Dealing with Herx Reactions: 27 Best Remedies That Work Fast!

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Written By

Lauryn

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Expert Reviewed By

Dr. Lauryn Lax, OTD, MS

Dr. Lauryn, OTD, MS is a doctor of occupational therapy, clinical nutritionists and functional medicine expert with 25 years of clinical and personal experience in healing from complex chronic health issues and helping others do the same.

Herx Reactions - Woman Eating Pasta

Sometimes as the body is detoxing, Herx reactions may occur—when bacteria, yeasts, latent infections, hormones, inflammatory compounds and/or toxins are provoked and not cleared effectively by the body’s. 

Detoxing and cleansing are an essential part of health restoration. 

Your body is naturally designed to detox on its own. However, thanks to the vast amount of stressors and toxins we are exposed to in our environment and lives—from antibiotics to seed oils, sugar, processed foods, chemicals, mold toxins, parasites, and more, the body can become inundated and unable to effectively clear toxins and bacteria out. 

Enter: a cleanse—in order to work in tip top shape.

Herx Reactions - Woman With Unpleasant Look Reaction Grimacing

Herx reactions may actually provoke the same exact symptoms you’re trying to get rid of. 

Well over 90% of the time you’re not feeling well is due to a body that is not detoxing effectively. You have a total of 9 detox “channels”, including: your liver, gallbladder, kidneys, skin, colon, lymph system, circulatory system, lungs and gut bacteria. If any of these are clogged, inflamed or under-functioning, then Houston, we have a problem. Herx reactions may also occur to an over-active immune system, such as Mast Cell Activation Syndrome, immune intolerance or an overt allergy, where T-cells and histamine (the “fire extinguishers” of the immune system) run rampant and provoke inflammatory immune reactions of all sorts. 

How do you know the difference in a “herx” reaction vs. an immune reaction vs. an allergy? Check out the differences below:

Herx Reactions

Symptoms

Herx Reactions - Sick Young Woman In Pain
  • Acute body pain
  • Body pains 
  • Brain fog
  • Chills
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Faint feeling
  • Fever
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Rashes
  • Sweating

Onset

  • Within 24 hours of 1 dose

Treatment

  • Antinflammatories, detox strategies/binders, fluids

Resolution

  • Days to weeks

Immune Up-regulation/Intolerance

Symptoms

Herx Reactions - Young Upset And Tired Bearded Man Lying On Bed With Open Eyes
  • Body aches
  • Blood sugar swings
  • Constipation
  • Diarrhea
  • Itchy throat/ears
  • Nausea
  • Ringing in ears
  • Sleep disturbance/insomnia
  • Upset stomach
  • Wheezing

Onset

  • Minutes to days after starting a new supplement, food or exposure 

Treatment

  • Antinflammatories, anti-histamines, potentially stopping supplement

Resolution

  • Several hours to a few days
  • Avoid known allergens
  • German New Medicine – understand the immune trigger

Allergic Reaction

Symptoms

Herx Reactions - Young Woman Scratching Her Itchy Arm
  • Airway restrictions
  • Chest tightness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea, vomitting
  • Rash, hives, blisters
  • Shock
  • Swollen face
  • Weak pulse

Onset

  • Minutes to hours after 

Treatment

  • Benadryl, steroids, emergency treatment (epinephrine) 
  • Avoid known allergens

Resolution

The golden rule of cleansing states that if you’re going to intentionally help your body kill a foreign invader, you should intentionally help your body remove those foreign invaders from your body and support your immune system.  If you start to Herx or react to any new supplement or food, the body’s tactics for removing the endotoxins or regulating your immune system are overburdened due to an accumulation of endotoxins. This is where detoxification, Herx-mitigation and immune support strategies come into play. 

The bottom line: You don’t have to “just deal” with Herx and cleanse reactions. If you’re feeling symptomatic with severe symptoms after 1–3 doses or mild symptoms after 7 days, consider some of these Herx & Immune Reaction Strategies. 

Bonus: Looking for a practitioner who understands detox, gut healing, complex health challenges and Herx reactions? If you’re serious and invested in your health and getting well (versus managing symptoms), connect with us for a complimentary health strategy call and let’s make a game plan for you together!

Herx Reactions: Immediate Relief

Alka-Seltzer Gold + Liposomal Glutathione

Alka-Seltzer Gold combined with the master antioxidant glutathione are said to be quite effective in reducing an acute herxheimer reaction. (Some 70% are expected to feel better within hours). 

  • 2 Alka-Seltzer Gold tablets in 8oz of water with lemon or lime juice for alkalization and vitamin C. 
  • Follow the Alka-Seltzer Gold with 6-8 capsules (250mg/capsule) of glutathione or 1500-2000mg of oral  liposomal glutathione. 

Lemon Water

Herx Reactions -  Detox Water With Cucumber And Lemon

Lemons are known for their exceptional ability to cleanse the body of toxins.

  • Squeeze 2 whole lemons into 1 cup of water and sip this concoction slowly over a half hour’s time. 

Take a Binder Binder

Helps “mop” up endotoxins immediately. Adsorption (as opposed to absorption) is a process where the toxic substance attaches to the surface of the charcoal and gets eliminated in the stool; this will turn your stool black.  Take in between meals, and 2 hours after any supplements or medications, as it can also adsorb nutrients and drugs.

Parsley

Can be consumed with food but is most effective for reducing a herx when taken in tincture form.

  • Nutramedix Parsley Detox helps to drain the lymphatic system. Take 8-10 drops  in 4 oz. of water every 15 minutes until symptoms subside. 

Epsom Salt Bath

Epsom Salt is magnesium sulfate. It is absorbed through the skin when taken in a hot bath.  Magnesium acts as a muscle relaxer and the sulfur increases bile production in the liver. Bile is the means of  transportation for toxins from the liver to the colon. 

  • Dry skin brushing before an Epsom Salt Bath will clear any debris from your pores. 
  • Pour 2-4 cups of Epsom Salt into a bath that is hot but not too hot and soak for 20 – 30 minutes. 

Fluids

Increase fluids (water, dandelion tea) and rest as best you can.

Sauna

Sweat it out

Immune Reactions: Immediate Relief  

Natural Anti-histamines

Help to down regulate the immune system and histamines. Favs include:

  • Quercetin
  • D Hist
  • PEA (Mirica)
  • AllQlear (quail egg)
  • MC Stabilizer (blend)
  • HistaEaze 
  • Stinging Nettle & Hibiscus Tea
  • Camu Camu powder 
  • Liposomal vitamin C
  • Astragalus 
  • Spore based and Bifidobacteria probiotics
  • Sachromyces Boulardii
  • HistaQuel (Researched Nutritionals)
  • Histoplex (Biotics)
  • Mast Ease (Beyond Balance)
  • Cell Salts (Hylands)
  • Homeopathy (Energetix) 
  • Manuka Honey 
  • DAO enzymes
  • Shilajit (aryuvedic herb) 

(order directly here from Fullscript and get an automatic 10% discount) 

Antiinflammatories 

Help to down regulate the immune system and histamines. Favs include:

  • Intenzyme Forte Enzymes
  • Cordyceps (Adaptogen Recovery by Vital Plan)
  • Lipsoaml Vitamin C
  • Liposomal Curcumin

(order directly here from Fullscript and get an automatic 10% discount) 

Ongoing Detox & Immune Support  

Best Strategies For You To Implement

Integrate several of these strategies throughout your detox. 

#1 Golden Rule: Go Low & Slow

Pulse dose. Start off with 1/2 the dose for a week then bring in the full dose.

You can also “pulse” the dose: one week or one day on, one off. Take a full dose and wait a week. Then take a full dose and wait six days. Then a full dose and wait 5 days. And so on until they are at the full dose daily.

Amp Up Liver Detox Support

Glutathione and/or its precursor building blocks, ALA and NAC, along with curcumin and quercetin, also may help remove toxins.

  • Glutathione (as oral liposomal glutathione) 400-500 mg 1 or 2 times a day.
  • Quercetin 250 mg 2 capsules 3 times a day
  • Liposomal Curcumin 500 mg 1 x 2-3 times a day
  • Liposomal Vitamin C (1000-2000 mg/day)

(order directly here from Fullscript and get an automatic 10% discount) 

Apple Cider Vinegar

Herx Reactions - Apple Cider Vinegar

When the body becomes ill or is over burdened with toxins, the PH level becomes very acidic and the body becomes an environment where illness can thrive.  Apple cider vinegar is best known for its ability to alkalize the body which is a level of PH that allows the body to function much more properly. 

  • Take 1-2 tbsp, 1-3x per day.  It can be used on salads or two teaspoons in a cup, add water and then drink.
  • Note: Apple Cider Vinegar is also an excellent anti-fungal. If you’re currently dealing with candida, Apple Cider Vinegar will likely induce a herx instead of reduce. 

Bentonite Clay

Bentonite Clay is an edible clay that collects toxins as it passes through the digestive tract and remove them from the body. The longer it is used, the more toxins it will remove.  Warning: Bentonite Clay can cause intestinal discomfort so it is important to consume plenty of water while taking it.

Bowel Support

If you’re not pooing daily, Houston, we have a problem! Support healthy bowel movements with liposomal vitamin C (1000-2000 mg) and/or chelated magnesium (300-400 mg) at bed.

Celery Juice

Celery juice stimulates phase 1 liver detox to break down toxins and prep them for cleansing. It also is a natural cholagogue that helps with kicking out bile from the gallbladder.  Drink 4-8 oz on an empty stomach after your morning water. 

Chlorella

Chlorella has the powerful detoxifying ability to bind to toxins and prevent them from being reabsorbed in the digestive tract. It’s commonly used in conjunction with cilantro for removing heavy metals.  Some people can’t digest the cell membrane of Chlorella, therefore finding a chlorella product with a “broken cell wall” would be best. Chlorella works best when taken on an empty stomach. 

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Cruciferous Veggies

Cruciferous vegetables such as Kale, Collard Greens and Cabbage have the incredibly ability to increase the detox activity of cells in the liver. Steam Kale for 2 minutes or Collard Greens for 4 minutes to keep the living enzymes they contain alive. Then add Sea Salt, Black Pepper, Diced Avocado and Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Drainage Support

The lymphatic system collects toxins, dead spirochetes, and fallen immune cells for removal from the body,  but when it becomes over burden, it can become sluggish or backed up. Add in a homeopathic lymph mover:

Examples

Castor Oil Pack

Castor Oil Packs are very effective at helping the liver and lymphatic system detox from strong herxheimer reactions much like an Epsom Salt Bath.

Cold Shower

Jumping into a cold shower forces the muscles to contract, which in turn moves toxins along to be processed. It also opens the arteries allowing a fresh supply of blood to infiltrate the organs. 

Once jumping into a cold shower, it takes about a minute for the body to adjust and become comfortable. 3 minutes in the shower will suffice.

Colon Hydrotherapy

Colon Hydrotherapy, also known as a colonics or colon cleansing, is a procedure in which a unique mixture of water, and sometimes herbs, is injected into the colon via the rectum to assist the removal of unwanted constituents. The colon is responsible for absorbing nutrients from food for the body and forming feces for evacuation.  

Overtime, as one ages and depending on a person’s lifestyle, a colon can become sluggish, and detoxification  becomes impacted. Such consequences include stagnant fecal matter, wall-impacted mucus, toxins being re- absorbed into the body, and even parasites thriving. 

Coffee Enema

Coffee enemas stimulate production of glutathione S-transferase (GST) in the liver. GST is a powerful enzyme that binds to, metabolizes, and removes toxic substances from the body. The constituents in the coffee are absorbed directly into the liver through the colon wall. Add 3 tablespoons of organic ground coffee to boiling water. 

Boil for 3 minutes, then reduce to a simmer for about 15 additional minutes covered. Strain if needed and let cool before administering. Lie on the right side in the bathroom, and begin administering the coffee into the rectum via the enema. Hold the coffee for 5-15 minutes, and then evacuate the colon.

Dry Brushing 

Dry Skin Brushing utilizes a natural bristle brush to clear the pores of debris, thus allowing toxins to flow out easier. It also stimulates the lymphatic system, which harnesses toxins from the body.  Dry Skin Brushing is most commonly used before a sauna or Epsom Salt Bath but can be used daily. 

Exercise 

Exercise (even just walking or riding a bike) is an excellent tool for expelling toxins from the body.  It forces the muscles to contract which is the catalyst for the lymphatic system. 

The lymphatic system is in  charge of transporting toxins throughout the body for disposal. Exercise will inevitably induce sweating which allows the body to remove toxins stored in fats cells through
the pores of the skin. 

IV Therapy

For severe die-off reactions, use IV glutathione as a potent antioxidant and to support liver detoxification. This is administered in an integrative medicine physician’s office. Another option is to use glutathione in a nebulizer. Glutathione IV is stronger than glutathione by nebulizer in my experience. 

Using a nebulizer, you breath in a fine mist of the glutathione, which is absorbed into the blood through the blood vessels in the lungs. Sometimes start with four IV glutathione treatments and then change to glutathione by nebulizer to continue the treatment.

Glutathione IV 1200 mg to 2500 mg 

2 times a week for a minimum of four treatments. If it helps but there are still improvements with the last treatment, consider weekly treatments until improvements plateau. You will likely feel more tired after the first treatment.

Glutathione by nebulizer 200 mg/ml 

2 ml 2 times a day for adults. Children can take 100 mg/ml 1ml to 2ml 2 times a day.

Lymph Massage

Lymph massages help to stimulate the lymph flow of the lymphatic system as it can become sluggish while battling Lyme Disease.
The lymphatic system is responsible for collecting toxins from cells; thus allowing the body to remove them through sweat, bowel movements, and urine.  

A lymph massage is recommended 3 or 4 times during first part of Lyme treatment and 2 times after. Warning: The masseuse must be certified in lymph massage specifically. Avoid deep tissue or muscle massages as they will expel toxins from the tissue and leave you feeling worse for a day or two.

Sauna

Utilizing the skin as a means of detoxification is genius as 20 minutes of sweating is equivalent to the work the kidneys accomplish in 24 hours. 

Soak up the Sun! 

Enough said. 

Summary

As previously mentioned, Herx reactions are a “thing”, but being “dealing with them” does not have to be. 

Looking for a practitioner who understands detox, gut healing, complex health challenges and Herx reactions? If you’re serious and invested in your health and getting well (versus managing symptoms), connect with us for a complimentary health strategy call and let’s make a game plan for you together!

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