5 Protocols for Treating Lyme Disease (and How to Tell Which is Right For You)

Adapted from THE LYME SOLUTION by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2018, Darin Ingels, ND


It’s long been drummed into us that all people who have one specific disease will be cured by the very same pill. As a result, people (and even many conventional doctors) overlook the reality that each one of us is biochemically unique. That’s why even if it works for other folks, there is no way of exactly predicting whether a treatment will work for you.

In my practice, I’ve seen five different protocols work for people with Lyme disease. Each of the protocols is designed to ease the burden of Lyme and other bacterial load on your body. They will simultaneously reduce inflammation, improve circulation, stop the formation of abnormal immune reactions in the body, and help modulate a healthy immune response to the microbe. Although there are many different treatments to help individuals with Lyme disease, I am offering you the ones with which I’ve had the greatest clinical success in working with thousands of people. I also emphasize the ones that have the least side effects.

Most people want to know which protocol will work best for them. Unfortunately, there is no way to predict that without trying the protocols first. If there has been no change in your symptoms after six weeks, then you may need to use a different protocol.

Lyme Solution

The Zhang Protocol

I was introduced to Dr. Qingcai Zhang in New York City in 2003, after my many failed courses of antibiotics. I had heard about him from other people he treated successfully for Lyme disease. Dr. Zhang has more than fifty years’ experience treating chronic infections, including Lyme, HIV, and hepatitis C. He extensively researched spirochete diseases in China in order to develop herbal formulas that can help alleviate Lyme disease symptoms and regulate immune function. Dr. Zhang has coined the term modern Chinese medicine, which combines the tenets of traditional Chinese medicine with his knowledge of the biological activity of Chinese herbs.

Chinese herbal formulas are designed to work in harmony with each other in order to minimize side effects while delivering the desired clinical outcome. These herbal combinations have broader effects than just using herbs singly. Dr. Zhang’s formulas specifically address the multitude of symptoms Lyme disease creates.

I have personally used his formulas and treated thousands of people with them, too. In my experience, they have often provided relief when other treatments have failed. The formulas are generally very well tolerated and side effects are rare. These are my “go-to” herbs with adults and teens that have Lyme disease. I have seen many people recover using these herbs. While they are highly effective, they are also somewhat expensive, so they may be cost-

Prohibitive for some people. It is a good investment in your health, but if the herbs are not affordable for you, please use the Modified Cowden Protocol.

The Cowden Protocol

Dr. Lee Cowden is a retired cardiologist in Dallas, Texas, who many years ago developed this herbal protocol after successfully treating a young man with chronic Lyme disease. The patient had not responded to antibiotics but had significant improvement after taking the herbs that Dr. Cowden recommended. After that, Dr. Cowden began to use these herbs successfully with other people. He developed several liquid herbal formulas that contain special local herbs from Peru or nearby areas of South America. Local healers used these plants for many generations and knew a great deal about each herb’s healing properties. Despite these herbs’ long-standing

traditional use, only recently have Western doctors begun to understand their unique biochemical properties.

Known as the Cowden Protocol, this treatment takes five to nine months. During that time, you will take combinations of thirteen different herbal formulas. Each month, the protocol changes slightly. A comprehensive program that also effectively kills Lyme disease and co-infections, this protocol has special features that are most helpful for people who have not responded well to (or could not tolerate) the Zhang Protocol, including people who may be allergic to some of the ingredients, and children, who cannot swallow capsules easily. For these reasons, I have used a modified version of the Cowden protocol.

Byron White Formulas

Byron White, a natural health practitioner, developed several formulas to treat Lyme disease, tick-borne co-infections, Candida, Epstein-Barr virus, and many other infectious agents. His formulas are very potent. Even a few drops can have strong effects. Some practitioners like these herbs because you only need to use a few drops one to two times a day, which is easy to manage for most Lyme patients. However, some people experience a reaction to the rapid detox in these formulas, so it’s not a first-choice protocol on my plan.

Stephen Buhner Protocol

The herbalist Stephen Buhner developed an effective protocol that uses Japanese knotwood (Polygonum cuspidatum), cat’s claw (Uncaria tomentosa), and andrographis (Andrographis paniculata) to eliminate Lyme disease and the co-infections. Many other herbs are part of his extended protocol. I have more clinical success with Dr. Zhang’s or Dr. Cowden’s protocol, but if other treatments have not been tolerated or successful, this is always an option. Don’t get discouraged if your symptoms do not improve as quickly as you’d like! Be persistent in finding the best path to recovery.

Beyond Balance Protocol

These herbal products were developed by Susan McCamish. Most of the products are liquid extracts, although some are capsules. As with the Byron White formulas, these are potent, even in drop doses, and can definitely cause detox reactions (discussed later in this chapter). They are currently sold only to health-care providers, so you would need to work with someone who uses these products to start this protocol.

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