Controlling Fever – Complementary Care
There are a number of natural remedies that can be useful complements to the treatment methods recommended in the preceding posts. These complementary options can be divided into two groups: The first consists of medicinal plants that will reduce the temperature of the fever. They are used only when the fever is too high or is lasting for too long despite the other treatments being administered to reduce the temperature. The second group consists of natural remedies that strengthen the body’s defenses.
ANTIPYRETIC MEDICINAL PLANTS
The febrifuge properties of certain medicinal plants were discovered empirically and have been used for generations. In many cases, modern medicine has only confirmed what our ancestors already knew.
After all that I’ve said in this post series about the benefits of fever, I am obviously not doing a complete about face here and recommending these plants be used to stop a fever. The fact that these are natural remedies rather than pharmaceutical preparations changes nothing in the basic equation. Any substance or method that cuts short a fever is cutting off the body’s natural defenses at the same time, something that should be avoided as much as possible.
The reason I am devoting a post to these remedies is that their use can be justified for very high fevers and those fevers that are lasting too long. In either of these cases, the effort demanded of the body can be too great and can endanger the patient. Antipyretic or febrifuge medicinal plants that can lower the temperature of a fever without suppressing it completely provide physical relief while allowing the body to continue fighting at a more manageable rhythm.
The first two plants presented below contain salicylic acid, a substance that acts on the center that is responsible for the body’s heat management. Its febrifuge action, which impels the body to lower its overall temperature, is accompanied by a sudorific effect, which means it has the power to increase perspiration. The flavor and odor of this substance is quite unique, which you will discover if you drink a tea brewed from these plants. Its taste is, in fact, quite similar to that of aspirin. The active ingredient in aspirin is chemically very similar to salicylic acid, and aspirin was actually produced following the study of these plants.
White Willow (Salix alba)
White Willow is a small tree with silvery leaves that grows in damp places. Its active substances reside in its bark.
Decoction: To prepare a decoction, place ¾ ounce of crushed, dried bark in 1 quart of boiling water. Boil for five minutes and let steep for an additional ten minutes. Drink 2 or 3 cups a day.
Tablets or capsules: Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
Meadowsweet (Spiraea ulmaria)
The flowering tops and leaves of this tall, elegant plant have long been used for their febrifuge effects. The plant grows in damp fields. It is the ancestor of the modern aspirin.
Infusion: To prepare an infusion, use 1 teaspoon of dried leaves and flowers per cup of boiling water. Let this steep for ten minutes. Drink 3 to 5 cups a day.
Tablets or capsules: Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
The plants that follow are well known and have a pleasant taste. Their febrifuge effect comes from the fact that they all induce perspiration. By inducing the body to sweat copiously, they facilitate the elimination of toxins.
Black Elderberry (Sambucus nigra)
This tree produces clusters of small round berries that are a deep violet color. It is the flowers, though, that have been used since antiquity for their sudorific properties.
Infusion: To prepare an infusion, add a handful (about 1½ ounces) of dried flowers to 1 quart of boiling water. Let this steep for ten minutes. Drink 3 to 6 cups a day.
Linden (or Common Lime)
Valued for their aromatic flavor, the flowers of the linden (or lime blossoms) help induce perspiration. This is why they are recommended for people suffering from fever as well as people in good health seeking a refreshing effect on a hot day.
Infusion: To prepare an infusion, add about 1 ounce of flowers to 1 quart of boiling water. Let steep for ten minutes. Drink 3 to 6 cups a day.
Roman or Garden Chamomile
This plant, which is primarily known for its use in relieving digestive disorders, is also a sudorific and a febrifuge.
Infusion: To prepare an infusion, add ¾ ounce of dried flowers to 1 quart of boiling water. Let steep for ten minutes. Drink 2 or 3 cups a day.
Eucalyptus (or Tasmanian bluegum)
The reputation enjoyed by the eucalyptus tree for its prowess at lowering fever is confirmed by its folk name, “fever tree.” Eucalyptus leaves have active properties that are both sudorific and disinfectant.
Infusion: To prepare an infusion, add about 1 ounce of dried leaves to 1 quart of boiling water. Let steep for fifteen minutes. Drink 3 to 5 cups a day.
REMEDIES TO STIMULATE THE BODY’S DEFENSE SYSTEM
All humans have a defense system at their disposal to confront whatever dangers threaten them. But all defense systems are not equal in strength. The effectiveness of the immune system is more or less dependent on the basic physiological forces received at birth, though its abilities can also vary over time. The immune system can also be diminished by fatigue, stress, poor nutrition, and the body’s accumulation of toxins and poisons.
The body is therefore not always up to the task of properly protecting itself. It is sometimes necessary, depending on the case, to strengthen and stimulate, or reawaken, the body’s defense mechanisms. There are a host of various remedies that make this stimulation of the immune system possible. In this post, we will look at a few of the most effective ones.
Echinacea angustifolia, a member of the Asteraceae family, is a native of the North American prairies. It was used often and with great success by Native Americans to treat all kinds of ailments, and it plays a very helpful role in fevers.
It has an exceptional ability to stimulate the body’s defense system by, among other things, producing white blood cells (macrophages) that attack and destroy the germs and poisons in the body’s biological terrain. Echinacea also stimulates perspiration, which helps rid the body of these toxins. Furthermore, it reduces cellular exposure to infection and has an antibiotic effect against certain pathogenic germs. For all these reasons, echinacea is a major remedy for supporting the body’s fight against disease.
The root of the plant is the primary part that is used. It is prepared in the form of an easy to use tincture. Several small doses repeated throughout the day have a better effect than larger doses taken less frequently.
Dosage: Take 10 to 20 drops of the tincture, five to six times a day, with a little water.
Vitamin C is a useful substance for maintaining the body’s general functioning, but when taken at higher doses it has amazing therapeutic virtues that have been confirmed by modern studies.
Vitamin C stimulates the body’s defenses by making white blood cells and antibodies more effective in their battle against infection. It kills microbes and viruses, and neutralizes numerous poisons. Because it stimulates the overall health of the body, vitamin C is always recommended for the additional support it provides the struggling body during a fever. During a fever the body needs more than 1,000 mg of vitamin C a day. According to some authors, the daily amount ingested can even be equal to several grams. The natural vitamin C supplements available in the market generally have a fairly low dosage (50 to 100 mg), but there are some preparations that are 500 to 1,000 mg. These are the ones you should obviously use to obtain effective therapeutic results.
Dosage: Take 1 to 3 grams a day, broken up into several doses over the course of the day.
The effectiveness of the white blood cells that defend the body against microbial infections and poisoning depends on the composition of the surrounding environment. If the amount of an essential substance falls below its normal levels, the white blood cells will work less well, whereas when the levels of this substance are elevated, their defensive capabilities are substantially increased.
Magnesium chloride is one of these substances on which the effectiveness of the immune system depends. Diseased bodies generally display a deficiency in this essential substance. Taking magnesium chloride as a supplement addresses this deficiency and stimulates the body’s defenses.
The use of magnesium chloride is quite simple. Packets can often be found in natural health stores and supermarkets. Empty the packet into a glass of water, and the remedy is ready to be imbibed. One dose corresponds to 125 cc of solution, thus in the general neighborhood of an ordinary drinking glass.
Dosage: At the first signs of fever, drink 1 glass at three-hour intervals, until 3 glasses have been drunk. For the next two days, drink 1 glass every six hours. After the two days, reduce to 2 glasses a day for three days, then 1 glass a day for a week.
Magnesium chloride has a distinctive flavor that can be avoided by drinking it down in one gulp rather than sipping it. It can also have a laxative effect on some people. This is only temporary and can be toned down by lowering the dose. Keep in mind, though, that this is not a negative reaction. Emptying the intestines is helping the body rid itself of the toxins that are clogging its systems.
Magnesium chloride is also available in tablet and liquid form. Follow the manufacturer’s dosage guidelines.
Trace elements are minerals that are present in very small amounts in foods. They contribute to the sound and proper functioning of the body. Every trace element stimulates one or more organic functions or biochemical reactions. A deficiency in a trace element will cause reduced capacity of the function dependent on it. This reduction in the physiological function will grow worse as long as the body receives no intake of this trace element.
Trace elements are like tiny sparks that keep the body’s motor running. They are therefore even more valuable when the body becomes exhausted in its struggle, as can be the case during a fever, and requires assistance to perform all its functions properly.
The trace elements of copper, gold, and silver are most apt to stimulate the exhausted defenses of the body. There are liquid preparations available commercially that contain all three of these trace elements. To encourage maximum absorption, it is best to take the remedy on an empty stomach and hold it beneath your tongue for a minute before swallowing. This part of the mouth has a vast number of blood vessels, which permits the active properties of these elements to enter the bloodstream rapidly.
Dosage: One dose is generally around 30 drops of the preparation and should be taken once or twice a day before eating.
The use of natural sweat-inducing and immune-strengthening remedies can enhance the body’s own efforts to restore health.