Stevia’s antibacterial actions against lyme disease

by | Jun 21, 2017 | biofilm, Herbs, miscellaneous | 34 comments

Dear Stephen,
What are your thoughts on the New Haven Group’s study of the antibacterial actions of stevia against Borrelia bacteria?
Stephen’s response:

I have a short response in the second printing (and later) of the second edition of Healing Lyme (I had to squeeze it in). The study, in my opinion, is useless and misleading,. Here are a few of the reasons why (I have similar problems with most of the New Haven group’s studies — though this does seem to be the first one they got a journal to accept):

1) The study is in vitro and hence has nothing to do with how the herb will actually work in a living body. It is not possible to extrapolate from a single in vitro study UNLESS there is corresponding data from centuries of historical use, etc (e.g. clinical use and so on).
2) Stevia is not a very systemic herb. To work in a live body against infection, especially with Borrelia, an herb has to be VERY systemic, that is it has to spread widely in the body, especially in hard-to-reach places. Stevia does not.
3) We have over a decade of clinical experience with stevia in the treatment of lyme disease; we suggest it as a supportive herb for a number of problems (blood glucose, etc). We have not seen ANY antimicrobial effects in clinical practice. NONE. However, the herb, because of effects on the GI tract, does help increase the bioavailability of herbs and pharmaceuticals (as does licorice, for example), as such it can help make antibacterials more effective.
4) The herb is also touted as helping break up biofilms. NOTE: Most herbs contain substances that help break up biofilms; plants figured out how to do that millions of years ago. Plants get sick, just like us, they can’t go to the doctor, they can’t call a medic, they have to treat their own diseases by figuring out what is wrong and crafting substances to deal with the infections they have. Part of the reason they are better than drugs is that they contain multiple substances that they have created to deal with bacteria – they had to deal with bacteria long before our species even existed, so they created antibacterials; they had to deal with bacterial resistance long ago so they create anti-resistance chemicals; they had to deal with biofilms so they created biofilm breaking agents, and so on. There is a list of perhaps 40 herbs that break up biofilms in the second edition of Healing Lyme, this is by no means exhaustive. ALL plants break up biofilms to varying extents. I’ll end it here, but if you want to read more on herbal remedies and how they can help, CFAH is a great resource.
So, in short, this study is not groundbreaking, it is not news, it is not the antibacterial cureall for lyme disease. Further, given the massive data on Borrelia from exhaustive research the past decades, including some of the really good work that has been done by other researchers, the study is not really all that good. (I have read, at a conservative estimate, some 30,000 journal articles on bacteria, viruses, and herbs over the past 5 years, many of them are listed in the bibliographies in my last 5 medical herbals. Some of the bibliographies run rather long, in Healing Lyme alone it is over 50 pages long.).

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. Stephen Walker

    Also, Stevia changes in the GI and is metabolized by the liver into a different substance. There is no evidence that the metabolite is an antibiotic. For an in vitro study to have any value, it has to study the same substance that would be circulating in the blood stream if intended to work in vivo.

  2. Ben

    Very interesting and well structured response as always.

    Thank you for keeping the community here updated with your perspective on these developing topics.
    I find it invaluable and very much appreciated.

    I had seen the New Haven study and thought it showed promise. Actually I welcome all research into the workings of these important diseases.
    But, there is so much human emotion involved that there is often an almost overpowering tendency to want to believe it’s true. To have a just a little more hope of a cure.
    Your comments really help me to keep this in perspective and I am sure my thoughts and appreciation are echoed by thousands here.
    Long may they continue.

  3. Tess

    It Is interesting, especially since as stated the study was done in vitro. There are many Lyme specialists who are now using this as a game player in treating Lyme. I just listened to part of the current Lyme summit online and this has been mentioned by several speakers as part of their regime.

  4. Vickie Tilghman

    Dear Stephen,
    My daughter has been on herbal antimicrobials, for Lyme and co-infections, and I am requesting antibiotics in addition. We are starting with minocycline 50mg bid and Rifabutin 150mg bid. We are to give her this does for 5 days, then pulse it m/w/f. Her doctor is suggestion that we lower the cats claw and houttuynia down to 10 drops, I wanted your thoughts on that. Is it necessary to lower the herbals?

  5. Chris

    Hi! Dear Stephen:
    I want to ask you if I can use your protocol.
    I’ve been extremely sick for 2 years, totally in bed, any single day better: vertigo, lost sigth, dizzines, extreme weakness, body vibration, hipersensitivity to light, sound and movement, trembling, almost paralyzed, pain, inflammation, nerve pain, vasculitis, brain nerve inflammation, detached retina and vascular problems in head and eyes, extreme GI disorders, constipation, skin problems (as psoriasis) insomnia, and more…. I live in bed since two years ago. 8 months ago I was diagnoses with lyme, babesia, anaplasma, rickettsia. And I’m sure bartonella too (for my symptoms). I’ve tried antibiótics for 6 months with any improvement, I had to stop it because liver damage. I started a natural treatment 4 monts ago (artemisin, herbs, diet, iv vitamins, suplements, magnesium, probiotics, therapies, biomagnetism, acupuncture, and much more….) But I have no improvements yet, is a full time torture from my body 24 hours a day.
    I’d like to stary a full treatment with Buhners protocol.
    Do you think I could work for me?
    How to start? Which tinctures?
    Can I take a extramsupplements? and wich diet.
    I want to do a completly disciplinated regime.
    I want to feel how the life is again!!!!

  6. Michaela Jílek

    Dear Stephen,
    I fight already 2 years with chlamydia pneumonia with co-infection of yersenia, CMV, I have mostly pain of small joints in the hands feets and knees,elbows. I’m taking antibiotics – tetracycline, roxithromicin,clindamycin,metronidazolum and your tinctures from new book from Montana Farmacy. But my pains are sometimes better and sometimes worse, could you give me please some advice, what can I do more for less pain, thank you very much for your help and support Michaela

  7. Sarah

    You should purchase Stephens book – Healing Lyme 2nd edition. In it is the whole protocol, where to find the herbs, and excellent explanations of how and why this protocol works, along with so much more, like co-infections, etc. It worked for me, and all I did was follow the book.

  8. Lina Aliotta

    Excellent source of information.I have been battling with Lyme since 1990 . If you have a news letter I would appreciate to get.Many thanks.

  9. Nancy

    I was so thrilled that I purchased a specialized bioactive form
    of the stevia. I took a few drops for a couple of days and
    had a very hard time sleeping. Actually it was awful for a prolonged
    period of time. Insomnia is one of the downfalls of Lyme disease.
    After further research I find out that stevia extract interfers
    with the body’s dopamine and serotonin – I will never touch this stuff again.

  10. Cathy young

    My daughter’s migraines are debilitating to the point she had to stop antibiotic treatment. Do you have ideas to aide with daily migraines npdh, and nausea, so she could resume the battle? She too is bedridden from pain, nausea, dizziness, pain level of 10.
    Also are you familiar with wellness clinic in Florida that keeps patients on site to treat for 2-4 months ? Would their protocol antibiotics, Iv, oxeygenation treatment be sufficient or just a moneymaker?

  11. Hope

    This statement about emotions leading us to believe the studies…

    Yes! I couldn’t agree more. I have been taking the Stevia because I wanted so badly to believe it was true. But I am not seeing any results after two months.

  12. Dee

    How do you know what happens in the liver? Is this an area of study for you?
    Just curious? And what metabolite?

  13. Dee

    In vitro /vs in vivo efficacy is a salient point. However.. having been bed ridden and weak and mindless .. I will offer my results as the in vivo study. I began to use Now Liquid Stevia in my iced tea daily. I used it all day long essentially. When I started, I was so fatigued a trip from my bed to the kitchen forced me to nap again. I couldn’t read any more than a few words at a time, and I lost my ability to write in cursive. I tested positive for Lyme on the ELISA and “just barely negative” on the Western Blot according to the clerk in my D.O.’s office. Translation: I had plenty of positive bands. 6-8 months (can’t recall exactly) after starting it I RAN up my driveway. It had a slight slope and was about 150 feet long. It was at that moment that I realized I was free of the fatigue and muscle burning. I wasn’t studying all this back then but it got my attention. I realized the other symptoms were gone too. I had NO idea that I had Lyme (due to bad reporting by MDs office) I had never seen the study nor had I ever looked up a single symptom. So all this is in retrospect. But I will vouch all day long that the only thing I changed was adding Stevia to my diet.

  14. Jeanne

    I had debilitating migraines and trigeminal neuralgia along with my Lyme diagnosis. After several years, I determined I also had shingles that was causing my severe head and eye pain. Once I started on Lysine supplements my pain basically resolved. I believe my shingles kicked in after my Lyme symptoms had started. I think the doctors missed it because my symptoms got mixed mixed together and nobody thought of shingles, despite the obvious nerve pain.
    I hope this helps!

  15. D.

    I would respond this way to every herb used/mentioned here.
    What in vivo studies have been done on all the herbs Stephen uses, if any?

  16. Msvat

    Liquid stevia is the only herb that gives almost immediate relief from my bladder pain and urinary “clogs”. I take 30 drops in water or tea, then about 30 minutes later I can relieve my full bladder with full flow. Even Uva Ursi and Berberene didn’t work this well. For me, it has been a godsend.

  17. Mary malachi's mother

    Plz refer to Stephen’s comment above re: reading published studies. You can find them in his extremely well researched books. The studies are not nec. in vivo Lyme pt. studies but they are good studies on herbs. it’s true- we will rely on much anecdotal info at this stage of the science. It will take miracles and years before we can find the money to do effective in vivo studies among those diagnosed with with the plethora of tick borne illnesses.

  18. Brigid

    Thanks so much for your sharing! How are you doing now? Did you continue with the stevia in your life daily, and have you continued to recover? I’m considering making it for my daughter to try.

  19. Vanessa

    someone gave me a stevia plant last summer. I nibbled about 1/2 of a small leaf, and herxed so bad that I had to stay in bed all the next day. Nausea, migraine, body aches. I was taking the core protocol from Stephen’s Healing Lyme first edition book at the time. So it must have had a synergistic effect with the herbs, allowing them to be absorbed more effectively. I later made a tincture with the whole plant, and did have some herxing to a lesser degree than with the fresh leaf, with drop 5 drop dose. Later I didn’t find that effect, but it helped me for a little while. Maybe a good idea to grow a plant and nibble the leaves while doing other protocols. :)

  20. Uven

    Try Borega complex

  21. Dee

    Hey Brigid.
    Yes, I still use Stevia in my coffee daily and I remain free of those symptoms.
    I apologize for taking so long to reply. I have been taking care of my husband who is on and off sick (nearly to death 2x) for 2+ years with Lyme (and won’t listen) and is now battling meningitis. (Non viral, aseptic). Huge eye roll. He is using it now along with a bucket of other things. He will see the same results I did! Thanks to the Creator of all living things.
    I wish you the very best with your daughter!!

  22. Martha

    My 17 year old daughter is pretty desperate for help after being diagnosed with Lyme. We’ve done a lot of treatments and they help for only a little while. I’ve considered using Stevia. Would you please contact me via e-mail

  23. healing lyme admin

    Hi Martha,
    Stephen Buhner has not been answering questions here for a long while. You can try contacting him through his website: His protocol is outlined in his book Healing Lyme. He has answered thousands of questions about his protocol over the years and has pretty much retired from answering individual questions. The best thing to do is read his book and/or search the archives here to see his past responses to similar questions. You can try emailing him, but not sure if he will respond. Best, Julie

  24. Lisa Hope

    Medical medium books
    Also free on soundcloud.
    List is on hayhouse radio then go to soundcloud to hear for free.
    Free on Instagram, and facebook

  25. Nancy Jean

    I cannot use it period – I will suffer from severe insomnia.
    It is horrid. Now I don’t seem to suffer not nearly as much
    with the powdered form – but the extract, forget it.

  26. Lana

    I tried to buy that book on and our local book stores, but there are none available. Anyone know where to get the 2nd edition?

  27. T

    Cathy Young
    Hi I did 24 iv ozone treatments in Florida @ lifeworks wellness center. It was wonderful healing support and bacterial load reduction . Cured my reactivated ebv ( immune system came back) but didn’t touch the Bartonella and Babesia symptoms. I would recommend Byron Whites A-Bab and A-Bart tinctures. for that which gave me immediate herxeimer and then clearer mental function. Dr. Kirti kalidas in Orlando. I’m still fighting but back to work at a lower capacity and migraine free. The antibacterial herbs seem to be the best results for the money

  28. Karima Bushnell

    Martha, I’m about 85% recovered form long term Lyme through the Cowden Protocol. Stevia is one of 14 tinctures and capsules used on a rotating basis. My impression is that it’s more expensive but also easier to use than the Buhner method, the other major herbal protocol.

  29. hank lawler

    I have been making what I call a ‘daily swill’ for 4 years. I’ve been with chronic Lyme for 10 years. I have learned that it is not going away, it cannot be killed with antibiotics, and therefore, I needed to make a happy home for it in my body so that it would not constantly kick the hell outta me and grind my face into the asphalt.
    As soon as I conferred with other believers, I added Pharma’s Stevia Leaf extract (made with alcohol) to the list of ingredients and the difference was very noticeable in just a matter of days.

    Here is the recipe:

    Hank’s Daily Swill

    in a bullet blender:

    2 tsp. turmeric
    2 tsp. ginger
    2 tsp. Pines alfalfa tablets (ground to powder)
    1 tsp. black pepper
    1 full dropper Pharma Stevia Leaf extract
    1 full dropper liquid Vitamin B complex
    8 oz. whole leaf aloe juice
    8 oz. unfiltered apple juice (w/ mother)
    1 Tbs. apple cider vionegar (w/ mother)
    2 scoops Orgain Protein powder

    (makes 2 servings)

    along with the swill, I take 2 capsules Carlson’s Cod Liver Oil


  30. Katie

    Can you tell me exactly which Stevia you use? I have no idea if I would buy the right one. Many thanks!

  31. Yesenia gonzalez

    Hi Cathy I’m taking A-l complex from Dr Byron White. I’m only in 6 drops because I’m scared of herx. My main issue is dizziness, derealization, anxiety, depression and air hunger. How was the herx how long did it last?

  32. Joe

    Just calling it a “game changer” without the slightest evidence is a huge disservice. Prove it, don’t just spout slogans.

  33. Terry K

    What brand of liquid stevia did you use?

  34. Lonny

    The above comment “Stevia is not a very systemic herb” seems to contradict what he wrote in Healing Lyme, “We have used Stevia for many years in our work with Lyme for a variety of reasons (blood glucose problems and so on). The herb does have good pharmacokinetics, spreading well in the body, but we have not seen any antimicrobial effects in clinical practice. None.”


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