Using Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy to Support Lyme Disease

Posted on November 02, 2017 0

Using Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy to Support Lyme Disease
Using Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy to Support Lyme Disease

Using Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy to Support Lyme Disease


Anna Doxie, RA

Lyme disease is a multi-faceted, bacterial infection caused by the spirochete bacterium, Borrelia burgdorferi. The infection is transmitted from the bite of an infected, small, black-legged tick, known as Ixodes or Deer Tick. The  infected tick must be attached for a period of one to two days, allowing the bacteria to spread throughout the body. Generally, Lyme disease is not transmissible by human contact, with the possible exception of vertical transmission from a pregnant woman to her fetus. Tick bites often go unnoticed because, as the tick is so small during the nymph stage, it may evade detection. Excretions from the tick also impair the ability to palpate any irritation or discomfort from the bite. Despite the high number of cases diagnosed each year, bacterial transmission is rare; only about 1% of identified tick bites actually result in the transmission of Lyme disease. 1

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has estimated that upwards of 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme disease each year in the United States alone. Although US numbers are high, Lyme disease has been found all over the world and on almost every continent. Many cases go undiagnosed each year because the symptoms are often mistaken for those of other diseases or immune disorders. Misdiagnosis can be devastating to those infected, as it causes a delay in proper treatment and allows bacteria to spread throughout the body.1

If the infection is caught early, before the bacteria has an opportunity to spread through the blood stream, the mild, flu-like symptoms can usually be treated successfully with a single dose, or series of doses, of specific antibiotics.  However, antibiotics often remove beneficial gut bacteria, thereby causing an imbalance in intestinal flora and often leading to other health concerns. So it is always advisable to take a probiotic to replace and maintain healthy gut flora after any antibiotic treatment.2


The sooner treatment is given, the faster the recovery. Once the bacteria have entered the bloodstream, they quickly spread to various organ systems throughout the body. Chronic symptoms begin to appear, often affecting the central nervous system, eyes, joints and heart. When this happens chronic treatment is required to combat the disease and reduce symptoms.3

Early Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Symptoms often begin during the months of May through September, when the nymph stage of the Deer Tick is plentiful. The classic dermatologic sign of Borrelia infection is the Bull's Eye rash, although not all cases of Lyme disease are discovered in this way. It is estimated that 70-80% of those infected do experience this rash. Flu-like symptoms, muscle soreness, and fever often accompany the skin lesions in the early period. The other 20-30% that do not manifest the classic signs and symptoms are at risk for becoming the next chronic sufferers of Lyme Disease.2

Early Symptoms of Lyme Disease:

     Flu-Like symptoms      Headache
     Body/Muscle soreness      Fever
     Vomiting      Chills
     Fatigue      Skin Rash

An early prognosis is made by analyzing the symptoms and testing for specific bacterial antibodies in the blood. However, blood tests can be falsely negative in the early stages of the disease if there is not enough time for antibodies to develop or the patient’s immune system has not begun to interact with the antibodies. Because Lyme disease suppresses the immune system, 20-30% of patients do not produce adequate antibodies and have falsely negative blood tests. The infection may also be due to a bacterial strain that has not yet been identified or was not included in the blood test.1,3

Chronic Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Chronic symptoms of Lyme disease are serious and debilitating and greatly affect the patient’s overall quality of life. These can occur after months of misdiagnosed or inadequately treated disease. Severe symptoms may become chronic and often debilitating. Chronic symptoms include the following: 

  • Neuropathy (various forms) 
  • Insomnia  Depression     
  • Fibromyalgia 
  • Migraines 
  • Brain Fog
  • Vertigo     
  • Facial Palsy
  • Anxiety     
  • Personality Disorders/ Mental Illness
  •  Eye inflammation     
  • Swollen Lymph Nodes
  • Auto-Immune Disorders     
  • Arthritis
  • Skin Disorders     
  • Liver inflammation

The symptoms of Lyme disease vary greatly from person to person. The disease can affect a single organ or an entire body system. Multisystem involvement is not uncommon in Lyme disease. Various infections and co-infections display themselves physically in a wide variety of ways. To add to the challenge, the incubation period before symptoms are revealed can last from several days to several months and even years for some.2

Using Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy to Support Lyme Disease

How can holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy help to support Lyme disease? First, it is important to emphasize that holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy compliments and supports allopathic therapy; it does not replace it. Because Lyme disease sufferers experience a wide variety of symptoms, a personal and professional consultation must include a detailed client intake and health history, in order to create a total protocol that will provide the most effective support. The therapist must work in conjunction with all allopathic care advice to minimize disease symptoms, increase the quality of life, and decrease long-term disease sequelae. Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy assists in restoring homeostasis within the body systems, which will, in turn, assist in addressing the root cause and elimination of the disease from the body. A holistic, balanced protocol does not only include recommendations for the use of essential oils. It also includes dietary assessments and adjustments. Vitamins, herbs and other supplements are carefully chosen to work in conjunction with the allopathic care that the client receives from a personal physician. Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy has a track record of providing relief for the many symptoms of Lyme disease, supporting allopathic treatment as it directly addresses the root cause of the disease.

Aromatherapy Blends to Help to Alleviate Common Lyme Disease Symptoms

Vomiting and Nausea Blend


• 1 oz. sunflower (Helanthius annuus) oil

Essential Oils:

• 3 drops sweet orange (Citrus sinensis)
• 3 drops ginger (Zingiber officinale)
• 1 drop spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)

Instructions for Use:

• Combine the ingredients together in a 1 oz. glass bottle. Shake well.
• Apply a dime sized application to the stomach every two hours as needed.

Skin Rash Blend


• 1 oz. sunflower (Helanthius annuus) oil

Essential Oils:

• 3 drops German chamomile (Matricaria recutita)
• 3 drops Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
• 3 drops palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini)
• 2 drops balsam copaiba (Copaifera officinalis)

Instructions for Use:

• Combine the ingredients together in a 1 oz. glass bottle. Shake well.
• Apply a dime sized application of the blend to the affected skin area 2-3 times daily.

  Headache Blend  


• 1 oz. sunflower (Helanthius annuus) oil

Essential Oils:

• 4 drops lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
• 3 drops peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
• 1 drop vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)
• 2 drops sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum)

Instructions for Use:

• Combine the ingredients together in a 1 oz. glass bottle. Shake well.
• Apply a small amount of the blend to the temples and the back of the head and neck as needed.

Insomnia Diffuser Blend

Essential Oils:

• 2 drops grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi)
• 4 drops ho wood (Cinnamomum camphora)
• 3 drops may chang (Litsea cubeba)
• 2 drops ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata)
• 1 drop vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)

Instructions for Use:

• Combine the blend in a small bottle. Shake well.
• Add 2 – 3 drops of the blend to an aromatherapy diffuser. Refer to the manufacturer's guidelines for use.
• Diffuse in the bedroom up to thirty minutes before bedtime and turn off the diffuser before you retire.

Anxiety Inhaler Blend 

Essential Oils:

• 6 drops petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara (fol))
• 6 drops bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
• 4 drops ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata)
• 4 drops  vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)


Instructions for Use:

• Add the essential oils to the wick of an aroma stick inhaler. Seal the inhaler.
• To Use: Inhale a few short, deep breaths every thirty minutes as needed.

Arthritis: Muscle/Joint Pain Blend


• 1 oz. sunflower (Helanthius annuus) oil

Essential Oils:

• 3 drops plai (Zingiber cassumunar)
• 3 drops sweet birch (Betula lenta)*
• 3 drops kunzea (Kunzea ambigua)**
• 3 drops sandalwood (Santalum paniculatum)

Instructions for Use:

• Combine together the ingredients in a 1 oz. glass bottle. Shake well.
• Apply a small amount of the blend to the affected muscles/joints every two hours or as needed for pain.


*Avoid use of sweet birch essential oil during pregnancy and with infants and small children. Avoid use with known bleeding disorders and with individuals that are sensitive to salicylate.

** Avoid use of kunzea essential oil during pregnancy.

Note: Sunflower oil can be substituted with another carrier oil of your choice, in any of these aromatherapy blends, if preferred.

Essential Oils and Lyme Disease Prevention 

Of course, prevention is the best approach to Lyme disease and here, too, essential oils have proven effective. There are several essential oils shown to repel the nymphs of Ixodes ticks: 

• Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)4
• Amyris (Amyris balsamifera)5
• Osage orange* (Maclura pomifera)5
• Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)6.8
• Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)7
• Incense cedar* (Calocedrus decurrens)8
• Western juniper (Juniperus occidentalis).8


• Pregnancy and Nursing: Avoid use of western juniper essential oil.
• Kidney, Liver, and Heart Problems: Avoid use of western juniper essential oil.

Editor's Note: The above essential oils were found to be useful to repel the nymphs of ixodes ticks in research studies, as per the author's statement. However, when using essential oils for this purpose (by following the instructions below), it is advisable that you choose the more commonly known essential oils for this purpose such as tea tree, amyris, geranium and lavender since currently there is lack of safety information pertaining to these less commonly-known essential oils.

Instructions for Use:

• Combine one oz. of aloe vera gel and a total of up to 18 drops of one or more of the above listed essential oils in a spray bottle. (Be sure to add a natural sourced preservative such as vitamin E and a dispersant when using aloe vera as a carrier base for topical application use).
• Shake well before each use. Spray the blend on the body (exposed arms and legs) before going outdoors when venturing in an area at risk for ticks.
• Essential oils are very volatile and the blend may need to be reapplied frequently for thorough protection while outdoors.


Lyme disease is common, chronic, and often debilitating. Practitioners of Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy can help by referring clients with suggestive symptoms to allopathic physicians for diagnosis and prompt antibiotic treatment,   and by recommending holistic and supportive measures to those undergoing such treatment. These include alleviating pain, decreasing anxiety, aiding sleep, and inhibiting nausea and vomiting. In addition,, it should also be noted that rock rose (Cistus ladanifer) essential oil inhibits the growth of Borrelia burgdorferi.9 Thus, Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy has the potential to ease the suffering of victims of Lyme disease, prevent transmission by repelling the Ixodes nymph, and strike at the root cause, as well by inhibiting growth of the causative bacterium.


1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2016). Lyme disease. Retrieved from:

2. (2015). About Lyme. Retrieved from:

3. American Lyme Disease Foundation. (2017). What is Lyme disease? Retrieved from:

4. Iori, A., Grazioli, D., Gentile, E., Marano, G., & Salvatore, G. (2005). Acaricidal properties of the essential oil of Melaleuca alternifolia Cheel (tea tree oil) against nymphs of Ixodes ricinus. Veterinary Pathology. 129(1-2): 173-176. Retrieved from:

5. Carroll, J. F., Paluch, G., Coats, J., & Krammer, M. (2010). Elemol and amyris oil repel the ticks Ixodes scapularis and Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae) in laboratory bioassays. Experimental and Applied Acarology. 51(4): 383-392. Retrieved from:

6. Tabanca, N., Wang, M., Avonto, C., et al. (2013). Bioactivity-Guided Investigation of Geranium Essential Oils as Natural Tick Repellents. J. Agricultural Food Chem. 61 (17): 4101–410. Retrieved from:

7. Thomas G., Jaenson, T., Garboui, S. & Pålsson, K. (2006). Repellency of Oils of Lemon Eucalyptus, Geranium, and Lavender and the Mosquito Repellent MyggA Natural to Ixodes ricinus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Laboratory and Field. J. Med. Entomolgy. 43(4):731-736. Retrieved from:

8. Dolan, M.C., Dietrich, G., Panella, N. A., Montenieri, J. A. & Karchesy, J. J. (2007). Biocidal activity of three wood essential oils against Ixodes scapularis (Acari: Ixodidae), Xenopsylla cheopis (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae), and Aedes aegypti (Diptera: Culicidae). J. Econ. Entomology. 100(2): 622-625. Retrieved from:

9. Hutschenreuther, A., Birkemeyer, C., Grötzinger, K., Straubinger, R.K. & Rauwald, H.W. (2010). Growth inhibiting activity of volatile oil from Cistus creticus L. against Borrelia burgdorferi s.s. in vitro. Pharmazie. 65(4): 290-295. Retrieved from:

About Anna Doxie:

Anna Doxie is a Registered Aromatherapist, Organic Cosmetic Formulator, and Essential Oil Educator. She serves on the Board of Directors for NAHA, as the Director Coordinator and Regional Director for Southern California. She is also the Founder and Director of the Institute of Holistic Phyto-Aromatherapy.

To learn more about Anna, please visit her website:


We'd love to hear your thoughts. Please share them below.


Stay Informed

Not a member yet but would like to stay up to date with NAHA? Considering joining but would like to explore the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy more? Join our e-newsletter today and stay in touch.

go to top