Dear Stephen,
I just started sarsaparilla today (i’m incorporating some of your protocol into my herbal Dr. Klinghardt-oriented regimen) and for five or six hours afterward was miserable with one of the worst herxes I’ve experienced thus far. I took one measly sarsaparilla capsule (425 mg), and it was the only thing different about my protocol today, the only thing I can think of that could’ve caused the reaction.

I understand from reading your book and from others’ experiences with this herb that usually it works as a herx reliever, so I was quite bewildered by my body’s response (I’m very sensitive and tend to react strongly to everything, by the way, even in small doses). But then I reread the smilax section in Healing Lyme, in which you mention that sarsaparilla is a potent anti-spirochetal herb that crosses the blood-brain barrier, and that before the advent of antibiotics it was used to treat syphilis.

I’m not sure how an herb can be both a spirochete-killer AND a herx-reliever, but it seems in my case it’s the former. Does this sound crazy to you? I haven’t really heard of anyone having a difficult time with smilax, but after rereading your explanation and researching it further, I don’t think my reaction sounds completely implausible. Just wondering what your thoughts are. (Oh, and my ART practitioner suggested I cut back the dosage to 1/4 of 1 capsule (!!) and slowly work up from there.) Much thanks.

Stephen’s response:
A few people have told me they respond negatively to smilax, though this is the strongest response I have heard of. I think you may be right in your case. I don’t generally think that smilax is all that good as an antispirochetal but it seems that it is a strong one for you. Using a lower dose or cutting back entirely sounds right to me.
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