The body's normal temperature is around 98.6 degrees F (as measured in the mouth). To qualify as a fever, the temperature usually has to top 100 degrees F. A fever is a symptom of an infection, ranging from the flu to dehydration to heart attack.
Many alternative therapies disagree with some allopathic doctor's belief that a fever should be suppressed. Instead, these therapies hold that a fever is the body's way of fending off an infection, a process that should be allowed to run its course. Certain treatments can be employed to beef up the immune system, giving it more strength against the invaders that may cause a fever.
Homeopathy for Fever
Homeopathic medicine works to treat a fever by giving highly diluted doses of a natural substance that would produce a fever in a healthy person. The remedies stimulate the body to work at the cause of the fever. A homeopath studies the person's specific symptoms, as well as the general state of health, to devise a fever remedy. There are dozens of fever characteristics that are considered in finding a treatment. Consider the following:
- Does a dry heat accompany the fever?
- Is one cheek redder or warmer than the other?
- Is it accompanied by a backache?
- Does urinating make it better?
Common homeopathic remedies for fevers include:
- nux vomica
- ferrum phosphoricum
All of these remedies are from plant sources, but a group of French researchers tested an all-purpose animal-based homeopathic remedy for fever and other flu symptoms. About twice as many patients on the homeopathic treatment found recovery within 48 hours as those patients with no treatment.
Herbal Medicine for Fever
Herbs can be used to encourage the action and completion of a fever and to strengthen the immune system. Yarrow, black elder, linden flowers, cayenne, and boneset may induce sweating, among other functions. Many of these herbs are often taken as teas, either individually or combined. Echinacea (purple coneflower) is considered a classic for enhancing the immune system. The leaves of feverfew can also be helpful, especially in cases of fever accompanied by a headache, but avoid this remedy during pregnancy. Garlic, ginger, and phytolacca (strong) have also proved useful. An herbalist might prescribe a tea of black elder.
Hydrotherapy for Fever
Treatment with hot or cold water, or a treatment alternating the two temperatures, can stimulate healing in the body. Heat, for example, stimulates the immune system. Cooler water can reduce fever, which is necessary for especially high temperatures. Some of the techniques include:
- bathing in warm water to promote sweating
- sponging off the body with water to slightly reduce a fever (Depending on the person's temperature and comfort level, hot, warm, or cold wet cloths can be used.)
- drinking fluids to make up for what is lost from perspiration and encourage the body to continue sweating
- taking a hot foot bath while placing a cold cloth on the head and wrapping the body in a blanket (especially good for fevers with headache)
A soothing hydrotherapy tip for someone with a fever: Take a warm (not hot) bath, especially if the fever is accompanied by shivering.
Other Therapies for Fever
- Aromatherapy for Fever -- The essential oils of bergamot, chamomile, or eucalyptus can be diluted and applied as a compress or inhaled.
- Ayurvedic Medicine for Fever -- Treatment may involve a special, short-term diet and herbal therapy.
- Detoxification, Fasting, and Colon Therapy for Fever -- During the fever, water or herbal tea fasts or juice diets are beneficial.
- Traditional Chinese Medicine for Fever -- Treatment can include acupressure, acupuncture, and herbal therapy.