system’s fight against chronic Lyme disease? The answer: Phyllanthus niruri.
Most reported Lyme infections can be cleared with antibiotics if treatment starts within 2 days of initialexposure. For those who aren’t helped by antibiotics and for those diagnosed long after initial infection, treatment with antibiotics alone is often ineffective. Battling chronic Lyme disease can exhaust your mind, your body, your spirit, and your pocketbook.
I know. I’ve been there. And I would like to share my story.
Chronic Lyme Disease vs. Phyllanthus niruri
I fought Lyme using antibiotics for nearly 4 years without success. Then I discovered Phyllanthus niruri (also called Chanca Piedra and Stonebreaker). Using a decoction of the dried plant, I became free of Lyme within 90 days.
To be clear, I’m not claiming that Phyllanthus killed the Lyme pathogen. However, I believe Phyllanthus supported my immune system and interacted with the Lyme pathogen in ways that allowed my body to clear the infection.
Phyllanthus niruri has been used worldwide for thousands of years to address chronic illnesses, including kidney stones. (Chanca Piedra means “stone breaker” in Spanish). I first learned about Phyllanthus when I had kidney stones.
At that time, I researched Phyllanthus niruri’s 100+ bioactive compounds and reputation as an anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-plasmodial plant used in traditional medicine to attack the spirochete that causes syphilis. The more I learned about Phyllanthus niruri, the more I recognized that it offers fantastic support to the body’s immune system.
Why Chronic Lyme Disease Is a Stealth Survivor
A bacterial spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi, is the Lyme disease pathogen. Lyme isn’t hard to kill in a petri dish. In fact, Borrelia burgdorferi can’t even survive in vitro without tissue culture medium supplemented with mammalian serum. Nonetheless, Borrelia burgdorferi is highly successful at colonizing host tissues and counteracting a host’s immune defense mechanisms. In some cases, it can persist even after antibiotic treatment.
The Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete survives and thrives a variety of using stealth strategies. The stealth pathology of Borrelia burgdorferi involves four evidence-based strategies: immunosuppression, variation, physical seclusion, and secreted factors.
Let’s take a look at each of these strategies and consider how Phyllanthus niruri tea or extract may help defeat them.
Chronic Lyme Disease and Immunosuppression
First, Borrelia burgdorferi survives by suppressing your immune system. The spirochete basically deactivates 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 supported my fight against chronic Lyme disease because it’s an immunomodulator — it activates the same systems that Borrelia burgdorferi turns off.
Second, your immune system can’t kill what it can’t see. The Borrelia burgdorferi spirochete uses variation strategies to evade your immune system, such as changing its surface proteins and altering its form. The spirochete changes how it “looks” to your immune system, much like a secret agent wearing disguises to avoid detection.
Let’s take a closer look at the Borrelia burgdorferi genome. Borrelia burgdorferi has more plasmids than any other known bacterium, and 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 and the genetic recombination that evades both immune and antibiotic attacks.
Phyllanthus niruri can support those fighting chronic Lyme disease by stopping the masking of the spirochete from the immune system. The extract may also effectively “delete” some of the plasmids by blocking their transcription.
One of the more extreme survival strategies of Borrelia burgdorferi is to encapsulate itself in a cyst form. Phyllanthus niruri extract 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.
Chronic Lyme Disease and Physical Seclusion
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.
Borrelia burgdorferi also engages in “cloaking” mechanisms by binding to proteoglycan, collagen, plasminogen, integrin, and fibronectin. Binding to these substances can mask the bacterium and make it invisible to the immune system. One study of Lyme disease showed that pathogenicity was reduced by 50% if a single particular binding strategy was modified.
Phyllanthus niruri can support those battling chronic Lyme disease by disrupting binding mechanisms. This disruption makes it harder for the spirochete to reach these privileged locations and uncloaks the spirochete so that the body’s immune response can act on them.
Chronic Lyme Disease and Secreted Factors
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.
Phyllanthus niruri can support those battling chronic Lyme disease 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.
Phyllanthus niruri: The Ultimate Support in My Battle with Lyme
Armed with weapons of “stealth pathology,” the Lyme spirochete is a formidable infectious agent. Phyllanthus niruri neutralizes or disarms many of the spirochete’s weapons, leaving it vulnerable to the power of the body’s immune response.
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. In other words, the extract can stop the spirochete from replicating. Blocking or slowing the replication of the spirochete diminishes the bacterial load to a level that won’t overwhelm the body’s defenses.
After suffering from chronic 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 my personal story. For the reasons described above, I consider Phyllanthus niruri the ultimate support for those battling chronic Lyme disease.