As is known, our own body temperature fluctuates over the course of a single day due to the different metabolic activities of our body. But when is the elevated temperature a cause for concern? And what home remedies can be used to treat the fever?
If the fever rises above 39 degrees Celsius in adults (39.5 degrees in children - exception: children with a tendency to febrile seizures) or if severe symptoms occur, the fever should be reduced. There are numerous home remedies for this that are usually relatively easy to use at home. They often offer a sensible alternative to medication by using the body's own defenses. In the following we will introduce you to proven home remedies for fever. However, if the fever does not go down after a day or even go up, you should always consult a doctor. If the fever rises after surgery, a doctor must be consulted immediately, a dangerous infection could be the reason for the increased temperature.
At what body temperature should you react?
Natural home remedies can help fight fever if a drop in temperature is desired. From a body temperature of 38 ° C, the thermometer shows fever - a so-called "general reaction" of the body, which can have a variety of causes, such as infectious diseases or autoimmune diseases. Although fever can be dangerous in some cases (for example, in babies and the elderly), it is basically a sensible response from the body. A higher temperature helps our body to kill unwanted pathogens or to prevent these germs from multiplying. A moderately elevated temperature is therefore not a cause for concern. If the elevated temperature remains below 39 ° C, a consideration should be made. Does the fever have to be reduced? Or is it initially sufficient to give our body plenty of rest, sleep and fluids and thus offer them the chance to heal themselves?
In babies and children, we should directly support the body in bringing the body temperature back to a normal level. Even people who are already weakened by previous infections or diseases need direct support to lower the elevated temperature.
In an otherwise healthy person, fever can also be a desired immune response in the body. The fever speeds up metabolic processes and increases blood circulation, which has an inhibiting effect on the rate of multiplication of bacteria and viruses.
Often people with a fever have no appetite - so they shouldn't be forced to eat. Nothing or little to eat over a manageable period of time does no harm to the body in case of fever. If you want to eat something, you should go for light and protein-rich foods such as chicken or vegetable broth, boiled chicken, steamed vegetables or salad. Fresh citrus fruits such as oranges, tangerines and grapefruit are also useful for fever. The vitamin C it contains is needed by the body to fight the infection underlying the fever.
In the case of fever, it is essential to take care to drink as much as possible. Our body has an increased need for fluids due to excessive sweating, and sweating also extracts minerals from the body. The minerals urgently need to be returned to the body. A febrile gastrointestinal infection with diarrhea is particularly dangerous for very young or weakened people. Due to dehydration, the organism lacks fluid that it urgently needs for physical regeneration. Some of the home remedies for gastrointestinal flu, such as healing clay, are also recommended for fever
Increased fluid requirements
Due to the possible dehydration, at least two liters should be drunk daily, still mineral water and tea are particularly suitable. Fresh fruit juices - for example made from oranges and bananas - which are mixed with water are also suitable. Herbal teas can be made quite quickly and easily in a wide variety of ways - one of the tried and tested home remedies is lilac blossom tea. For this, 50 grams of flowers are sufficient, on which 1 liter of boiling water is poured. After about five minutes, the flowers are strained. The finished tea should then be drunk several times a day to have a constant effect on the febrile body.
Black fever tea, which is prepared in the same way, has an equally positive effect on fever. Bitter clover, pansies and willow bark, which are mixed together in equal proportions, also help. Pour boiling water over one tablespoon of the mixture per cup and the antipyretic tea is ready. If the patient can barely keep fluid in the body for longer than half a day due to vomiting or diarrhea, a visit to the doctor is advised.
Also very effective - if not tea - is fresh raspberry juice, which among other things strengthens the immune system with its numerous vitamins and is known for its sweat-inducing properties. Barley water with honey is also an old antipyretic. For this, 50 grams of barley are boiled with two liters of water until the amount of water has been reduced to half a liter. The next step is to add two tablespoons of honey, then let the whole thing cool down, add a little lemon juice and drink it in sips throughout the day.
Especially with feverish children, special care should be taken to ensure that they drink enough fluids. In addition to water and (diluted) fresh fruit juices, tea in a wide variety of variants is particularly recommended. For example, a tea made from linden flowers, which is said to have a sweat-inducing, antipyretic and calming effect and which therefore promises good relief. For a cup of tea, a teaspoon of linden flowers is poured over with boiling water and left to steep for at least five minutes. Then remove or sieve the flowers, depending on the taste, drink with honey and lukewarm.
The right temperature measurement
As is known, we can measure our body temperature at different points. With the rectal measurement (in the Po), the value obtained is very close to our actual body temperature. If the temperature is taken in the mouth, the value obtained is lower than the real body temperature. A measurement using an infrared device in the ear canal is another variant. The correct handling of the device is crucial here. If operated incorrectly, measurement errors quickly occur with such a device. Accordingly, rectal measurement is recommended due to its accuracy. This is especially true for children. All other patients can be optimally cared for by an oral temperature measurement.
Please note: When measuring in the mouth, we add 0.4 ° C to the value obtained to obtain the actual temperature. The important thing now is to maintain the way in which the temperature is raised throughout a period of illness. This is the only way we can understand trends in temperature development. Is the fever still rising or is it already falling again?
Cold calf wraps
Wraps and envelopes have a long tradition in naturopathy and are an effective naturopathic treatment that normally has no side effects or other negative effects. As with all antipyretic measures, it should also be asked in advance whether it would make sense to contain the fever at the current time. It is usually recommended to only start at 39 ° C (with the exception of children who are prone to febrile seizures).
It is important for every type of cold water application that the body and feet are warm and that the room temperature is at least 22 ° C. Drafts have to be avoided and we have to make sure that the wraps are close to the body. The water should also not be too cold, but only one to five degrees colder than the patient's body temperature. Cotton towels (for example kitchen towels) are then dipped into the water, which are then easily wrung out and loosely wrapped around the calves of the feverish - until the towels warm up. These are then removed and the procedure is repeated up to four times as needed. However, the cold wraps should not lie on the skin for more than 30 minutes at a time, after which the body should first be allowed to rest.
An alternative to the cold calf wraps are the so-called "wet stockings": For this, cotton stockings are placed in cold water, wrung out and then put on. Dry wool socks are then pulled over these wet socks. As soon as the wet stockings have warmed up, they can be replaced - this process can also be repeated a few times until the fever has subsided. It is important that the patient should not get too cold.
Another alternative to the calf wraps and another tried and tested home remedy is the so-called "vinegar stocking". For this, five parts of lukewarm water and one part of apple cider vinegar are mixed together. Two cotton stockings are then dipped into this vinegar tincture until they are soaked. These socks are now wrung out and put on, if possible over the calves. Then pull dry socks over it and let the patient rest well covered. After 45 to 60 minutes (approx. 20 minutes for children) the stockings can be removed again and the feet and calves can be rubbed off well. If the fever has not dropped, the application can be repeated again - but only when the legs and feet are warm again.
A wash is particularly suitable for small children to reduce high fevers. For this purpose, the child's body is rubbed with a washcloth and lukewarm water, whereby the exact temperature depends on the degree of well-being of the child and should be about one to ten degrees Celsius below body temperature. The washing is then carried out in a specific order. This means that hands, arms, neck, stomach, the sides and back are rubbed off first, then the feet and legs and finally the buttocks. The skin should only be moistened during washing and not dripping wet. It is always washed against the direction of hair growth, because this is the only way to really remove the sweat beads. If the direction of hair growth is not recognizable, wash in circular movements. All in all, the process should not take longer than two minutes - afterwards, if possible, do not dry off, so that evaporative cooling can occur. Finally, put on the pajamas for the child and cover them warm - in addition, with good tolerance, a sweat-inducing elder tea can be given to support. Such a wash can be repeated two to four times at regular intervals of 30 minutes, as required.
A modification of the wash with normal water is the peppermint wash - an equally effective home remedy, since peppermint stimulates the cold receptors of the skin and a pleasant cooling effect is achieved. This procedure can be used in children from one year of age. If pure peppermint oil is used, the child should be at least six years old in any case, since peppermint oil can cause shortness of breath in very small children and is therefore potentially dangerous. For this form of washing, a teaspoon of peppermint leaves (e.g. from a pharmacy) is poured over with 300 milliliters of boiling water. Let this mixture steep for ten minutes, sieve the leaves, mix the finished tea with a liter of water and carry out the washing as described above.
Alternatively - as mentioned only for children from the age of six - you can work with oil instead of peppermint leaves. Here, one to three drops of pure peppermint oil are mixed with one liter of water. This works best in a bottle because the mixture has to be shaken vigorously before each use. In this case too, the washing itself is carried out as described above.
Descending full bath
If other applications such as calf wraps or washes have no effect, a so-called "descending full bath" can be used to lower the fever. For this application, the patient's bed is first preheated with hot water bottles or a heating pad and the tub is filled with warm water. The temperature of the bath water should only be about one degree below the patient's body temperature. As soon as those affected are in the water, cold water is gradually added so that the water temperature is reduced to around 25 ° C in about ten to 15 minutes. A thermometer for temperature control is recommended for this. During the cooling process, the body is rubbed off with a washcloth or a light massage brush. This massage technique alleviates the feeling of cold and stimulates the body's heat release. After 15 minutes the tub is left. Now dry your body thoroughly and immediately lie down in the preheated bed.
Antipyretic medicinal plants
In the case of fever, there are still various medicinal plants for lowering the temperature and treating the causes of the fever. In addition to the linden and elderflowers, which are traditionally used for tea preparation, in traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) the root of the Chinese rabbit ear (Latin: Bupleurum chinense DC) is considered a typical antipyretic plant. This has a bitter taste, has a cooling effect and stimulates the energy flow in the liver circulation. For a supportive tea, three to five grams of dried roots are used each day, which are boiled in about 500 milliliters of lightly boiling water for 20 minutes.
The ripe fruits of the gardenia tree (Latin: Gardenia jasminoides Ellis) are often used in TCM for fever. The appearance of these fruits resembles that of our rose hips, they also have a bitter taste and stimulate the heart and lungs. For tea preparation, three grams of the dried fruit are boiled in about 500 milliliters of lightly boiling water for 20 minutes. The finished tea is now drunk throughout the day. As with all medicinal plants: Always consult the naturopath or naturopathic family doctor. Medicinal plants can also have negative effects and can even be toxic.
Hildegard von Bingen viewed basil as an antipyretic medicinal plant. For a basil tea, a bunch of fresh herbs or a handful of dried basil must be poured over with hot water.
Homeopathic remedies for fever
Homeopathy also offers a great number of herbal remedies for fever, although the right remedy, the exact application and the dosage can vary from person to person and must therefore be coordinated with an appropriate expert. In general, one of the plants frequently used in homeopathy is, for example, aconite (Latenisch Aconitum napellus), which contains very toxic alkaloids, but in homeopathic form is particularly suitable for sudden fever in connection with restless sleep and barking dry cough. Likewise, the homeopathic remedy Belladonna, which is made from the belladonna (Latin: Atropa belladonna), is said to have a helpful effect in fever. Belladonna is administered as globules or drops.
Danger: As a plant itself, the deadly cherry from the nightshade family is very poisonous. Here, three to four berries can be fatal to children. In the United States, researchers have even warned of administering these globules to children. From a potency of D4, however, nothing of the original substance can be detected in a homeopathic remedy, therefore Belladonna can be used safely in potencies above D4. Other homeopathic remedies that are often used in fever are Eupatorium perfoliatum, Ferrum phosphoricum and Gelsemium. (Nr, db)
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Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
Dipl. Social Science Nina Reese, Barbara Schindewolf-Lensch
- www.internisten-im-netz.de, information portal of the professional association of German internists (available: August 12, 2019), BDI
- Jörg Zittlau et al .: home remedies. The proven medicine chest for all diseases, Suedwest Verlag (January 1999)
- Arnold Achmüller, wraps, ointments and tinctures, Edition Raetia; Edition: 1 (March 7, 2016)
- Margaret L. Tyler: Homeopathic Pharmacology, Urban & Fischer Verlag / Elsevier GmbH; Edition: 3, 2011