****EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON HERXING- history, description, & TIPS*** | ProHealth Fibromyalgia, ME/CFS and Lyme Disease Forums

****EXCELLENT ARTICLE ON HERXING- history, description, & TIPS***

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The Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction (referred to as "Herx" often) is believed to be a reaction caused by organisms (bacteria) dying off and releasing toxins into the body faster than the body may comfortably handle it. It was originally observed in patients with syphilis who received mercury treatment [*]. 93% of patients with syphilis has Hughes Syndrome, it is estimated that 92% of CFS patients has Hughes Syndrome.

Most CFIDSers will have moderate to severe herx effects from antibiotics that will usually have no effects on normal healthy individuals[83% in one R.A. study, 51.4% in Lyme Disease, 89% with B. recurrentis infection]. The reason for this may be the diminished blood flow system caused by the thickening of the blood commonly found with CFIDS patients. Alternatively, "it seemed to occur when injured or dead bacteria released their products into blood and tissues, provoking a sudden and exaggerated inflammatory response"[*] - thus the response may be connected to the specific organism being killed off. Many non-antibiotic treatments (Hale's breathing, glutathione - whey products ) are reported to also produce a herx effect -- whether it is bacteria die off or simply toxin release, the effect is the same: misery!

* What is a Herxheimer Reaction?
* The Herxheimer Reaction History [History and current theories (technical)]
* The New England Journal of Medicine -- August 1, 1996 -- Vol. 335, No. 5

Intensifiers if on Antibiotics

* Bromelain
* Serrapeptase

Onset of Reaction

Depending on illness and antibiotic: from 1-2 hrs to 10 days after antibiotics started

The most common ones include:

* increased joint or muscle pain
* headaches
* chills
* Heavy perspiration and night sweats
* Nausea
* Burning micturition
* Bone pain
* swollen glands
* bloating
* constipation or diarrhea
* fever (usually low grade)
* hypotension (low blood pressure)
* Itching, hives and rash (sometimes mistaken for an allergic reaction - this must be an MD's call)
* heart palpitations, elevated heart rate, orthostatic

Tachycardia are reported on http://www.onelist.com/community/cfs_Mycoplasma/
Treatment (reduction)

Treatment consists of two approaches: improving the blood flow to clear the toxins faster (see vascular constriction), or, neutralizing the toxins (or both)

* Probenecid (Dr. Jadin [*])
* Benadryl (antihistamine)
* Therma-Flu or equivalent
* Aspirin (Bromelain may increase it!)
* Meptazinol [*, *]
* Increase in blood thinning supplements
* Lemon/Olive Oil drink (may be done with water or Grape Juice)
* 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice (Organic) or 1/2 lemon rind)
* 1 Tbsp cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil Water or juice ... stir
* Concord Grape Juice with flavoids (widens blood vessels)
* NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs),
* pain medication (see ibuprofen risks..)
* muscle relaxers,
* hot baths / hot tub
* steam (dry or hot) sauna
* a saltz bath: add 1 cup salt, 1 cup soda, 1 cup epsom salts, 1 cup aloe vera, to a
* hot bath, remain in and keep hot for about 1-1/2 hours all the while consuming
* about 2 quarts of warm water.
* Hale's breathing
* Control panic attacks, anxiety and worry (they constrict the blood vessels, worsening the effect).

Differentiating between a Herxheimer, a flare and an allergic reaction to the drug

"Laboratory tests can help differentiate between a worsening of disease (RA flare), a Herxheimer reaction to microbial toxins, and an allergic reaction to medication.

1. WBC will elevate in a Herxheimer and lower in a flare.
2. A Herxheimer will also exhibit a coincidental elevation of SED rate, gamma globulin and total globulin ,and a fall in serum albumin and hematocrit. Patients who exhibit this flare reaction accompanied by anemia, depression of serum albumin, elevated total globulin and gamma globulin are probably reflecting a more intense reaction pattern to anti-L substances than in hematologically mild cases.

3. A marked increase in eosinophils (for instance about 30%) is an indication of an allergic reaction to the drug."

from www.lassesen.com --> a man whose whole family came down w/ CFS/FM/MCS in various combos, he shares his story, treatment protocol, research on other protocols and supplement anticoagulating treatment
Thanks for posting this. I've been Herxing this week. I noticed my blood pressure was lower, but didn't know this was one of the symptoms.



New Member
Thanks for posting Jeanne. But must admit I'm quite confused this time. I'm on day 3 of Clindamyacin for skin infection of surgical removal of a cyst and I feel like the devil.

I've herxed terribly on bromelain, doxy and famvir but I think this is different. No sweating, diarrhea, etc. just an exacerbation of CFS symptoms especially fatigue and fog but the timing is strange since I just started the Clindamycin.

I'm falling asleep at the wheel here, but, wanted to say thanks for the post........foxglove


New Member
IT sure does help. ITs comforting to know their are things to relieve the misery a little bit. I`m going to go try the lemon-olive oil-water. Talk to you later.



New Member
Lee Cowden’s, who treats lyme disease naturopathically, recommends the following for detoxing the die off.

***A few things can be done to minimize this healing crisis cascade of events.

First, starting the treatment with TOA-Free Cat’s Claw at a very low dose and building up the dose very slowly and cautiously over many days reduces the rate of microbial die-off. This in turn reduces the production of the microbial toxins that create the die-off healing crisis reaction.

Secondly, having the person who takes TOA-Free Cat’s Claw drink large amounts of pure water each day helps to flush the toxins out of the body faster. The preferable water intake is between ½ and ¾ ounce per pound of body weight per day (a 150 pound man would drink between 75 and 112 ounces per day).

Thirdly, if a person takes certain herbal and/or homeopathic remedies to aid the detoxification of the ground matrix, lymphatic, liver, kidneys and bowel, then the microbial toxins do not tend to build up in the tissues as much (this is sold as the Heel “Detox Kit”). Homeopathic mistletoe (viscum album 12x or 30 x) is a very good remedy for ground matrix. The herbs Echinacea and/or clevers plus skin brushing and exercise are good for lymphatic support. Hydrangea, watermelon seed and parsley are helpful for kidney support. Dandelion, milk thistle and lipoic acid are helpful for liver support. Also each person should have at least one large bowel movement per day by using sufficient magnesium malate, fiber such as psyllium and, if necessary, herbal laxatives like cascara sagrada.

Fourthly, algae, grasses and fiber (chlorella, barley grass, and psyllium, or slippery elm) help to bind the microbial toxins to carry them out of the body.***


There is a green and herb tea mix as well, which can help the body detox, you can change some of the ingredients according to what you most want to achieve -

4 bags decaf green tea (antioxidant, detoxifiers, blood cleansers, energy booster. Contains chlorophyll, minerals, and enzymes).

2 bags dandelion root tea (reduces swelling and fluid build up. Cleans blood and liver and is used as a diuretic. Reduces serum cholesterol and uric acid. Improves kidney, pancreas, spleen and stomach functions).

2 bags red clover tea (good for weakened immune systems. Acts as a natural antibiotic, blood purifier, and relaxant. Good for skin diseases, liver disorders, and kidney problems)

2 bags Pao D'Arco (Pau d’arco- contains a natural antibacterial agent. It cleanses the blood
and is good for candidasis and all types of infection).

2 bags peppermint tea (stomach settling, enhances digestion. Use for chills, colic, diarrhoea, headaches, nausea, spasms, and poor appetite).

Bring some water to a boil and steep all of the herbal tea bags in a 4 cup tea pot for about 20 minutes. The long steeping time is helpful to release the constituent ingredients of the herbs. Steep the green tea bags in the same amount of water, but separately for about 5 minutes so the tea isn't too strong.

Then combine the herbal tea and green tea into a large jar and dilute the mixture with water. You can add 1 or 2 packets of Stevia Plus sweetener.

The original instructions that came with this mixed tea recipe recommended Milk Thistle tincture and liquid Germanium which can be taken separately.

I'm really feeling like going back to nice cheap herbs is my major path for awhile.

I'd like to add a sidenote about the herbal recipe above. Red clover is a wonderful herb, esp. for woman needing hormone replacement therapy, and it's part of a much safer alternative than the synthetics. but, beware, and learn from mine and others mistakes, that it is a powerful phytoestrogen, stronger than soy, but w/out the potential for thyroid side effects. This means that us younger, non-menopausal woman who have estrogen dominance problems aren't good candidates for it. I explain this in my herbs fresh for the picking thread going now. It only took me about 3 days to feel messed up, and through another poster's helpful info (one that was menopausal and doing great w/ it) I made the connection.

I'd suggest a great alternative that doesn't promote more undesired estrogen is chamomile, another sweet and fragrant flower herb, that has the perk of being antifungal too. the pau d'arco in your recipe is also antifungal.

[This Message was Edited on 07/24/2005]


New Member
Thanks for the great article. Just wanted to get everyones opinions on wether u think i might be herxing?
For the past 2 weeks ive been taking 25mg minocycline every 2nd night and have had a night sweat every night since then.
I've been getting alot this year (been a bad year for me) but its not usually 2 weeks straight prob only 3-4 nights a week maybe so after reading the article was thinking maybe the antibiotics were causing it.
Also i've been getting B12 shots every 2 weeks since start of the year for a bit of energy (not deficient) could this be causing the night sweats since its more this year than last and would that count as herxing?
Sorry if i dont make much sense i dont understand it.
Thanks xx


New Member
I'm bumping for you Mandy because I'm not sure.

Tansy, thank you, thank you for the wonderful information on aiding a herx. I'm off the the health food store today for the teas I don't already have.

Jeanne, great thread. I made it through yesterday with lemon/olive oil water and took a epsom salt/perxiode bath and feel much better today. I'm now thinking herx rather than flare for me with the Clindamycin.

Many thanks for the post, it was quite timely for me......foxglove


New Member
Thanks for the post. I understand alot more now.

Also thanks alot to Tansy! That is helping me to get myself
in gear, making out my daily menus that will hopefully

help me to live more of a normal life again. Thanks again,

I love the natural stuff too, It's natural healing, yah!
Going to do the lemon/ olive oil, water and then the bath

first thing in the morning. Thanks again. fahan

this is the kind I'm dealing w/ lately. The {*} are my sidenotes. the full article is really impressive, it's here http://www.sheilas.com/candida.html



Herxheimer's response is a reaction to yeast die-off. Another name is the "healing crisis". Over 300 symptoms are related to candida. Symptoms may be aggravated when yeast is being destroyed through the use of Aqua flora and/or any anti-fungal remedies. Yeast wants to survive and will fight to live. When you win the battle, the crisis is over and you feel better. One client reported that she had a mild headache for several days and then suddenly felt much better.

"Many individuals who have a heavy parasite infection have a tremendous die off reaction. I believe my initial elimination diet and candida supplements helped ward off a serious die-off reaction during my parasite cleanse. I felt tired, sleepy, had minor skin eruptions, felt queasy at times and noticed cramping. These are good signs that my body is killing and ridding itself of parasites. Enemas relieve the die-off symptoms by washing out the dying parasites, candida and their toxins. However, if your die-off reaction becomes intense it is best to start slowly and eliminate some of the herbs from your diet for a while."

Sickness and cleansing can be taxing on all the organs and our systems slow down. Clearing toxic chemicals, accumulated intestinal wastes, parasites, candida, pathogenic bacteria or viruses is likely to produce slowed bowel transit time until we achieve some of our cleansing goals. During this time, it's important to lighten the burden on our bodies by eating lighter meals, avoiding foods we have trouble with, drinking more fluid and cultivating patience. The Herxheimer reaction is a severe response to cleansing whatever way it is accomplished. Die-off reactions can be uncomfortable and the Herxheimer reaction can mean major discomfort.

What do you do if you have an aggravated die-off? You have a choice. You can one, temporarily discontinue taking the product(s) causing the die-off, or two, reduce the dosage of the product until the body can eliminate the toxic waste or three, stay on the daily dosage and roll with the discomfort. Specialists suggest taking aspirin, AlkaSeltzer Gold {*my env. doc backs this product so much she sells it, for alkalizing} or baking soda {*cheap alkalizing remedy, the one I'll be using} to reduce the symptoms. Many individuals experience no such effect.

A nurse who was cleansing described her experience this way. "These physical complaints became familiar to me while killing parasites. Surely the response is common where many organisms are to be killed! After several days of excessively aggressive zapping, I once experienced heart irregularities, leg pains and severe die-off symptoms. Certainly, I needed to heed those symptoms. Temporarily cutting back or discontinuing treatments may seem the logical answer if my response is the result of zapping, taking herbs, hydrogen peroxide or antibiotics. Perhaps not always. Doing coffee enemas has also been my answer for attaining relief."
[This Message was Edited on 07/25/2005]


New Member
Thanks so much for all the info and for your replies to my post on herxing. I'm going to try cutting down on the AB's to see if it helps and to give my body a rest. I just have a few questions about the treatments listed could you please explain how youre meant to take them, how to make them, how often to take, do u just try one thing at a time? I cant try the baths cause i have limited hot water and i cant take asprin or nurofin.These are what i can try except i hate oils, and with the benadryl whats that good for(just the itching symptom?)

* Lemon/Olive Oil drink (may be done with water or Grape Juice)
* 2 Tbsp Lemon Juice (Organic) or 1/2 lemon rind)
* 1 Tbsp cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil Water or juice ... stir
* Concord Grape Juice with flavoids (widens blood vessels)
* Benadryl (antihistamine)

From the second article what do u do with the baking soda?

Dont know if u can help with this one as its from tansy's tea recipe how cups are u meant to have a day?

Will any of this stuff interfere with the Minocycline and should i tell my doc if i try them or see how i go? i dont like ringing him over evrything cause hes so busy.

So sorry to annoy u with all these questions and so grateful for all the help. Mandy xx


New Member
to be in a position to give you an answer that applied to you and everyone else but since there are various reasons for detox (hence herx) problems, and we tend to be sensitive or allergic to many things, we need to find what works best for us.

IMHO we should first slow down the rate of die off and give our body a chance to clear the bio, endo and neuro toxins. I also think we should go for the gentlest methods of detox that work until we have made some progress. The Heel detox kit is safe for most people, although I am sure even so some will react to it, though I have not heard/seen any first party reports of this yet. Lemon water works well for me.

I use psyllium husks at least twice a day to help ensure toxins that end up in the colon are excreted and not reabsorbed. I also use activated charcoal but only just before going to sleep since it might otherwise carry out the vital minerals I take. Recently I started using a digestive enzyme between meals with high levels of lipase, this is said to help break down the endo toxins due to die off.

As for the detox tea above, I would go for a little at first then increasing it gradually, using how you respond as your guide. I have used an herbal anti-inflammatory when the inflammation gets really bad; boswellia works very well for me, it is an elastase inhibitor and is great when I get an immune response affecting my GI tract as well.

I have been on a long term protocol to help my liver detox and raise my glutathione levels, this includes milk thistle and reduced lipoic acid. Glutathione is needed by the immune system as well as aiding detoxing generally, most PWCs have low red blood cell glutathione levels as have many with other chronic illnesses.

Water is essential to help the kidneys flush the toxins out. However, some PWCs have learned they need to raise their levels slowly, again you will have to go by how all this affects you.

Skin brushing and the health bounce on a rebounder/mini trampoline help lymph flow. I now when the inflammation is at it's worst I have to try and keep everything moving as much as possible.

Love, Tansy