5 Tips for Surviving Herxing


Photo: LifeLoveLyme

I’m wiped out this afternoon. I started a new antibiotic, and the escalation has begun on all fronts: pain and numbness in my legs; a flu-like, all-over sick feeling; ringing in my ears; and hit-by-a-bus fatigue.

When antibiotics cause herxing and my symptoms ramp up, I turn to some tips that help soothe me so I can get through the day.

  1. Epsom salt baths. I toss 2-3 cups of Epsom salts into a hot bath and soak for at least twenty minutes. The difference can be quite dramatic for me. Note: I did learn the hard way that applying lotion or oil afterwards isn’t a good idea; my pores were open and easily irritated.
  2. Heat. Hot baths and warm clothes are good, and I have several microwavable heating pads that conform to my legs and provide much-needed relief. Heat lamps like those used by acupuncturists feel wonderful on high-pain herx days.
  3. Burbur. This extract made from the leaves of the plant Desmodium molliculum is reputed to promote detox, and many lyme patients, myself included, report that it reduces their herxing. Ask your lyme literate doctor about dosages and whether it is appropriate for you.
  4. Tea with lemon. I’ve heard that lemon is a great detox, so I add it to tea or plain water, and while I’m at it I grate some delicious fresh ginger to reduce inflammation.
  5. Diet. Don’t let feeling awful be an excuse for eating poorly. On herx days, I double my efforts to avoid foods that cause inflammation like gluten and the nightshade vegetables (including tomato, potatoes, and alas my favorite, eggplant). Juicing gives me an added boost of nutrition.

Be sure to let your physician know if your herx is severe. Some experts say herxing can be dangerous, and set back recovery—so backing off on meds or antimicrobial herbs could be important.

See more on the Herxheimer reaction here.

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11 thoughts on “5 Tips for Surviving Herxing

  1. Chiah Rodriques January 16, 2013 at 4:37 am Reply

    just water with lemon/lime or just lemon works fine also!

  2. 5 Tips for Surviving Herxing « lymeblue January 16, 2013 at 11:14 am Reply

    […] 5 Tips for Surviving Herxing. […]

    • LifeLoveLyme January 16, 2013 at 1:36 pm Reply

      Thanks for the link, and the stunning quote. I’m going to embrace those thoughts today!Love your blog.

  3. Tina January 16, 2013 at 1:54 pm Reply

    I love hydrotherapy http://www.lifewithahintoflyme.blogspot.com/2012/10/constitutional-hydrotherapy.html?m=1

    The chiropractor also is a great help. Especially with the migraines.


  4. annie January 16, 2013 at 1:59 pm Reply

    try homeopathy : veratrum album 7 ch it works

  5. Laura January 17, 2013 at 9:54 pm Reply

    Hello, Does anyone have a tip for the chest pain and tightness, Air hunger? I have been watching funny videos and inspiring music online. That seems to pull me out of depression.

  6. Lisa Collette January 17, 2013 at 10:53 pm Reply

    I made copious amounts of a tea a fellow lymie gave me called African Tea: boil 4 qts water with I peeled and chopped ginger root about 2″ long and 16 cinnamon sticks for 30 min..soft rolling boil; take off heat and let cool completely; strain through cheesecloth and add (enough to fil a quart jar with the infused water) a ‘milk’ of choice like rice, soy, coconut..chill and then you have a ready made tummy soother; joint ache calmer available anytime; you can rewarm or drink cool.. add some honey and enjoy. Hope this helps someone out there..it sure helped me 😉

    • LifeLoveLyme January 17, 2013 at 11:59 pm Reply

      Can’t wait to try this! Thanks for sharing.

    • Laura January 18, 2013 at 2:17 am Reply

      I will be thinking of you and praying for you. How long have you been doing rounds of antibiotics.? Thanks for the tea recipe. I’m so tired of the lemon water!

  7. Durga January 18, 2013 at 12:02 am Reply

    I’ve had good results with Oscillococcinum, too.

  8. tidsskillnad sverige new york April 21, 2020 at 7:20 pm Reply

    There is definately a lot to learn about this subject. I really like all
    the points you have made.

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