Beating Lyme Disease with Essential Oils

beating lyme disease with essential oils

In this article, you will learn about beating Lyme disease with essential oils through these topics:

  1. What is Lyme Disease?
  2. Best Essential Oils for Lyme Prevention
  3. A DIY Lyme Prevention Strategy
  4. Treating Lyme with Essential Oils

Lyme disease is increasing in prevalence in the U.S with 300,000 + people getting infected every year. More common than breast cancer, we know that proper prevention is the best medicine. Although, there is some recent research suggesting that it is also sexually transmitted, most authorities agree that tick bites are responsible for a vast majority of the cases seen in doctors' offices. Research also suggests that essential oils are ideal tools to have on hand. In addition to bug-beating benefits, some oils may help with the control of Lyme if it is contracted, as well.

What is Lyme Disease?

Caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, Lyme disease is traditionally viewed as primarily being a tick-borne illness. After a bite occurs and the tick is safely removed, typically only some swelling and minor itching remain. If the tick was carrying Lyme, however, other symptoms will begin.

The most iconic indication of Lyme is the “bullseye” rash that spreads around the bite like a target. Some individuals never see a rash, though, so don't let that be your only indication! Other initial symptoms of Lyme include flu like aches and pains.

If it's not treated right away, Lyme disease can progress into more chronic conditions like arthritis, sore muscles and joints, memory problems, headaches, numbness or weakness, and severe fatigue. (1)

Lyme disease is a rather serious concern, and tick bites should be avoided first and then monitored closely if prevention fails.

Best Essential Oils for Lyme Prevention

Prevention is the key with Lyme disease. Even when chronic symptoms can be avoided, the symptoms and treatment of Lyme are challenging. No one wants to deal with that kind of discomfort and hassle, and no one should have to live with the long term consequences.

Areas especially prone to Lyme-carrying ticks include northern US coastlines, the Mid-Atlantic, Wisconsin, and Minnesota, though all states are vulnerable. (2) In order to prepare your family for the potential of tick bites and prevention of Lyme, use these oils to counterbalance your typical lemon, eucalyptus and citronella oils, for a varied approach that will keep ticks guessing.

1. Clove

Usually, when we think of bug repellants, citronella is the first that comes to mind. Citronella candles and sprays are the first to come out in summer months when bugs get bad. For ticks, though, citronella may not be the first go-to.

In a 2014 study of the effect two oils – citronella and clove – have on ticks, clove came out on top. While citronella was reasonably effective, clove outperformed it substantially with over 90% efficacy! (3)

Applications: Use clove in outdoor diffusions where ticks may be prominent, direct sprays and ground/surface treatments, and diluted in topical prevention applications.

2. Vetiver

Again hearkening to that oh so familiar citronella, vetiver is a similar plant with a similar aroma that is used in similar ways. And, again, like clove, vetiver essential oil seems to be more effective against ticks than citronella.

In tests of efficacy against ticks and their larvae, vetiver essential oil was tested for its efficacy. Whether it is because of resistance built up against the more commonly used treatments or whether vetiver has always been this good, vetiver was able to keep ticks at bay even better than standard treatments. (4)

Application: Ground and surface treatments in tick-infested areas; topical application for bug repelling effects.

3. Oregano

The popular kitchen herb oregano has a strong essential oil profile. Known as an antibacterial/antibiotic oil with strong effects on the skin that require dilution, oregano essential oil finds its way into bug control and Lyme prevention, as well.

Sharing major compounds carvacrol and eugenol with clove oil, oregano has also tested well against ticks in at least one recent study. (5)

As a bonus in topical applications, oregano has antibacterial effects to bring to the table – important when Lyme is a bacteria! Topical applications could give you a head start in warding off Lyme before it has a chance to settle in.

Application: Topical bug repellent treatments. Oregano can be harsh on skin, so be sure to dilute it very well and use it as part of a larger blend.

4. Garlic

If you've intentionally eaten garlic to keep the vampires and mosquitoes away, you already know about its potent aromatic effects. Researchers looked into this more closely by extracting the essential oil from garlic bulbs to test against ticks.

Tick mortality rates upon exposure to garlic essential oil were nearly 100%. (6)

Application: If garlic essential oil is not available, consider including a DIY garlic oil infusion in your ground and surface treatments. And when all else fails, some extra homemade fresh garlic bread is always warranted!

DIY Lyme Prevention Strategy

If you're going to be in areas of high risk and exposure to ticks, you can't go unprotected. With so many oils appearing more effective than commercial options, it seems essential oil formulations are the smarter choice.

Tick and Lyme Prevention Oil

Keep this simple “lotion” of diluted oils on hand to apply on exposed skin whenever tick exposure will be high. Hikers, campers, and others enjoying outdoor activity that will take you into the woods should be considered at risk. Remember that these oils are powerful, so you should keep them away from your eyes and mouth.

Simply blend:

  • 4 oz carrier oil of choice
  • 40 drops total of a blend of tick-repelling essential oils (vetiver, clove, oregano, ylang ylang, and some citrus for scent balance all come to mind!)

Blend, pour into a glass spritzer bottle, and spray periodically to ankles, arms, etc.

Treating Lyme with Essential Oils

Sometimes, even when we do all we can, the worst happens. Lyme disease can strike at any time, and you should be prepared to find a physician who can work with you in that worse case scenario. These doctors are referred to as Lyme Literate, and as Dr. Cindee Gardner pointed out in an interview, they still may not be aware of the range of alternative treatments that are available for Lyme.

In Dr. Gardner's practice, she uses everything from homeopathy to herbs to essential oils. (7) Some of it is directly connected to Lyme as a bacteria, while a lot of it is related to symptom control.

Lyme should only be treated under the care of a professional, though you may find these oils beneficial in your plan of attack:

The list could extend on for days, with the vast Lyme symptoms and broad actions of essential oils. Simply remember to begin with prevention, seek help promptly if infection is suspected, and use your skillfully curated essential oil medicine cabinet all along the way that you are beating lyme disease with essential oils.

Safety & Contraindications

Are you sure you're using essential oils safely and effectively? Are you confused by dilutions and conversions?

 Let me help take out the guesswork and download my FREE roller bottle guide HERE.

Essential Oil Roller Bottle Dilution Guide

When it comes to drug interactions and contraindications, there are literally textbooks devoted to the study of essential oil safety and, as a trained researcher and doctor, I think it’s important to note that there is virtually no research out there discussing how essential oils interact with drugs in human clinical trials. This means that essential oil safety is still a wild frontier in the science community and no one really knows (for certain) how essential oils will interact with drugs or your body.

Nonetheless, properly diluting your essential oils is fundamental to safety and effectiveness because they are highly concentrated plant compounds. To help you along your journey, I have a created an easy-to-use dilution guide that you can download for FREE to make sure that all of your topical applications are safe and effective for the entire family. 

CLICK HERE to download my free EO Roller Bottle Dilution Chart! 

As with as medicine and natural therapies, this is only a guide and be sure to discontinue use if any adverse reactions occur and consult your physician immediately.

Resources:

  1. http://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/arthritis-lyme-disease?page=2#1
  2. http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/lyme-disease-directory
  3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25199555
  4. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26359641
  5. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23218220
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21845941
  7. http://healthimpactnews.com/2013/success-treating-lyme-disease-naturally-without-antibiotic-drugs/


This post currently has 50 comments.

  1. Peter
    June 24, 2017

    I have been diagnosed with Borrelia for 12 years now. Neuropathic pains in back of the head for 10 years. Way of transmission: sexualy.
    Since three weeks I am using EO’s in large amounts internally and it works quite good. using Eucalyptus, Thyme, Clove, Peppermint, Oregano, Frankincense, Bergamot, Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Wintergreen (be careful), Rosemary, Tee Trea, Marjoram and more…. I do have herx which are what we want ofcourse.. And do feel much better then when on any kind of antibiotics, which also has severe side effects most of the time.. Looks like nature is the best choice (again)

      Reply
  2. amber
    April 27, 2017

    Have you heard of rose geranium (specifically, pelargonium capitatum x radens) being effective for repelling ticks? From just some quick research online it seems that is supposed to be one of the best for ticks, just wondering if that’s true or if you have any info on it’s effects. Thanks for the article.

      Reply
  3. Nina
    August 2, 2016

    Dr. Z, do you have a specific blend to encapsulate and take internally to help dissolve the layers of bacteria and eventually get rid of all lyme bacteria?

    Thanks.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      August 9, 2016

      Hi Nina,

      I don’t have a specific blend, but all of the oils listed in this article can help!

        Reply
    • Carolyn McCloud
      March 19, 2017

      Add me to email list. Have 4 out of 5 symptoms of Lyme disease. Need help

        Reply
  4. Susan
    March 30, 2016

    Dr. Z, I listened to your interview on the Wellness-Summit today and am very excited with what I learned from it! I have had chronic Lyme disease for over 20 years but was just diagnosed 2 1/2 years ago by a homeopathic doctor. I never experienced the acute symptoms so I had no idea I had Lyme. I thought my allergies, thyroid and digestive issues were hereditary. Through the years, I was prescribed the usual treatments. In your opinion, could adding the essential oils to my probiotic, bone broth treatment and anti-inflammatory diet help eradicate the Lyme? Thanks so much! I’m so excited to learn more of the healing properties of essential oil so I can not only help myself, but share them with my health coaching clients. Blessings…

      Reply
    • Melody
      October 1, 2016

      Hi Susan…I would love to know the answer to your question. We are dealing with Lyme as well. So sorry to hear you have suffered for so long. I sincerely hope you are improving!

        Reply
    • Angela
      March 23, 2017

      Hi Susan – I was diagnosed just a month and a half ago after years of suffering and being tested for everything else under the sun. I have the very same issues – thyroid and digestive. I have also developed some neurological symptoms as well. I would love to get in contact with you and hear what has helped. Also like you, I take probiotics (as well as prebiotics) and bone broth. Both have definitely helped some with my digestion. Nice to know I’m not alone in my suffering…

        Reply
      • Lora
        April 29, 2017

        I’ve been dealing with chronic Lyme for over 15yrs. I’ve been diagnosed by to separate functional medicine doctors. However, since I don’t fit the CDC guidelines, they can’t treat me. I’ve been using multiple EOs but have noticed improvement in symptoms with oregano oil. I would love to hear what others are using

          Reply
  5. Lisa
    March 14, 2016

    I just found a tick attached to my sons neck this morning when I woke him. Then I turn on the computer and see this article. Now that was a God thing! Is there anything I should do at this point? He seems fine this morning. He is only 3 so I am concerned that he may not communicate symptoms like aching or pain if he has them. Are there any oils I should place on the bite? Thank you so much.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 14, 2016

      Once you remove the tick, you can apply some heavily diluted lavender to calm the inflammation. Be sure to keep your pediatrician in the loop!

        Reply
      • Lisa
        March 14, 2016

        Thank you so much!

          Reply
        • Dr. Z
          March 14, 2016

          🙂

            Reply
    • Peggy
      March 15, 2016

      I would encourage you to take him to your doctor. If you still have the tick you can send it to be tested to see if it had lyme, bartonella, or any other tick borne disease. I would at least talk to the doctor about putting your son on doxycycline if it’s safe for a child that age. If you treat soon after the bite there is less chance of Lyme becoming chronic…I didn’t know I had it so didn’t treat for more than 6 months and now I have been suffering with it for over 2 years…

        Reply
      • Bob
        September 29, 2016

        Unfortunately, the doxycycline will often drive the spirochetes into cyst form which will make them more difficult to kill. The spirochetes go into the tissues and anti-biotics are effective only in the bloodstream. Web searches will show that anti-biotics do a poor job in eliminating these insidious bacteria.

          Reply
        • Ellen
          May 31, 2017

          Bob, do you have any literature pertaining to your comment? I have wondered about that as well and would love to read more about it! Thanks!

            Reply
  6. Rebecca Wood
    March 14, 2016

    Lyme disease is quite contagious. Last spring I went into the woods and was bitten by mosquitoes all over my body. I had been exposed to lyme that day without the tick. Effective bug repellant is essential to avoid being bitten. Natural products work so much better for me than those toxic chemicals. Thanks for the great info. Incorporating EOs.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 14, 2016

      So glad you found this post helpful Rebecca! 🙂

        Reply
  7. Gail
    March 12, 2016

    Thank you for the info, I live in Wisconsin and contracted the disease. This summer I will be spraying myself all the time with the oils. I still feel nervous, with ticks falling off my dog or husband in bed so I may just have to spray the sheets too.

      Reply
  8. Sandy
    March 12, 2016

    Can the spray be used on a two year old and a 7 and 9 year old? I assume it would have to be diluted more.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 12, 2016

      Hi Sandy,

      Our children (7, 5, and 3 years old) all respond well to this ratio. Feel free to dilute more, and to spray it on their clothes/shoes if you’re concerned. 🙂

        Reply
  9. Jodi
    March 12, 2016

    Thank you for this article, my mom got lunes disease last summer. It was terrible. She didn’t realize it for a week. She just had hip surgery, so it was a double whammy. Then she was given antibiotics of course to take care of it. She is still dealing with the long term effects. We love essential oils, and so we’ll definitely be using this; we live in Minnesota where the ticks are terrible.

      Reply
    • Jodi
      March 12, 2016

      Or Lymes disease rather. 🙂

        Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 12, 2016

      Jodi, I’m so sorry to hear. My wife’s family is from Minnesota and her brother-in-law got Lyme from a family trip to the cabin. Such a beautiful state, but LOTS of bugs and critters!!

        Reply
  10. Linda
    March 12, 2016

    I Hate this rotten disease. I have had it twice and my pups have had it twice also and we have all suffered tremendously .

    Thank you for any help- it is deeply appreciated. Do you happen to know how I could find out if the essential oils would be safe to put on my dogs?

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 12, 2016

      Be careful about using oils on pets. Be sure to 5 – 10x the dilution – they are VERY sensitive to the smell. 🙂

        Reply
    • sharon
      March 15, 2016

      Linda, there’s a vet who does EOs for animals. google animalEO. She’s on facebook too. She devotes a lot of time to studying and making EOs for pets and has tested them on her own pets. I’ll be getting some for fleas.

      My daughter and I have long term Lyme disease, but we’re not nearly as sick as others who have been ill so long.

        Reply
    • Dr. Z
      July 30, 2016

      Hi Linda, here’s a recipe we just posted that’s safe for pets –> http://drericz.com/prevent-fleas-and-ticks-with-essential-oils/

        Reply
  11. LornaForHealth
    March 12, 2016

    Lyme is indeed transferred as Connie said. Dr. Z it is okay that you haven’t found the research yet, keep looking it is out there -published. We have experienced it personally with my family. All of us got it. Either there is an amazing group of ticks that hit us all at once in our family or it is transferred as Connie said. So don’t be so quick to brush off this idea of transmiting by other ways than just a deer tic.
    Thanks for relooking at and researching this idea to help others!

      Reply
    • Claudia
      August 31, 2016

      I have had Lyme disease for many many years undiagnosed. It would take too long to write all of my symptoms which also include thyroid disease, electrical interruptions in my brain (now healed) and breast cancer. I attribute all of them to Lyme. During the last year (and hard core treatments and herxing) I found multiple studies that link Lyme Disease to being transferred inter utero to an unborn child. There is also studies that link it sexually. If the Lyme was contracted by a mom before children were born, there is the possibility of transferring it to a child. I am not saying that happened in your family. It’s just a point of reference to think back about. Is it possible you had contracted the virus before children. There are cases where the Lyme has stayed dormant in a person’s system and then later manifested its self after babies were born. I have heard there is research being done for a Lyme vaccination. I pray it comes to life soon to stop the disease.

        Reply
      • Claudia
        August 31, 2016

        Oh…and the breast cancer is healed as well ??❤️

          Reply
        • Tammy
          October 11, 2016

          What kind of treatments my mom just died at the age of 66 she had limes for years , it destroyed her. I’m getting tested soon any test you recommend . What oils do you recommend

            Reply
          • Customer Support
            November 28, 2016

            My apologies, but Dr. Z is legally prohibited from giving medical advice over email. He has, however, created a special Facebook group that can help as we have hundreds of members that are actively engaged in sharing testimonies of how they have overcome similar illnesses as yours. You can be part of it by joining his essential oil’s club here –> http://essentialoilsclub.info

             
      • tanya hughes
        January 24, 2017

        may I ask what you did to help get rid of the electrical disruptions that lymes has caused. My daughter is 19 has dysautonomia and lymes and parasites. It has attacked her CNS and electrical brain signals. she has been in wheelchair for past three years. Any help you can give would be greatly appreciated

          Reply
    • Peter
      June 7, 2017

      It surely is.. I got Neuro Borrelioses through intercourse with a woman (10 years ago) who was bitten by a tick two weeks prior to our date….It is for sure sexual transmittable, also as studies show that the spyrochetes are in semen…

        Reply
  12. Melissa
    March 12, 2016

    Thank you for this great article on prevention. I just moved to the woods in Georgia and the ticks were horrible last year. Thank you for the tips on the oils to use in a spray! Your information is always SO helpful!

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      March 12, 2016

      You’re welcome Melissa! 🙂

        Reply
  13. Connie
    February 11, 2016

    Thank you for writing about Lyme Disease. You made one statement that is not correct: “A bacterial infection, Lyme disease doesn’t appear to be transmitted in any way except via tick bite. ” Lyme Disease and coinfections can be transmitted sexually, in utero and through breast milk. There is also concern that it may be transmitted through the saliva. Thank you again for writing about Lyme Disease.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      February 16, 2016

      Hello Connie,

      Thank you for your comment, however, I disagree that my statement is “incorrect.” It’s quite factual in the sense that it what the public health data has to share.

      According to the CDC, “There is no credible scientific evidence that Lyme disease can be spread from person-to-person through sexual contact. The biology of the Lyme spirochete is not consistent with sexual transmission, attempts to demonstrate sexual transmission in infected animals have all failed, and there has not been a single, adequately documented case of sexual transmission of Lyme disease reported in the scientific literature.” http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/faq/

      Same with other vehicles of transmission.

      With that said, Lyme disease may indeed be transmitted via other vehicles, though, that’s not fully accepted in the public health community yet.

        Reply
      • Irina Mikhailova
        March 12, 2016

        I agree with Connie. Lyme disease is sexually transmitted. I have lived through it with my own husband and no one can prove me other wise accept my own experience 🙂 Bless~

          Reply
      • Debbie B.
        September 2, 2016

        Yes it is well documented that Lyme is communicable and is also transferred by more than just ticks. It is a kissing cousin to syphilis bacteria and can be transferred through body fluids and the placenta. This is also a very political disease (i.e. …money driven). It is an epidemic and our government is not sharing the many ways that it is transferred. There are two very good documentaries out there that can be used to educate the public.
        “Under Our Skin” 2008
        “Under Our Skin 2: Emergence” 2015

        Thanks.

          Reply
    • Doreen
      March 12, 2016

      I’ve read that Lyme disease and co-infections can also be transmitted by certain spider and mosquitoes. It is was more prevalent than the CDC will acknowledge.

        Reply
      • Doreen
        March 12, 2016

        Whoops – typos: spiders (plural) and “It ‘is’ more prevalent”. Brain fog.

          Reply
      • Doreen
        March 12, 2016

        And thank you so much for this information! I was just wondering what kind of natural spray I could make myself to help repel ticks. I am from Western PA and live in the Panhandle of Florida. I’ve been bitten by several tick because I love to walk outside (and used to work outside in wetlands) and have recently also been diagnoses with Lyme.

          Reply
      • Amy
        June 17, 2016

        Lyme is also transmitted through blood. I have a friend who contracted Lyme through a blood transfusion during surgery. The CDC does NOT require blood donations to be screened for Lyme, and the blood she was given was tainted with it. Because of that, her Lyme is worse than most people will typically get.

        I also have a friend who’s toddler was very sick and when tested, it came back positive for Lyme. It was then found out that the mother has Lyme and transmitted it to her daughter though the womb.

          Reply
        • Sara
          September 29, 2016

          I created a petition on change.org for
          Contaminated blood supply regarding blood donations! It is a travesty! Please sign it. Best wishes to your friend.

            Reply
  14. june
    January 23, 2016

    Excellent Informative Article.

      Reply
    • Dr. Z
      January 23, 2016

      Thank you June!

        Reply

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