Gu Parasite Herbs From Heiner Fruehauf

Excerpted from LYME DISEASE: AN IN DEPTH INTERVIEW WITH HEINER FRUEHAUF (click for entire article)

Fruehauf: “To treat Lyme-like diseases, the Gu classics therefore outline an approach that incorporates herbs with wind-dispelling effect—a relatively novel concept, since most of us have been conditioned to use winddispelling herbs only for acute disorders and for short periods of time.

The first and most important category of traditional brain Gu treatment, therefore, does not feature botanicals considered to be directly anti-parasitic, such as Qinghao. It offers herbs that disperse wind, and at the same time limit damage to the patient’s source qi (like Mahuang, ephedra), thus making them suitable for long term use. These herbs should further be combined with “internal herbs,” such as anti-parasitic qi tonics, blood tonics, and yin tonics. This pairing will make them even safer for long-term use.

The next set of categories consists of anti-parasitic and immune-modulating herbs that are generally considered to be tonic,  particularly for the damaged blood, qi, and yin aspects of the body. I have discussed these categories at length in previous interviews and articles on the general treatment of Gu syndrome.

The blood and yin tonic categories are of particular interest in the treatment of Lyme. Note that China’s first single herb classic, Shen Nong bencao jing (Shen Nong’s Materia Medica), lists the famous blood tonic Danggui (Angelica sinensis) as an herb that treats malaria and other jungle fevers. Chuanxiong (Ligusticum wallichii) and the rarely used leaf of the same plant (Miwu), are particularly effective in alleviating headaches. Headaches are, of course, a major symptom for patients suffering from inflammation of the brain. Miwu is unfortunately not available in the West, so I began to manufacture it into a powdered extract myself, and import them under the Classical Pearls label.

There is also a category of herbs for body pain, which is another common symptom for Lyme patients. In this category, you have Xuduan (Dipsacus), which is often used as a Lyme treatment in the form of Teasel root tincture by naturopaths. I particularly like to use Wujiapi (Acanthopanax) for spirochetes. I also use Shenjincao (Lycopodium) for arthritic body pain. I use Shenjincao not only for rheumatoid arthritis, which is often a sequella of Lyme, but also preventatively to guard against the emergence of  rheumatic conditions in the future.

Another category of herbs addresses the notorious biofilm, a slimy matrix in which micro-organisms tend to embed themselves. This self-produced barrier enables the pathogens to evade attack by the immune system, and escape the noxious effect of  anti-parasitic substances. This protective film is difficult to break open, transform, or expel. The ancient Chinese approach to Brain Gu pathogens appears to have accounted for this ohenomenon, since Gu Formulas regularly contain aromatic herbs that move qi and blood and are simultaneously anti-parasitic, such as Sanleng (Sparganium), Ezhu (Zedoria), Yuzhu (Curcuma) and Zelan  (Lycopus). In addition, the earthworm Dilong (Lumbricus), represents the natural precursor to the extract Lumbrokinase, which some naturopaths and MDs now use for the specific purpose of breaking down biofilm. These herbs specifically address the problem of bio-film. The Chinese have used this approach for eons: use a worm to address another “worm” in you body, an almost homeopathic principle.

Finally, there are the herbs with a direct anti-parasitic effect, lead by Qinghao. There are lots of other anti-Gu and anti-malarial herbs in this category. Some are well known like Xuanshen (Scrofularia) and Tufuling (Smilax). Others are completely forgotten like Xuchangxing (Cynanchum) and Guijianyu (Euonymus alatus). In Chinese, the latter’s name literally means “the arrow that kills demons.” There is a long list of herbs in this category, and it is from here that most Western Lyme prescriptions are culled.

The next important category consists of herbs that stabilize the immune system to treat and prevent autoimmune complications. Spirochetes are recognized by our immune system as a particularly tricky invader; consequently, it often goes into overdrive in response to the presence of these pathogens. Among the Chinese organ networks, it is the Spleen that is most often implicated in autoimmune processes.

Some Chinese medicine texts, therefore, describe the Spleen as “the mother of all wind.” On the Chinese organ clock, for instance, the Spleen is located in the position of the 4th lunar month, which used to be called the “wind corner” of the zodiac. It is important to point out that herbs affecting the Spleen were not exclusively thought of as qi tonics such as ginseng and astragalus. Ancient texts also relate certain herbs that clear wind and blood heat to the Spleen. Three herbs that I find particularly important in this context are the classic food items Wanggua (Snake gourd), Jicai (Shepherd’s purse) and Kucai (Hare’s lettuce). These herbs are never used as ingredients in Chinese herbal formulas anymore, but I find them exceedingly useful and have begun to import them as part of the Classical Pearl powdered extract series, as well.

The last, and perhaps most important, category in this anti-Lyme material medica is composed of warming and strongly anti-parasitic herbs from the aconite family. During the last three years, when I synthesized the knowledge transmitted in the classic Gu texts into a general approach to Lyme, I concluded that the use of aconite is indispensible for most Brain Gu patients, especially in the middle and later stages of treatment. I have found different varietals of aconite to be integral elements of a long-term treatment plan for Lyme disease and other forms of nervous system inflammation, specifically Fuzi (lateral offshoots of Aconitum carmichaelii root), Chuanwu (taproot root of same plant) and Caowu (Aconitum kusnezoffii).

At the beginning of this discussion, I emphasized how important I believe it is to work WITH the life force rather than against it—recommending, in essence, a sustained support of the body’s yang qi. The brighter the body’s alarm lights are turned on—and few pathogens activate emotional and physical symptoms like Lyme spirochetes—the greater the stress and the gradual depletion of the body’s yang forces. At the beginning of therapy, Lyme patients may exhibit superficial signs of heat, such as rapid pulses, rashes, feverish sensations, and nightsweats, yet these most often mask an underlying condition of coldness and exhaustion. Once these symptoms disappear with the moderate to slightly cooling approach outlined in the design of Lightning Pearls, Thunder Pearls, Ease Pearls, and Dragon Pearls, the more the body will be comforted by the use of formulas that warm the yang and consolidate the body’s mingmen (gate of life) “battery.”

“When designing a custom Brain Gu formula, I typically use 12-15 herbs, with an average of 1-3 herbs from each of these categories. I find it important to consistently rotate at least one herb in each category every 4-6 weeks. In this way, you can stay ahead of the adaptive ability of the parasite, and avoid triggering allergic responses from your own body. This procedure can include minor changes, such as changing Guizhi to Rougui, or Fuzi to Chuanwu within a category; or medium changes, which involve changing at least one herb in each category; or major changes, which result in a change of the entire base formula.

Dosages vary: generally, I use between 12-18g of powder extracts per day (equivalent to 60-90g of decocted crude herbs per day), but in certain cases of extreme sensitivity I start with a much smaller dosage (2-6g per day), otherwise the super-sensitive types may be overwhelmed by so-called Herxheimer reactions—a common phenomenon in Lyme patients, when the spirochetes are still strong enough to react to a newly introduced treatment.”


Anti-lyme wind dispelling herbs:

  • Jinyinhua (Lonicera)
  • Lianqiao (Forsythia)
  • Baizhi (Angelica dahurica)
  • Zisu (Perilla)
  • Gaoben (Ligusticum sinense root)
  • Chaihu (Bupleurum)
  • Guizhi (Cinnamon twig)


Biofilm destroying herbs:

  • Sanleng (Scirpus)
  • Ezhu (Zedoaria)
  • Yujin (Curcuma)
  • Zelan (Lycopus)
  • Huajiao (Zanthoxylum)
  • Dilong (Lumbricus)


Anti-parasitic herbs:

  • Qinghao (Artemisia annua)
  • Guanzhong (Dryopteris)
  • Huzhang (Polygonum cuspidatum)
  • Guijianyu (Euonymus alatus)
  • Xuchangqing (Cynanchum)
  • Changshan (Dichroa)
  • Miwu (Ligusticum wallichii leaf)
  • Dasuan (Garlic)


Anti-lyme blood tonics:

  • Danggui (Angelica sinensis)
  • Chuanxiong (Ligusticum wallichii root)


Anti-lyme yin tonics:

  • Baihe (Lily)
  • Heshouwu (Polygonum)
  • Huangjing (Polygonatum root)
  • (Bei) Shashen (Glehnia)



  • Wanggua (Snake gourd)
  • Jicai (Shephard’s purse)
  • Kucai (Hare’s lettuce)
  • Huangqi (Astragalus)


Calming herbs (for adrenal stress, mental/emotional symptoms):

  • Danshen (Salvia)
  • Suanzaoren (Zizyphus)
  • Yejiaoteng (Polygonum stem)
  • Hehuanpi (Albizzia bark)
  • Shichangpu (Acorus)


Warm yang, draw life energy back into the battery:

  • Fuzi (Aconitum carmichaeli, lateral root offshoots)
  • Chuanwu (Aconitum carmichaeli, mother root)
  • Caowu (Aconitum kusnezoffi)
  • Rougui (Cinnamon bark)
  • Ganjiang (Ginger, dried)
  • Paojiang (Ginger, roasted)
  • Shengjiang (Ginger, fresh)
  • Wuzhuyu (Evodia)


Body pain:

  • Wujiapi (Acanthopanax)
  • Xuduan (Dipsacus)
  • Shenjincao (Lycopodium)



NOTE: In an earlier article, Fruehauf gave the following categories

Herbs that Scatter Toxins (San Du):

  • Zi Su Ye
  • Bai Zhi
  • Bo He
  • Gao Ben
  • Sheng Ma
  • Ju Hua
  • Lian Qiao

Qi and Blood Tonics with Anti-Gu Natures:

  • Dang Gui
  • Bai Shao
  • He Shou Wu
  • Huang Qi
  • Gan Cao
  • Wu Jia Pi

Herbs that Calm the Spirit (An Shen):

  • Huang Jing
  • Bai He
  • Sha Shen
  • Sheng Di
  • Xi Yang Shen
  • Fu Shen
  • Jiang Xiang
  • Xuan Shen

Herbs that Kill Worms or Parasites (Sha Chong):

  • Yu Jin
  • Ku Shen
  • She Chuang Zi
  • Shi Chang Pu
  • Jin Yin Hua
  • He Zi
  • Lei Wan
  • Qing Hao
  • Da Suan
  • Bing Lang
  • Ku Gua
  • Ding Xiang
  • Huai Hua
  • Chuan Shan Jia

Herbs that Move the Qi and Break Accumulation (Xing Qi and Po Ji):

  • Chuan Xiong
  • Chai Hu
  • E Zhu
  • San Leng
  • Chen Pi
  • Ze Lan
  • Mu Xiang
  • San Qi


Additional Notes

  • Fruehauf says Ren shen and Dang shen can exacerbate gu. If someone takes it and feels worse, they have advanced gu usually.
  • Releasing the ext by “fumigating” the body – done for 6-12 mos. with herbs such as Gao ben, Bo he, Zi su ye, Bai zhi
  • Favorite herb: Bai he.  No side effects, kills parasites.
  • Favorite qi tonic for all gu, specifcally when any kind of joint pain is present: Wu jia pi.
  • Most cancer and chronic disease cases and any viral/spirochete/etc are Gu.
  • Gu often implicated in complex presentations. Gu cases don’t have a clear pattern.