Dear Stephen,
I have just started taking sida acuta as per your recommendation for bartonella and babesia. I have severe brain numbness (24/7), failing and blurry vision with floaters, a host of emotional issues, chronic fatigue, migraines, etc. I have been using the other recommended plants in your protocol but to date there has been no change in my condition. Here’s the thing. Since taking the sida acuta I have noticed that my urine is much darker. I am still drinking the same amount of water that I have been for years. Could it be that the plant is beginning to work and the darker urine is a possible “die off” effect? I feel no differently, as of yet, but as I said I just started taking the sida acuta for only a few days. Again, the urine is glaringly darker, otherwise I would not have posted this question.
Stephen, I would also like to thank you for providing hope and for being a guiding light for those of us afflicted with this condition. I know that I speak for more than just myself when I say that overcoming the fear that is inherent with having this disease is daunting to say the least. It’s comforting to know that we have a friend and an ally to help us in our struggle as we try to regain our health. Thank you.

Stephen’s response:
Every so often people experience darker urine on herbs. I don’t know why and have not seen anything in the literature on it. Sometimes, when people are sick, their body does process a lot of the disease in the urine and for a while it will be darker, that is perhaps the reason. I would highly suggest you add some herbs for the neural problems you are experiencing, these may help:

• Chinese skullcap tincture ¼ tsp in juice or water 3x daily. Try for the Baikal (i.e. Chinese skullcap root tincture. NOTE: Do not use American skullcaps, they will not work for this.)

• Cordyceps 2000 mg (capsules) 3x daily. You can purchase the cordyceps capsules (Plum Flower brand) at 1st Chinese Herbs. (Note from editor: If you click on the 1st Chinese Herbs ad below this post, you can get the code for 10% off this brand)

• Kudzu root tincture ¼ tsp 3x daily. You can purchase at

• Lion’s mane tincture ½ tsp 3x daily. You can purchase at As yet I cannot suggest any other brands BUT this one.


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. dawn arnone

    Hello! my son, 20, has been treated for all kinds of co infections and lyme.
    He basically has schizophrenic type symptoms. He is afraid. Scared of the world. Doesn’t want to leave the house. Doesn’t want to drive anywhere.
    Doesn’t want to be with anyone but us.
    Please suggest something thanks Dawn

  2. gulay bayram

    As I am working full time, I can’t take all the tinctures with me to work so I mix the tinctures in the mornings in a plastic bottle and take them at work through out the day. So the tinctures are mixed and not consumed for hours. Would that effect and decrease the tinctures working? The tinctures I am mixing are the core protocol tinctures and sida, cryptolepsis, skullcap, hyuttinia, howthorne.

    I would appricciate your comment on this.
    Thank you very much for all you have done for people with this disease

  3. Justin


    Hopefully you have figured something out by now. But I treated similar symptoms with the standard protocol. Adding in all of the herbs that are specific for the neuro symptoms. Chinese skullcap and kudzu. Along with ashwagandha at night before bed.

  4. Angel

    Mixing is fine. But do use GLASS!!! you are not doing your body a favour putting alcohol in plastic and then drinking plastic particles.

  5. Esmerelda

    Porphyria causes dark urine.

  6. Kira Moore

    Doesn’t look like I can ask Stephen a question at this time, so I’ll just put this out there. I’m not sure why he recommends Beneficial Botanicals for Lion’s Mane. I’ve done some research on the subject and there seem to be higher quality products out there (higher Beta Glucan %, less mycelium, organic, etc). For example, Nammex (see ) has extremely high quality control standards. They work with Real Mushrooms. Perhaps he’s simply too busy to do a lot of research into the various manufacturers? If anyone knows, I’ll check back here. Thanks!

  7. Ruth Fredericks

    Hi Stephen,

    First, I want to thank you for all the time you have put in to research this complicated disease. Your efforts are truly appreciated by many in the lyme community.

    Secondly, I would like to know how you feel about cbd oil and thc in treating lyme and confections. Dr. Murakami speaks very highly of the cbd oil and found promising results with it in vitro, the research of Evas Sapi.

  8. Cheri Typaldos

    My daughter had similar symptoms and was diagnosed at the Pfeiffer Clinic in Chicago as having pyroluria, a genetic based form of schizophrenia. What you’re describing as your son’s symptoms fit the description of pyroluria. Here’s a website that helps explain it better…

  9. Tony W

    I’m seeking relief from brain fog, light headedness and depression/anxiety. I want to try the 4 herbs listed above plus the ones for neuro Lyme from the book. Should I be able to get relief that way? Or do I need to adopt the full protocol?

  10. Yael

    Hi Stephen,

    Thank you for all that you do.

    In short, I was diagnosed 4 years ago (after a tick 6 years ago) with Lyme. At which point, I realized (with the help of my doctor) that I had likely had Lyme for most of my life (I struggled on & off with different symptoms/ grew up on the east coast/getting ticks all the time).

    I have spent the last 4 years intensely healing from Lyme and other health challenges, mostly through the use of entheogenic medicines, Kambo (amazonian antibiotic frog medicine) foods, herbs and intense lifestyle shifts (I am no master herbalist/ but I did study herbalism and have a general plant knowledge base and strong intuition). Some days/ weeks/ months are better than others and I feel like I am constantly walking a tight rope of health.

    A few things have recently happened that inspired the reach out:
    1. I was diagnosed with chronic candida
    2. I moved from the forest to the city which has exacerbated the brain fog/ memory challenges/fatigue/anxiety.
    3. I decided to start taking Lion’s mane (2 capsules daily- “Host Defense”) to more deeply address the deep neurological issues. Within a few days, I had INTENSE joint flare ups and severe anxiety and brain fog. I stopped the Lion’s mane but intuitively I feel like it could still be a good medicine for me.

    I tried your protocol a few years ago but my system couldn’t handle all of the different herbs at the time/ was constantly in pain.
    My question is- is there a good way to take Lions mane that won’t cause this Herx reaction? And/or are there other herbs that go well with it? Specifically wanting to address Brain/memory challenges, muscle weakness, depression, chronic fatigue and candida.

    Thank you again!


  11. Lisa

    I am experiencing the same thing with my teenage son. Just wondered how long it took you to see results?

  12. Diane

    Hello Stephen,
    I am crying for help … I had a tick surgically removed from the back of my leg a little over a year ago. I have been hospitalized countless times since then with what seems to be a completely decrepit body. I was prior to this the perfect picture of good health. My blood work has never come back positive to Lyme and I am just at the point of needing to do something to endure my joint pains, my ribs feel like they are breaking and my hips ache feverishly. I suffer from ensomnia, night sweats, day sweats, foggy vision, headaches, terrible elbow pain. Gosh there isn’t a symptom I feel I don’t have. My question to you is… can I take the jknotweed, cats claw, and Eleuthera root all combined in a glass of water? I just received them today and am desperate to be a mother to my children again. I have been taking lions mane for a couple of weeks along with raw d, magnesium, milk thistle, monalaurin glutathione and taurine for a couple of weeks. Is it ok to take all of this together?
    I appreciate you and your research and all I have read about your healing so much! I have lost total hope in our medical system and don’t know where else to turn.
    Thank you whole heartedly!!!! Thank you and may you be gifted eternally!!!!

  13. healing lyme admin

    Hi Diane,
    The Q & A is no longer accepting new questions. But please search the archives to see how he has responded in the past to similar questions. I believe you can take all three together, but you might want to start slowly, taking a small amount of one and ramping up slowly before adding another herb. That way you can know which one gives you a problem, if any. Best wishes! Julie

  14. Peggy

    Got sick aug 2016 terrible lung inf, skin rash all over, morgellons, scarring. Today, no more outbreaks, scarring even lessening. Did ivermectin for awhile in combo with different kinds of antibiotics, slow healing.. then moved on and bought all this in bulk and took upperlimits of all: b vits, magnesium, msm, nac. Continued to get better at a more rapid pace. Then someone told me about shea butter African black soap that has fucus vesiculosis in it and that’s when huge improvements came. At least get the soap and start right away and use a bristle scrubber for your body- even your face. I’m told it kills the bacteria in your skin-well I believe it because I rarely have a crawling sensation and I have only been using it one month and I noticed a difference the very next day. There was such a huge improvement the very next day that I was so happy that I haven’t been so happy in a long time because it’s been a year of hell.

  15. Ray


    In answering a similar question, Buhner replied that the herbs of his “core protocol” could be taken together as powder in a glass of water or juice. [Though he advises against tap water in his book Herbal Antibiotics.] Buhner has also stated that tinctures of the herbs in the “core protocol” could be combined together and taken at once.

    Note that I am not commenting on the full complement of supplements you have chosen to take; I am unfamiliar with a couple of those, and it seems odd to me to take herbs for symptoms of neuroborreliosis when joint-related symptoms seem to be your primary complaint.

    I strongly advise you see a doctor who is familiar with tick-borne illnesses: Lyme, Babesia, Bartonella, Ehrlichia, Rickettsia, etc.

  16. Erica

    Has he treated with antibiotics first? His symptoms seem to be severe enough that he needs to be treated with antibiotics, herbs, and psychiatric med for reducing anxiety/depression. Once he starts feeling better, sleeping better, I believe that psychotic symptoms will decrease or disappear. My son has been on antibiotics for 13 months and has got better after 3 months. Now only dealing with brain fob, but he used to deal with anxiety, irritability, nightmares, insomnia as well as physical pains. Psychiatric med does not have to be permanent. If helps for the time symptoms are severe. Also improve diet. I serve sticky Japanese rice, canned sardine over sliced raw onion, lettuce, cucumber, avocado with apple cider vinegar and olive oil for breakfast for example. You can change sardine to mackerel file and change vegetables to parcel, cilantro, tomatoes, sliced raw okra, etc. You can make homemade coleslaw with apple cider vinegar, olive oil, salad olives, lemon balm(fresh herbs you can grow). Grow herbs at home and use them a lot for your cooking. Use fresh garlic and ginger as well as turmeric for anti inflammatory and bacterial effects. Lemon balm teas can ease anxiety and help with sleep. You can try (Melissa) essential oil for sleep and anxiety too. I have cooked almost everything from scratch for him for three meals last few years for his recovery. Avoid gluten, sugar, caffeine, and dairy. Have him take Epsom salt bath for detox. After bath, give him 10 min massage with essential oils (clove bud, german chamomile, frankincense, cedarwood with coconut oil as carrier) every night. This is all I have done in the past couple of years. My son has come long way. I was very scared at one point and would wake up in the middle of night and sat in the bed just reciting scriptures, but I am not scared any more. If you are a believer, anoint his room and your house with anointing oil and pray for the protection of your and his hearts and healing. I pray your son will get better soon.

  17. Debra

    Hi Diane, I think you will find the Women’s Lyme Support Group on FB very helpful as you move forward. Best wishes for healing.

  18. Annmarie

    How are you doing now, Diane?

  19. Katharine

    Hi Yael,

    I would love to connect with you more about using Kambo to treat Lyme. I just worked with Kambo for the first time recently and am experiencing a fairly intense Herx with neurological Lyme symptoms that had been dormant for 10 years.

    What has your experience been like? How many treatments did it take until you began to feel well?

  20. Mark Stephens

    Its good tobsee your pursuits for your son ..i have been suffering n my fanilt doesnt understand ..its caused much emotional traumas …i have severe headaches and symptoms …pray for us …..i had a wuestiin i did the strict kaufman diet ….you do some similar …wjatcis ” japaneese rice ” i use the briwn organic if i use rice …for a long time no rice but uts so hard having no grains and only quinoa ..please pray for my family

  21. Mark Stephens

    Dont use plastic for these strong oils and herbs …use glass don’t want leaching

  22. Mark Stephens

    Is the lions mane reaction from herxing or possibly adding fungus to a fungal infection ? Doug kaufman s research makes me wonder ..i too learned of lions mane n tried it but windered about it ..also cordyceps and rieshi …are these ok if you have a fungal core or coinfection ?

  23. Christiane

    all though this go back some years. For Future people reading.
    I think its important to point out that lions manes for help for nerves must be alcohol tincture. no matter the quality it must be alcohol tincture.

    This was very helpful in my search and understanding for which products are best. and what parts of mushrooms it should have and why.

  24. Heidi Tavernetti

    I have read no mushrooms when you have yeast, fungus & mold. I experienced Kambo and loved it for two sessions but think it added to a nasty type of fungal infection.

  25. Heidi

    Careful w/Kambo you may take on new pathogens. Remember the amazon has no pharmaceuticals so their pathogens & immune systems may be very different from yours. I’ve experienced it and in hindsight it was NOT my best idea although it was amazing the first time.

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