Is Banderol a Botanical Solution for Lyme Disease?

What does the medical research show about banderol and Lyme disease?

A man walking across a field,away from a flock of geese outdoors in the fresh air.
Tuck pants into socks or boots to prevent ticks from crawling up pant legs. Mint Images - Tim Robbins/Getty Images

If you’re in the know about natural remedies for Lyme disease, chances are you’ve heard of a botanical called banderol. Sourced from the bark of a South American tree known as Otoba parvifolia, banderol is said to knock out Lyme-related bacteria and offer an alternative treatment for Lyme disease. But does the medical research back up these claims?

While banderol has drawn attention as a possible remedy for Lyme disease, it’s also said to help with a host of other health issues.

For example, some proponents suggest that banderol can help stimulate digestion and improve functioning of the respiratory system.

Banderol is touted as a natural treatment for other health problems as well, including asthma, artherosclerosis, Parkinson's disease, prostatitis, psoriasis, sinusitis and urinary tract infections. But it's important to note that there’s currently a lack of scientific support for the claims that banderol can help with any of these conditions.

How Is Banderol Sometimes Used for Lyme Disease?

Spread through the bite of infected ticks, Lyme disease is caused by a type of bacteria called Borrelia burgdorferi. It’s the most common tickborne infectious disease in the U.S., with infection rates on the rise and the disease expanding to new territories throughout the country.

For help in managing Lyme disease naturally, some people use a six-month protocol known as the Cowden Condensed Support Program.

Popularized in part by Richard Horowitz, M.D. (author of "Why Can't I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme and Chronic Disease"), this program involves the use of a number of herbal extracts thought to clear the body of disease-causing microbes (i.e., bacteria). These extracts include banderol, as well as a remedy called samento (a form of the herb cat’s claw).

Both banderol and samento are often recommended as alternatives to antibiotics, which are the standard treatment for Lyme disease. Proponents suggest that these herbal remedies may help patients steer clear of the side effects sometimes associated with antibiotic use, such as gastrointestinal distress.

Banderol and samento are also said to aid in the treatment of Lyme disease by reducing chronic inflammation. Some research shows that inflammation may contribute to Lyme-related health issues like muscle weakness, memory loss, headache, and depression.

In addition, banderol and samento are sometimes used to control a condition called post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome. In people with post-treatment Lyme disease syndrome, symptoms linger long after a person has completed his or her course of antibiotics. These symptoms include fatigue, muscle and joint pain, sleep disruption, and mood changes.

Research on Banderol for Lyme Disease

At this point, there’s very little evidence to back up the claims that banderol can help treat Lyme disease.

One of the few available studies was conducted by the Lyme Disease Research Group at the University of New Haven and published in 2010, with a series of laboratory experiments showing that a combination of samento and banderol may help knock out Borrelia burgdorferi. However, scientists have yet to confirm these findings in clinical trials involving Lyme disease patients.

Lyme Disease and Antibiotic Treatment

If you’re showing signs of Lyme disease (such as fever, headache, fatigue, and skin rash), it’s crucial to seek medical attention right away.

In most cases, Lyme disease can be cured with antibiotics. The sooner you begin treatment with antibiotics, the more quickly and thoroughly you’re likely to recover. Letting Lyme disease go untreated can cause the infection to spread to your joints, heart, and nervous system.

To protect yourself against Lyme disease, use tick repellent, take caution whenever you’re in the woods or other areas with overgrown grass or bushes, and check your body for ticks.

Before using banderol (or any other natural remedy) in the treatment of Lyme disease, make sure to consult your physician to discuss the potential benefits and risks associated with this approach.

Sources

Datar A, Kaur N, Patel S, Luecke DF, Sapi E. In Vitro Effectiveness of Samento and Banderol Herbal Extracts on the Different Morphological Forms of Borrelia Burgdorferi. The Townsend Letter. July 2010.

Horowitz R. Classic and Integrative Medical Therapies For Lyme Disease and Associated Tick-Borne Disorders. P T. 2009 Apr; 34(4): 203–214.

Kugeler KJ, Farley GM, Forrester JD, Mead PS. Geographic Distribution and Expansion of Human Lyme Disease, United States. Emerg Infect Dis. 2015 Aug;21(8):1455-7.

Ramesh G, Didier PJ, England JD, Santana-Gould L, et al. Inflammation in the pathogenesis of lyme neuroborreliosis. Am J Pathol. 2015 May;185(5):1344-60.

Vojdani A, Hebroni F, Raphael Y, Erde J, Raxlen B. Novel Diagnosis of Lyme Disease: Potential for CAM Intervention. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2009 Sep; 6(3): 283–295.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

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