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Our population of ticks that carry Lyme disease and other illnesses is rapidly increasing. But even if you’re bitten, the right herbs can help to prevent debilitating consequences, such as fever, pain, fatigue, and memory loss—which sometimes become chronic.
“Ticks have been biting humans since there have been humans,” says Bill Rawls, MD, author of Unlocking Lyme: Myths, Truths, and Practical Solutions for Chronic Lyme Disease. “Whether or not they cause illness depends on your immune system.”
How Ticks Infect You
Harmful microbes carried by ticks include Borrelia, which causes Lyme disease, and an ever-increasing variety of others. Rawls likens these microbes to terrorists because they hide in white blood cells, are carried to all the tissues in the body, and then hijack the immune system so that it can’t kill them off.
Herbs can be a big help by balancing your immune system and making it less likely that tickborne diseases will make you ill.
Herbs that May Help Your Immune System Cope with Tickborne Diseases
These herbs, says Rawls, are especially helpful if you’re planning an outdoor adventure such as camping, hiking, or hunting:
- Andrographis: 1,000–1,500 mg of a standardized extract with 10% andrographolides.
- Cat’s Claw: 500–1,000 mg.
- Garlic: 400–500 mg of Aged Garlic Extract or a powdered extract with stabilized allicin.
Take these herbs twice a day, before, during, and after outdoor activities. You can also take a formula that contains these and other herbs, or a lower dose on an ongoing basis. If you’d rather take just one, choose andrographis.
For symptoms after a tick bite, follow standard medical advice: a course of antibiotics for 21 days or more. But also take the herbs, says Rawls, because the drugs alone don’t necessarily eradicate all tickborne bugs.
Get Smart about Ticks
For updated information about the types of ticks in your area and how to deal with them, visit cdc.gov/ticks.