With the present shortages of over-the-counter medicines for coughs, colds, and flu, this seems like the perfect time to talk about natural remedies. These can be helpful when we either don’t have medications on hand, or simply want a more natural approach to dealing with common illnesses. Natural medicines are beneficial as they are non-toxic and support our body’s own healing process. If used at the first sign of illness, many can shorten its severity and duration. Here are some natural approaches—many used by cultures worldwide for centuries—to help get you back into tip-top shape.
Treatments for Fever
Fevers are our bodies’ natural reaction to infection. A fever is part of a healthy immune response and communicates that we are mounting an appropriate defense against an unwanted invader. As parents, it is always difficult seeing our children sick, and it is our instinct to do whatever we can to make them feel better.
In the case of fevers, unless they are very high, it can be beneficial to let the fever do the work of fighting the infection. Fevers slow down pathogens and their replication; therefore, a fever slows down the spread and severity of an illness.
If a fever gets too high (104+), it’s a good idea to get it down. This is the work of many drugs, but this can also usually be achieved with a lukewarm or cool bath. Eating will also usually bring a fever down slightly if you or your little one feel up to it. Very high fevers burn fluids and increase the risk of dehydration. Make sure to drink plenty of clear liquids, and children can have water or diluted fruit juice for hydration and to keep blood sugar within normal range. Fevers also deplete vitamin A, so be sure to supplement with vitamin A-rich foods (like fish oils, kale, spinach, broccoli, milk, and eggs) after a bout with a fever.
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Yarrow is a common herb and is well known for its ability to bring down a fever. It is considered a diaphoretic herb, meaning it makes you sweat, helping the body eliminate toxins through the skin and urine. Yarrow also purifies and moves the blood, treats urinary infections, and heals wounds.
In a comparative study in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Studies, yarrow demonstrated the ability to significantly reduce fevers in animal models.
A research review published in Current Pharmaceutical Design in 2008 discussed the traditional use of yarrow for this purpose. “The genus Achillea consists of about 140 perennial herbs native to the Northern hemisphere. Traditional indications of their use include digestive problems, liver and gall-bladder conditions, menstrual irregularities, cramps, fever, wound healing,” it noted.
A review on the biological activities of yarrow published in the Journal Current Pharmaceutical Design, mentions yarrow’s analgesic, anti-ulcer, choleretic (which stimulate the production of bile by the liver), liver protecting and wound healing abilities and that data has accumulated demonstrating its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.