by Dr. Bill Rawls
Updated 10/15/21

During your Lyme disease recovery, it’s not unusual to find yourself stuck from time to time, not knowing what to do to further heal and reduce undesirable symptoms. To overcome this all too common circumstance and experience progress again, you’ll want to pay careful attention to potential obstacles that can impede wellness and remove them.

While eliminating microbes and reducing symptoms are crucial pieces of the recovery puzzle, there’s always more to the story. The biggest reasons symptoms occur in the first place are because our bodies’ cells aren’t getting enough nutrients, oxygen, or water, and the waste and toxin removal mechanisms are compromised. Ultimately, getting well is a matter of minimizing the factors that are disrupting the health of your cells to the best of your ability.

Building a Strong Foundation of Natural Support

So then, what direction do you go in if you need to get unstuck? Start by building a strong foundation in your Lyme disease recovery.

key steps in building your foundation: suppress microbes, protect cells, inhibit inflammation, cellular connectivity, good flow

The bedrock of any comprehensive natural protocol should contain these three critical elements: antimicrobial herbs, immune-modulating herbs, and methylation and cellular support.

antimicrobial, immune-modulating, and methylation and cellular support

While many herbs have the potential to be of benefit to your recovery from chronic Lyme disease, certain ones rise to the top because they tackle the myriad of cellular stress factors you endure, helping to quell an environment where chronic illness flourishes.

My preferred herbs and supplements from the 3 categories above include:

1. Antimicrobial Herbs to Suppress Microbes

Many herbs have antimicrobial effects against borrelia, bartonella, babesia, mycoplasma, and more. In fact, recent research from Johns Hopkins University has shown that herbal therapy may be more effective at combating borrelia and babesia than medications. The following is a list of herbs to help form the basis of your Lyme protocol.

antimicrobial herbs andrographis, berberine, cats claw, sarsaparilla, garlic, and more

2. Immune-Modulating Herbs

Herbs with immune-modulating properties help to normalize the functions of the immune system, inhibiting dysfunctional chemical messengers called cytokines and restoring the immune system’s communication pathways.

Medicinal mushrooms, in particular, are a great way to modulate the immune system, but other herbs are helpful as well.

immune-modulating herbs reishi mushroom, cordyceps, rehmannia extract, and chinese skullcap

3. Methylation + Cellular Support

Finally, combining herbs with supplements that address methylation — the body’s biochemical process that switches on and off genes, regulates metabolism, mood, detoxification, and more — will amp up the cellular protection.

methylation and cellular support: activated b vitamins, glutathione, alpha lipoic acid, and more

Removing the Obstacles to Healing

When trying to remove obstacles to healing, it’s vital to understand this: It’s generally not one factor but multiple factors that set the stage for chronic immune dysfunction associated with stealth infections and chronic illness. Besides microbes, other stress factors compounding the problem include:

  • Unnatural diet
  • Toxic environment
  • Chronic Stress
  • Sedentary lifestyle

Let’s take a look at each of these obstacles, how they impact healing, and what we can do about them:

1. Poor Diet

The foods you eat equate to fuel for the body so that you have the energy you need to repair tissues and curb inflammation. Without sufficient nutrients, the opposite is true: your body is starved of the nourishment it needs to restore itself. And while the occasional slip-up might not be enough to through your recovery completely off track, repeatedly consuming foods devoid of nutrients presents significant challenges for the body.

excess carbohydrates leads to increased insulin levels, insulin resistance, immune suppression, and more

evaluate your diet with the self-assessment tool to determine if it's an obstacle to healing
answering no to one or more items in the diet assessment suggests diet is an obstacle to healing

General Diet Guidelines

To keep your diet as nutrient-dense as possible, consider the following guidelines.

general diet guidelines cook your vegetables, avoid fried foods, minimize carbohydrates, and chew your food

Some foods are problematic for many people because they contribute to food allergies, sensitivities, digestive issues, or increase the body’s toxic burden. Foods to consider nixing from your diet altogether are as follows:

foods to eliminate include lectins, dairy, alcohol, artificial preservatives, and artificial sweeteners

2. Toxins

Toxins are present in the foods you eat, the air you breathe, personal care products, household cleaners, and more. Toxins can have a profound influence on the body.

toxins compromise cellular energy production, disrupt hormones, promote inflammation, and more

evaluate your environment with the self-assessment tool to determine if it's an obstacle to healing
answering no to one or more items in the toxin assessment suggests toxins are an obstacle to healing

Although toxins can come from a variety of sources, you’re probably most familiar with mold and its mycotoxins. Unfortunately, mold exposure can curtail your efforts to get well — regardless of whether it’s “toxic” or even whether you’re allergic to mold. More than 50% of homes and more than 85% of commercial buildings in the U.S. have water damage and mold, even if you can’t see or smell it outright. Symptoms can range from mildly disruptive to serious and truly life-threatening. To clean up mold and your environment, put these tips into action:

eliminate mold by removing visible signs of it and cleaning heating units and air conditioners
eat organic food, filter your water, replace HVAC filters, and quit smoking to minimize other toxins

3. Stress

Chronic stress is very pervasive in modern life. Often people suffering from stress don’t realize that their symptoms are stress-related. Stress has the potential to disrupt all normal functions of the body and mind.

stress disrupts functions of the body like digestion, immune system, daily maintenance, and tissue repair

evaluate your stress levels with the self-assessment tool to determine if it is an obstacle to healing
answering no to one or more items in the stress assessment suggests stress is an obstacle to healing

Stress sends the sympathetic nervous system — the part of the nervous system associated with the “fight or flight” response — into overdrive, leading to issues like poor sleep, feelings of irritability or anxiousness, increased pain levels, among others. Since you can’t outrun stress, learning to manage it is one of the best steps you can take for your health.

dedicate time to stress relief by mediating, gardening, walking, or using herbs to support the stress response

dedicate time to improving sleep by taking a hot bath, blocking out excess light, and sleeping in a cool room

4. Inactivity

If you’re highly symptomatic or experiencing a relapse, moving your body might be the last thing you want to do. But even gentle, restorative exercise (restorative yoga, qigong, taking a stroll, doing leisurely laps in the pool) can help counter the pitfalls of being too sedentary.

inactivity decreases blood flow, increases toxin retention, disrupts immune function, and zaps energy

evaluate your activity level with the self-assessment tool to determine if it's an obstacle to healing
answering no to one or more items in the activity assessment suggests inactivity is an obstacle to healing

if you have limited activity levels, consider gentle exercises like restorative yoga, pilates, or qigong

if you are bedridden, avoid exercise until you feel ready or consider using an infrared sauna

What if Symptoms Persist?

Sometimes, you can do all the right things and still wind up perplexed as to what’s going on or what to do next. The good news, however, is there are still several options to consider.

First, do you need to add additional herbal support to combat coinfections? Some herbs to think about include:

if symptoms persist, try additional herbal support like cryptolepis, black walnut, neem, or red root

Second, do you need the assistance of a heroic therapy — more potent interventions for when you feel like nothing else is moving the needle? For Lyme disease, the ones you’re most apt to be prescribed or recommended are:

heroic therapies are more potent interventions like antibiotics, rife machines, ozone, and hyperthermia therapy

Wellness is Within Reach

Treating Lyme disease requires persistence as you slowly chip away at layers of dysfunction and cellular stress factors. While it can be overwhelming, whenever you get stuck, go back to the basics and look for the areas where you might have gotten off track.

self check-ins are crucial each week to make sure you're staying on track toward your goal of healing

Review this recovery roadmap, and do weekly self check-ins. Remain consistent with your protocol and celebrate all of your healing milestones — no matter how big or small they are. Soon, you’ll find yourself turning the corner.

Dr. Rawls is a physician who overcame Lyme disease through natural herbal therapy. You can learn more about Lyme disease in Dr. Rawls’ new best selling book, Unlocking Lyme.
You can also learn about Dr. Rawls’ personal journey in overcoming Lyme disease and fibromyalgia in his popular blog post, My Chronic Lyme Journey.