How To Manage A Herxheimer Reaction

fibromyalgia painA Herxheimer reaction is a short period of time (from days to a few weeks), in a treatment where you may feel worse before you feel better. Sometimes you can feel much worse. This isn’t the case for everyone, but it can actually be seen as the hallmark of any good healing protocol.

This is because the body is moving out massive amounts of harmful pathogens & biofilm, which has kept you chronically ill, and it’s tasked to process it all at once. Many times, the symptoms of “Herxing” are just an intensification of the same symptoms you’ve been feeling.

An important note: If you have recently shifted your diet from processed foods, to the types of foods that are recommended on the Restore 3 Protocol, there can often be a brief “adjustment” period since you are effectively starving out the bad bugs by denying them of their favorite food source: sugar. This adjustment period can feel almost like a “Herx” reaction since you will be killing-off a large number of pathogens all at once when you begin the diet.

Some signs of a Herxhiemer or die-off response:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Chills
  • Headaches
  • Skin rashes
  • Brain Fog
  • Excess mucus production
  • Chemical sensitivities
  • Increased GI problems (diarrhea, constipation, etc.)
  • Depression/mood swings
  • Biofilm leaving the body through the nose, stool or urine


Karl Herxheimer, M.D.

This phenomenon was first described by Adolf Jarisch (1860-1902) working in Vienna, Austria, and a few years later by Karl Herxheimer (1861-1942), from Germany. Both doctors were dermatologists mainly treating syphilitic lesions of the skin.

They noticed that in response to treatment, several 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 discovered that those patients who had the most extreme reactions healed the best and quickest.

Ultimately, this is great news because it means that what you are doing is working!

What we’ve generally seen is that the worse the die-off reaction, the more likely that people feel equally & oppositely good once it’s over.

However, as many of our readers have learned, it doesn’t feel like great news when you’re going through it. And sadly, many people who end up going through a Herx reaction, end up quitting just before the finish line.

It is always so sad to see it happen because that is the very point where you should be getting hopeful that what you are currently doing is actually working. It just takes a little patience and knowledge ahead of time of how to best manage it.

So, lets dive right into how to manage a Herxheimer reaction so that you are most comfortable while experiencing one.

The #1 thing you can do to feel better almost immediately, is give yourself a coffee enema. I won’t go into detail on how to do this, but I will say it is quite easy to do and it’s going to give you the most immediate benefit for the effort that you can find.

Here’s a link to how you can do one yourself:

If you don’t like the idea of a coffee enema, colon hydrotherapy is next on that list.

(This is probably the biggest tip you’ll find out of any number of ways to decrease a die-off reaction. Because the simple truth is, no matter how healthy you are eating now, if you’re not flushing out the toxins, they will likely just end up being reabsorbed again by the colon and keep you sick.)

Food and Drink:
Water: Your body requires extra hydration during detox. Drink double or triple what you normally take in.
Fiber: Toxins can be reabsorbed by large intestine if your bowels aren’t moving regularly
Lemon Water: lemon is a natural detoxifier
Dandelion Root Tea: helps the gallbladder produce bile and encourages liver detox
Low Caffeine/Sugar: This will aggravate the inflammatory response in the body

Get Support:
Reach out to friends and family for extra support during this time. Let them know ahead of time that you’ll be extra sensitive and need encouragement to get through this part of your healing protocol. This is one of the most important things you can do. Watch funny movies or shows with them and try to laugh as much as possible.

Activated Charcoal: Helps absorb toxins and moves them out of body
ALA (Alpha Lipoic Acid): 600 milligrams per day during Herx
Probiotics: Soil-based probiotics are best. They help replenish the pathogenic colonies in the gut.
Chelated Magnesium (malate): Assists in reducing muscle hypoxia, helps sleep and encourages whole body relaxation. Using it topically in a spray, will allow it to be more readily & easily absorbed by your body versus ingesting orally.
Vitamin C (liposomal): This is almost a given to take vitamin C during any type of healing crisis or period of low immunity. Liposomal vitamin C is up to 85% more bioavailable than regular vitamin C.

Daily Support:
– Take regular Epsom salt baths: or use a magnesium oil spray.
– Colon hydrotherapy: is one of the most essential tools I still use frequently to this day for all things detox. It almost always makes me feel 100% better. I cannot stress enough to readers who’ve never tried this to give this one a chance to work magic on you. An enema is the next best thing you can do as an alternative.
– Exercise as tolerated: It’s important to get your lymph moving during this time. Rebounding on a trampoline is the most ideal exercise for this.
– Honor what’s coming up for you emotionally: Your body stores emotional memories/experiences. Allow these to arise and witness them without blame or judgment or going into story about what’s arising. It will process much quicker by being the conscious witness to it and not trying to ‘do’ anything with it.
– Lymphatic Massage or Manual Lymphatic Drainage (MLD): Can be very helpful to get the lymph moving and toxins out of your body. Just make sure to drink plenty of water afterwards to maximize benefits. UPDATE: One reader just pointed out to us that you’ll want to avoid deep tissue massage as it can actually block and close the lymphatic passages and create more issues during a detox protocol. Go with lymphatic massage for the best detoxing.

The most important thing to remember is that although Herxing is a good sign that you are on the right track, it is best to not overdo it. This is because you can actually end up causing more damage to your body by sustaining a Herxheimer reaction for too long.

Take it slow. If you are taking biofilm disrupting enzymes and you are Herxing for longer than 7 days, reduce the amount of enzymes you are taking by 1/2 or more, until it becomes more tolerable for you. This is a marathon, not a 50-meter dash.

Often, in the beginning when I do this protocol, I will notice an up-and-down happening where 1 day I’ll feel good and 3 days I will be Herxing. Inevitably, this ratio will flip, and over time I will have many more consecutive days of feeling amazing with a day or 2 of downtime until eventually, 99% of the time, I feel great. This pattern is something I’ve learned many people have experienced with their bodies as they go through a protocol that is actually working and it’s quite normal to feel this “yo-yo” effect for a while as the body re-establishes it’s healing stasis.

You will most likely find that once you are through a Herx reaction, you will be so glad that you stuck with it to the other side. It is truly a small price to pay in the end for the benefits of eliminating disease causing pathogens.

We’ll see you on the other side.