Dear Stephen,
I’ve had hellish symptoms now for over 2 years. I live in Utah where statistically lyme is the lowest in the country. I was the typical story of someone suffering going from doctor to doctor. I finally came across an ND who did many tests including the lyme Western Blot test. It returned 6 antibody bands. A positive for lyme. She gave me doxycycline for 3 months and clindamyacine for 1 month. In the meantime I found your site online and ordered herbs to carry out the core protocol concurrently with the antibiotics. While on the antibiotics and the core protocol I’ve gotten more and more fatigued, depressed and feel terrible. I took a break from the herbs for a time to see if anything would change, but felt no difference. I’m still on the protocol with the knotweed (from Green Dragon Botanicals), cat’s claw, eleuthero, and astragalus (from Nature’s Way). I even added in Planetary Herbals’ andrographis. I also take reishi mushroom, rhodiola, and a lot of vitamin c with bioflavanoids.
Blood tests show that my WBC is VERY low (2.7). My CD57 count is borderline. My CFS seems to be only getting worse. Since then I’ve additionally had a test positive through Igenics lab in California on their lyme DNA test. My worst symptoms are chronic debilitating fatigue (weakness), depression, and some mind fog. Don’t most people begin to feel better within the first few months on the protocol? It’s been around 5-6 months for me…but I’m worse if anything. In fact ever since the antibiotics I’ve gotten worse and worse. There are few to turn to here in Utah. Very few options of where to go. You’re one of my few lifelines. Any suggestions?

Stephen’s response:
Sorry to hear it has gotten so bad. I have heard, for many years, from about 15% of people who take antibiotics that they get much worse on them. There are as well, a few people who use herbal protocols that also feel worse. If I were in your situation I would stop all the herbs for a week, then begin again with:

Baikal skullcap
lion’s mane

Muscle Weakness Formula from (Try Sage Woman Herbs for the others)

Tinctures only – ¼ tsp of each in water 3x daily for 30 days and see if you feel better. These should help with the fatigue, weakness, depression, and mind fog. If they don’t help then another approach will be necessary. If they do help then more can be added then.


This protocol was incredible. After only a few weeks most of my symptoms were gone. After six months all my symptoms were gone… it has given me my life back.

– Amazon review by Joseph

Please note:

Stephen Buhner is no longer living and this Q + A column on Planet Thrive is closed to new questions. It will be kept on our website so readers can access vital information in the archives, communicate with each other in the comments section, and find herbs, books + lyme adjuncts in our directory. If you want to read more of Stephen’s writings, please see his website at:

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  1. Teri

    Hi there,

    I would suggest, if it hasn’t been done- trying for a vitamin panel, which includes vit D. I’d never had it done, even by man LLMDs.. it turns out there is fairly common lyme and d deficiency, which can cause a lot of similar symptoms.

    also, if you haven’t, try testing, checking for food allergies, intolerances- particularly wheat-gluten, and casein— which allergies tend to be common with lyme patients.

    again- you may already know this and have tried it.. if not, it was worth putting out there.. as there are many facets and aspects around lyme that extend beyond just killing off spirochetes:)


  2. Carol

    At my Wellness center we use Stephen’s Protocol, with amazing results. There are a very few clients that don’t respond to his protocol. Of these we have been able to help some when we use teasel root (in very small amounts to avoid healing crisis) Start with 1 drop am and 1 drop pm.(slowly work up from there) Several clients that were the sickest and had to use a cane to walk, were helped with teasel root. We also recommend the client start on Ondamed therapy and asyra testing. We can test supplements in a manor similar to muscle testing. In this way we individualize the protocol. Another important arrea of concern is to be sure the client is taking a drainer. (otherwise they may feel worse) Again this is individualized to each client. Some of the drainers we try are burdock root,red root, spanish black radish, garlic, or antronex. We also recommend dry skin brushing and bouncing on a rebounder if possible, to assist the lymphatic system.
    We have also found that many with Lyme resonate with a hypothyroid. (that doesn’t show up on blood tests) Many of the hypoithyroid symptoms mimic Lyme. I find that some that are very sick, have many hormonal issues and nutrient deficiencies along with the Lyme. Unfortunately Lyme gets blamed for everything and other issues are ignored.

  3. Wendy

    I also contracted Lyme in Utah (Zion National Park). I’m sure we are not alone!

  4. Benedicte devleeschauwer

    Hi carol, I realize this is 4 yrs later but where is your wellness center? Do you take online clients? I’ve been following the buhner protocol through vital plan but can’t afford his prices anymore . I also feel I need more personal tweaking .
    I live in San Diego .
    Thank you

  5. Linda ragusa

    What wellness center are you at?

  6. Hilda Moleski

    Yes Carol, I would like to know where your wellness center is located also please.

  7. Tj

    I live in Utah and suffer with Lyme as well. I am pretty positive I contracted it here and have had it most of my life, all of my children now have it. (Herriman, UT) I just moved up to the mountains to get out of our horrible pollution and found several others with Lyme that have moved here for the same reason. Small world.

    I am looking into Bruhners protocol since I hear of him all over internet, he seems very wise. Good luck everyone.

  8. Thea Dossano

    I have lyme syndrom in france and Hashimoto
    im doing now ( starting ) Buhner protocol soon

    im very sorry for all the people sick of Lyme and pray for them

    the Environnement is crucial, nature has been modified and spoild, all around us with Glyphosates, Aluminium, CHemtails( aluminium, baryum, arsenic, lead, strontium, … ) and endocrien disruptors in chemtrails , food, water and air
    first of all i recommend to check yout THYROID and see a good doctor for lyme who knows about Thyroid and can make the teste and find the right thyoid hormon to support it

    2 ) heavy metals its very important you detox slowly by your food, not taking chemical chelations ; Coriander, ( cilantro ) , dulse , safe spirulina, wild Bluberries,are HM extractors .. plus lot of raw grens and raw vegetables in salads every day, plus herbs like rosemary, minth, thyme, parsley and garlic, lemon everu day , plus virgin olive oil. ( no more hydrogenated oils )

    3 ) if your food is not clean and organic you cannot heal

    4 ) gluten, milk, cheese, soy mill, soy, corn, pork, sugars, cakes, sweets and all indutstrial food have sot be removed

    once the nutrition is enhanced and pure, the herbs and the tinctures will do their job and herx reactions will be less violent

    your New House is: to forgive to all not to keep old memories of fear and anger, not to look back and keep Faith..

    Nutrition is the foundation then herbs are the building walls and the roof of your new house is faith, hope and gentleness for yourself and the others.


  9. Gloria Bruce

    I am interested to find out where your healing center is! ALSO, do you skype with patients? I live in northern CA.
    I started Stephan’s protocol 2 months ago. I can’t say I am better. I am also getting accupuncture treatments. I am taking many supplements recommended by Dr. Bill Rawls and Buhner.

  10. Amber

    Hello! If you contact ILADS they may be able to help you. Many of these clinics use the Buhner protocol with great success.

  11. Karen

    I feel like im healed from Lyme, Toxoplasmosis, Borrella, Babesiosis.
    Its been almost 3 years of treatment. Gotta keep at it! Ive had to rebuild everything in my body; all organs and immune system. Detox! Detox!
    Buhner protocal works great. However i also used homeopathy Desbios series as well. No antibiotics. My husband and 2 daughters have it too.

  12. Dawn Jarman

    Have you been introduced to colloidal silver,
    Cistus ancanus/rockrose tea
    Neem leaf powder
    Oregano oil
    Wheat grass juice
    These are crucial to healing
    All are on amazon
    Eat fermented foods and lots of water –
    These are biofilm buster
    Viral killer and antimicrobial
    Antifungsl, mood and metal toxicity cleanser and much much more! I hv Lyme and this is my current protocol after 5 years remission!!

  13. Tara

    Does the buhner protocol help RSMF? My daughter who is 8 has it. I don’t want her on antibiotics long term. She started taking them the end of Oct. Thanks

  14. Headless Horseman

    It depends on if she also has Lyme disease. I was diagnosed with RMSF four years ago, but after treatment with doxycycline I didn’t improve and instead became pretty sick, because I had a bunch of other stuff including Lyme. According to research, however, doxycycline should kill it within a month or less. If it doesn’t you should look into getting her blood tested from IgeneX and finding a LLMD just to make sure she is safe. If they don’t test using a full Western Blot, the visit is wasted. And of course if she’s on antibiotics, get her on a probiotic stat to ensure she keeps her gut healthy etc. Also take a look at the protocol I wrote on Reddit here:
    Be sure to check back as I am still tweaking the protocol to make it more effective.
    And these websites may be helpful too:

    God bless and may you and your daughter stay safe and healthy.


    I am also in Utah.. I am looking to reach out to others who are struggling with this horrible disease..

    Please reach out to me.. I am in Murray and need support . Thanks!

  16. Wai Bernardy

    I was tested Lyme positive about 12 years ago via ELISA & Western Blot. Was prescribed 3 weeks of antibiotics and told that that would be sufficient. It wasn’t. Today, physically, i’m good. Mentally, not so at all. I have serious brain fog and had to abandon my software consulting business. Today, I still have brain fog and very poor short-term memory. Can you recommend a protocol for my condition?

  17. Mark L Ziemianski

    What Thea says about diet is valid. When I went gluten free I felt 90% better in two days! Not that all that better has lasted but am now getting all the other bad diet items out and feel that recovery from Lyme and Babesia will finally be possible. My Lyme doctor had suggested gluten free two years ago but I resisted and now understand the connection.

  18. Lonni Clarke

    You’re not alone! I live an half hour from Zion Nat’l Park so I am very interested that you’ve got it nailed down to that location. I don’t think that I had been anywhere but in my own backyard in St. George. When I first became sick in 2005 I showed my bull’s eye rash to four different doctors and not one understood its significance. I sought treatment at a Fibro and Fatigue clinic in Las Vegas and they never tested me for Lyme. They refused when I suggested the definitive tests. There are a few of us Lymies here, but no one specializing in treating it.

  19. Amy

    What type of thyroid test are you referring to? Please explain further in relation to Lyme and co-infection treatment/diagnosis, etc.
    thank you,

  20. catherine

    Carol Stanton is the Founder and Director of Nature’s Wisdom Wellness Association in Rhode Island

  21. Jennifer Shima

    I’ve been taking Buhner’s protocol for 3 months and all of a sudden, my main symptoms are back and badly (headaches, fatigue, hip pain, etc). Has the protocol suddenly stopped working?

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