First of all, no one can tell you how long either means of treatment would take. I'm the perfect example of that because I used pharma abx for 12 months and was much worse off than when I started treatment. But, with 12 months of using herbs, I had healed from not only Lyme, but Bartonella as well.
That's why I say listen to your heart. Herbs work differently than pharma abx. It's hard to compare them, but we do know that a person must still support their body and detox no after which modality (form of medicine) is chosen.
I believe that this is such a personal decision that here in this community, we should be careful to respect all forms of treatment - as long as they are safe, and effective for these infections. Over the years I have been a little surprised to see so many different treatments works for some and not others that it seemingly should have worked for.
Chances are that the reason you are having to go slowly has a lot more to do with being very effective for you than you not tolerating them well. If you are so inclined, I would encourage you to stick with it. If the herbs have started relieving symptoms (like your arthritic issues you mentioned) that's conformation that they are working for you.
And, if you feel your lymph system is struggling, why not do lymph massages and other things to help support it more?
Herb only treatment for Lyme & Bart ended 12/11 - no active symptoms for 2 yrs -Herb only treatment for Babesia ended 12/12www.healingwell.com/community/default.aspx?f=30&m=2977364
Had Lyme, Bart, Babs, RMSF, Ehrlichia, Myco, Anaplasmosis, EBV
New Lyme case 8/2014 - Healed 1/31/15 - unknowingly had Asymptomatic Babs and Asymptomatic Bart, being treated now though (2/2016)