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Detoxing: The Herxheimer Reaction: feeling worse before feeling better

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  • Started 9 years ago by Mike

  1. Mike

    lemonHead
    Posts: 226

    The Herxheimer Reaction - Feeling worse before feeling better
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    The Herxheimer Reaction is a short-term (days) detoxification reaction in the body. As the body detoxifies, it is not uncommon to experience flu-like symptoms including headache, joint and muscle pain, body aches, sore throat, general malaise, sweating, chills, nausea or other symptoms.

    This is a normal — and even healthy — reaction that indicates that parasites, fungus, viruses, bacteria or other pathogens are being effectively killed off. The biggest problem with the Herxheimer reaction is that people stop taking the supplement or medication that is causing the reaction, and thus discontinue the very treatment that is helping to make them better. Although the experience may not make you feel particularly good, the Herxheimer Reaction is actually a sign that healing is taking place.

    What Is The Herxheimer Reaction?
    The Herxheimer Reaction is an immune system reaction to the toxins (endotoxins) that are released when large amounts of pathogens are being killed off, and the body does not eliminate the toxins quickly enough. Simply stated, it is a reaction that occurs when the body is detoxifying and the released toxins either exacerbate the symptoms being treated or create their own symptoms. The important thing to note is that worsening symptoms do not indicate failure of the treatment in question; in fact, usually just the opposite.

    A Rose By Any Other Name
    Technically known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction, this syndrome goes by many names, including JHR, the Herxheimer Effect, the Herxheimer Response, a Herx Reaction, Herx or Herks. The most common terminology used is the Herxheimer Reaction. It is also often referred to as a healing 'crisis', a detox reaction, or die-off syndrome.

    History
    The phenomenon was first described by Adolf Jarisch (1860-1902) working in Vienna, Austria, and a few years later by Karl Herxheimer (1861-1942), working in Frankfort, Germany. Both doctors were dermatologists mainly treating syphilitic lesions of the skin. They noticed that in response to treatment, many patients developed not only fever, perspiration, night sweats, nausea and vomiting, but their skin lesions became larger and more inflamed before settling down and healing. Interestingly, they found that those who had the most extreme reactions healed the best and fastest. The patient might be ill for 2-3 days, but then their lesions resolved.

    A Medical Example
    The Herxheimer reaction is caused by the release of toxic chemicals (endotoxins) released from the cell walls of dying bacteria due to effective treatment. The Herxheimer Reaction is well recognized in medical circles and is certainly not confined to the world of natural medicine or supplements.

    For example, a recent study report (Feb ’04) on the treatment of Sarcoidosis found that, “. . . without exception, the improving patients are reporting periodic aggravation of their symptoms as an apparent direct response to the antibiotics. In other words, these patients say that their treatment makes them feel much worse before they experience symptom-relief.” The abstract of the study goes on to say, “This phenomenon is known as the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction (JHR) and is often referred to informally as Herx. JHR is believed to be caused when injured or dead bacteria release their endotoxins into blood and tissues faster than the body can comfortably handle it. . . . This provokes a sudden and exaggerated inflammatory response . . . . In Sarcoidosis patients, the Herxheimer reaction seems to be a valuable indication that an antibiotic is reaching its target.” In the conclusion, the author states: “In my work with Sarcoidosis patients, it is my experience that recovering MP patients understand and welcome the Herxheimer reactions even when they must endure temporary increased suffering. They accept it as the price that they must pay in order to get well and they even seem to find it gratifying to experience tangible evidence of bacterial elimination. “

    What To Do In The Event of a Herxheimer Reaction
    If the reaction is mild enough that it can be borne without grave discomfort, the best approach is to continue the program and assist the body in eliminating the toxins as quickly and as thoroughly as possible by the methods below. If the reaction is too severe, cutting back on the dosage or frequency of use can be very helpful in lessening symptoms but allowing the healing process to continue. Sometimes stopping for a day or so and then beginning again at a lesser dosage can allow for quick relief.

    The best assistance for the body is drinking plenty of spring water (2-3 litres a day is recommended).

    Other helpful suggestions include:
    • Getting plenty of sunshine
    • Minimising exercise for the detox period
    • Keeping the organs of elimination (the bowels, lungs, skin, kidneys, lymph) functioning properly
    • Keeping the diet relatively pure during the detox period so that the body is not loaded with additional chemicals and toxins to eliminate while it is already working hard.

    "I am responsible - the creator of my own experience."
    Posted 9 years ago #

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