He was born in Michelbach, Germany, in the Black Forest, where he was raised. After working as a professional waiter in Baden-Baden, Germany,Geneva, Switzerland and New York City, he became ill (with what he felt was tuberculosis) and decided to return to Germany to seek the water cure offered by Father Sebastian Kneipp. He claimed his health improved dramatically, and he became an even more fervent believer in natural medicine.
On Father Kneipp's advice, he returned to the United States to spread the word. After opening an early health food store, he began publishing several German and English language magazines advocating hydrotherapy and nature cure. One of his regular customers at the time was Bernarr Macfadden, the flamboyant popularizer of physical fitness and natural medicine. He married Louise Stroebel Lust, ND on June 11, 1901. He attended and graduated from the New York Homeopathic Medical College in 1901, where he suffered ridicule for his beliefs in natural medicine. He obtained his osteopathic degree in 1902 from the Universal College of Osteopathy in New York.
Lust purchased all rights to the term naturopathy, which had been coined in 1902 by John Scheel, MD. He soon opened the American School of Naturopathy in New York City, the first naturopathic medical school in the world. He went on to establish popular and successful health resorts known as Yungborn in Butler, New Jersey and Tangerine, Florida. He also founded the American Naturopathic Association, the first national professional organization of naturopathic physicians. In 1918 he published the Universal Naturopathic Encyclopedia for drugless therapy, and also published Nature’s Path magazine.
He became known as the "Father of Naturopathy" in America, and his writings and magazines introduced the country not only to German methods, but also Indian concepts of Ayurveda and Yoga. Paramahansa Yogananda was one of several Indians who wrote articles for Nature’s Path in the 1920’s, gaining wide exposure to a large American audience. Lust was harassed by authorities and medical associations for promoting his approach towards healing, involving massage and nude sun bathing, at his health resorts, and was arrested at least 19 times by New York and Federal authorities.
- Lust, Benedict Yungborn: The Life and Times of Dr. Benedict Lust and Pilgrimages to the Great Masters, Healing Mountain Publishing, reprinted 2006. ISBN 1-933350-04-0 
- Boyle, Wade, Kirchfield, Friedhelm Nature Doctors Medicina Biologica, 1994, ISBN 0-9623518-5-7
- Wassamer & Payne Butler New Jersey In Story and Pictures Butler Argus, 1951