Study shows potency of herbal remedies against Bartonella henselae

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Bay Area Lyme Foundation, one of the major sponsors of Lyme disease research in the United States, today announced the release of new data showing that herbal drugs have potent activity in the tubes to test against commonly prescribed pharmaceuticals for the treatment of Bartonella henselae, a bacteria believed to be carried by ticks and the cause of cat scratch fever. This is the first study to find the antimicrobial activity of some of these herbal drugs. Published in the journal Microbes and infectious diseases, the lab study was funded in part by the Bay Area Lyme Foundation.

With increasing rates of tick-borne illnesses and an ongoing concern over the overuse of antibiotics, this early herbal research is extremely exciting. We hope that future preclinical and clinical studies will continue to show that herbal medicines have the same efficacy as this study and other recently published studies. “

Linda Giampa, Executive Director, Bay Area Lyme Foundation

The study is the first to show that these three herbal drugs had high activity against the stationary phase Bartonella henselae:

  • Black walnut (Black juglans)
  • Cryptolepis (Bloody cryptolepis)
  • Japanese knotweed (Polygon cuspidatum)

The study also confirmed the antimicrobial activity of these two herbal drugs against the same bacteria:

  • Barbat cap (Scutellaria barbata)
  • Chinese skullcap (Scutellaria baicalensis)

Three of them – Chinese skullcap, Cryptolepis, and Japanese knotweed – have already been shown, in similar test tube designs, to be equally effective against both. Borrelia burgdorferi, the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, and Babesia duncani, a malaria-like parasite found on the west coast of the United States that causes babesiosis. These three herbal remedies, along with black walnut, have been shown to be more effective than commonly prescribed antibiotics against Borrelia burgdorferi.

“As many people with Lyme disease are coinfected with other pathogens, these results, which show that certain herbal drugs are effective in the laboratory against multiple tick-borne infections, are a breakthrough. important to the tick-borne disease community, ”said co-author Sunjya K. Schweig, MD, founder and director, California Center for Functional Medicine and scientific advisory board member, Bay Area Lyme Foundation. The collaborating researchers came from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, California Center for Functional Medicine, FOCUS Health Group, naturopathy, and Zhejiang University School of Medicine.

“Because so many patients with tick-borne diseases do not respond to standard treatments described in medical guidelines, we need to research potential alternatives that can fill this gap and aid in the recovery of patients managing acute symptoms and long term, ”added Dr Schweig.

Two antibiotics commonly prescribed for tick-borne infections, doxycycline and azithromycin, cleared the persistent form of the bacteria at about the same levels as the drug-free control. Comparisons of the pharmaceuticals daptomycin and methylene blue had better activity against the stationary phase B. henselae (residual bacteria viability reduced to less than 40%) than gentamicin, rifampicin and miconazole, which showed relatively better activity (residual bacteria viability reduced to less than 50%) against the stationary phase B. henselae than doxycycline and azithromycin (residual viability of bacteria reduced to only 66% and 70% respectively).

These botanical compounds have yet to be tested in animal models as well as in clinical trials. Although each of these botanical drugs are already in clinical use, it is important that future studies evaluate them directly in patients using specific clinical treatment regimens, as each has the potential to produce side effects in patients and should not be considered. taken only under the supervision of a clinician familiar with their abilities, interactions and toxicities.

About the study

The article entitled “Botanical drugs with activity against the stationary phase Bartonella henselae“, was written by Xiao Ma, Jacob Leone, ND, Sunjya Schweig, MD, and Ying Zhang, MD, PhD.

The plant extracts selected for the study included botanical drugs that were previously used to manage symptoms in patients who do not respond to standard pharmaceutical treatments and have favorable safety profiles. For the primary screens, all herbal products were applied at two concentrations, 1% (v / v) and 0.5% (v / v), respectively.

The study authors used a similar method of rapid high throughput drug screening, a SYBR Green I / propidium iodide (PI) viability assay, as in previous studies evaluating herbal drugs versus stationary phase. B. burgdorferi and B. henselae.

These data suggest that it may be advantageous to use these herbal remedies to simultaneously target several different pathogens in patients with complex Lyme disease with coinfections. The data may also provide encouragement for future studies for patients, especially those whose chronic symptoms may be due to persistent bacteria that are not killed by conventional antibiotic treatment. However, it is critical to note that more studies are needed to further assess the active botanical drugs identified in the study. Patients should not attempt to self-treat with these herbal medicines due to the potential side effects and the lack of clinical trials with these products.

Source:

Journal reference:

Mom, X., et al. (2021) Botanical Drugs with Stationary Phase Activity Bartonella henselae. Microbes and infectious diseases. doi.org/10.1097/IM9.0000000000000069.


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