Dear Stephen,
I have read Healing Lyme and hoping that your experience and wisdom in these difficult treatments can help guide me. After much effort I have recurrent C difficile in remission. I would like to begin taking herbs but am afraid they may be broadly antibacterial and will affect the good gut flora that I have just re-established in my GI system. Can you tell me what herbs you would recommend for a C diff/lyme patient (with co-infections babesia, bartonella, ehrlichia) that won’t cause a recurrence of C difficile? Also, after failures on flagyl and vancomycin I resorted to treatment of the C diff with colonoscopic fecal implant – implanting donor fecal bacteria. This was generally successful but it takes 6 months to regrow the bacteria ad other flora wiped out by months of antibiotics. This young bacteria is now keeping the C diff in check. Would the cryptolepsis and berberine kill off the gut flora I have implanted? Thank you.
Stephen’s response:
Very few herbs have a negative effect on gut flora the way antibacterials do. You can take any of the lyme herbs; they won’t disturb the gut flora. Some of them do upset the GI tract but that has little if anything to do with upsetting gut flora. If you wish to treat the clostridium herbally, here is what to do: Formula one: cryptolepis/berberine plant tincture, equal parts, 1 tsp to 1 tbl, 3-6x daily for 14 to 30 days depending on severity. (A berberine plant is any plant that contains berberine: goldenseal, Oregon grape, barberry, coptis, and so on. Any will do.) Formula two: isatis/lomatium/licorice tincture, equal parts, 1 tsp 6x daily. Formula 3: blackberry root/marshmallow root, strong infusion, to 6 cups daily. If your GI tract is still sensitive, slippery elm/marshmallow infusion will help a lot as will fresh plantain leaf/cabbage juice (one time daily on the latter).  I would recommend you add Sida acuta tincture for the bartonella/babesia infection (you can get it from or I do know about the fecal transplants. They are becoming quite common now. The herbs won’t hurt the new fecal bacteria. The only thing to avoid would be grapefruit seed extract.
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