Dear Stephen,
About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease that didn’t fit neatly into any pre-existing category (not exactly rheumatoid arthritis or scleroderma or mixed connective tissue disease or lupus—but having some characteristics of each). My main symptoms are fatigue, chronic diarrhea, and joint pain/enlargement/deterioration/inflammation, mainly in my hands. Also clubbing of several of my fingers, and calcinosis; calcium seems to have leached out of my bones and deposited into my soft tissue.
About five years ago I tested positive for lyme by IGeneX labs. I have been loathe to do antibiotics and so have been taking care of myself with good nutrition and regular acupuncture. But it’s not enough. I read your book, Healing Lyme, about two years ago and was very excited to get started. But just two days on resveratrol caused a major gut blow out. So I dropped the project for awhile. I’m working with a new rheumatologist now, one who actually treats lyme. But she’s not convinced that I have an active lyme infection because on my latest IGeneX labs my IGM 41 band is indeterminate; whole blood and serum, both genomic and plasmid, all negative for burgdorferi; Western blot IGG negative also.
So my question is this: if I were to do your core lyme protocol—and I don’t have an active lyme infection, just autoimmune disease (whatever that really means)—could any of the herbs be harmful? If not, what would you recommend for me to start with, as someone whose main complaint is arthritis and a very dicey gut? ( I just did one week of andrographis, and decided to stop because even that loosened my stool a bit, whereas the literature says it tends to constipate.) I was thinking of starting with stephania root, and that seemed to cover a number of my issues. And I’m hoping that a tincture might be easier on my guts than pills that take more work to digest. What you think? Thank you so very much for all your good work.

Stephen’s response:
The herbs won’t be harmful however given your symptoms I would begin with teasel root tincture for the arthritis, you could also consider the other herbs I mention for arthritis in the lyme book; they will be very helpful. As to the gut problem, you might consider the use of freshly juiced cabbage and plantain leaves (combined with carrot and beet and celery). This will often help GI tract problems if used daily each morning for a month or so.
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