Stephen Harrod Buhner, Earth poet
Stephen Buhner is an Earth poet and the award-winning author of fifteen books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine including the acclaimed book Healing Lyme: Natural Healing & Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis & Its Co-infections. His work has been profiled in The New York Times, CNN, Good Morning America and other media throughout North America and Europe. Since October 2006, Stephen has tirelessly answered hundreds of questions from those following his herbal protocol through his Q & A column.
Healing Lyme by Stephen Harrod Buhner
Published in 2005, Healing Lyme: Natural Healing And Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis And Its Coinfections by Stephen Harrod Buhner examines the leading scientific research on lyme infection, its tests and treatments, and outlines the most potent herbal medicines and supplements that offer help - either alone or in combination with antibiotics - for preventing and healing the disease. It is the essential guide to lyme infection and its treatment. Thousands of people have used the protocol to successfully manage their symptoms. buy the book
Cat's Claw
Rather than making it a priority to kill the lyme spirochetes in any form, Stephen's approach to managing lyme disease is as follows:
1. Support collagen structures so that damage to the body systems ceases;
2. Enhance immune function so that the body can deal with the organism itself;
3. Shut down the inflammatory pathways the spirochetes initiate, especially in the CNS;
4. Treat symptoms;
5. And only then, try and kill the spirochete.
Herb capsules
Please note: Here is a brief look at the stripped down core approaches to treating Lyme and some of its co-infections. Stephen highly suggests buying his relevant books so that you can see the full expanded protocols. This is just a starting place; the full protocols are much more sophisticated, especially the listings for the many accompanying symptoms that often need to be addressed.
1. Japanese knotweed root (Polygonum cuspidatum) • Powder: 1 tsp - 1 TBS of the root powder 3x daily. Start at the lower dose and work up, OR . . . • Tincture: ¼ - 1 tsp 3-6x daily, OR . . . • Tablets (Green Dragon Botanicals): These are normally labeled as resveratrol on the bottle. They are in fact knotweed root standardized for resveratrol content. (Note: Don’t use grape resveratrol; it won’t work very well.) Some comments on tablet dosages below:
2. Cat's claw bark (Uncaria tomentosa) • Powder: 1 tsp 3x daily, OR . . . • Tincture: ¼ - ½ tsp 3x daily, OR . . . • Tablets/capsules (Green Dragon Botanicals): 1–4 500 mg tablets/capsules 3x day.
3. Andrographis (Andrographis paniculata)• CapsulesBegin with a small dose and work up. I would recom­mend 600 mg (1 capsule) 3x daily to begin with, for one week. Then, if there are no side effects, increase the dose to 2 capsules 3x daily. Please check the side effects on this herb: Unpleas­ant allergic reactions can occur.
4. If you have neuroborrelliosis, add: Gou-Teng (Uncaria rhynchophylla)Tincture: ½ – 1 tsp 3–6x daily, depending on severity of brain infection.
5. Collagen support protocols (see book) are often essential, as well.

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• Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) (Source Naturals Resveratrol with 500mg Polygonum cuspidatum per tablet) - 1-4 tablets 3-4x daily for 8-12 months;
• Cat's claw (Uncaria tomentosa) (Raintree) - 1-4 tablets 3-4x daily for 2-3 months, then 2-3 capsules 3x daily;
• Eleuthero (Eleutherococcus senticosus) (HerbPharm tincture) - 1/2 to 1 tsp upon rising and at lunch;
• Astragalus (Astragalus membranaceus) - 1,000mg daily (not to be used in chronic lyme)

Stephen is now also recommending Ashwagandha (withania) to help remedy sleep problems at night and brain fog - 1000 mg at night just before bed.

To purchase herbs, see: herb source listing


Stephen generally recommends the use of a Sida acuta/ Cryptolepis/ Alchornea cordifolia blend for the treatment of babesia these days: ¼-1/2 tsp 3x daily. You could as well do ¼ tsp of each of these three tinctures 3x daily. These three tinctures can be purchased from Woodland Essence. You can also use just one of those herbs; his first choice is Sida acuta, second is Cryptolepis sanguinolenta. Stephen no longer recommends artemisinin or artemisia for babesia infections. It can work, but whatever you are treating, Sida acuta will work better, especially for babesia or bartonella. see also: babesia

Research is ongoing, this is the most up-to-date protocol:
Sida acuta tincture (from Woodland Essence or ¼ tsp 3x day for 30 days
• Hawthorn tincture, same
• Japanese knotweed, (tincture, same dose (from same sources as Sida acuta, above), or capsules from Green Dragon Botanicals 2 capsules 3x daily)
• EGCG 400mg +- daily
• Houttuynia (Yu Xing Cao – 1st Chinese Herbs, powder – use “LYME” code at checkout for 10% off) 1 TBS daily
• L-arginine 5000 mg daily in divided doses
• Milk Thistle seed, standardized, 1200 mg daily
All for 30 days.
PLEASE NOTE: If you have active herpes, chicken pox, or shingles DO NOT USE L-arginine. see also: bartonella

see: ehrlichia

To purchase herbs, see: herb source listing


Not seeing progress with your treatment?

• Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt reports that over 80% of his chronic lyme patients do not get better until they address an underlying condition known as hemopyrrollactamuria (HPU), also known as kyptopyrroluria (KPU). more

• Some patients have reported that the Buhner herb protocol was far more effective when they added the enzyme nattokinase to help break down biofilms. more

Recent Q & As

  • Source for Uncaria rhynchophylla

    Dear Stephen, I'm having trouble locating Uncaria rhynchophylla as a separate product from Uncaria tomentosa -- as recommended for neuroborreliosis....

  • Which is more up-to-date – your website or books?

    Dear Stephen, The core protocol in 2nd edition is quite different than what is presented on your website....

  • Young Living Essential Oils

    Dear Stephen, I would be very interested in hearing your take on Young Living Essential Oils (YLEO) and their use for lyme....

  • Muscle spasms

    Dear Stephen, I'm having severe muscle spasms in my upper back and neck muscles associated with lyme and babesia. I've tried different muscle relaxants, massage, prolotherapy, a...

  • Kidney stones with lyme

    Dear Stephen, I keep making calcium/oxalate kidney stones. I've increased my calcium and magnesium, staying away from high oxalate foods and still am having recurring stones. Pl...

  • When to take bartonella herbs

    Dear Stephen, I recently ordered your recommended bartonella protocol products and would like to know how these should be taken (e.g., time of day, before/after meals, etc.)....

  • Using allicin/allimed with herbs

    Dear Stephen, What are your thoughts on using allimed (concentrated allicin) with your protocol?...

  • Red swollen gums

    Dear Stephen, My husband has a new symptom, not sure if it is related to his lyme disease. His gums are red in certain places and swollen....

  • Can lyme affect us more on one side of the body?

    Dear Stephen, Why does it seem that lyme affects one side of my body more than another?...

  • Strange skin condition

    Dear Stephen, For over a year I've been struggling with a strange skin condition on my face, I hope you can help....

  • Boneset extract instead of tea for babesia symptoms?

    Dear Stephen, By chance, I have boneset extract from Woodland Essence. Can I take that instead of the boneset tea you recommend for babesia induced sweats and chills?...

  • Okay to supplement l-arginine with mycoplasma?

    Dear Stephen, I read an article saying to avoid supplementing l-arginine with mycoplasma, and to avoid arginine-rich foods such as nuts and seeds. Do you agree?...

  • Mixing mycoplasma and babesia protocols

    Dear Stephen, I live in Europe where it is hard to find lyme specialists open to herbs. What do you suggest for both mycoplasma and babesia?...

  • Aggressive bartonella infection

    Dear Stephen, You say that the bartonella protocol should be used for 30 days. If I still have bartonella symptoms after 30 days should I stop the protocol or continue longer?...