Essential oils from garlic, herbs kill persistent Lyme disease bacteria - The Hub at Johns Hopkins

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These oils may be useful in alleviating.

The study, published Oct. 16 in the journal Antibiotics, included lab-dish tests of 35 essential oils-oils that are pressed from plants or their fruits and contain the plant's main fragrance, or "essence." The Bloomberg School researchers found 10 of these, including oils from garlic cloves, myrhh trees, thyme leaves, cinnamon bark, allspice berries, and cumin seeds bacterium.

"At this stage, these are essential oils that are very promising as candidates for persistent Lyme infection, but ultimately we need properly designed clinical trials."

Ying Zhang

Professor, Bloomberg School of Public Health

"Lyme bacteria than standard" Lyme antibiotics "," says the senior study, "said study senior author Ying Zhang, professor of the Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology at the Bloomberg School.

There are an estimated 300,000 new cases of Lyme disease each year in the United States. Standard treatment with doxycycline or an alternative antibiotic for a few weeks usually clears the infection and resolves symptoms. However, about 10 to 20% of patients report persistent symptoms, including fatigue and joint pain-often termed "persistent Lyme infection" or "post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome" (PTLDS) that in some cases can last for months or years.

The cause of this lingering syndrome is not known. But it is known as the culture of Lyme disease bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, can enter a so-called stationary phase in which many of the cells divide slowly or not at all. Cells, which can form naturally under nutrient starvation or stress conditions and are more resistant to antibiotics. Some medicines have been prescribed.

Zhang and his laboratory have been at the forefront of these efforts. In 2014, his lab screened FDA-approved drugs for activity against persist. Lyme bacteria and found many candidates including daptomycin (used to treat MRSA) that had better activity than the current Lyme antibiotics. In 2015, they reported that a three-antibiotic combination-doxycycline, cefoperazone, and daptomycin-reliably killed Lyme persister bacteria in lab dish tests. In a 2017 study they found that essential oils from oregano, cinnamon bark, clove buds, lemongrass, and wintergreen killed stationary phase Lyme bacteria even more potently than daptomycin, the champion among tested pharmaceuticals.

In the new study, Zhang and his team extended their lab-plate testing to include 35 other essential oils, and found 10 that show significant killing activity against the stationary phase. At this concentration, five spiked ginger lily blossoms, and may chang fruit successfully killed all stationary phase Lyme bacteria in their culture dishes in seven days, so that no bacteria grew back in 21 days.

Oils from thyme leaves, cumin seeds, and cinnamaldehyde, the fragrant main ingredient of cinnamon bark oil.

Lab-dish tests such as these represent an early stage of research. Zhang expects to organize initial tests in humans.

"At this stage, these are essential oils that are very promising as candidates for persistent Lyme infection," he says, "but ultimately we need properly designed clinical trials."

"Identification of Essential Oils with Strong Activity against Stationary Phase Borrelia burgdorferi" was written by Jie Feng, Wanliang Shi, Judith Miklossy, Genevieve M. Tauxe, Conor J. McMeniman, and Ying Zhang.

Support for the research from the Global Lyme Alliance, LivLyme Foundation, NatCapLyme, and the Einstein-Sim Family Charitable Fund.

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