What ARE Spirochetes?

What ARE Spirochetes?

Chapter One of Stephen Harrod Buhner’s excellent, information packed book Healing Lyme is entitled Borrelia Burgdorferi: a Potent Emerging Disease.  How much do you know about this life form that is causing so much havoc?

Here are some direct quotes from his book:

“Lyme disease is caused by a particular kind of bacterium-a spirochete. Spirochetes are some of the most ancient bacteria on Earth; they have been around billions of years longer than humans and they are very smart. The word spirochete literally means ‘coiled hair.’ And while this does describe their appearance to some extent, they actually look, more than anything else, like a tiny, very active, worm.

There are eight different genera or kinds of spirochetes…and over 200 different species in these eight genera have been identified so far, and there are likely more. The kind of spirochetes that cause Lyme disease belong to the genus Borrelia. The way Latin terminology works is that the first name- of a bacteria or plant, for instance- is the genus name, the second is the species name.

The organism that causes most of the Lyme disease in this country is called Borrelia burgdorferi…Sometimes for ease, this Latin terminology is abbreviated B. burgdorferi or even, in the case of Lyme disease, Bb. …There are three main Borrelia that are considered to be the cause of Lyme borreliosis: Borrelia burgdorferi, B, afzelii and B. garinii.

…B. burgdorferi is more common in the United States, the others more common in Europe and Asia but all (and many others besides) exist on all three continents and infections with more than one type of Lyme spirochete commonly occur. All of them are able to cause markedly different symptom pictures at different times in different people in different places. They are not limited to specific continents. All borrelia organisms are moving around the world with a great deal of freedom-airplanes are used by more life forms than just people…

…All the borrelia species are pathogenic, that is, they all cause disease. And while many spirochetes live wild in Nature, no borrelia species have been found to do so. They always seem to need a host species in which to live. Lyme spirochetes resemble nothing so much as a corkscrew-shaped worm, which is what they act like when they enter living tissues. They literally ‘screw’ or ‘worm’ their way through tissues to the sites they wish to colonize.

This kind of mobility allows them to colonize highly viscous mediums such as the collagenous tissues around the knees or the aqueous humor of the eye. Free-living spirochetes, the ones that do live apart in Nature, like to live in similar substances, usually thick mud. Non-spirochetal bacteria enjoy more liquid mediums; they cannot easily exist in the kinds of viscous environments that spirochetes prefer.


From:  Healing Lyme  Natural Prevention and Treatment of Lyme Borreliosis and Its Coinfections by Stephen Harrod Buhner. Raven Press, Silver City, NM. 2005.