A Herxheimer reaction is the side effects of effective treatment or cleansing. It is a normal reaction your body has when toxins from dead pathogens are being dumped into the bloodstream faster than the body can comfortably handle. Common symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Joint Pain
  • Muscle Pain
  • Cold Sweats
  • Fever
  • Chills

With this in mind, Herxheimer reactions are not necessarily a bad thing. They are a good indication that the body is healing and toxins are being eliminated.


The technical term Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction comes from the observations of Adolf Jarisch and Karl Herxheimer. As dermatologists, they spent a great deal of time treating patients with skin lesions. They noticed that in response to the antibiotics, the patients would often how signs of fever, sweating, nausea, chills, or other symptoms. Both doctors also noticed inflammation and swelling in the infected area before remission and healing.

You may know the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction by a different name. It has been called: Herxheimer reaction, Herxheimer response, Herx, Herxing, Herx effect, or how I typically refer to it – Herx Reaction.

What is a Herxheimer Reaction?

A typical Herx reaction can last anywhere from a week to a few months. Each case is different and there are many factors at play when estimating how long the reaction will last. The biggest factor at play is the condition and status of what is being treated (i.e. condition of skin lesions, status of Lyme disease, etc…). Other factors that come in to play include how effectively the body is able to remove toxins and debris from the blood, and how healthy the body is overall. Also, note that everyone is different and will react differently.

The most important thing to remember during treatment or cleansing is that a Herx reaction is a good thing and the protocol should be continued as long as the Herxing is not extreme. Most people stop the treatment when they begin to Herx. They do not realize that Herxing is a good sign and they stop what they are doing before they have finished the cleansing process.

What Causes Herxing?

You may be wondering what exactly causes all the nasty side effects of effective cleansing or treatment. Below I will be referring specifically to the Herx reaction caused by the BX Protocol, but the concepts are the same for most other cleansing or treatment programs.

When introduced to the pathogen, the BX energy catalyst depolymerizes the toxin by oxidative means. In other words, the energy catalyst breaks the pathogen down to its structural units piece by piece. It does this by oxidizing the pathogen. Now when the pathogen is broken down within the cell, the infected cell will often die off as well.

After the death of the cell, the elements of the cell and pathogen are released into the bloodstream to be cleansed from the body. The main components that are released into the bloodstream include fats and proteins but a variety of endotoxins from the pathogens are also released. The toxins are typically responsible for causing the Herx reaction we are referring to. As the body notices an increase in toxins in the blood, an acute immune response is triggered to help cleanse the toxins from the body.

Getting Through a Herxheimer Reaction

If the Herx reaction is too severe, then cutting back on treatment is recommended. A very intense reaction can actually begin to shut the body down. Very severe cases are uncommon but can happen. If your symptoms are overwhelming consult with your advocate or a physician.

A mild to moderate Herxheimer reaction is completely normal but can be very uncomfortable. With that said, there are things you can do to ease the cleansing process. I have included a list below of some very simple but very beneficial tips.

  1. Drink Plenty of Distilled Water – Distilled water is known to help pull toxins from your body. Staying hydrated is also a must when you are cleansing.
  2. Eat Fewer Calories – Your body will flush most toxins out through your colon, thus it is essential to keep a healthy and clear digestive tract while cleansing. Eating a slight calorie deficit will help keep your digestive system running smoothly, and also keep the focus on eliminating toxins rather than digesting enormous amounts of food.
  3. Stay Away from Toxins and Chemicals – Because your body is attempting to cleanse a plethora of toxins from your blood, it only makes sense to limit the amount of toxins you are exposed to each day. Staying away from BPA in canned food, fluoride toothpaste, alcohol, smoke, and processed foods is a great idea.
  4. Eat more fruit (especially raw fruit juice) – Fruits are known cleansers and packed with water and antioxidants. If you are taking the BX energy catalyst be careful with fruits that will alter the effectiveness of the BX including most citrus fruits.
  5. Cleanse the Colon Regularly – Oral and rectal cleansing of the colon is recommended periodically to keep things running properly (At least once a week). Do not overlook this suggestion it is highly effective.
  6. Supplement a high-quality probiotic – Because the colon is essential for cleansing the body, keeping it healthy will make the process much easier.
  7. Cut back on strenuous exercise – While very light exercise such as walking can be beneficial, strenuous exercise is known to cause acute inflammation in the body, which will add to the problem.

Bonus Tip

Grape Juice – Along with its delicious taste, grape juice provides a host of health benefits. Drinking raw grape juice while you cleanse will not only aid in the cleansing process, but will also provide potent anti-oxidants to help your body cope with the high levels of oxidative stress present while cleansing.