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Home Remedies for Fever

Fever or a very high temperature is the necessary manner in which the body rids itself of infection and as it is usually the result of an already diagnosed illness it should not be suppressed. If however there does not appear to be a reason for it occurring and particularly if the patient is a child, professional advice should be sought. As soon as it becomes apparent that a state of general malaise, loss of appetite, tummy trouble and aches and pains is progressing into a shivery fever the victim should be put to bed in a warm, well – aired room, covered with a lot of bed clothes, given well – covered hot water bottles to hug if necessary and left to sweat the infection out through the pores of the body.

‘Breaking a fever’ means helping a patient past the point at which their temperature reaches a peak and then drops, after which the body should be working towards recovery. During this time good nursing can achieve wonderful results and create a strong bond of confidence between patient and nurse. Caring for a sick person in the throes of a high fever can be a grim and frightening affair and in the past, without the reassuring presence of a doctor, it must have been truly appalling. Sponging the face and body of a patient with cool flannels, changing sweat – soaked bedclothes and nightwear when necessary, administering plenty of cooling sips of liquid and presenting a comforting appearance all do a great deal to aid recovery, especially in the case of a child in whom fever – induced hallucinations and nightmares can create terrible fears.

Home Remedies for Fever

Cooling Lotions and Soothing Oils

Some of the least pleasant remedies suggested for breaking a fever were to poultice the stomach well with a combination of onions and vinegar or to warp a hefty bracelet of shepherd’s purse, plantain and vinegar around the wrists.

Although bathing a patient in milk used to be the recommended method of soothing and cooling an overheated body, much to be preferred is a ‘blanket bath’ with a soft sponge soaked in water perfumed with lavender or rose petal vinegar .- vinegar  will restore the pH balance to the skin and prevent it from irritating and flaking whilst the fragrance takes away the sour smell of feverishness. The water in which barley has been boiled was used in country districts and although it is a little sticky it does deep the skin smooth and cool.

The best lotion however is borage lotion which is made by simmering a good handful of the fresh, hairy leaves of borage in 1 litre (1.75 pints) of water for three minutes and then leaving it to stand until cool for a further 15 minutes. When it is strained it gives a lovely silky, soothing liquid to bathe a body with. The mucilageanous liquid also makes a very healing gargle and tea.

  • Foot massage Rubbing the soles of the feet with lotus oil was the way in which the Pharaohs had their fevers eased but more prosaically and most aromatically rubbing the soles of the feet with a healing blend of essential oils in a carrier of almond oil will calm the patient a great deal. I always think that the feet are the keys to the soul and whenever I am  unwell I find that I feel immeasurably better for having my feet massaged. The best combination of oils to use is a few drops each of thyme, eucalyptus, sage and lavender.
  • Lilac oil When the patient’s fever has abated but they are still full of aches and pains rub their afflicted limbs with this unguent which should be made in the early days of summer. Cram 100g (4oz) of the most headily scented fresh lilac blossoms you can find into a glass jar and fill with 600 ml (1 pint) of olive oil. Cover with a gauze or paper lid and leave on a windowsill to macerate in the warmth of the sun for two weeks or so. Press through a fine sieve and rebottle. One of the good home remedies for fever.

Potions to Reduce a Fever

  • Lilac leaves An infusion of 1 teaspoon of lilac leaves in one cup of boiling water taken two or three times daily was a very ancient alternative to quinine in the cure of malarial, fever. Quinine was the old – fashioned standby for fever and is still used to prevent and remedy malaria, but before it was discovered the most commonly used country remedies included birch, ash bark, herb bennet, olive leaves, tincture of box and sorrel or purslane juice (the cooling green leaves of purslane were also laid upon the brow). These brews were taken at the first sign of those fevers which a patient might suffer from intermittently such as malaria and the following delicious infusion, which was frequently used in an effort to reduce the racking ague of malaria, can still be used today to ease the discomfort of a raging temperature. One of the effective home remedies for fever.
  • Fever tea Take 10g (1/2oz) of lavender and 5g (1/4oz) each of heart’s ease or pansy, borage, marigold and broom. Mix together and use 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of boiling water.

The bark of white willow and a tea made from meadowsweet were favourite tisanes to be taken in a crisis. Other healing ‘fever teas’ to be drunk at the first manifestations are elderflower, peppermint, catnip, lemon balm, vervain, yarrow and feverfew. Singly or mixed, as you prefer, all of these teas are soothing and will promote a certain amount of perspiration but nothing compared to the ‘cold sweat.’ Which breaks out at the very thought of the  ancient remedy which extols the virtues of powdered mint taken with the newly sloughed skin of an asp.

  • Hibiscus tea This looks lovely and tastes delicious and older children will love a combination of rose hip tea and hibiscus tea (use the tea bags) which can be served warm or iced with lemon.
  • Basil tea A tea made with 1 teaspoon of dried basil to 600ml (1 pint) of boiling water will be made more potent and pungent with the addition of the crushed seeds from 1 cardamom pod and ½ teaspoon each of ground cinnamon and brown sugar.
  • Blackcurrant leaf tea Soak 50g (20z) of the dried or fresh leaves in cold water for 1 hour then bring to the boil and infuse for 15 minutes. Take three or four cups a day. One of the best home remedies for fever.
  • Sage tea When made by the following method sage tea has a slightly meaty taste and is excellent. Take 25g(1oz) of fresh sage leaves, 50g (2oz) of clear honey and 3 tablespoons of pure fresh lemon juice. Put all the ingredients into a heatproof container and cover with 1 litre (1.75 pints) of boiling water. Cover and leave to stand until quite cold. Strain and serve cold or reheated.
  • Gilly flower syrup The gilly flower was the name given to any flower which had the scent of cloves, hence the confusion arising in old gardening manuals or herbals within whose pages pinks, carnations and wallflowers are to be found masquerading under the same title. The gilly flower referred to in this recipe however is the dark, dusky petalled pink perfumed with the heady fragrance of cloves. Take 100 g (4oz0 of petals and place them in a china bowl. Cover them with 750 ml (1.75 pints) of boiling water, cover and leave to infuse for six hours. Press gently into a fine sieve to extract all the perfumed water. Heat the liquid in a bain – marie adding unrefined cane sugar, a little at a time until the mixture has the consistency of syrup. Pour into dry sterilized jars and seal tightly. Take 1 tablespoon at a time to 1 cup of warm water or herbal tea.

Drink and Diet

When nursing a patient with a high fever one of the most important things to ensure is that they drink plenty in order to pass the infection out of their system. At the first ominous signs of an impending crisis administer lemon juice and honey or apple cider vinegar and honey diluted in plenty of warm water. Drinks tamarind water made by soaking  25g (1oz) of tamarind pulp in 1 litre (1.75 pints) of boiling water for several hours. When strained it can be drunk by the ½ cup diluted with warm water. Taken every two hours or so it appears to refresh and to reduce temperature.

Lemon juice, lemon barley water, barley water, fresh unsweetened fruit juices especially pineapple and grape and a lot of good clear water, bottled if necessary, will all ensure a quick recovery. Very few feverish patients feel like eating but a few slices of fresh fruit or some grapes will usually prove acceptable.

Tiny Tots

Small children and babies can spring a raging temperature upon you without warning and it is usually as the result of an already diagnosed illness or teething troubles. Babies are very vulnerable so if you cannot identity the cause call for immediate professional advice.

Balm Melissa, catnip, vervain and chamomile tea, taken with a little honey and lemon  juice on the tip of a spoon or in a small bottle, will help to calm a fractions child whilst plenty of warm fruit drinks or warm boiled water reduce theist and aid recovery.

A few drops of essential oil of lavender or chamomile can be dropped into warm water and used to wipe their hands and face which will make them more comfortable. When sponging infants down make sure that they are not in a draught and that they are dressed immediately afterwards. Do not leave a small child with a high temperature alone for any length of time.

Feeding a fever

No body especially children, wants to eat when they are ill with a high temperature but as they begin to feel better it is essential that they eat a little of those foods which are not only palatable but nourishing. The recipes below are easily swallowed and can also feed the rest of the family, if necessary, without them feeling that they are being palmed off with invalid food.

Oatmeal porridge and porridge oats contain vitamin B6 and porridge oats contain vitamin B6 and when made properly are very good for you. Porridge is a nice smooth breakfast food which is easier to eat than ‘crispy crunchy corn thingamajigs’ despite any protestations to the contrary.

  • To make a true oatmeal porridge Put 4 tablespoons of coarse oatmeal in a large basin and gradually add 300ml (1/2 pint) of milk. Stir this briskly into 300ml (1/2 pint). Of boiling water and add a pinch of salt. Boil until it thickens, stirring continuously. Remove from the heat, cover and leave to stand for several minutes before serving with milk and honey or brown sugar. One of the useful home remedies for fever.
  • Porridge using porridge oats Use organic or conservation grade oats. Pour ½ cup of oats and a pinch of salt into 1.5 cups of water or milk, mixing well. Bring to the boil and simmer for five minutes, stirring occasionally, Cover and leave to stand for a moment or two before serving.

Vegetable Soup
2 carrots
1 leek
1 onion
1 stick of celery
¼ bulb fennel
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
1 bay leaf
1 pinch each thyme and sage
½ teaspoon sugar
1 litre (1.75 pints) boiling water or stock
25 g (1oz) f;pir
300ml (1/2 pint) milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Clean, peel and dice the vegetables and garlic and put them in a pan with the oil. Cook for five minutes with the lid on, shaking occasionally to prevent burning. Add the herbs, sugar and boiling water or stock. Cover and simmer gently until the vegetables are just soft. Mix the flour to a smooth paste with the milk, stir it into the soup and boil for several minutes until the flour is cooked. Remove the bay leaf and season the coup well. It can then be either eaten as it is or strained and purred to make a cream of vegetable soup or a cupful of the vegetables can be passed through a sieve and moistened with some of the liquid to make a very good meal for a baby (in which case omit the seasoning).

Fillet of plaice for a Child

1 plaice fillet
a little milk
lemon juice

Grease a dinner plate with a little oil and lay the fish on it skin side down, adding a little milk to keep it moist. Place the plate over a saucepan of fast boiling water and cover it with either the saucepan lid or another plate. Steam until the plaice fillet is just soft. Remove from the beat. Take the fish from the skin, making sure that you remove any tiny bones – pass it through a sieve if the meal is for a very small child. Add a little of the milk that the fish has been cooked in, a pinch of salt and a small squeeze of lemon juice.

Tripe and Onions

450g (11b) blanched tripe 2 onions, peeled and finely chopped
25g (1 oz) flour
300 ml (1/2 pint) milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Leave the tripe to soak in a basin of cold water for an hour or so then place in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to the boil, Remove the tripe, scrape away any rough pieces and cut into bite-sized chunks. (If you do not want an immediate revolution over the ‘slipperiness’ of tripe then it is important that you do cut it in to acceptable pieces.)Return it to the pan with 450ml (3/4 pint) of water and the onions. Cover and simmer gently until the tripe is tender. Mix the flour and milk to a smooth paste and add to the pan, a little at a time, stirring well. Stir until the mixture comes to the boil and cook for a few minutes more. Season well with salt and pepper and serve with plain mashed potatoes or in a small bowl as a soup. Tripe, despite its elusive appeal, slips down the throat, is easily digested and is very good for you. It was one of the great favorite meals of my childhood and although the English frequently turn up their noses at it the French will pay a lot of money for the above dish, served in a marmite, browned on the top with croutons and a little cheese.

Baked Egg Custard

1 egg
150ml (1/4 pint) lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon sugar
grating of nutmeg (optional)

Beat the egg into the milk, add the sugar and pour the mixture into a small buttered mould. Grate a little nutmeg on top the bake in a moderate oven until the custard has just set, or cover with buttered paper and cook in a steamer for about 20 minutes.

Arrowroot Blancmange

600 ml (1 pint) milk
grated zest from 1 well – washed lemon
1 tablespoon arrowroot
1 rounded tablespoon sugar
pinch of salt

Put the milk in a saucepan with the lemon zest. Bring to the boil and remove from the heat. Cover and leave to get cold then strain. Put the milk back on to the heat and bring nearly to boiling point. Mix the arrowroot to a paste with a little cold water, pour enough of the hot milk into the paste to make it smooth then return it to the pan stirring continuously. Add the sugar and salt and let the mixture boil once. Pour into moulds. If you have the time you could make the blancmange even more tempting by decorating it with little faces made from lemon slices.

Orange tonic Into a jug put 25g (1oz) of orange peel pared finely from well washed oranges, 25g (1oz) chamomile flowers and a few cloves. Cover with 600ml (1pint) of boiling water. Allow to become quite cold and strain before using. Exquisitely refreshing.

Minimizing the Risks

Bed sheets should always be kept taut and free from crumbs and the patient should be carefully moved as frequently as possible. Don’t drag the patient as this can cause tender skin to break. Try to lift them without damaging yourself. If you have to do this frequently over a prolonged period of time seek professional advice on how it should be done. Place a pillow between the patient’s knees and ankles to relieve pressure and to stop them rubbing together. You can also buy sheepskin heel or elbow covers and under sheets which are comfortable if a little too warm.

  • Massage Massaging limbs regularly will ensure that the circulation is improved thus avoiding the problem of cramp and it will be doubly effective if a few drops of essential oil of thyme, sage or lavender, diluted in an eggcupful of sunflower oil, are used. Some of the rubs suggested under Cramp are also very useful.  
  • Rubbing alcohol Gently rubbing the most vulnerable parts or the body with surgical spirit will minimize the risk of bed sores occurring. You could make up your own version of Hungary water to provide a really pleasant smelling and therapeutic version of rubbing alcohol. Pack a large jar with rosemary, lavender, sage, thyme and elderflowers and fill it up with surgical spirit or rubbing alcohol. Stand it on a warm windowsill, shake daily and leave to macerate for several weeks. Strain well through muslin before using.
  • Hypericum oil or calendula ointment Either of these should be soothed into chapped skin whilst white petroleum jelly (Vaseline) is equally useful on skin that has become dry and cracked.

A Healthy Atmosphere

Fresh bunches of lavender or eucalyptus will sweeten the air and keep insects away but the most effective method is to keep a small pan of water to which you have added a handful of the crushed herb or leaf simmering on a hob in those rooms in which there is sickness. Not only does it disinfect but it creates a lovely atmosphere far more pleasant than that achieved with commercial sprays. The Greeks and Romans burned their herbs and spices in censers, keeping them in their rooms and carrying them in the streets to ward off infection. Myrrh, frankincense and balsam were popular spices then as were the other Oriental favorites, musk and sandalwood. The smell was probably very similar to joss sticks which are still lit in many households as a happy alternative to air fresheners.

Stopping Infection Spreading

Humorous though the idea may sound the juice of onions and garlic or the water or vinegar in which they had been boiled or macerated were used as very powerful bactericides which could still be used today except for the perfume which leaves much to be desired. Perhaps it was this very odor which also provoked their reputation of scaring off snakes and witches.

  • Oil of lavender A few drops mixed into liquid furniture polish or a little almond oil can be used on those wooden surfaces which you would rather not clean with disinfectant and it does make the house smell delightful.
  • Fly paper  Flies are irritating and dirty but many people consider commercial fly papers to be even more unpleasant so make your own by spreading strips of paper thinly with molasses to which you can add a little essential oil of pine, although the stickiness alone is enough to attract and entrap them.
  • Eucalyptus spray Put 1 teaspoon of eucalyptus oil B.P. and 10 drops each of essential oil of lavender and lemon balm into 1 litre (1.75 pints) of cold water. Pour into a spray container and shake well. This is a good pleasant – smelling, antiseptic solution to squirt liberally about the house. It also discourages those nasty pests which attach house plants.
  • Lavender and sweet cicely water Use on a damp cloth to cool a fevered brow and hot hands and to wipe surfaces.

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