In the Lyme world, in chat rooms, blogs and Facebook groups, you will hear the phrase "herxing" tossed around like beads in a Mardi Gras parade. It took me a while to catch on because I felt them, I dreaded them, I abhorred them, but I didn't know their name.
A Herxheimer reaction is what happens when the spirochete bacteria known as Lyme are killed off in large numbers. The spirochete releases ammonia and neurotoxins when they "die-off". It is these substances in the body and the body's inability to handle getting rid of so many of them at once, that causes the Herxheimer.
The official name is Jarisch-Herxheimer reaction named after the two scientists, Karl Herxheimer and Adolf Jarisch, that discovered the reaction after treating patients with syphilis in the late 1800s. (Wikipedia.com)
The best analogy is to think of the Lyme as a very intelligent group of thugs that set a booby trap to their "host". If you, the host, discover them and try to get rid of them, the booby trap is released. A kamikaze pilot of sorts, so that if they have to go down, you are going down with them.
If you've ever experienced "die-off" from candida, a herxheimer from Lyme is like 100 times stronger and more terrible to endure. The closest thing a "normal" person would have experienced would be a hangover. A hangover is the body's response to the liver getting clogged trying to process out the alcohol from the system and restoring it. Now multiply that many times and then add in nerve pain, joint pain, paralysis, numbness, nausea, brain fog, chest pain, etc., and you have got a herx.
It's the main reason why your Lyme doctor or doctor team should be focusing on detoxifying your filtering organs. The body has to work hard and fast to rid all the neurotoxins and ammonia from the body at the rate it is dumped into the system.
Picture a garbage disposal after peeling enough potatoes for a Thanksgiving feast. All those peels could slow down or clog the disposal because it is just too much too fast.
Herxheimers can be minimized and avoided and still rid the body of Lyme. I know this because I've experienced it. For Lyme sufferers, it is hard to believe and seems like a myth. It is not. I initially, through ozone therapy, colloidal silver, cat's claw, Rife and doxycycline experienced herxing that lasted for days at a time. The last terrible herx that nearly killed me camped out for over three weeks.
Herxheimers are quite serious and can be deadly. The neurotoxins of Lyme resemble the toxins that kill victims of poisonous snake bites. They can, if gone untreated, be lethal. Ammonia toxicity can cause sepsis throughout the body's major organs. Add that to the damage the neurotoxins do to the nervous system and brain and you can have an entire body shutdown.
Herxing also has a terrible reputation among even the cutting edge LLMDs across our country. It is believed that herxing is a means to an end. It is not.
This can be avoided. A proper Lyme doctor will use products to neutralize the neurotoxins, help rid the body of ammonia, strengthen the filtering organs and clean out the lymph system. If these things are done properly, then herxing is severely minimized or avoided completely. My doctor Dr. David Jernigan, from the Hansa Center for Optimum Health established this protocol for healing naturally and without herxing and it works.
There is enough damage and pain to recovering and conquering Lyme disease without having to add herxing to the problem.
Do your research and heal the healthy and non- herxing way.