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Herxheimer reaction

Date Written 2007
Author Joe Holmes Date Revised July 10, 2010


Herxheimer reaction is the process of an overload on the excretory systems primarily the kidneys, liver, lungs and skin. This is caused by an excess of poison or toxins that overload the system. This process called herxheimer reaction is very problematic and must be given careful attention. It occurs when one takes an antibiotic or natural compound to treat candida, lyme, infections and parasites. Its symptoms are the same as the initial disease or problem being treated but immensely pronounced. It is often described as flue like symptoms. Headaches, brain fog and the symptoms of the disease will become pronounced.

When one first experiences herxheimer reaction they are likely to assume it is a separate disease and attempt to treat it or discontinue any recent treatments. It is simply the result of the new treatment killing the toxins faster than the excretory system is able to handle it. This leads to a build up of the toxins, bacteria, or die off of parasites at a greater rate than the excretory system can remove from your body. .

Many experts recommend that one discontinue the treatment until the body normalizes, then resume at a lower dose. Continuing this process until the symptoms are manageable, then gradually resume the prescribed dose. Because the excretory system balance is controlled by water, salts and nutrients it is suggested to increase at least the water and salt intake to help flush the toxins out of your body.

Caution: Herxheimer reaction's biggest action is often in the brain so be sure you pay special attention to your mental symptoms and do not push it too hard.

Keep in mind this reaction is a necessary process to eliminate the deadly toxins, bacteria or parasites in your body.

1. Wikipedia: "The Herxheimer reaction (also known as Jarisch-Herxheimer or herx) occurs when large quantities of toxins are released into the body as bacteria (typically Spirochetal bacteria) die, due to antibiotic treatment. Typically the death of these bacteria and the associated release of endotoxins occurs faster than the body can remove the toxins via the natural detoxification process performed by the kidneys and liver. It is manifested by fever, chills, headache, myalgias, and exacerbation of cutaneous lesions. Duration in syphilis is normally only a few hours but can be much longer in other diseases. The intensity of the reaction reflects the intensity of inflammation present. The Herxheimer reaction has shown an increase in inflammatory cytokines during the period of exacerbation, including tumor necrosis factor alpha, interleukin-6 and interleukin-8.[1][2]"

2."...It is a phenomena that results when there is an intensification of the disease symptoms and often an expansion of similar symptoms to other places all of a temporary nature, after which the patient is improved or well. Often it appears to some as if they have the flu, and so is described as "the patient having flu-like symptoms." "Flu-like symptoms" is an over-simplification of what happens in varying cases and with varying patients..."

3."Don't try to suffer through the herx. Herxheimer reactions can be very serious. When I herx, I quit taking my abx until I feel better...then I start again. Stopping the abx for a few days or so will not put you behind. A lot of Lyme sufferers have found that this works best. Some people even take their abx every other day. Whatever works the best for you is what you should do."

4. "... There is reason to believe that the liver becomes congested in its attempts to clean the bloodstream of the spirochetal endotoxin. Support for the liver may lessen the intensity of the herxheimer reaction. Drinking lots of clean filtered water, with lemon juice added and taking liver support herbs like milk thistle, Jerusalem artichoke, licorice and dandelion root is recommended. Of all of these, it has been my experience that milk thistle is, by far, the most important. ThistlRx is a product commercially available that has all of these ingredients and provides spectacular benefits for patients with all manner of liver diseases such as hepatitis B, hepatitis C and cirrhosis..."

5. "A Herxheimer can last from a few days to two weeks or more, depending on how disseminated the Bb bacteria is in the body. The greater the dissemination, generally the longer a Herxheimer will last. During this time, in addition to the temporary worsening of previous Lyme symptoms, one may also experience chills, fevers, headache, nausea, and even a drop in blood pressure levels. Don’t be alarmed by this, and don’t stop taking the antibiotics that have been prescribed. Do, however, contact your physician to let him know what you are experiencing, so that he can determine if your symptoms are due to Herxheimer and rule out a true allergic response to the drugs. Two “natural” ways to reduce the symptoms of Herxheimers are hydration (2 to 3 quarts of quality water a day) and the bioflavonoid quercitin (500–1500 mg per day). Another important consideration to be aware of is that major Herxes generally occur during the Bb bacteria’s growth phase (which phase is also known as a “Lyme cycle”). This is also the time during the Bb bacteria’s life cycle that antibiotics are most effective in eradicating them, since they are most vulnerable during this phase. Lyme’s growth phase occurs approximately every three to four weeks (up to six weeks maximum), and therefore, intermittent symptom flare-ups or Herxes usually also will occur at those same intervals. These cyclerelated Herxes continue to occur over time until a sufficient quantity of Bb has been killed off. In most cases, symptoms of subsequent Herxheimer reactions are shorter and less severe than the initial one, indicating that treatment is progressing successfully. If your reactions continue to be of the same severity and duration, this may be a sign that there is dysregulation of your immune system that needs to be addressed or that the antibiotic regimen may need adjustment. Also, there are times when untreated co-infections need immediate attention, after which time Lyme can be successfully addressed. Whatever the cause, it is important to alert your physician if your Herxheimer symptoms continue unabated."

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