Dear Stephen,
I have recently been diagnosed with lyme and all co-infections though I have been ill for two and half years. I started experimenting with the protocol i.e. trying one herb at the time at the starting dosage recommended. I have had some kind of inflammatory reaction in the tendons of my fingers where the joints are with redness, swelling, tenderness and stiffness (I get relief from icing or placing my fingers in cold water). Polygonum, andrographis, artemisia and smilax all cause such inflammation. It all starts after a couple of days on any of such herbs. However, I have noticed a similar reaction with some antioxidants/vitamins in particular Vit A/betacarotene, Vit E, grapeseed extract (the worst), lycopene, and even garlic extract (Allimax).
I have had no problems with astragalus. A rheumatologist I consulted did not know what to make of it other than say that it’s not the joints. All tests for RA and any sign of autoimmunity were negative. Do you think this is a temporary reaction and should I persist with the herbs (though this leads to increased inflammation and movement restriction in my fingers) or should I avoid the herbs altogether?
I am not sure what to do. I don’t want to give up cat’s claw which has brought a SIGNIFICANT improvement in my condition. I had limited stamina, could not walk or stand up for more than 5 minutes at a time. After less than a week on the herb, I was able to walk 15-20 minutes and recover much more quickly. I have experienced a notable improvement in my sleep patterns as well. And that’s just from one herb—that’s amazing! I also felt great on andrographis and I miss it. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Stephen’s response:
Well, that is a puzzler. I have heard, from time to time, of a few people who have experienced tendon inflammation on cat’s claw, but this is something else again.
The primary thing I can think of to do is to get my book on fasting and do a cleansing fast first, then go for a week or ten days on the juiced ginger/cayenne/honey/lime drink. If you wish you can email me directly while you go through that and I will be glad to give you feedback on it. I would like to see what happens if you do that and then begin to reintroduce a regular diet and herbs, one by one.
The only other thing I can think of is to lower the dose of the cat’s claw to a very minimal dosage and to also begin to use eleutherococcus tincture and see if you respond to it better. I actually have never heard of anyone experiencing more inflammation from that anti-inflammatory formula.
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