Lyme Disease and Cat’s Claw

by Ron Kennedy, M.D., Santa Rosa, California

Until now the big problem with Lyme disease was diagnosis. Now, Dr. Joanne Whitaker has invented an apparently 100% reliable test for Lyme disease. Her lab actually tests for the presence of the Borrelia boriensis (the causative organism) itself, not just antibodies to Bb. Her methods also detect the cell wall deficient (CWD) form. Her test is called Q-RIBb for quantitative rapid identification of Bb. The test uses an animal derived antibody to Borrelia boriensis modified to carry a fluorescent molecule. The antibodies attach to both the spirochete form and the CWD form and, under the right color, will light up under a microscope. With this test, Dr. Whitaker not only can detect Lyme directly, but it can be done in only 20 minutes and she can tell you the severity of the infection is by the number of organisms present. Dr. Linda Mattman has confirmed that Dr. Whitaker’s test is virtually 100 percent sensitive. It will rarely, if ever, miss a diagnosis. Dr. Mattman checked Dr. Whitaker’s work by simultaneously culturing the samples and she found a 100 percent correlation between her lab’s detection and Dr. Whitaker’s test. Dr. Whitaker’s lab can be reached on the internet at or at 727-937-9077.

Dr. Whitaker’s lab also checks for two co-infections associated with tick bites. Babesia is a protozoon, like the malaria organism, and infects red blood cells. Erlichia is a bacteria, fortunately treatable through conventional antibiotics, including the type that treats Bb. It appears that babesia can be eliminated with artemisinin (100 mg three times daily). ( Artemisinin was developed as an anti-malarial.)

Samento is a form of cat’s claw from the Peruvian jungle that is superior to typical forms. The beneficial effects of most cat’s claw preparations are blunted by the presence of TOA (tetracyclic oxindole alkaloids), which inhibit the real active agents, called POA (pentacyclic oxindole alkaloids). The latter, more favorable compounds are known to modulate and up-regulate the immune system. Many commercially available cat’s claw preparations contain up to 80 percent TOA. As little as one percent TOA can reduce POA effectiveness up to 80 percent. In addition, the specific species of TOA-free cat’s claw contains considerable quantities of quinovic acid glycosides. These compounds are what the latest generation of quinolone antibiotics (such as Cipro) are based on. The natural compounds provide safe and significant direct antimicrobial effects on Lyme disease.

Treatment with TOA-free cat’s claw isn’t an instant cure-all. It can take a long treatment process because of the variety of forms of Bb, the long length of time it can exist in the body in the CWD form, and because it can hide out inside cells. It is when they emerge that they are susceptible to white cell attack and elimination. The mature spirochete form is sensitive to attack by antibiotics or the immune system, as well as the improved cat’s claw. The organism can lie dormant for months or years after infection. In fact, a 1998 Swiss study showed that only 12.5 percent of Bb positive patients have symptoms. Conventional medicine has grown up thinking bacterial infections can be cured in 10-60 days. They believe that if antibiotics don’t cure you, what remains can’t be Lyme. That is wrong. This mistaken idea rests on the lack of knowledge about the characteristics of the cell wall deficient form of bacteria.

Three companies currently market the improved cat’s claw. Allergy Research Group/Nutricology, which also distributes artemisinin, can be reached at 800-545-9960 or Ask for Prima Una de Gato. Nutramedix’s product is called Samento Plus, and is available by calling 561-745-2917 or on the web site: Farmacopia also carries the product ( or 800-896-1484). I don’t recommend any other commercially available cat’s claw at this time because of the likelihood of TOA content.

A comprehensive strategy to detoxify, replenish nutrition, and strengthen mental/spiritual well being is absolutely essential. Do not rely on TOA-free cat’s claw alone for this monster bacteria! Removal of mercury fillings and treatment for heavy metals may be required for best results as well as treatment of underlying conditions, notably chronic (usually undetected) gut wall infection..

A positive Bb test does not necessarily guarantee that the bug is the major cause of your particular problem. It’s entirely possible that Bb can be an opportunist, taking advantage of already weakened or damaged tissues. However if Bb is there, you can be sure it is a drag on your health and must be eliminated to achieve complete recovery. In the last six months of operations, Dr. Mattman’s lab found only two negative specimens out of 400 patients. One was a man from Germany. The other was a dog. Thus in symptomatic people, the infection rate is astronomically high.

ALS, MS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, chronic fatigue, autoimmune disease, and almost every other chronic disease are simply named for their symptoms or discoverer rather than their causes. They do not have to be a death sentence or spell life long chronic suffering. Now you know a major aggravating factor, how to get it diagnosed, and how to treat it.

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