Dear Stephen,
I’m a 27 year old woman who’s been sick for the past two years. It started with bloating and mild food allergies that deteriorated into so many food allergies I can barely eat, a distended stomach, aching muscles, brain fog, constant sweating, joint pain, stomach pain, difficulty swallowing, insomnia but severe exhaustion, etc. I feel like I’m 60 but for all my complaints, a constant distended stomach is causing me so much shame. My doctor recently diagnosed me with chronic lyme but doesn’t want to put me on a year’s worth of antibiotics. I just ordered your book and some of the supplements you recommended – but do you have any suggestions besides the Japanese knotweed for helping with awful bloating and inflammation? Thank you so much.

Stephen’s response:
I would highly suggest you get my book The Fasting Path: For Spiritual, Emotional, and Physical Healing and Renewal and use the cleansing diet in the back of the book for a month or so then do a juice fast. I would highly suggest you use cabbage, beets, carrots, celery in the mix. I would also suggest the use of:

• Baikal skullcap
• cordyceps
• motherwort
• rhodiola

Use in tincture form, ¼ tsp of each in water or juice 3x daily.


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:

You May Also Like …

Natural solutions for PMS

Natural solutions for PMS

Dear Susun, Is there something natural that would help with severe pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS)? I’m completely done with trying antidepressants. But I still suffer and could really use some help.

read more


Dear Susun, Have you ever worked with adhesions? I have them all throughout my abdominal/pelvic area, esophagus, diaphragm, ribs, and lungs.

read more


  1. laura miles

    Oh my gosh whoever you are above I am so sorry you are feeling all of that. I’ve had all the exact same symptoms except the bloating. And it’s horrible. I pray Stephans’ answer helps. I’m going to try it too but I can not go on a fast being I’ve lost way too much weight with the food allergy.

  2. Kae

    To the 27 yr old who feels like she is 60…

    You are not alone. I’ve gone through the exact symptoms for 3 years until I found Buhner’s Protocol. Doctors still refuse to believe in Lyme even though I test positive for it every single time. I had the hives from the andrographis, but started taking the Eleuthero, and I am starting to feel human again. On top of that, because I had the bloating as well -I started a diet of gluten free, no white processed sugar diet that is being medically scrutinized (doctor visits every other week). This has tremendously helped with the swelling and bloating, but unlike you and most others – I GAINED weight with Chronic Lyme (I have Lupus too). It is shameful and difficult, but remember that you are taking care of you and that you are important. People will say awful things, but you have to remember that what they say is a reflection of them, and not you. Good luck. I wish you the best.

  3. Carol

    1 Try a Gluten Free Diet.and
    2 Take a digestive enzyme with meals that has large amounts of amylase and cellulase better if it also has protease, lipase, maltase and invertase.
    3 Bloating often stems from poor gallbladder function. ( sluggish bile flow)Try Standard Process Betafood with meals. (beets help the bile to flow more freely.)

  4. Shiloh

    Hi all, This may be a bit off topic,
    But I used to have a lot of stomach problems, feeling shitty and distended, things not digesting well and gas production. i kept trying different foods, and it seemed like nothing was helping. I know now how to eat and cook better for that problem, but what I want to relay here is that surprisingly, the practice of Falun Gong (the chi-gong practice thats under crack-down in china)
    really helped clear those symptoms up to the point where I feel more like my belly is an iron furnace that can digest most foods and remain placid.

    One more thing- Maybe think of the stomach as a fire- treat it like a fire. You don’t want to put too many wet logs on it, or to little fuel. You need the right mixture of foods to create a strong, vibrant flame that can smoothly consume anything you feed it. Try Chyawanprash if you feel called :

    Good luck!

  5. Andrea mendia

    Hi Stephen-
    First I want to thank you for being a brilliant man helping so many the way God intented!
    I have suffered 10 years chronic fatigue, sinus problems , dropping eyelid , extreme exhaustion, muscle joint fatigue especially going up steps, off balance , eyesight off, floaters in eyes, extreme migraines each month that put me in bed for days, extreme weight gain . I have lots of neuro symptoms also.
    Where do you recommend I start?

  6. Shelley

    I have been suffering for years with Interstitial Cystitis. I was diagnosed with Lyme through Dr Fry. I don’t know what to believe. I tested negative for Lyme according to an infectious disease specialist. Is there anything I can take for the bladder pain. I fight yeast with solaray, I take enzymes after eating. I also try to avoid sugars, dairy, gluten, and many things bother me. Last year I was diagnosed with ITP. I really need some answers since I can’t find a Lyme doctor where I live. I can’t get a second opinion since no one believes me. I suffer from tremendous bladder pain.

  7. Mimi

    I am sorry to read you have IC. You need a very good lyme literate doctor. I had “IC” for 2.5 years and was finally diagnosed with chronic lyme. I had a lot of other symptoms that were lyme symptoms leading up to the bladder stuff. I just had Zyto testing ordered by my lyme doc on top of the IgeneX lab tests for Lyme and co infections. If your test was ordered by an infectious disease doctor than it was not accurate as they use the CD tests which are not as sensitive. A little reading will reveal to you how political this issue is. CDC only cares about surveillance of the disease in accute forms that are diagnosed immediately CDC does not count chronic cases that are seen in a doctors office because they are harder to diagnose. You need a very good Lyme Literate Medical doctor to diagnose you, and then treat you with herbs, antibiotics, and maybe even the new Low Dose Antigen for lyme. If you respond, then you know you have it. I have had it along tine and have other infections that piggy-backed with it. Also, I would strongly recommend you do not take digestive enzymes while you have bladder pain. it is the WORST thing for bladder issues. Follow the diet outlined in Fast Track Digestion:IBS. That will help your digestion without digestive enzymes. By the time you have lyme with bladder symptoms, you have a very high lyme load and this is going to make you and your bladder very sensitive to supplements. Be careful with them until your lyme is treated. Many LLMDs will skype with you, including Dr. Schweig in Berkeley, CA, and I believe Dr. Raj Patel, in Redwood City. Best of luck.

  8. Nick

    Dear Stephen,
    I’ve been desperately sick for over 20 yeras, to the point of now being virtually housebound, and depleted beyond belief. Rampant food allergies, malaborption and leaky gut are central issues. I noticed you recommend people with similar issues to do cleansing diet and juice fasting for weeks and months on end, but how on earth would this be possible when I’m already down at 7.5 stone (I’m just under 6 foot tall)? Also, there are simply no energy reserves left for cleansing, detoxing, fasting etc. What to do?
    Blessings, Nick

  9. jane

    Possibly might want to check out Epstein Barr/ Mono symptoms. I am learning that having had this can have much farther reaching complications than I, or any doctors, ever understood. I also have all the symptoms you have/had and a few more. Best of luck!

  10. amiety

    hi stephen. I have leaky gut, I have lyme and now find out I have dientomeba. parasite. my dr wants to treat with paramomycin and doxy for parasite I do not have LLD.. my head is a mess, my hormones have changed. I am 46 and now my family has parasite too. worried about the bacteria in my brain. my 10 year old daughter and 12 year old son. my daughter has leaky gut. what should I do. focus on gut or parasite. I am bloating, in pain with cramps, irritable, becoming itchy all over.. can you suggest protocpl. I am taking SB only and not coping. cant find anyone to help me.

  11. Frances

    I have so many ailments going back 50 years, now Lyme (not recognised in Australia). I was told by a naturopath that 80% of autoimmune diseases are due to leaky gut. I’ve ordered all the books I could find at the library re autoimmune disease. Just finished one by Amy Myers, MD. The diet recommended is not easy but hopefully will get rid of many symptoms and then concentrate on the Lyme.

  12. Kim Whitaker

    It is so important to heal the intestines when dealing with Lyme. Raw milk kefir is amazing for healing the gut and immune system. Also, the Vitamin C/Salt protocol works well for getting rid of Lyme for almost everyone who follows the protocol correctly.

  13. Becky

    Kim how does one do the vita/salt protocol? Desparate here sin is greatly changing/burning. I have Lyme

  14. nicole

    I have the exact same symptoms–have you found any answers or discovered anything that has helped yet? I have had Lyme for many years and have unsuccessfully been able to get rid of symptoms despite my best efforts. I have developed so many allergies that my diet is extremely limited and I also react to many medications and supplements. Any advice is appreciated.

  15. Jenny

    Oxidative therapies including high dose (25 g – 75 g) vitamin C drip, glutathione IV drips, UVB blood irradiation treatments, ozone, as well as high dose of powdered Nystatin for systemic yeast have all helped me tremendously with my multi food/chemical allergies, symptoms from Rickettsia, CFS, etc. I still deal with some mitochondrial dysfunction and am currently doing these treatments. I take a lot of supplements to deal with SNPs from DNA tests as well as vitamins for malabsorption/metabolism of certain key nutrients. Mold illness and Lyme have very similar symptoms and many people who have one have the other. Check out Dr. Rowen for ozone, Dr. Shoemaker for mold illness, Riordon Clinic for oxidative therapies, Dave Aspery for helpful health info.

  16. Megan

    Oh my soul, your story just described mine in words. I’m so sorry for your pain. I truly do understands if you are seeing any improvement would you be able to contact me? I’m too ill to know where to start.

  17. Karen

    It seems like everyone seems to lose weight with lyme disease, but I have gained 25 lbs this past year and feel terrible. I have only been on the protocol for a little over a week but I was wondering if protocol will help me get back to my normal weight? Has anyone had success in losing weight with only using the protocol, or is there something else that I can add or do?

  18. Karen

    I have put on 25 lbs in the last year due to lyme and babseia. I really would like to lose the weight as I think that this will help with some of my symptoms. I just started the protocol and was wondering if the protocol will help me to lose weight, or if there is something else that I can add.

  19. Megan


    My heart goes out to you. I have gone through the same thing. I went from 130 down to 92lbs and back up to 140lbs out of no where. I have severe gastroparesis and malabsorption and so for me it doesn’t make sense. The one thing I have been reading and researching is that horomones can cause severe weight gain as well as chronic inflammation from lyme. This seems to be very common as I had a friend when she first got sick lose a ton of weight and now she has gained more than ever. I am just as confused and perplexed as you are. I pray you find some answers. I’m sure you already have a great doctor checking these things but maybe check T3 and T4 levels as well as DHEA and cortisol output. Another thing which may not apply but that I have had affect me is complex PTSD from a lifetime of abuse and trauma. Complex PTSD taxes the adrenals due to the constant fight or flight from stress. The constant output of cortisol to calm down the immune system and inflammation can cause massive weight gain. Especially around the midsection. I was an athlete in college and now I have a belly! Something very new for me and confusing for someone who can hardly eat. Regardless of if emotional trauma is an issue, stress from lyme or any of these systemic infections can cause massive inflammation and lead to weight gain. I hope this helps, and maybe can be something you can look into. Take care!

  20. Susan

    Hello, I admire how you have been so determined in your wellness efforts…….and have done so may “state of the art” modalities. Did you actually go to the Riordian Clinic in Kansas???? I have also been considering going there for IV C and other things.

  21. Seneca

    I’m so sorry you deal with that, I also have interstitial cystitis along with suspected chronic Lyme disease… something that helps me with my IC pain is vitamin a (in the form of beta carotene) and an herbal tincture called bioactive nutritional botanical complex. It has arnica, slipperly elm, calendula, st John’s wart, echinacea and propolis. I hope it helps you!

  22. Amber

    I know this is old but: you can still fast. You simply need to consume enough calories during your non-fasting period.

  23. Kristen

    I know this is over a year old but I was wondering if your weight issues resolved. I’ve gained 7 pounds over the past year which sounds like not much but on a very short frame my belly protrudes enough that it looks like I drink every night.

  24. Sarah

    YEP I have the same symptoms. Severe gut bloat and constipation with a pretty big belly after eating and chronic SIBO and def a chronic bartonella infection. I think colloidal silver, LDN, coffee enemas help greatly with this along with the buhner protocol with bartonella.

  25. Justine

    Re Food allergies: I have had multiple chemical sensitivity for over 10 years as a result of 36 years of EBV and gut damage am being treated on a desensitisation program in the UK at Breakspear hospital. I don’t know if there are any such treatments in USA. What I have learnt is that with sensitivities, you can in most cases repeat eat a food after15 days without reaction, but try this with small quantities. The important thing is to rotate foods with a minimum of 5 days in between. Some foods this may not work with, but 15 days should be OK with most. Cooked foods are safest as raw foods gets absorbed too quickly. This wont work with IgE allergies-most tests will be able to test for these more hazardous reactions, and if positive the foods must be avoided altogether.

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

empowering the environmental illness community