Department or Program

Biological Chemistry

Primary Wellesley Thesis Advisor

Julie Roden

Additional Advisor(s)

Anthony D'Onofrio


Lyme disease is the fastest growing vector-borne illness in the United States. Its causative factors, are the spirochetal bacteriumBorrelia burgdorferi and its close relatives. Infection in humans hard to treat, and long term, or chronic, illness follows initial Borrelia infection approximately 20% of the time. Many sufferers turn to non-traditional methods of treatment. This study sought to identify and test natural products for anti-borrelial qualities, using anecdotal success as an initial filter. Thirty-five herbal Lyme disease treatments were so identified. Extracts from these materials were made using three solvents, and tested against Borrelia burgdorferi. Anecdotal success proved to be an effective filter for Borrelia inhibition, allowing us to identify several extracts which inhibited its growth, and also several growth enhancers, each of which should be further investigated as relevant to understanding and treating Borrelia infections in humans.