At the end of March of this year, under the care of a nutritionist, I started an herbal anti-fungal medication for intestinal yeast overgrowth as indicated by a stool test. The product I used is called GI Microb-X, and is a mix of different herbs:
Tribulus Extract (Tribulus terrestris) (aerial) [Standardized to contain 40% steroidal saponins] 200mg / *
Sweet Wormwood Extract (Artemisia annua) (leaf) [Standardized to contain 10% artemisinin] 150mg / *
Magnesium Caprylate (yielding 100mg caprylic acid; 10mg magnesium) 150mg / *
Berberine Sulfate (from Berberis aristata) (root) 100mg / *
Grapefruit Extract (Citrus paradisi) (seed) 100mg / *
Barberry Extract (Berberis vulgaris) (bark) [Standardized to contain 6% berberine] 50mg / *
Bearberry Extract (Arctostaphylos uva ursi) (leaf) [Standardized to contain 20% arbutin] 50mg / *
Black Walnut Extract (Juglans nigra) (hull) 50mg / *
Unfortunately, I had a very bad reaction to it. I was supposed to work my way up to 6 capsules per day (2 before each meal). So the first day I started with 1 before each meal and didn't notice anything. Then the next morning I woke up at 3 a.m. with a weird sensation I couldn't shake. Then my heart started to race very fast and I got short of breath, was shaking uncontrollably, had 2 bowel movements and felt like I was dying. I couldn't get back to sleep that night... a couple more times through the night my heart would race for about 30 seconds and then I would get this rush (what felt like adrenaline) through my body and then I would calm down again. This episode was only the beginning. I continued to have breathing problems for several weeks, then developed chest pain and pressure, weight loss, supposed 'panic attacks' and fatigue to the point where I couldn't work for about 2 months. Throughout all of this, I've been to Patient First, my GP, a second GP, a cardiologist, and an endocrinologist. I've had just about every heart test including several EKGs, a stress test, a CT scan, and an echocardiogram - the only thing that came up was very minor mitral regurgitation which is not serious at this point. I've also had several blood tests including cultures to see if the source of my chest pain was possibly fungal or bacterial endocarditis - everything has come back normal so far. I am so stumped as to what happened. I've improved immensely from a couple of months ago when I was pretty much bed ridden but I still have chronic fatigue, some stomach issues, and some heart problems that come and go. My new GP has put me on a beta blocker for a month to calm the hard beating that I feel, and so far I've seen some improvement.
I was told by the endocrinologist that what I experienced was a severe toxic reaction to one or several of the herbs. So my question is, was this a toxic reaction or a Herxheimer reaction?
I hope this post also serves as a warning to be very careful when it comes to medications of any kind, even natural ones.
asked byKyev (153)
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on August 18, 2014
at 10:17 AM
I'd try taking them separately, one by one to see which you're reacting to. i.e. start with just one of them today, don't take any others. See if you react again tonight. Next day, take a different one. Repeat until you find the one you react to. Maybe don't take them 3x a day either.
I don't know about all of these but wormwood might be toxic, then again, if you have parasites, it's used to get rid of them. I don't know about all of them, but wormwood in large amounts is toxic:
You might want to google each one and look for side effects. Tribulus is used to signal testosterone, but it's also anti-parasitical. Barberry and Bearberry, Black walnut are also antiparasiticals. Some of these are antifungal as well. Talk to your nutritionist and ask them to explain each ingredient and why, then google for them, their side effects and what they're used for. If you find your nutritionist says something you can't verify, question them. Either they prescribed something antiparasitical, or they don't know what they're doing and are giving the same stuff to everyone.
There are two non-toxic antiparasite things you could try: one is the "seawater" cure, which you don't have to use seawater, and shouldn't as it's full of microbes, but rather, you'd mix a few teaspoons of salt in warm water (enough so it tastes as salty as seawater) and drink that on an empty stomach. Supposedly it kills parasites. The other is food grade diatomaceous earth - you'd drink a teaspoon of this mixed with water. It's vital that you'd use food grade stuff only here, as the non-food grade stuff is harmful.
Looks like your practitioner thinks you may have a parasite, not just yeast. I'd imagine if you have a fungus that S. Boulardi would be a better course - it is a fungus, but it is a beneficial one and can be used to push out other non-friendly fungi. You'd also supplement with and prebiotics to feed the bacterial and probiotics (actual bacteria) to keep the fungi in check.
I'd also keep a bottle of activated charcoal capsules nearby - these can be used to absorb toxins (you'd take these on an empty stomach, away from supplements, drugs, and vitamins because they'll absorb anything they encounter.) If you get another reaction, herxheimer or otherwise, you'd take two of these caps every few hours to absorb any toxins in your gut.
Another option to try is oregano oil, but this is a broad spectrum antibiotic, which may or may not work on fungi, and would also kill beneficial gut flora, but if nothing else works, this is a possible thing to try. You'd do something like 1-2 drops in a glass of water every 4-6 hours, followed by two activated charcoal caps about half an hour to an hour later, and some probiotics two hours later. (There are other essential oils that work too: olive leaf extract, cinnamon extract, even mint extract, but they aren't as potent.)
on August 18, 2014
at 11:46 AM
Herxheimer reactions are quite uncommon, it's more likely you reacted to one or more of the herbs in the cocktail you were "prescribed." Dump the "nutritionist" and stick to real doctors. If you have a fungal infection, take any of the proven antifungal medications. Altnernative doctors (like nutritionists) love to diagnose vague things like fungal infections that claim to cause all sorts of malaise??? it's all to fleece you out of money with overpriced ineffective treatments.