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Herxheimer Reaction or Herbal Toxicity?

Commented on May 21, 2016
Created August 18, 2014 at 3:26 AM

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.

Hi, I don't know if you ever found the cause but I'd like to know !!!!my story is so similar after taking black walnut hull ... It seemed to have changed my life for months n still now I'm weird about herbs . My MD said I was to toxic and full of parasites . Did you ever take those herbs again? Or find out the solution to the heart stuff?? Mine is scary sometimes n the symptoms only came after the herb . 

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 20, 2014
at 04:06 PM

"Besides, the reason they got Alzheimer's is more likely because they were lucky enough to live to a very old age, instead of dropping dead from a heart attack at 50."

No, the reason is that pregnenolone protects against Alzheimer, and cholesterol is a precursor to pregnenolone. When you block cholesterol production, you also reduce pregnenolone production and leave yourself more vulnerable to Alzheimer.

The right way to reduce cholesterol levels is to increase production of cholesterol to other hormones, like it was done 80 years ago, not block their production, unless you want to do massive unnecessary damage.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 20, 2014
at 04:04 PM

"Besides, if you don't want to take the statin, you have a choice, you can simply say no."

Same thing with alternative practitioners. They don't put a gun to your head forcing you to take their advice.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 20, 2014
at 04:03 PM

"Statins have their use. What statins have to do with the OPs question, I don't know."

It has to do with your claim that 'real doctors' are better somehow, as statins is one of the easiest ways to show the massive damage they do. It was just a quick way to counter your belittling of alternative practitioners who do a lot less damage than the 'real doctors'.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 18, 2014
at 07:42 PM

Statins have their use. What statins have to do with the OPs question, I don't know.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on August 18, 2014
at 07:00 PM

Besides, if you don't want to take the statin, you have a choice, you can simply say no. People with familial hypercholesterolemia, on the other hand, would not live to see their 20th birthday if it wasn't for statins, as they would likely drop dead from a heart attack in their teens from having cholesterol levels in the 600's.

"Big Pharma" isn't the bogeyman, it is an industry, comprised of many individuals, most of them professional, decent human beings that went to a university and got advanced degrees in a science field, and work towards finding ways to cure/manage diseases.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on August 18, 2014
at 06:40 PM

Except you can't prove that can you? Correlation does not equal causation. Besides, the reason they got Alzheimer's is more likely because they were lucky enough to live to a very old age, instead of dropping dead from a heart attack at 50.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 18, 2014
at 06:36 PM

"I guess this is what happens when you don't have to deal with losing half of your family to an E. coli outbreak in the water supply, you stop appreciating the value of modern medicine."

When you lose someone unnecessarily due to Alzheimer's triggered by statins you will change your tune.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 18, 2014
at 06:34 PM

"Keep that tin-foil hat on tight and eyes"

So, to what do you ascribe the health-killing advice to take statins if not big pharma? The evidence is clear it's the wrong treatment, it's willful deception, and if the main factor in this murderous deception isn't big pharma, then what is it?

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 18, 2014
at 06:34 PM

It's a common sentiment amongst paleos. A diet based on "science", but surprisingly folks latch onto anti-science/anti-medicine sentiments.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 18, 2014
at 06:32 PM

They're skilled at surgeries and some emergency situations. But adding all together they more often tell you to do the opposite of what you should do.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on August 18, 2014
at 04:23 PM

Lot of folks with "first-world problems" on here, huh?

I guess this is what happens when you don't have to deal with losing half of your family to an E. coli outbreak in the water supply, you stop appreciating the value of modern medicine.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 18, 2014
at 04:08 PM

Keep that tin-foil hat on tight and eyes on the sky, wouldn't want black helicopters and chemtrails to get you. After all, modern surgery, santiation, antibiotics, vaccines… it'll kill you!

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on August 18, 2014
at 03:53 PM

"going to a 'real doctor' is often the quickest way to destroy your health and die" - Outsider

Really?? Lol. Nice trolling man. I hope you never have an emergency and have to go to the hospital, it would be horrible if one of those big-pharma hacks saves your life in an emergency, lol. I'm sure you wish you would have been born in Africa, away from today's evil modern medicine right? Because, surely dying from Malaria or Ebola at the age of 26 sounds like so much more fun than living to 82 and having to take a blood pressure medication to stay alive 10 more years....

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 18, 2014
at 03:22 PM

"I agree, quacks don't really care about their patients, they're just trying to make a quick buck."

So they're just like doctors?

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 18, 2014
at 03:19 PM

A nutritionist might be bad, but going to a 'real doctor' is often the quickest way to destroy your health and die. What will increase the profits of big pharma is a better predictor of what they will prescribe than what would improve your health. Just to mention a few things, statins that reduce your protection against alzheimer's, x-rays and ct-scans that give you cancer, estrogen replacement therapy that gives you cancer, unnecessary removal of your gallbladder, etc.

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on August 18, 2014
at 02:03 PM

I agree, quacks don't really care about their patients, they're just trying to make a quick buck.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

on August 18, 2014
at 01:53 PM

Nutritionist vs dietician. The fact that they're prescribing some branded herbal concoction should be a red flag. I'm sure there are unlicenced folks doing good out there, but this one doesn't pass the sniff test.

Gotta wonder what prompted the OP to seek out the nutritionist, what symptoms lead to the stool test, etc…

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 18, 2014
at 12:54 PM

I disagree with your purpose. I think a lot of nutritionist are good people who are trying to help.

But they are limited. Limited in what they can prescribe; Limited in their knowledge base (which, btw, so are western doctors -- this just happebs to be in their wheelhouse).

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2 Answers

1
96440612cf0fcf366bf5ad8f776fca84

(19463)

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:

http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredie...

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.)

0
32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46

(41747)

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.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on August 18, 2014
at 12:54 PM

I disagree with your purpose. I think a lot of nutritionist are good people who are trying to help.

But they are limited. Limited in what they can prescribe; Limited in their knowledge base (which, btw, so are western doctors -- this just happebs to be in their wheelhouse).

Be157308a0438e382b88d9db4c12ab30

on August 18, 2014
at 02:03 PM

I agree, quacks don't really care about their patients, they're just trying to make a quick buck.

01114547678b001f3e52cc3a9d343fd1

(-23)

on August 18, 2014
at 03:19 PM

A nutritionist might be bad, but going to a 'real doctor' is often the quickest way to destroy your health and die. What will increase the profits of big pharma is a better predictor of what they will prescribe than what would improve your health. Just to mention a few things, statins that reduce your protection against alzheimer's, x-rays and ct-scans that give you cancer, estrogen replacement therapy that gives you cancer, unnecessary removal of your gallbladder, etc.

76026e8ef496039d5075440ff731aa0d

(5386)

on August 20, 2014
at 02:17 PM

"A nutritionist might be bad, but going to a 'real doctor' is often the quickest way to destroy your health and DIE."

*bolded - emphasis mine*

http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-UA0svjHozLk/Udskr9-ko4I/AAAAAAAARYQ/lrbh-gYCLVQ/s1600/wtf1.gif

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