It’s been a very warm and wet winter here….perfect for a lot of pests to grow and breed and lay their plans of total destruction. One of the worst pests, in my opinion, is the deer tick – the one that carries Lyme disease or Lyme borrelliosis,
One major problem is that Lyme is easily and frequently misdiagnosed. The bad news is that physical consequences of a tick-borne illness like Lyme are horrendous and can be slow to show up,arriving years after exposure.
Prevention is your friend. You don’t want to play host to one of these nasty arachnids but chances are you, one of your kids, your significant other or your dog is going to get bitten. Here are some ideas for fighting back, preventing bites and treating bites when it’s too late.
Think about buying Martin S Permethrin Sfr Termiticide/Insecticide
I get it on Amazon at a concentration of 38% – that’s more than 5 times the strength of the Pyola you would buy from someplace like Gardens Alive and it’s cheaper.
You may be screaming, “Hey, that’s not organic! Permethrin is actually a synthetic compound that mimics pyrethrin found in chrysanthemums. We use it sparingly and only when needed to spray the perimeter of our fenced in yard. It usually only takes one soaking spray to do the trick. NOTE: I spray before beneficials and buds show up. As an organic gardener, I hate to spray but hate the prospect of Lyme disease or borelliosis even more
Buy some permethrin-treated clothing – it might help prevent bites but be aware of the pros/cons per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Clothing is available at REI and Sawyer or you can spray your own clothing to prevent tick bites. Keep in mind the precautions recommended for skin or eye contact.
Read up about your enemy. My favorite book (illuminating and terrifying) is by Stephen Harold Buhner. I read the 2005 version but Buhner just released a version in 2015 – Healing Lyme : natural prevention and treatment of Lyme borreliosis and its coinfections / Stephen Harrod Buhner.
If you are unlucky enough to be a tick host, Buhner advises you not to wait. Begin a treatment protocol right away! Even if your doctor says you aren’t positive for Lyme!!
Anyone who owns or a horse or hangs out with the horsy set knows that the most frequently prescribed treatment is Doxycycline. I only mention this because some physicians refuse to order doxy if the Lyme titres aren’t there. If you have a horse or know a horse owner, you might be able to find what you’re looking for at the barn.
Whether or not you get doxy, the man who wrote the book on Lyme also has some herbal alternatives you can try, too.
Buhner’s web site has a wealth of information on treating Lyme. If you go there and click on Prime protocol, you will find a list of recommended herbs and sources for herbal treatments. Note that all of these herbs are also available through Amazon, I think, but beware who makes them. You want pure and healthful.
Buhner’s Core Protocol
1. Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) (Green Dragon Botanicals) – 1-4 tablets 3-4x daily for 8-12 months;
2. Cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa)(Green Dragon Botanicals) – 1-4 tablets 3-4x daily for 2-3 months, then 2-3 capsules 3x daily;
3. Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) (HerbPharm tincture) – 1/2 to 1 tsp upon rising and at lunch;
4. Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) – 1,000mg daily (not to be used in chronic lyme)
You can also source these from other sites but after reading Buhner’s book, I think I might start with his recommended sources to begin with.
There are few natural or wild things that scare me but ticks are a source of real terror for me. I will prevent them from being in my garden or house if I can. If I can’t, I will make sure I am vigilant, check for ticks on myself and my dogs every day and follow Buhner’s protocol if I find an attached tick.
By the way, you can have any tick tested for $50 at U Mass Amherst. It’s better to know your enemy and be able to show your doctor just what your tick was carrying!
Want more tips on preventing problems with ticks? The Illinois Department of Health offers some straight up ideas for making your summers safer and healthier.
Safe and happy gardening.