Fevers seem to strike suddenly. A sign that our immune systems are under attack and working hard to fight back. A fever allows our body to produce a antiviral substance called interferon. Interferon is critically necessary for fighting infection. A fever will also increase the movement and activity of white blood cells which is also important for healing.
Benefits of a Fever
The benefits of a fever have been acknowledged for thousands of years. In fact, history tells of many patients who have been cured of disease with therapeutic fevers. Presently, there is significant research suggesting that mild to moderate fevers should be allowed to run their course. A fever may actually:
- shorten the duration of the illness
- reduce the chances of spreading the disease to others
However, during the creation of the pharmaceutical movement in the mid-19th century, aspirin compounds became available commercially and were marketed heavily to the public. By the start of the 1900’s, the drug companies had, with great success, convinced general practitioners and patients to become wary of fevers and vigilant in bringing them down. In reference to the common cold, the flu, or a regular viral infection, it may be counter-productive to suppress our body’s natural defense. Of course there are exceptions; for example, you should seek medical attention for fevers over 104 degrees Fahrenheit lasting longer that 4-6 hours or for any level of fever in infant’s under 6 months of age.
Natural Treatment Alternatives
When it comes to fevers in our home, I treat primarily for comfort. No doubt it is a frightening thing when our children or spouses are hit suddenly with a fever. But, by immediately treating with Tylenol or Ibuprofen we may not be providing the best care.
So here are a few tips for providing comfort and assisting the body in healing:
- Herbs – Elder flowers, feverfew, and yarrow are known to assist in treatment of fevers. Ginger has a warming effect and is therefore useful in providing relief for the chills. I like to prepare herbal teas when administering medicinal herbs to the children. It also helps me know that they are staying hydrated and nourished. A few of the herbal teas I offer for fevers include: chamomile, echinacea, red clover, and peppermint. Lemon juice and honey can also be added to the tea for an extra dose of vitamin C and to sweeten. (Note: It is advised to never give honey to infants under one year of age).
- Homeopathy – Belladonna, Aconite, Nux Vomica and Pulsatilla are four of the most common homeopathic remedies that I have used for fevers with great success.
- Provide Nourishing Foods and Fluids – We often lose our appetites when sick with a fever, so it is super important to provide nourishing fluids like fresh fruit/vegetable juices, herbal teas, and homemade bone broths to maintain energy and hydration levels.
- Rest and Simple Activity – While it is very important for persons with a fever to rest often, simple activity is very beneficial. A simple walk around the block in the beautiful fresh air will raise anyone’s spirits!
- Essential Oils – Lavender, thyme, rosemary, eucalyptus, and sage essential oils provide comfort when treating fevers. They are also known to help support the work of the immune system to support the body’s natural defenses. For example, apply a few drops of lavender essential oils in cool water and soak a washcloth in the solution to wipe a child’s forehead for a cooling, relaxing effect. I have also had great success with the following recipe:
Herbal Spray for Fevers
-1/4 cup 70% Isopropyl Alcohol-1/4 cup witch hazel-3 drops peppermint essential oil-3 drops lavender essential oil
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a spray bottle. Shake to mix. Store in refrigerator to keep cool.
To use: Spray on pulse points up to every hour while awake. Pulse points are areas where you can easily feel your pulse with your fingers: wrists, sides of the neck, and behind the knee.
Cautions: Label spray bottle “EXTERNAL USE ONLY”. Avoid spraying into eyes and mouth. Use sparingly on children under 4 years of age (due to the content of the alcohol).
What have you found successful in treating a mild fever?
This is really good to know! Thanks. BTW I love your blog! My friends think I'm wacky for going the natural route but for me an my family it is the way to go. Thanks for the info!
Thanks for the wonderful info. I have everything already at home to make the herbal spray. I'm going to bookmark this, though I hope we don't have to use it. :0) Also, I haven't used any of the homeopathic remedies. I should probably write those down so I can start building a better herbal medicine chest.
Stacy Makes Cents says
Andrea, I think your blog is my new favorite hobby. It used to be Pioneer Woman….but now it's TOTALLY YOU. Pinning this for later reference.
Andrea @ Frugally Sustainable says
@Stacy You're too much:) Thank you for the sweet compliments!!!
Stephanie G. says
We treat naturally in our house but I am at loss when it comes to homeopathic stuff. Any reccomendations for learning more about homeopathy? The remedies are so specific but I love how safe and effective they are!
Hi Stephanie. The best book you can have for just starting to use homeopathy is The Family Guide to Homeopathy. By Alain Horvilleur, M.D. It’s great for getting to know the basics and for cross referencing symptoms and remedies. I’ve been using homeopathy for almost 20 years and I still go back to this book. As you get to know more you can add other books to supplement this one. Hope this helps.
Awesome!!!!! Thank you. 🙂
[email protected] RealFoodForager.com says
Thanks for linking your great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next week!
Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured there!
the momma (aka Shannon) says
i'm going to try this! with 5 kiddos we usually have something running through our house a couple of times a year. and i'm a firm believer in letting a mild fever run it's course–but anything that can help make my babes more comfy sounds great!
my friend uses hydrogen peroxide to mop her floors in the kitchen — she has 5 under 5 and has found that if the kids run across the wet floor the hydrogen peroxide will let mom know if they have a small scrap on their feet and it cleans her kitchen floor great — she picks it up at some of the bargain stores that purchase stock from stores that have gone out of business–I learned about it cleaning tile grout on a PBS special.
This sounds good, especially because it is made with things you might have on hand or might not be too hard to find. I don't like all these other recipes for natural things that have ingredients you have to track down in them! Thanks 🙂
chiropractic care says
Great Post my friend..I appreciate the knowledge you have about the natural treatment alternatives..Thanks for this wonderful info..
Danielle Durand says
Thank you for this information, I pinned it to my Pinterest because it's something important for so many people to know!
I thought you might be interested in this website of other great natural herbs and what they can be used for: http://readynutrition.com/resources/30-most-popular-herbs-for-natural-medicine_06092011/
Perspective Parenting says
This was great! Going to post on my FB page. I actually physically feel calmer when I read about all natural remedies. I am an under-medicater for my children by choice, but I love these natural and soothing options. Thanks!!
I try to use natural treatments when possible, so I'm going to bookmark these ideas. I've often used ginger as a fever aid because it helps with the nausea that often accompanies a bout of flu, but I haven't tried some of these other ideas. Thanks!
Kimberly @ The Brown Eyes Have It says
This is very interesting. I try to prevent illness all together by taking Vitamin D. It REALLY helps during the winter months to keep my family healthy.
Good Girl Gone Green says
Thanks. i will be a deign this to my list of homeopathic alternatives. WIll be pinning this!
Marty Turner says
This web site is what I have been looking for. It's great.
Jo's Health Corner/www.naturallysports.com says
Great information! I love aromatic sprays and use them a lot.
However, I prefer the aromatic sponging method on young children younger than three years old instead of a compress.
Nice addition to the medicine chest. I will be using grain alcohol like Everclear or even vodka rather than the isopropyl though. (Per Hulda Clark, The Cure for All Cancers)
Excellent advice Beth! I think I’ll do that next time too.
Have you ever used the wet sock treatment? I use it in our house whenever we get fevers and it works wonderfully! It’s where you take a pair of thin cotton socks, get them wet and then ring them out. Then you take a pair of wool socks and put them on over the cotton socks. Wear both pairs until the cotton socks are dry. I don’t know how it works, but it does. I was recommended this method by my Naturopathic doctor.
Excellent article! I have used yarrow successfully for very high fevers (like, around 104 degrees) with great success. I had my daughter take it as a tea and then as a tincture – she’s the one in our family who always has the highest fevers – and it worked! I highly recommend it to anyone.
My son has had 2 seizures due to high fevers, so be careful. His temp wasn’t over 104 when he had them either Anywho, for anyone who might be afraid of having that happen, in my experience you get a warning that a seizure is looming. My boy’s arms and legs tremble for a while before he has the seizure. He did that when he had the 2 seizures, and again recently when he had another fever, and I knew to act immediately. So in addition to paying attention to the temperature, pay attention to what else your child’s body is doing. I don’t know if that happens to all kids with febrile seizures, but be on the look-out anyway.
Dina Nash says
To keep things simple for fevers, I just rub a drip of Young Living peppermint on each foot of my sick child. It takes the “edge” off of the fever without taking away the effectiveness of the fever. As a result, my kids feel nearly instantantly comforted and usually fall asleep shortly after application.
When choosing essential oils to use on children I am very careful to make sure it is pure. Then I make sure that I dilute it with a good organic olive, coconut or clean massage oil especially if the child is 2 and under. Some oils are “hotter” than others. It is always good to try on a small area first. Another word of wisdom for peppermint (and other essential oils) users: if you get some in your eye be sure to use a vegetable OIL instead of water to wipe it out. Put the oil on a cloth or paper napkin, etc. and swipe once with each clean side in an outward motion. Happy oiling!!
to get rid of mold on bathroom ceiling — first clean it off and then put the cheapest vodka you can find into a spray bottle and spray it on the ceiling — no more mold issues — its great!!!
How do you use Belladonna and Aconite in homeopathy? Both are extremely poisonous. How do they work? Love your blog 🙂
Mary Wheeldon says
i have heard that a garlic enema brings down fevers fast. for a baby about a forth of a tsp mixed with water in a little dropper. i havent tried it yet because my little one hasnt had a fever but lots of mothers say it works