I’ve been dealing with Lyme disease for over ten years, and to this day I still get caught off guard with herx’s and flare-ups. When they happen, there’s always this moment of complete terror when I think that my life as I know it is going to come crumbling down around me. At the first sign of symptoms I instantly think it’s a relapse, and even though this has been my life for over a decade, I feel helpless and at a loss of what to do next.
And then it hits me—a wave of relief. A herx! This could be a herx! I can do that!
Over the years I’ve gotten so many recommendations for different home remedies to help when my symptoms flare up, but as is the case for most people…what works for one person, doesn’t necessarily work for me. I’ve basically tried them all, and only a few have stayed with me as keepers.
First and foremost, the absolute most helpful tool in my toolbox is a supplement called Lymph Detox, by Professional Botanicals. It’s always my go-to supplement during herx’s, and there have been numerous occasions where I have gone from laying in bed due to weakness, to walking around the house feeling so much better within an hour of taking it.
Another supplement that has helped me is bentonite clay. I personally use Yerba Prima Bentonite Detox. There was a while where it was like magic—I would be more fatigued or weaker than usual, and then I’d take my bentonite clay, and within minutes I’d feel so much better. But alas, I only had that magical response when I was at the beginning of my mold treatment—when I was really bad off. Once I started getting better, and feeling stronger, it didn’t have that same effect on me. But it’s an option that has worked for me in the past, and worth a shot for those looking for something to help their flare up.
Another great tool for me has been Young Living Essential Oils. My absolute favorites are peppermint and lavender. Peppermint helps me in so many ways! If I have a random pain somewhere—I rub peppermint on it. And many times the pain will just melt away! It’s so wonderful! I have a problem with heat, and when I rub it up and down my neck and spine, it has this cooling effect, where I feel like I’m being cooled from within. It also helps a lot if I have a fever. Put it on the back of my neck, and my fever symptoms lessen greatly. I keep peppermint next to my bed, next to my couch, and I carry it with me in my purse. It’s that good!
As I said, lavender essential oil is also a favorite of mine. It’s known for its calming properties, so often people like to put it on the bottoms of their feet before bed. I’ve done this and personally don’t notice a difference, but it definitely soothes my skin when I’m overheated. For a year I would get overheated after taking a shower, and I would get a rash all over my face, neck and chest. It would burn, itch, and look terrible, and it happened after every single shower. Even when I ended with ice cold water—it still happened. I tried everything, and nothing helped! Then finally I decided to try putting lavender essential oil on my face after my shower. It reduced the burning and itching feeling SO MUCH, that after that, it was just part of my routine. After each shower I would put lavender on my face, neck, and chest, and then put peppermint on the back of my neck. The lavender would soothe it, and the peppermint would cool me down. It was amazing.
I’ve also found other essential oils that have really wonderful effects on my mood. I got into essential oils when I was at the worst of my mold treatment last year, and I was in bed all day. I did lots of research and bought all sorts of oils that were good for the mental state, and I truly noticed a difference. Smelling them from my diffuser next to my bed gave me a sense of peace, at a time in my life where I could really use it. And by me feeling more at peace with my situation, I was able to keep fighting each day.
Castor oil packs have also been very helpful. For those who aren’t familiar with them, it’s where you take a piece of cloth soaked in castor oil, and then place it on wherever hurts. Then cover it with a plastic bag, or something to protect your heating pack, and then place the heating pack over the castor oil cloth. Years ago when I was in the wheelchair, we placed castor oil packs on my knees. It would often lessen the pain I was feeling—especially if the pain was more than the average amount for the day. I have also found them to be really helpful with muscle spasms. My doctor recommended that I do castor oil packs for 15 minutes over my liver each day, because it can help with detoxing, so when I don’t have a specific place that hurts, I just do it over my liver.
I’m quite sensitive to chemicals. If they are in my general vicinity I have trouble breathing, and if they touch me I instantly react with a rash. I have found that aloe is really good at soothing these rashes, so I went out and bought an aloe plant! I named him Sprout and he’s amazing! You just cut off a little part of his leaf (arm…?) and slice it open to access the gel inside. Then rub that on, and you feel instant relief. I love using aloe directly from the plant because it’s the most natural way to do it. Absolutely no processing. No chemicals. No contamination. Just Sprout! And they are so easy to take care of…take it from someone who has lost her fair share of plants… So if you ever have issues with skin itchiness, rashes, or discomfort, I recommend getting an aloe plant!
The last home remedy I’ve found to be truly helpful is Drip Drop. It’s a powder you add to water, and it’s packed full of electrolytes to help dehydration. According to its website, it says it has 3 times the electrolytes and ½ the sugar of most sports drinks. Now, I have only used this on one occasion, but it was literally a life saver. I became very sick with hyperthyroidism last year, and began the worst day of my life. My body was so out of whack that I woke up at 12 am and started throwing up every 20-30 minutes like clockwork. I couldn’t keep even a sip of water down. It became a very serious situation and no matter how hard I tried, I would throw up the second I drank any amount of water. We talked to my Lyme doc who said to have my boyfriend go out and get Drip Drop from Walgreens. He did, and after 12 hours of not being able to replenish my system, I was able to take mini-sips of the stuff, and keep it down. Throughout the next few days I kept sipping my drip drop liquid. Honestly, the stuff was so sweet it was hard for me to take. I am not used to sweet things, but the fact that my body was willing to keep it down was enough for me to keep drinking it. I don’t know the difference between Drip Drop and Pedialyte. I always keep Pedialyte popsicles on hand for occasions just like this, but in this specific situation, the Pedialyte did nothing. It was the Drip Drop that saved the day.
I decided to ask a few of my Lyme and mold friends what home remedies have helped them. Here is what they had to say:
- When I have pain in my muscles (usually arms), I make a Lemongrass and Chamomile tea with a small dab of raw honey, and take two capsules of marshmallow root with the tea. It’s the only thing that works for me, and helps within 15 minutes of taking it. My mom and I call it my magic tea!
- Activated charcoal is super great too. I take it every day as part of my mold protocol, but I also take extra on top of that as needed. It helps when I have a chemical exposure, mold hit, or eat a bad meal. It’s so helpful that I carry it with me everywhere! I have several bottles living in different places, like in my car, in my room, in the kitchen, etc. I even bought this little metal canister from Walgreens that I hook to my purse, so I have it but don’t have to carry around the whole bottle.
- Magnesium helps with my muscle pain and gives me a peaceful full nights sleep.
- Alka Seltzer Gold helps herxing. Coffee enemas and binders like Takesumi are also good.
- Lemon water and Epsom salt baths help me.
- My daughter benefited greatly from a supplement called Cytozyme PT/HPT. She overheats in the summer and this supplement regulates the pineal gland, which in turn regulates the body’s temperature. It is by Biotics Research and is available on Amazon. She takes it for about 6 weeks at the beginning of the summer and then is good for the rest of the warm weather.
- Whenever I have flare ups it’s mostly digestive, lungs, or overall fogginess. I haven’t found much to help fogginess except Yerba mate, but that can definitely make my stomach upset! What I like to use for flare ups when I’m feeling out of breath, or wheezing, or just overall feeling heavy, is carry around an essential oil blend by doTerra called “breathe.” I usually run it on my chest and my wrists and it helps immensely!
- Acupuncture helps my headaches. It lessens the pain, but does not take it away. It is also a good relaxation technique.
- Hypnosis is also good for anxiety/insomnia. I have found that self-hypnosis works wonders for insomnia. Also for insomnia, valerian is a helpful tool.
- The supplement called FibroSleep from ProHealth helped my sleeping 100%, and I’ve also noticed some change in my pain level.
- I’ve had pretty good results with electrolysis footbaths (not to be confused with ionic foot baths) with a harmonic quad “zapper” machine. They are similar to ionic foot baths in that it it removes harmful toxins from your body through your feet but it doesn’t leave nasty water. It helps anything from my weak legs to my energy levels to my pain on any given day, but it’s not a guarantee; some days it works and some days it doesn’t.
- I also do magnesium oil on the bottom of my feet daily in the morning which I’ve noticed gives me an energy boost for throughout the day. I have to do it no later than noon though because if I do it after I’ll be up all night!
- I have a special fresh ginger, chamomile, cayenne, lemon tea that I create from scratch that I’ve noticed helps my pain level a little bit and has somewhat of a sedative effect on me. I’ll also throw in fresh turmeric if I happen to want it.
- It may not be a home remedy exactly but I had some great results with hyperberic oxygen therapy (HBOT). It drastically helped my pain level when I went on a ‘dive’ as well as helped me walk and make my legs less weak.
- A few years back we rented an infrared sauna and I loved it! I would love to get my own sauna and do it daily if that were possible.
- I am a big fan of coffee enemas for detoxing. I find that once people give them a try, they notice how helpful they are, and no big deal. And often results are immediate.
- The great thing about coffee enemas is that they stimulate the liver and gall bladder to dump fat soluble toxins, which are then eliminated by the body. When I’m herxing I do them twice a day. I use Bulletproof Coffee, which is the only coffee known to be mold free. I direct people to this blog to learn how to do them: http://www.mygutsy.com/the-ultimate-liver-detox-coffee-enemas/ – it’s informative and written with just the right amount of humor.
- I also recommend colonics, which can be done at home with a “colema board.” As opposed to enemas, which primary purpose is to stimulate the dumping of toxins, colonics/colemas clear out the toxin-filled waste from the bowels. I’ve seen them make a huge and quick change in some people.
- The combo of Alka Seltzer Gold, lemon juice, and 1500 mg of liposomal glutathione is a powerful herx remedies I learned about years ago.
- For brain fog, in particular, L-Ornithine can be great if the fog is due to too much ammonia.
I wanted to make a post showing some of the home remedies that have helped me and friends of mine. I’d love to hear what home remedies have helped you! If you can think of any, leave a comment so others can benefit from your experience!
Keep in mind, these supplements and remedies have helped me and people I have known, but it’s always best to discuss with your doctor before adding something new into the equation. What’s good for one person might not be for another.
For those who prefer audio over text, I’ve recorded myself reading the blog here:
August 1, 2016 at 4:29 pm
This is wonderful thank you so much
LikeLiked by 1 person
August 1, 2016 at 4:49 pm
August 2, 2016 at 2:40 am
What an excellent post! Thank you! I am further sharing this on my FaceBook page: http://Facebook.com/ColorMeLyme and will make a reference to your blog and this post on my blog as well. This is chalked full of helpful remedies. Thank you again for passing them along to other Lymies in need.💚💚💚
August 2, 2016 at 5:43 am
Oh absolutely! Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂 I’m so glad it was helpful!
August 2, 2016 at 3:56 am
Kombucha tea helps cut through Lyme-related brain fog.
August 2, 2016 at 5:44 am
Interesting. Do you know why it helps? Does the tea have caffeine in it?
July 15, 2020 at 9:13 pm
Thank you so much. I was feeling so discouraged and defeated. Your opening words made me remember what was going on and validated my struggles. It’s difficult to remember what to do while feeling foggy, discouraged and in pain, so the tools you offered were perfect. I reached for the clay and rubbed some magnesium containing minerals on my sore arms & bottoms of my feet. I’m already feeling better and more optimistic. This article is being saved! Much appreciation!