In Vitro Effectiveness of Samento and Banderol Herbal Extracts on the Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi
by Akshita Datar, Navroop Kaur, Seema Patel, David F. Luecke, and Eva Sapi, PhD Lyme Disease Research Group University of New Haven
A tick-borne, multisystemic disease, Lyme borreliosis caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi has grown into a major public health problem during the last 10 years. The primary treatment for chronic Lyme disease is administration of various antibiotics. However, relapse often occurs when antibiotic treatment is discontinued. One possible explanation for this is that B. burgdorferi become resistant to antibiotic treatment, by converting from their vegetative spirochete form into different round bodies and/or into biofilmlike colonies. There is an urgent need to find novel therapeutic agents that can eliminate all these different morphologies of B. burgdorferi. In this study, two herbal extracts, Samento and Banderol, as well as doxycycline (one of the primary antibiotics for Lyme disease treatment) were tested for their in vitro effectiveness on several of the different morphological forms of B. burgdorferi (spirochetes, round bodies, and biofilmlike colonies) using fluorescent, darkfield microscopic, and BacLight viability staining methods. Our results demonstrated that both herbal agents, but not doxycycline, had very significant effects on all forms of B. burgdorferi, especially when used in combination, suggesting that herbal agents could provide an effective therapeutic approach for Lyme disease patients.
In this study, our working hypothesis was that for an efficient therapy, we have to find antimicrobial agents that can eliminate all the forms of B. burgdorferi. During the course of Borrelia infection, the bacteriumcan shift among the different forms, converting from the spirochete form to the others when presented with an unfavorable environment and reverting to the spirochete when the condition is again favorable for growth.1-4 To successfully eradicate B. burgdorferi, antimicrobial agents should eliminate all those forms, including the spirochetes, round bodies, and biofilmlike colonies.
Here we have provided evidence that two natural antimicrobial agents (Samento and Banderol extracts) had significant effect on all three known forms of B. burgdorferi bacteria in vitro. We have also demonstrated that doxycycline, one of the primary antibiotics used in the clinic to treat Lyme disease, only had significant effect on the spirochetal form of B. burgdorferi.5
Our later results might provide some explanation for why relapse is so common after discontinuing antibiotic therapy. For example, some of the recent reports on animal experiments demonstrated that although pharmaceutical antibiotics are effective in ameliorating disease, the infection may persist even after seemingly effective therapy, which suggested that Borrelia may remain viable even after antibiotic administration.14-15 If those pharmaceutical antibiotics only eliminate one form of this bacterium, the other forms could be the source of the persistent disease.
The other very important fact needs to be considered for an effective treatment for Borrelia infection: this bacterium typically has a life span ranging from several weeks to six to eight months; therefore, it may take six to eight months for even one generation of Borrelia to become exposed to the antimicrobial for elimination.16 Since the herbal extracts like Samento are reported to be nontoxic, they can be safely taken daily for the long period of time necessary to thoroughly eradicate Borrelia from an infected body.17
In summary, our study has provided in vitro research data on a novel treatment approach using herbal antimicrobial agents to efficiently eradicate B. burgdorferi, the Lyme disease bacterium.
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