Strange skin condition

by | Mar 26, 2013 | Columns, Healing Lyme, skin/tissues/veins, Symptoms | 24 comments

Dear Stephen,
For over a year I’ve been struggling with a strange skin condition. In the beginning, a few times a week at night my cheeks would get a little warm for an hour or so. A year ago it started to happen every night and my cheeks would stay warm longer. I used some metronidazole cream and an antibiotic, which worked temporarily. Since then it has gotten worse, I feel the heat even deeper – not only on my skin but in my whole head. Two days ago I used the fresh juice of artemisia and it felt a little better, the heat wasn’t so intense and it lasted a shorter time. But yesterday when I put it on again before going to bed, my skin seemed to react to it in a positive way at first. But when I was in my bed I couldn’t sleep and it started to get really, really bad – I felt heat in my cheeks, mouth and nose, this time more intense than ever before.
I started doing your lyme protocol (the original one with andrographis) a few days ago. I was in India traveling for six months about three years ago – could I have gotten an infection then? I’m sure that I have candida; is it possible that it got under my skin and this is causing the heat? The strange thing is that it is at night that it is worst, as if there were some parasites that are most active when it is dark. Moreover, I have swollen fingers in my right hand, and they are worse at night as well.
Stephen, I know it is very complicated and it is hard to explain in an e-mail but maybe you have an observation? My main question is whether I can I use fresh artemisia juice on my face. I’m making steroid cream according to your book (using willow bark), but it takes time to make. Thank you Stephen for reading my story. You’ve already helped me, giving hope that there is an alternative to standard medical treatment which doesn’t work with me unfortunately. Best regards from Poland.

Stephen’s response:
Yes, you can use artemisia juice on your face. I am not sure what to say about the symptoms you are experiencing. I have thought about it in some depth and nothing is coming to mind that I feel certain will help. You might try a homeopathic remedy – apis. Use according to directions on the bottle. It might help.

  • Stephen Harrod Buhner

    Stephen Harrod Buhner was an Earth poet and an award-winning author of twenty-four books on nature, indigenous cultures, the environment, and herbal medicine including the acclaimed book Healing Lyme: Natural Healing & Prevention of Lyme Borreliosis & Its Co-infections.

    Stephen came from a long line of healers including Leroy Burney, Surgeon General of the United States under Eisenhower and Kennedy, and Elizabeth Lusterheide, a midwife and herbalist who worked in rural Indiana in the early nineteenth century. The greatest influence on his work, however, was his great-grandfather C.G. Harrod who primarily used botanical medicines, also in rural Indiana, when he began his work as a physician in 1911.

    Stephen’s work has appeared or been profiled in publications throughout North America and Europe including Common Boundary, Apotheosis, Shaman’s Drum, The New York Times, CNN, and Good Morning America. Stephen lectured yearly throughout the United States on herbal medicine, the sacredness of plants, the intelligence of Nature, and the states of mind necessary for successful habitation of Earth.

    He was a tireless advocate for the reincorporation of the exploratory artist, independent scholar, amateur naturalist, and citizen scientist in American society – especially as a counterweight to the influence of corporate science and technology.

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. Campbell

    the symptoms you are describing may be consistent with a rare nerve/blood vessel disorder called erythromelalgia. this can be a devastating illness. Please see Jay Cohen’s website on the disease. You will need super specialized help very fast for this condition.

    Good luck

  2. gordon

    greetings and good news to all suffering here…i have had the lyme co-infection; morgellons for quite some time, never found the key to stopping the growth of the wounds on my face for over ten years until I rubbed food grade diatomaceous earth all over the wounds and in ten days I SEALED the wounds…also took internally…HUGE ADVANCES, possibly the cure!

  3. Tessa

    How do you take it internally? I have morgellons, too.

  4. Jan Keller

    I am not sure if you had an answer yet about taking DE internally, but I have doing it as part of the salt/C Plus protocol for about a year now. I find it to be a very helpful detoxer. I take 1 Tbsp mixed into a glass of water once a day in the evening before bed. It must be a high quality FOOD grade DE. I started with 1 tsp and gradually moved up to the 1 Tbsp level so as to not shock my system too much at the start. The protocol also suggests using 1 tsp of french green clay which I get from to make sure it is a good pure source. Also for detox. I worked up to that level gradually too. I just mix them together in same drink. As I said, I have been taking this for about a year and find that little drink in the evening is one of my best friends for the aches and pains of toxins in my system. Hope this helps.

  5. couragegirl


    I also got a similar thing in the tropics. I have crusted scabies with also these string-like things. Today my skin felt strangely hot as well and somehow electric on the face. I really dislike that feeling of mites in the air. An air purifier; a few matches struck, will help. Also gargling with iodine restores some peace. Bugs hate iodine.

    Scabies are known to be active at night just like most arthropods. I guess that is why. I think you may have crusted scabies too. You need to start medicating without further delay. If you have stuff coming out when you medicate then it is a good sign, no panic.

    You may not have any burrws or other typical signs, that is normal in the crusted version. Just salt-like stuff coming out of thighs, buttocks, hands, feet. Hair and face are problematic too.

    Your fingers may be hurting because of the salt-like crust under the skin. I massage it out, coconut oil is best for this. Use tea tree oil or Betadine or alcohol hand rub. African soap is supposed to be good.

    I massage my skin after showering, an hour or two every day, to avoid getting any sores. Then I apply Permethrin that I mix in any cream,much cheaper than to buy from the pharmacy. Or on other days I use enzyme detergent lathered on, unrinsed, followed by sulphur cream. For your hands, wear gloves the whole day, they will soften your skin; then it is easy to massage the stuff out.

    Massaging is not enough; it does not kill the mites or strongyloides worms. I use Ivermectin 16 mg which is a better dose than the useless 12 mg. Take it in the evening so you sleep through it.

    I wouldnt worry too much about the fibers: It is not surprising if mites make nests in us, all animals make nests. Besides, it consoles me to think that most animals have parasites; just think of the poor fish.

    I am going to try Praziquantel next.

    Crusted scabies is very contagious; we need to medicate agressively to protect others. Get ivermectin pour-on from Amazon. Milk thistle to protect the liver. Hot treat every piece of clothing; if possilbe, get a clothes dryer.

    Strongyloides is very contagious too. You can find out by doing an antigen test at the hospital; whether you have strongyloides or some other nice chap in addition to scabies. Be careful if you have strongyloides you must never use any steroid or cortisone, even topically: they could make it worse.

    Have faith; I know some people who got well.

    big hug to Poland

  6. Sheila BAnks

    What you have described is exactly what I experienced prior to developing Morgellons. It took about 10 years to get to the root of the problem: Lyme Disease. Forget conventional medicine and look to Stephen’s protocols. I have been going to a naturopath for the last year and he has been helping me accordingly. Best of luck.

  7. Kay


    I’m being treated for Lyme and Japanese knotweed reseveratrol is one of the herbs being prescribed. I used to take one produced by physician formula but due to financial restraint, I’m now taking the one by Kroeger’s. Do you know anything about that particular brand? Does it make a difference which one I use?


  8. mary

    I have severe burn rash on my face.I’ve used steroids twice that cleared it up but is keeps coming back. I have lymes, bartonella, mycoplasma and babesiosis. Could the rash be related to these. It burns and itches severely and peels.

  9. Naya colkett

    I am a Chinese herbalist and I would not use artemisia for a heat disorder as it is a very warming herb. You would want a cooling herb for the face like watermelon frost or a water decoction of berberine used as a wash. Also of course you will want to address the condition internally. I just wanted to respond to your question about the artemisia.

  10. Deluxey

    Hi love,
    Hope your day has been going well and I hope the condition has been getting better for you :)

    I am no expert or hold any special license to assist you in what to take and what to do as I am only a recent graduate from college with a Public Health degree yet I was born and raised in a village in Sri Lanka so I have background knowledge in Ayurveda.

    The main things that stood out to me from what you described were that the condition is warming in nature yet it is worse at night, which is cool in nature. something is fighting a cold nature and tending more towards warm. Warm temperature and environment is usually more dynamic rather than passive and more ACTIVE rather than passive. I am curious as to why your body is leaning more towards this as it might speak to internal imbalance along the lines of these warm/cold dynamic.

    And, something else that jumped out to me was that this condition is prevalent in your face. Why the face? That is a part of our selves that we “face” the world with and the village I come from in Sri Lanka, there is a saying that goes “the beauty of the heart is reflected upon the face.” Of course it sounds and is slightly different in my own language in a sense that the notion of beauty is referred to more of the NATURE of the heart. So, how are you “facing” the world in other areas of your life? What are your views of your self? How loving are you towards yourself? What does your face symbolize to you and what does this condition say to you about your self and your attitude towards yourself?

    AND, when did you start developing this condition and what exactly was going on in your life at that time? What was happening on an emotional, mental as well as spiritual level? What specifically happened or was happening that related to your sense of “facing” the world? Were you too passive and did whatever require an active participation on your part or vice versa?

    Reflecting on your life events and on your self would be a GREAT start for you as you are the one who holds the answers to your imbalance in your life because YOU know yourself like no other :) Writing down life events and reflecting upon them and when they happen and what they require of you on your part would be ideal. Starting a daily diary where you write down your thoughts and feelings of the day and life events could also give you an upper hand in aligning physical symptoms with that of the emotional nature giving you clues into your physical conditions :)

    I say all these because I have dealt with a very disturbing skin condition all summer, the summer of 2014, to which my dermatologist wanted to out me on Accutane but I did not want to go on it as my soul knew the problem lied much deeper and it was speaking along the lines of an imbalance of the soul and the more I worked on that aspect, the condition disappeared. Not just this, but many other physical symptoms I faced/face, I always try to align them with other areas of my life and this method has been helping me to heal the situation rater than just to fix it on a surface level.

    This is not to say what I am saying is 100% truth of what you need to do but I am rather speaking from along the lines of personal experiences as well as from the wisdom of my soul. See if it resonates with you, and if not, follow your own wisdom and whatever methods you wish to proceed with :)

    Good luck with your condition and I wish you lots of love <3

  11. Briel

    Thank you all for sharing your experiences and information.

    While searching for Morgellon’s and further information on parasites and spirochetes, I found many excellent articles by Dietrich Klinghardt, PhD/MD. Please see his website

    Dr. Mercola also offers many articles, links, and information. I found the link to the Klinghardt Academy through Dr. Mercola’s article

    I have also shared Stephen Buhner’s website and protocol for Lyme Disease with many, many people, including physicians and hospital workers.

    Prayers that each and every one of you has found relief.
    With appreciation to all,

  12. Cmak

    Best tinture for brain fog?

    Thank you!

  13. Tricia

    After a rash in January – for which I used steroid creams and pills – BIG MISTAKE – I ended up with Shingles! In February, my skin on my hands felt heated – and several fingers swelled – and within two months the collagen underneath was depleted. I also noticed nodules under my skin at some joints – within 2 months these felt arthritic.
    (I tested positive for Lyme, Bartonella and Mycoplasma in 2013.)
    I am now being treated with Doxy and Biaxin and am here searching Buhner’s collagen replacement protocol. I and my doctor believe it is ACA – Achrodermatitis chronic atrophicans – which comes with late stage lyme and / or a mycoplasma infection. I am treating with abx since it is happening so rapidly – then will switch to natural protocols.
    Peace and Healing!

  14. Tricia

    I have since learned this skin condition – is parasite involved. Taking Ivermectin with Japanese Knotweed, Doxy and Flagyl – and the collagen replacement protocol. Anyone know about parasites as a confection?

  15. Frances

    Regarding scabies, clove bud essential oil mixed with a carrier oil will eliminate scabies. It is endemic here in northern Australia. A study was done in Australia along with a uni. in USA proving its effectiveness.

  16. Frances

    Sheila are you saying the Lyme protocol works for the nano disease Morgellons?

  17. Frances

    Mary, I was told by GP who sited a rash I have on both upper arms and she said granuloma annulare; however, I believe it is “acrodermatitis chronica trophicans” associated with late stage Lyme disease.

  18. Frances

    Tricia, the nano disease Morgellons has parasites as well as other bugs associated with it. Maybe going to this link might help:

  19. Lara

    To all GA sufferers, I found a medical article about a study done on 150 +- GA patients that were biopsied. 80% had spirochetes in their biopsy analysis due to special stains and immunohistochemical applications. (These tests are not done routinely to determine a GA dx).
    What I am trying to say is that GA may very likely be part of the Lyme disease spectrum.

  20. healing lyme admin

    Hi Lara,
    What does GA stand for?

  21. Frances

    GA stands for granuloma annulare.

  22. P

    Are you sleeping on a Temperapedic foam pillow or mattress? I have had Morgellons and I believe Lyme during which I was sleeping on a Temperapedic mattress for a few months. Huge reaction of burning sensation from my waist down. Within 24 hours off the mattress the symptoms disappeared. I believe our skin may become hyper reactive with Morgellons and Lyme. A mattress store owner told me she would not sell the mattresses due to their chemical content and allergic reactions.

  23. M

    Just wanted to state that a red, burning face was one of my first symptoms. It actually started a couple years prior to the life altering symptoms. My face felt like it was burning underneath the surface and I could feel a tightening or cringing in the tissues under the skin. My face felt dry like it was screaming for moisture even though the surface was oily.

    When Lyme symptoms started, this got worse and my face would get red and hot in my jawls and would appear swollen. People would ask why is your face so red. It would usually start in the afternoon and peak around the time I got off work and then fade away around bedtime.

    It came and went for a time and then was pretty permanent for about 6 years. At 6 years, I had developed full blown symptoms following a respiratory virus. At that time, I was told I had silent reflux and thus started Nexium and Zantac. For reasons I do not know, the red, burning face stopped when I was on those drugs and did not return after I stopped them.

    After learning Lyme was the cause of my years long mystery illness, I have only rarely come across any mentions of this phenomenon. I believe I did see it referenced in an old symptom list as malar flush. Mine was on the jawls, though, and malar flush is usually used in conjunction with the lupus butterfly rash, which mine was definitely not.

  24. Kristine

    Can you share the article on GA. I’m covered with lesions. Docs no help.

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