Herxheimer Reaction

Found on various websites, when you search for the term “Herxheimer Reaction”, you will find various descriptions of what this really is.  Each site explains it similarly, however with different wording.


A Herxheimer Reaction is also known as “Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction” as it was originally discovered by two doctors.

  • Adolf Jarisch – an Australian Dermatologist.  Jarisch published his description of the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction in 1895
  • Karl Herxheimer – a German Dermatologist.  Herxheimer published his descrption of the Jarisch-Herxheimer Reaction in 1902

The most commonly referred and known name for this type of reaction is the “Herxheimer Reaction”.

The reason this term was created was to describe what occurs when large quantities of toxins are released into the body as viruses and bacteria and die off when treated by something that is of antibiotic or anti-fungal properties.  This reaction has been noted during treatment of illness of spirochetal nature such as syphilis, Lyme disease or a tick-born relapsing fever.

What is it?

A Herxheimer Reaction is an immune system response when large amounts of toxins are released from pathogens that are being killed off.

Therefore, the body is trying to release these toxins at a very fast rate.

In trying to keep up with this rapid release, the body can start to feel sluggish and flu like.  And symptoms such as headache, diarrhea, cramping, fever, hives or rashes can occur.

Because of the rapidness of the release of these toxins, the body is not able to keep up in releasing through the normal organs of elimination resulting in the body starting to utilize the secondary organs for elimination.  Secondary organs include; skin, lung and sinuses.

This type of reaction is also known as a “Healing Crisis”, “Detox Reaction” or “Die Off Reaction” and is more common than what most would think.

A Herxheimer Reaction can vary and is dependent on many factors such as:

  • the general health of the individual
  • the degree of toxicity in the body
  • the condition being treated
  • the amount and frequency being taken

When illness has been present for a lengthy period of time, a Herxheimer Reaction can be felt strongly from this detoxification reaction.  There will be a temporary increase in these symptoms for a period of time. (Typically a few days but can last up to a few weeks with long standing chronic issues).  And can usually be assisted by increasing healthy water and fluid intake to help flush the toxins out of the body.  In addition, listening to the body and allowing for rest and plenty of sleep at night are also helpful during this time.

It is not uncommon for this type of reaction to occur when taking colloidal silver but that also does not mean one will always respond this way.

The Bottom Line

Typically out of fear and uncertainty, when experiencing a Herxheimer Reaction, one may stop their treatment.  Many times, when one is  experiencing  this type of reaction, they will often think that it is a side effect and the colloidal silver is the reason causing the reaction.

Although the colloidal silver is involved, it is in fact the body’s response to the “die off” of yeast, fungus, virus and bacteria.  The severity of this reaction usually indicates the amount of toxins that were in the body to begin with and an indicator of the effectiveness of the silver treatment.

The experience of a Herxheimer Reaction is not a fun one but can be a sign to you that healing is actually taking place.


These above mentioned symptoms do not always mean that a Herxheimer Reaction has occurred.  Changes in breathing such as irregularities and difficulties, significant swelling and other severe symptoms would require immediate medical attention.  It is always recommended to consult with a trusted health practitioner for the best information for your individual situation.