“There is a reason so many Lyme sufferers seek out alternative treatments. It is not because they are insane, uneducated, overly hysterical, stupid, or gullible. It is because they are ill, they know they are ill, and conventional medical treatment has not worked for them. (Just because someone is ill does not mean that, as far too many physicians think, they have suddenly become stupid.) Too often, when they turn to their physicians for help after antibiotics fail, they are told it is all in their heads or that they will just have to live with their reduced functionality or that they actually are better – they just can’t tell. Too often they find themselves in the middle of the Lyme wars where the paradigm of treatment becomes more important than the health and happiness of the patients themselves.
Healing is possible in Lyme disease, we have seen it over and over again – even in the most intractable cases. There is hope, don’t give up.”
– Stephen Buhner, Healing Lyme
Lyme Disease. It’s not just the Lyme infection but the body's INABILITY to deal with the infection. The standard kill, kill, kill approach will never bring about balance and a solution to “dis-ease”. There’s no eradicating chronic Lyme just like there’s no eradicating every bacteria you’ve ever been exposed to. Lyme is a stealth pathogen so sophisticated and intelligent that it bypasses the immune system, replicates every 1-16 days, and bores into all bodily tissues.
The goal and approach shouldn't be to eradicate Lyme completely (near impossible) but rather should be to strengthen the immune system. A weakened immune system will eventually become overrun with stealth pathogens whereas a robust and healthy immune system will keep pathogens in check. It’s all about the inner terrain of the individual battling Lyme disease. With multiple approaches and treatment modalities to choose from all have the same end goal which is to strengthen the body and bring about a peaceful existence where the immune system once again has the upper hand.
But how do you strengthen it?
I went down the antibiotic route. I was taking upwards of 11 antibiotics a day at my worst. ELEVEN. It’s common knowledge that antibiotics can destroyed the gut and do just as much harm as good but for a time they kept me out of bed and functioning.
Medicine has its place and is useful for a time but is not the solution.
There’s a part of Lyme healing that must be intuitive and it will look different for each individual. I stopped antibiotics when my body told me to. I eventually tuned into what my body was telling me and let it lead the way. I knew my antibiotics had run their course and I couldn't push my body anymore subjecting it to the harsh antibiotic treatment.
My body was speaking to me that it needed more nourishment, less aggressive measures.
"There is no one way to health such that in all times and all places and with all people it will always work. Life, and disease, and the journey to wellness are much more complex and sophisticated than that. So, trust your own feeling sense and pay attention to what your body is telling you. You are the best judge of whether something is working for you or not, whether you need to add something else or not, whether you are getting better…or not.” – Stephen Buhner, Healing Lyme
All-natural approaches to healing have always intrigued me and with a body that was yelling at me loud and clear to stop the antibiotics I turned to herbal modalities. I researched the Cowden protocol, the Buhner protocol, Dr. Rawls protocol, and more. There were many good choices but for cost and convenience purposes I went with the Buhner protocol. I purchased Stephen Buhner’s “Healing Lyme” book and began to make my own tinctures with the help of my handy husband who made all the supplies.
One by one began providing healing nourishing herbs into my protocol to lower inflammation.
Before we get into how I made my tinctures I want to explain the reasons I chose the Buhner protocol and his "why" for choosing the specific herbs he uses.
Buhners herbs are chosen specifically for their evidence based research backing up their efficacy.
Buhner's herbs have good success with Lyme patients. “ In general the practitioners I have contact with report that 75% recover completely, 10-15% are relieved of most or all symptoms, 5-10% are relieved of some symptoms, 5% have no response.” – SB
In addition to the "Core" protocol for Borrelia Burgdorferi Buhner also has 9 protocols for Lyme coinfections Tick Borne Relapsing Fever, Tick Borne Chlamydia, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Bartonella, Babesia, Mycoplasma, Ehrlichia, and Anaplasma infections.
His protocols are designed to be used either alone OR in conjunction with antibiotics. “These protocols are designed to be used along with antibiotics if you wish to do so. I don’t think you necessarily have to give up either pharmaceuticals or natural medicines to find health. However, if you have tried antibiotics and they have failed to help you, the protocols in this book can be used, effectively, all by themselves…” –SB
Buhner's protocol allows for flexibility to add or subtract herbs. He acknowledges that there are other treatment modalities, herbs, and therapies that are useful and to use your body as a guide to point you where it needs to go empowering each Lyme patient to tune into their body. "You are the best judge of whether something is working for you or not, whether you need to add something else or not, whether you are getting better…or not.” – SB
BUHNER'S APPROACH TO TREATING LYME:
(1) Protect endothelial structures (The single-cell layer that protects blood, lymph vessels, heart) (2) Use cytokine remodulators; quell overly-aggressive inflammation. See “Cytokine remodulators” p. 210. Treatment: The best cytokine remodulators include Scutellaria baicalensis (Chinese skullcap), and Salvia miltiorrhiza, (“Dan Shen” in Traditional Chinese Medicine / TCM), or Red-rooted sage ) (3) Protect collagenous structures; collagen- rich tissues are tendon, bone, cornea, arterials walls. See “Restore collagenous structures” p. 210. Lyme bacteria break down collagenous structures for food. The more that collagen is broken down, the more severe symptoms become. To restoring collagen: selenium (200mcg daily); bone broth soup; Great Lakes Gelatin powder a/k/a “Collagen Hydrolysate”; Kudzu (Pueria lobata) ; Vitamin C: 1,000-3,000 mg daily.; Vitamin B; Vitamin E; Zinc: 25-50 mg 1x daily; Hyaluronic acid, Cod liver oil ; Strong infusion of nettle, horsetail, oatstraw, Red clover and/or other mineralizing herbs. (4) Use immune-modulating herbs to restructure the immune response; "little, if any, tissue injury occurs in immunocompetent animals";Eleuthrococcus senticosus (Siberian ginseng), American and Asian ginsengs when more strength is needed; other immune-supporting herbs. Astragalus, Rhodiola, Cat’s Claw, Ashwaganda, Baical skullcap (5) Use herbs/supplements to protect and restore damaged physiological structures; repair damage done by antibiotics. Consume Collagen Hydrolysate, Horsetail, Comfrey, Marshmallow root, Calendula (Great Cape’s “Gut Health Tea” ); “DGL” lozenges (deglycyrrhizinated licorice root ) (6) Use herbs / supplements to reduce specific symptoms; “brain fog”, muscle and joint pain ; headaches ; cardio-vascular damage, etc (7) Antispirochetals "Andrographis is, in our experience, the most effective one at present" (Buhner, p. 213)
BUHNER’S CORE PROTOCOL
Japanese Knotweed (Resveratrol)| Cat’s Claw| Eleuthero| Astragalus
Japanese Knotweed (Resveratrol) indications: prevention, acute onset, Bartonella co-infections, antispirochetals, neuroborreliosis, Lyme neurotoxins, memory and cognitive dysfunction, Lyme arthritis, dermatoborreliosis, Lyme carditis (with palpitations and shortness of breath), immune modulation, headaches, reducing Herxheimer reactions
Cat’s Claw (Uncaria tomentosa) indications: prevention, acute onset, immune modulation
Eleuthero (Siberian Ginseng) – indications: acute onset, chronic fatigue, brain fog, neuroborreliosis, depression, immune modulation, sluggish thyroid, Post Lyme Disease Syndrome (with weakness and fatigue)
Astragalus – indications: prevention, acute onset, Erlichia co-infections, neuroborreliosis, Lyme carditis (with angina, palpitations, and shortness of breath), immune modulation
Andrographis paniculate- indications: prevention, acute onset, antispirochetals, dermatoborreliosis, immune modulation, headaches, chronic fatigue
Artemisinin (Artemisia annua) indications: Babesia co-infections
Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera) indications: take 1,000 mg at night just before bed for insomnia, brain fog
Cordyceps indications: increases NK cell activity, reduces cytokine cascade
Sida acuta indications: babesia, bartonella
Skullcap synergist (increases benefit of other supplements)
indications: protective of nerve tissue and liver function. It is an immunomodulator, reduces cytokine cascades
Gou-Teng (Uncaria rhynchophylla)
Licorice: (Glycyrrhiza glabra)
Indications: Adrenal Fatigue
Dan Shen (Salvia miltiorrhiza)
Inidications: Neuroborelliosis, Babesia co-infections, modulation of the cytokine cascade, thereby stopping the majority of inflammation
Artemisinin (Artemisia annua) indications: Babesia co-infections
Why Make Your Own Tinctures?
What are tinctures?
Tinctures which are herbal alcohol extracts provide you with a concentrated dose of active medicinal plant compounds.
Why make your own tinctures?
Purchasing a one-ounce bottle with cost you around $13-$20 retail. That isn’t too bad but when you begin to add up all the tinctures needed and the frequency at which you reorder (1-2 weeks depending on your dosage) it can become burdensome. For individuals seeking to save some money making your own tinctures can be an excellent solution.
Making your own will cost around $5-6 for four ounces of dried herb plus around $15 for 1.75 L of 90-proof vodka. You will get two (one-quart) jars of tincture and it breaks down to around 33 cents per ounce. That’s a big cost difference for a disease that requires perseverance and time.
For this reason making your own tinctures can be a very cost effective option for many! With the right tools and instructions you can set yourself up to save in the long run.
How to Begin Making Your Own Herbal Tinctures
· One-quart Ball jars
· Herbs of Choice
· Aristocrat 90-proof vodka
You Can Make Your Own Tinctures One Of Two Ways
The links below are detailed videos of the two methods. I suggest watching both and determining which is best for you. I followed the directions closely while making my tinctures using the percolation method and had great success!
1. The Percolation Method
2. The Maceration Method
NOTE: It’s worth noting that the alcohol in the tinctures would irritate the lining of my gut which was already compromised from the antibiotics. In an attempt to both nourish my body yet also heal my gut I used tinctures for about 6 months before I transitioned to using the herbs in tea at the recommendation of my ND. I would reuse the same herbs 3 times (3x in one day) by placing them in a tea strainer and allowing them to steep for 20-30 minutes. If you have a compromised gut this might be a good avenue to consume the healing properties of the herbs. In addition to the Buhner herbs I added Cistus incantus, Holy Basil, and Calendula tea. The Cistus is wonderful for Lyme, Holy Basil for antifungal properties and calendula to heal the lining of the gut.
A typical tincture dose is 30 drops, or 1/4 tsp, 3-6x daily. However, some herbs have a much lower safe dosage, and some require a higher dose to achieve results. It’s best to read about the dosage for the herb(s) you use in Stephen Buhner’s book “Healing Lyme”.
Best Websites to Purchase Herbs and Save:
Treating Lyme is not cheap but continuing to suffer with Lyme for years prolonging illness isn’t either. I attempted to do the best with what we had and saved where I could. The websites below are quality herbs at a good price point.
Your journey towards health has begun and you saved a lot of money along the way!
For more information on the Buhner Protocol you can purchase his book Healing Lyme here to get started!
My husband made the stand to let the herbs percolate in. He used old wine bottles and purchased these stoppers on Amazon.
Stands were made and herbs where ground up and placed in the homemade percolator.
The final product. I used these herbs 3x a day for the remainder of my treatment. I noticed more stamina, less fatigue, mental clarity, reduced pain, and more.
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Stefanie is a Certified Functional Medicine Health Coach & Holistic Nutritionist whose passion for health and wellness was sparked when her health took a turn for the worse. After seeing 20+ physicians she was diagnosed with Lyme disease and Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome. She sought to heal her body so that one day she could help those still on the other side with the knowledge to help and the compassion to relate.