The Herxheimer Reaction

Illness is a symptom or sign of what is going on within the body and it has an inbuilt desire for good health. Our bodies have the ability work their way back to that state unless it completely damaged or impaired such as in genetic, congenital or terminal illness . We can also decide against well-being.

In traditional practice the concept of the Herxheimer Reaction can occur - this is more commonly known as a healing crisis. This means that some symptoms may start to feel worse rather than better as the body prepares itself for healing.

There are a number of different reasons for this, depending on the illness. But perhaps the most common cause of the Herxheimer Reaction is 'toxic overload.' This is where the body is unable to deal efficiently with the old metabolites that it is trying to eliminate. Some symptoms are unpleasant and it is common for people to stop treatment thinking that it isn’t working. This will depend on how poorly their body is eliminating and their sensitivity.

A healing crisis doesn’t usually last for very long and cleansing the body of old metabolites is important. Herbal medicine is very effective at encouraging the body to become more efficient with its 'waste disposal' - otherwise known as 'detoxing'. The waste products from the millions of metabolic reactions that take place in our bodies as well as the debris caused by our immune system as it deals with pathogens such as bacteria and viruses tend to build up and start causing inflammation in our bodies. Once the inflammation becomes more chronic the stage becomes set for disease. In order to regain health, every body system needs to work together to eliminate waste products and set the stage for regeneration. 

A disease occurs when the body cannot make it through its natural regeneration process and the body becomes ‘locked’ in to an unhealthy or destructive pattern. These sustaining patterns can occur on all levels – not just physically in the form of toxic overload, but emotionally, mentally and spiritually. The Herxheimer Reaction can help bring past conditions or personal issues out of the unconscious and into the conscious mind, helping to bring into awareness repetitive emotional patterns and defence mechanisms that are acting as sustaining factors in disease. 

An initial healing crisis usually lasts around three days but if the energy of the patient is low, it may last a week of more. One crisis is not always enough to help heal. The person with a chronic illness will often have to go through cycles of crises, with each one improving the condition. It takes time to develop chronic diseased states, and time is required to let go of illness.