Note: This is an updated version of the article first published 10/31/11. To meet the requirements of federal law this article no longer includes supplement product names. It also includes dosing updates. The rest of the article is accurate and up to date.
In chronic Lyme disease Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw
- kill the various forms of borrelia (the Lyme germ),
- decrease and eliminate biofilms,
- treat dormant Lyme germs that are unresponsive to prescriptive antibiotics, and
- prevent Lyme disease relapse.
Marty Ross, MD on Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw
I am having quite a bit of success using the herbs Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw tinctures even when prescriptive antibiotics are no longer working. I added these two herbs into my treatments in August of 2010 based on a research paper published in the July 2010 Townsend Letter. Eva Sapi, PhD and her research group showed that Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw treat the various forms of the Lyme germ and reduce biofilm colonies.
When I first started to work with Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw, I introduced them into the treatments of my patients that had plateaued on prescriptive antibiotics at a good level of health. During these plateaus I had tried various prescriptive regimens targeted at all three forms of the lyme germs and treated for biofilms with lumbrokinase to move the treatments forward without success. Many of these patients had energy levels of 80% of normal with minimal body pain and good cognition. For these patients I offered Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw as a means of preventing recurrence off of prescriptive antibiotics and to possibly move the treatments forward. I started the each of these herbs as tinctures at 10 drop 2 times a day and added 1 drop per dose per day till each patient was at 20 drops 2 times a day.
To my surprise, I observed that nearly 90 percent of patients I placed on this protocol had marked improvements in fatigue by the follow up appointments at 2 months. Some reported significant die-off reactions. Eventually based on my patients’ observed and reported successes, I started to work with Otoba Bark Extract and Cat's Claw in the middle of treatment courses and now at the initiation of treatments.
I am pleased for my patients because across the board I am observing good benefits. In the beginning and middle of treatments, I am finding success with these two herbal tinctures that compare with those of prescriptive antibiotic regimens. At the end of treatments or when a patient has plateaued, I am finding that these two herbs also move treatments forward.
Working with these two herbs, I have changed my opinion of the benefit of herbal anti-microbials. In the past I recommended teasel, cumanda, andrographis, and cat's claw in various combinations and in rotations similar to those found in the Cowden Protocol. In my practice I found success with herbal anti-microbials about 60% of the time. This compares with the 90% chance of improvement that I have observed with prescriptive antibiotic protocols. Naturally, when given a choice between the herbs and prescriptive anti-microbials with these observed success rates, most of my patients elected prescriptive regimens. That is changing now and I believe that the Otoba Bark Extract/Cat's Claw combination provides a very effective option that may approach the effectiveness of the prescriptive regimens.
Method of Action:
So what is going on here? Based on the work of Sapi et al, I think this combination effectively kills the various forms of Lyme borrellia while it limits biofilm formation. Biofilms are layers of slime produced by germs. They may limit anti-microbial effects and hide germs from killing by the immune system. Sapi's work shows that Cat's Claw and Samento have a synergistic effect where the sum of the killing is greater than the individual effects of each herb. My success in moving plateaued treatments forward even suggest that these herbs can kill germs in dormant phases where prescriptive antibiotics do not work. I am not clear from Dr. Sapi’s work if these two herbs break up biofilms or if they kill the germs in the biofilms which results in the biofilm decline. In the end it does not really matter, because for my patients, this combination works.
Over time, because of Herxheimer diie-off reactions, I have changed how I start the regimen. Now I start treatments at 5 drops 2 times a day of each herb and increase the dosing every 2 days by 1 drop per dose till a patient is taking 30 drops 2 times a day. If you experience a die-off reaction at any dose, do not increase the dose till the die-off reaction has improved. With this approach I am finding limited die-off reactions.
Take these herbs together without food. But they can be taken with other supplements and medications. Do not have them beginning 30 min before eating until 2 hours after eating.
One more thing one manufacturer of these two herbal tinctures recommends that they are taken atleast 15 minutes apart from each other. I do not find this matters, and I have patients take both of these together all of the time.