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Fever is a well-known defense strategy implemented by the body to enhance immune mechanisms that protect it from the spread of bacterial or viral infections. Fresh water (not too cold) sponges on the front, neck, arms, and legs are an excellent remedy to lower the high fever.
Fever, which can also be the consequence of food poisoning, severe trauma or heavy psycho-physical stress, requires forced rest, considering the general malaise that accompanies it by adversely affecting daily activities. Even this momentary respite from habitual commitments is of great help for the recovery of health.
When to lower fever?
Lowering the fever when it is not strictly necessary can therefore slow the patient’s healing process, proving counterproductive. This unconscious practice is generally used spontaneously to relieve relief from the unpleasant symptoms often associated with high fever (headache, muscle and joint pain, nausea, general illness), but also because of the fear of enduring permanent brain damage. However, this danger becomes concrete only when the body temperature rises above 105.8°F; for this reason, the use of antipyretics (fever-lowering drugs) in healthy adults must be considered compulsory only for severe hypersensitivity (> 104°F), while for ‘risk subjects’ – such as cardiopathies, elderly people (in whom the febrile reaction is generally less intense), diabetics, debilitated patients or with respiratory or renal failure – the use of antipyretics to lower the fever may be undertaken, even on a medical recommendation, even in lesser febrile states.
Fever is a sign that something does not go well in the body, so instead of asking ‘how to lower it?’ It is good to first question what caused it.
What should alarm a patient is therefore not the fever in itself, as the presence of any concomitant symptoms; for example, when the febrile rise is caused by the inflammation of the membranes that surround the brain (meningitis), the risk of permanent and irreversible neurological injury is concrete, even for temperatures below 105.8°F. The patient should therefore not be frightened of the high fever itself but by the concomitant onset of specific symptoms such as (in the case of meningitis), drowsiness, irritability, headache, muscular stiffness, light hypersensitivity, skin rash (in bacterial forms) and possible convulsions (children). In pneumonia, fever, continuous-remitting, is accompanied by cough, shortness of breath and polypnea (increased respiratory rate with short breaths).
How to lower fever
Symptomatic treatment of fever is, as a rule, of secondary importance with regard to the identification of the causes that produced it Body temperature can be reduced by physical or chemical means. The first, often underestimated, include the generous intake of liquids and sponges of lukewarm water, not cold tropic, on the body, especially on wrists, neck and legs.
With medical advice, it is possible to use phytotherapeutic remedies to lower the fever and take some relief to make it more tolerable (it is not necessary, rather, it is not advisable to bring body temperature back to normal values by massive use of antipyretics). Among them, the white willow bark, rich in salicylates, is derived from which the famous acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin) has already been mentioned in the article. This is also true for the Spirea olmaria, from which the name aspirin derives; for these two plant drugs are the same indications and contraindications of the known synthesis drug.
All medicines that can mitigate or eliminate the feverish states of our body are defined as antipyretic.
Fever is a thermal rise above normal levels. It should be noted that body temperature is normally between 97.5 and 98.9°F. Fever is not a pathological condition, but a symptom that arises in response to a particular disease or inflammation. The diaphoretics, therefore substances that increase sweating by lowering body temperature, are very good against the febrile states.
8 Natural Remedies for Fever
Medicinal plants that act as antipyretics and supplements with antipyretic properties are the following: willow, cinchona, gentiana, bladder cherry, elacampane, chamomile, centaurea, absinthe, mistletoe, hawthorn, spirea olmaria, devil’s claw, lime, cinnamon, mint, elderberry, eucalyptus, essential oils, clove and many others. The effects, uses and safety information to the best natural treatments for fever are given attention in the paragraphs that follow.
1. Willow, aspirin-like natural remedy for fever
Willow is a plant with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic properties. These activities are attributable to its salicyclic content, which, once ingested and subsequent to intestinal and liver metabolism, is converted into salicylic acid.
Salicylic acid performs its analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antipyretic activity by inhibition of the cyclooxygenase enzyme, or the enzyme responsible for the conversion of arachidonic acid to prostaglandins responsible for the onset of inflammation, fever and pain. Salicyline can therefore be considered as a kind of pro-drug.
Indeed, in the medical field, the internal use of salicylic acid has been abandoned due to its strong irritating action against the gastric mucosa and, at present, it is preferable to use its acetylated derivative: acetylsalicylic acid, certainly one of the most known non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (or NSAIDs).
However, in the phytotherapy field, willow and its preparations are still used for the treatment of rheumatism and pain in general (these uses, among other things, have been officially approved).
Salicylic acid is also part of the composition of various medicinal products – alone or in combination with other active ingredients – such as blepharitis (due to its anti-inflammatory action) and ointments or ointments for the treatment of warts, hyperkeratosis, eczema, neurodermitis and psoriasis (thanks to the keratolytic activity of which it is provided). Thanks to the anti-inflammatory and analgesic activity performed by salicin contained in the willow, its use has been officially approved for the treatment of rheumatic pain. Generally, for the treatment of these disorders, it is advised to take about 6-12 grams of drug per day, correspondingly, to 60-120 mg of salicin.
Salicylic analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities may also be useful for the treatment of mild pain of different origin and nature, such as headache, inflammatory pain and pain associated with common cold.
For the treatment of the aforementioned disorders, if willow is taken in the form of a liquid extract (1:1 drug / solvent ratio, using ethanol at 25% as extraction solvent), it is generally advisable to inject 1 -3 ml of product three times a day.
When willow is used for therapeutic purposes, it is essential to use defined and standardized active ingredients (salicycline), as only then can you know the exact amount of pharmacologically active substances you are taking.
When using willow preparations, the doses of the product to be taken may vary depending on the amount of salicycline contained. This quantity is usually reported directly by the manufacturer on the package or on the package leaflet of the same product, so it is very important to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. In any case, before taking any therapeutic purpose for any kind of preparation containing willow, it is best to contact your doctor beforehand.
In popular medicine, willow is used to treat various disorders such as gastrointestinal disorders, diarrhea, toothache and gout, as well as being used as a remedy to help heal wounds.
Willow is also exploited by homeopathic medicine, where it can be found in the form of granules, mother tinctures and oral drops. In this area the plant is used in the case of arthritis, rheumatism, osteoarthritis and menstrual pain.
The dose of homeopathic remedy to be taken may vary from individual to individual, also depending on the type of disorder to be treated and the type of homeopathic preparation and dilution that is intended to be used.
Willow applications for the treatment of the aforementioned disorders are neither approved nor supported by appropriate experimental tests, or have not passed them. For this reason, they may be without therapeutic efficacy or even be harmful to health.
Gastroduodenal mucous membrane irritations may occur following the use of willow preparations or extracts, although side effects are very low (1-5%) and include general disorders such as nausea, dizziness and skin rash.
Avoid taking willow and its preparations in case of hypersensitivity to one or more components in case of allergy to acetylsalicylic acid or salicylates in general, during pregnancy and during lactation.
Willow and its preparations may cause pharmacological interactions with such drugs as:
- NSAIDs, as willow can increase its side effects at the gastric level;
- Naproxene, since salicylates may decrease plasma concentration;
- Antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants, as increased risk of bleeding may occur;
- Oral diabetes;
- Alcohol and barbiturates, as these drugs may mask an overdose of salicylates and may increase their toxicity.
2. Cinchona as a natural remedy for fever
Because of its antimalarial activity, cinchona is one of the most important drugs. It is derived from plants of the genus cinchona. And the drug, represented by the bark, is of great interest from the liquoric and herbalist point of view. Its importance lies in the fact that the phytocomplex and the active principles that characterize it, i.e. the alkaloids, have an extremely bitter flavor.
This organoleptic characteristic of the cinchona makes it an admirable among bitter drugs, which have extremely eupeptic properties. The eupeptic adjective is indicating that the drug has beneficial, healthy, or even normalizing, properties on the digestive activity; An eupeptic drug, therefore, acts on all the apparatus and the digestive function (in particular gastric cavity, liver, gall bladder and pancreas). Cinchona, moreover, as a bitters and like all bitters, is also an aperitif drug. The aperitif properties are those that, because of the bitter taste of the drug and its derivatives, determine a stimulus of salivary and hepato-secretion, including gastric juice and juice. An aperitif, then, prepares the digestive system to receive food and digest it. The herbal and liqueur importance of the cinchona lies in the eupeptic properties, for the herbal sector, and in the aperitifs for the liquor sector.
For a better understanding of the relationship between pharmacognosy – natural products and reality, a useful example is the ‘Cinchona Martini’, an exclusive hydrocarbon extract of cinchona and classic aperitif. The importance of the cinchona as an aperitif or as eupeptic does not lie much in the content of quinine, quinidine, cincine and cinconidine, but in the fact that all these alkaloids, including other substances, are together; therefore, the importance of cinchona as an aperitif or eupeptic product is due to all of these active principles which, due to their bitter taste, determine the properties explained above.
A concept to better explain the phytocomplex discourse – an active ingredient, useful to understand why the cinchona may have antimalarial properties and because a person who drinks martin candy cannot cure malaria, is the concept of dosage. The dose, title, standardization, that amount of active principles present in the hydroalcoholic solution. Since an account is about active and phytocomplex as a molecule – multiple molecules, an alkaloid – more alkaloids, an activity – the same activity modulated synergistically; another point is to talk about the health of an alkaloid (active principle) or more alkaloids (phytocomplex) diluted in a solvent. The concept of dilution presupposes a certain amount of active ingredient, or a certain amount of phytocomplex, in a solvent suitable for healthy preparation, concentration of which determines the entity and the health of the drug and the active principles. The amount, dosage of the active ingredient or phytocomplex in a solvent is directly proportional to the intensity of the effect and in some cases to the effect quality; by summing up, you can explain it all with the dose-response concept.
The kinin or quinine active principles have their own business; The first one, in the pharmaceutical field and with an appropriate dosage, has antimalarial properties and febrile (lower fever), while the second has antiarrhythmic properties (in the pharmaceutical field it is used as an active principle for cardiac activity); Both of which act in this regard at very high concentrations, are in fact pharmaceuticals. Different is the situation of a liquorice product or digestive herbal tea where it may be contained cinchon; Active principles, first of all, can not be perceived as individual entities, but as a whole, that is, as phytocomplex.
3. Gentiana used to lower fever
There are two gentiana subspecies of officinal interest, also based on active principles: the lutea and the symphyandra. Gentiana is considered to be a bitter drug with high eupeptic properties; it is therefore used both in herbal and liquir fields.
If it is addressed to the liquor industry, gentiana is not immediately dried, but left to ferment for a short time. The digestive properties are mainly due to genio-pyrocrine, a glucosidic secoiridoid and to the retrograde, the iridoid which is qualitatively the most important for the high bitter index.
In ancient times gentiana was used as an antipyretic in association with china. Gentiana appears contraindicated in the presence of duodenal and gastric ulcers, as well as hypertension. In cosmetics, root infusion is used for the cleansing of the freckles on the skin and for the care of the oily skin.
4. Physalis bladder cherry (bladder cherry)
As mentioned, diuretics, depurative and laxative properties are mainly attributed to the bladder cherry. For this reason, in herbal therapy, the bladder cherry is mainly used against urinary retention in the case of nephritis, gout and calculus of uric acid.
However, the use of bladder cherry has not been officially approved for any type of therapeutic indication. A recent study (2016) conducted both in vitro and in vivo, however, showed that etheric extracts of bladder cherry have interesting anti-inflammatory and antibacterial activity.
Anti-inflammatory activity seems to be mostly carried out by the flavones contained in the plant through an action mechanism that decreases levels of TNF-α (tumor necrosis factor alpha), prostaglandin E2, nitric oxide (NO) and interleukins 1 and 6.
However, despite the encouraging results obtained from this research, before approving similar applications of bladder cherry in the medical field, extensive clinical studies are needed in order to determine the actual efficacy and safety of use also in humans.
In popular medicine, bladder cherry in addition to being used for the treatment of gout and rheumatism – is exploited as a diuretic remedy to be used in the case of kidney stones. Bladder cherry is also used in the homeopathic field, where it can be found in the form of granules, mother tinctures and oral drops. Homeopathic medicine uses this plant in the case of kidney stones, chronic urinary tract inflammation, biliary calculus, digestive problems and flatulence.
The amount of homeopathic remedy to be taken can vary greatly between one patient and another, depending also on the type of disorder that needs to be treated and depending on the type of homeopathic preparation and dilution that is intended to be used.
Applications of bladder cherry for the treatment of the aforesaid disorders are neither approved nor supported by the appropriate experimental tests, or have not passed them out. For this reason, they may be without therapeutic efficacy or even be harmful to health.
Bladder cherry should be used with caution and short cycles to avoid the potential toxicity of the alkaloids contained in the fruit.
Do not take bladder cherry if you are sensitive to the herb. Beware of concomitant use of pharmaceutic preparations and diuretic drugs, for a possible combination of effects, resulting in hydroelectrolyte changes.
5. Elecampane, a potent natural remedy for fever
The root of elecampane (or elenium) contains 1-3% of essential oil (consisting of sesquiterpenic lattons, alanine and sesquiterpenic hydrocarbons), sterols (beta-sitosterol, stigmasterol), mucilage, pectin, ascorbic acid and is one of the most remarkable inulin (44%), which is very important in medicine.
For internal use, the presence of essential oil gives elecampane eupeptic action indicated for difficult digestion and insomnia; but above all, the plant is renowned for its antiseptic, fluidizing and expectorant cataract properties, useful for the treatment of respiratory disorders, in the presence of acute and chronic cough and bronchitis, asthma and emphysema.
The mixture of elecampane is called elenine or elenine camphor, and in addition to having anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, it performs antifungal, anti-digestive and diuretic activity, helping to eliminate urea and chlorides. For this reason, the use of elecampane is also indicated against gout and some rheumatic forms.
For external use, decoys and ointments based on elecampane are remedies for the treatment of itching due to eczema, dermatitis, dermatitis, various cold sores and rashes in general.
Elecampane infusion for fever: Take 1 tablespoon of elecampane root and 1 cup of water. Pour the plant into boiling water and turn off the fire. Cover and leave in infusion for 10 min. Filter the infusion and drink it three times a day to calm the cough or eliminate uric acid
Elecampane mother tincture: Take 30 drops three times a day away from meals
Decoction: 10-30 gr of root in 500ml of water and apply externally. To prepare the decoction, pour the root into the cold water, put it on heat and bring to a boil. Boil for a few minutes and turn off the fire. Cover and leave in infusion for 10 min. Apply, once it has cooled, to calm and soothe itching and skin discomfort.
Elecampane can produce such side effects as allergic dermatitis, itching, mucous membrane irritation, vomiting, diarrhea, and cramps. Other possible reactions may be due to hypersensitivity to one or more components contained in the root. Elecampane use is not recommended during pregnancy and lactation. Avoid the use of elecampane-based products during therapy with diuretic drugs to avoid interaction and side effects.
Originally from Central Asia, Europe is widespread mainly in the southern areas where it has been cultivated in the past for medicinal purposes and then spontaneously spread to the Mediterranean basin.
Used since antiquity for liquor production, it is famous for elecampane wine, employed as an aperitif, which is obtained by adding a percentage of dried root in wine. In fact, once the root of this plant was used by doctors as stomachic (facilitates digestive function), vermifuge (eliminates intestinal worms), tonic (strengthens the body in general), diuretic (facilitates the release of urine) and good for health in general. At the beginning of the 20th century, elecampane started to be used for production of inulin, a polysaccharide, from the known re-equilibration properties of bacterial flora, because it can increase the density of bifidobacteria and decrease that of harmful bacteria.
6. Centaurea in natural medicine: a herb of antipyretic properties
Centaurea infusion has an intense bitter taste, capable of stimulating appetite and promoting digestion; in addition, it enters the composition of digestive liquors and herbal teas also provided by the pharmacopoeia. The lower centaurea is indicated in the presence of anorexia (poor appetite), gastric antonia, dyspepsia, fever and pathologies of the liver and gallbladder. Folk tradition acclimate to bile acids also hepatic biliary cleansing properties, which would make it useful in the presence of jaundice and hyperuricemia.
Centaurea – thanks to the bitter substances contained in it – is able to exercise aperitif and bitter-tonic properties, but not only. In fact, chestnut and choleretic activities (including both production and bile excretion) are also implicated in this plant, and are also associated with antispasmodic activity at the gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, the engagement of this plant is particularly useful if it is necessary to encourage appetite and facilitate digestive processes.
In addition, animal studies have shown that centaurea is also endowed with anti-inflammatory and antipyretic properties, which makes it helpful in fighting high fever and pyrexia.
Finally, the plant is able to perform anti-pedicidal action. In fact, it seems that centaurea infusion – when applied externally – constitutes a valid remedy to be used against lice infestations.
As mentioned, thanks to the ability of the centaurea to favor secretion of saliva and gastric juices and thanks to its aperitif, bitter, antipasmodic, colagogy and choleretic properties, the use of this plant has been officially approved for the treatment of dyspeptic disorders and loss of appetite. For the treatment of the aforementioned disorders, it is usually advised to take about 6 grams of drug per day.
If, instead, centaurea is used as a liquid extract (1: 1 drug / solvent ratio, using ethanol at 25% as extraction solvent), it is generally advisable to take 1-2 grams of product per day. When centaurea is used for therapeutic purposes, it is essential to use defined and standardized active ingredients (bitter substances) since only then can you know the exact amount of pharmacologically active substances you are taking.
When using centaurea preparations, the doses of the product to be taken may vary depending on the amount of active substance contained. This quantity is usually reported directly by the manufacturer on the package or on the package leaflet of the same product, so it is very important to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. In any case, before taking any kind of preparation containing centaurea for therapeutic purposes, it is best to contact your doctor in advance.
Centaurea is used internally by popular medicine for the treatment of such disorders as fever, intestinal parasites, kidney stones and diabetes; In addition to finding employment as a hypotensive remedy. Externally, traditional medicine uses this plant for the treatment of hemorrhoids and as a remedy to help heal wounds.
Centaurea is also used in the homeopathic field, where it can easily be found in the form of granules, oral drops and mother tincture. Homeopathic medicine uses this plant in the event of dyspeptic disorders, gastric disorders, intestinal parasites, liver failure and hepatitis. The amount of homeopathic remedy to be taken may vary from patient to patient, also depending on the type of disorder that needs to be treated and depending on the type of homeopathic preparation and dilution that is intended to be used.
Centaurea applications for the treatment of these disorders are neither approved nor supported by the appropriate experimental tests, or have not been overcome. For this reason, they may be without therapeutic efficacy or even be harmful to health.
If properly used, centaurea should not cause side effects of any kind. However, if the plant or its preparations are taken at high doses, side effects such as nausea, vomiting and gastric pain may occur. The use of centaurea is contraindicated in case of hypersensitivity to the herb, as well as in patients with gastrointestinal ulcers, hyperacidity and / or gastritis. In addition, for precautionary purposes, the use of centaur and its preparations is also contraindicated during pregnancy and during lactation.
The effects of NSAID, bitters, garlic and essential oils can be increased with a concomitant use of centaurea. Folk tradition acclimate to bile acids also hepatic biliary cleansing properties, which would make it useful in the presence of jaundice and hyperuricemia.
7. Common horehound
Common horehound is a plant with many properties, including the bitter, stomachic and choleric ones, attributed to the bitter substances, the flavonoids and the essential oil contained therein. Additionally, the plant is characterized by expectorant, coughing, and bronchospasm-like, anti-spasmodic properties.
For exterior use, however, astringent, healing, detergent and antiseptic properties are attributed to horehound. However, the use of horehound has been officially approved only for the treatment of appetite and digestive disorders. As mentioned, thanks to the stomach, bitter-tonic and choleretic properties of the herb, the use of this plant has been officially approved for the treatment of appetite, digestive disorders and associated symptoms.
To treat the aforementioned disturbances, the plant should be taken internally. If using the extracted liquid extract (ratio of drug / solvent 1: 1, using 20% ethanol as extraction solvent), it is usually advisable to injest about 2-4 ml of product three times daily.
When the gum is used for therapeutic purposes, it is essential to use defined and standardized preparations in active ingredients since only then can you know the exact amount of pharmacologically active substances you are taking.
When using broth preparations, the doses of the product to be taken may vary depending on the amount of active substances contained. This quantity is usually reported directly by the manufacturer on the package or on the package leaflet of the same product, so it is very important to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer.
In any case, before taking any therapeutic purpose for any type of preparation containing horehound, it is best to contact your doctor beforehand.
In popular medicine, horehound is used internally for the treatment of various respiratory tract infections such as acute and chronic bronchitis, pertussis, asthma, airway infections, respiratory tract infections and the treatment of disorders such as tuberculosis, diarrhea, itteritis and painful menstruation. In addition, at high doses the plant is used as a laxative remedy.
Externally, however, traditional medicine uses the broth to treat ulcers and skin wounds, and uses it within flushing and gargle solutions to be used in case of throat infections. The honeycomb is also used in the homeopathic field, where it can be found in the form of granules, mouth drops and mother tincture.
Homeopathic medicine uses this plant in the event of bronchitis and catarrhal airways. The amount of homeopathic remedy to be taken may vary from one individual to another, depending also on the type of disorder to be treated and depending on the type of homeopathic preparation and dilution that is intended to be used.
Avoid intake of horehound in case of hypersensitivity to one or more components, in patients with gastritis and / or peptic ulcer and during pregnancy. Serotoninergic drugs: the aqueous extract of horehound showed antagonizing serotonin in mice.
8. Elder employed as a fever remedy
Elder is equipped with diaphoreal properties, that is, a plant that, once taken, is able to increase bodily sweating. It is for this reason that its use has been officially approved for the treatment of colds, fevers and respiratory tract infections (such as coughs and bronchitis).
In fact, several studies have shown that elderberry flowers and leaves – used internally – are effective in decreasing the intensity and duration of colds and reducing fever through increased sweating. In addition, animal studies have shown that the elder is performing its beneficial activity also through increased bronchial secretion.
Elder was also investigated the potential anti-inflammatory properties already attributed to it by popular medicine. From some in vitro research, it has been found that elderberry flowers and leaves are able to inhibit cytokine secretion and reduce the activity of interleukins and tumor necrosis factor, all involved in flogic processes and in response immune.
As mentioned, thanks to its distinctive diaphoric properties possessed by elderberry leaves and flowers, this plant can be effectively used to counteract cold, fever and inflammation of the respiratory tract, such as bronchitis. If the elder is taken in the form of infusion, it is usually advisable to dip 2-4 grams of drug into about 150 ml of boiling water and leave it in infusion for at least five minutes.
The product thus prepared can be taken several times throughout the day, particularly during the afternoon and at night. When elder is used for therapeutic purposes, it is essential to use defined and standardized preparations in active ingredients since only then can you know the exact amount of pharmacologically active substances you are taking.
When using elderly preparations, the doses of the product to be taken may vary depending on the amount of active substances contained. This quantity is usually reported directly by the manufacturer on the package or on the package leaflet of the same product, so it is very important to follow the instructions given by the manufacturer. In any case, before taking any therapeutic purpose for any preparation containing elder, it is best to contact your doctor beforehand.
The diaphoretic properties of elder are well-known to popular medicine that uses it, precisely, for the treatment of feverish states of different nature. Additionally, elder is used by traditional medicine as a remedy against cough, laryngitis, flu, and even as a remedy against dyspnea. Sometimes the elder is also used to increase milk production in breastfeeding mothers.