Dear Stephen,
I’m feeling like I live in a nightmare and now my poor babies. I loved nature – now we can’t go out in summer. We live in the woods but my hubby doesn’t fully get it – the fear of the tick isn’t embedded. Ten years of my wacky symptoms that went away and he developed the thought I was borderline hypochondriac. I have two children, a 20 month old and a 5 year old, who were born and nursed when I had untreated ten year old lyme (misdiagnosed as a spider bite). Finally I made the realization two years ago. I didn’t start treatment until this spring when I got bit and got a rash again. Amoxicillin plus an herbal tincture of andrographis, cat’s claw, and teasel ordered by my naturopath. My naturopath had me stop the amoxicillin because after six months since I was doing well. Three weeks and a flu later, I had a major flare – headaches joint pain and severe brain fog which went away for a month but has returned. So I need to begin your exact protocol recommendations as my naturopath’s herbs are less measurable in mixed tincture form. And continue treatment probably with antibiotics and herbs while nursing my 20 month old. I am learning more every night when the brain fog lifts. My babies are at great risk. They may be infected already (no glaring symptoms yet) so if and when I test if they test positive do I treat or let the spirochetes lay dormant? This can show up many years down the road from the stories I’ve read – I will never be able to not worry. I’d like a preventative like astragalus for the children but am unsure if they are infected by birthing/nursing. I don’t want to use astragalus if it will give them problems. Your thoughts? At last, how do I know what co-infections I have from either time infected? Especially when infection number two was treated right away and full symptom profile hadn’t had chance to develop. Thank you from my deep aching heart.

Stephen’s response:
Some of the herbs will be transmitted via nursing. I would not worry about the 20 month old unless you begin to notice symptoms. If you are not noticing symptoms in the 5 year old, you can use astragalus tincture, 5-10 drops 3x daily in any liquid the 5 year old drinks. It is used as a tea and soup base in China indefinitely for many people; a very benign herb. These kinds of flare ups do happen from time to time when flu or stress of some sort occurs. I think the most important herb for lyme is Japanese knotweed. It is specific for the inflammation the bacteria cause throughout the body. The tincture combination was fine except for the absence of the knotweed root. However, dosages do vary considerably for nearly everyone. Unfortunately, most people with lyme have to spend the time figuring out the right dosage for their own particular infection dynamics. There is an extensive protocol for the various symptoms of lyme in the new edition of the book. If the simple core protocol is not enough, then look to modulating it with more herbs that can address your particular symptom picture. As to co-infections, diagnosis with the lyme group of infections is often difficult; I have the most up-to-date diagnostic tests and their limits and strengths in the new edition.


  • 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. Kim

    I would love to have a copy of your book on kindle! In a fight against mold, we have switched to digital books only, alas, and stored all our paper books. If you would like help making the digital copy, please do let me know as we have the expertise here at our small office. We are all huge fans of your work and grateful for your expertise!

  2. AndreeaLiana

    Hi! I need your book,but i live in Romania,and it will take a while to get it here. May i have it in digital format! My son was bite by a tick one month ago,He has erithema mygrans.i used essential oils for 14 days( thyme,frankincense) ,now i give him oregano essential oil( i do not want to use farma antibiotics.what do you think about that?should i use them or not? No other simptomes by now.

  3. Melanie Martin

    I am in a similar boat: I have just received my positive test results for Lyme, my husband has had it (undiagnosed) for 13 years (he tested through Igenex last year and got his positive results AFTER we had our son). Our son is 20 months old, he breastfeeds through the night still. He does not sleep well. I do not sleep well. I am feeling terrible (which is why I got tested finally). Should I test him? Should I stop breastfeeding as soon as possible? So anxious about his health! Thanks fora ny help!!!

  4. Rusudan

    Dear Stephen,
    Thank you very much for your work.
    You mentioned that Astragalus is not recommended for patients with chronic Lyme, but for children with congenital Lyme you do recommend Astragalus, right?
    I have a 6 years old son who inherited Lyme and most probably also Babesia from me. His symptoms started a year ago, with rush on his legs (that we cured completely with Eucalyptus & Tea Tree ointment). Later we noticed slow mental development, mostly due to lack of concentration. We started using Cat’s Claw + Knotweed and just recently, changed to Astragalus+Eleuthero, both helped a lot, we clearly notice the progress.

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