Natural Herbs For Fever and Chills

Fevers and chills can be uncomfortable and concerning symptoms. While they are often signs that the immune system is fighting an infection, prolonged high fevers can be dangerous and require medical attention. Fortunately, some many natural herbs and remedies may help reduce fever and relieve chills without the use of medications.

What Causes Fevers and Chills?

Fevers are a common symptom of many viral and bacterial infections. They occur when the hypothalamus, the temperature control center in the brain, raises your body temperature set point in response to an infection. This triggers reactions like vasoconstriction (narrowing of blood vessels) and shivering in an attempt to raise the body’s temperature.

Chills often accompany fevers as the body works hard to raise its core temperature. They can also occur independently when someone is exposed to a cold environment or has poor circulation.

While low grade fevers generally aid the immune system, high fevers over 104°F (40°C) in adults or over 102°F (38.9°C) in infants can be dangerous if prolonged. Very high fevers, especially in children, can trigger febrile seizures.

Herbal Remedies to Reduce Fever

Many herbs have been used traditionally to help fight infection and reduce fevers. Here are some of the top herbs to consider:

Ginger

Ginger root contains potent anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols. Animal and human studies show fresh ginger is effective at lowering fever and relieving chills. It may also soothe other cold and flu symptoms like headache, cough, and sore throat.

Drinking ginger tea or using ginger essential oils can help reduce fever. Be sure to choose high quality, organic ginger products.

Echinacea

Echinacea is a flowering herb long used by Native Americans to treat infections and fever. It appears to activate the immune system, fight bacteria and viruses, and reduce inflammation.

According to studies, echinacea can shorten the duration of the common cold by 1-4 days. It may also help relieve symptoms like sore throat, cough, and headache. Echinacea can be taken as a tea, supplement, or extract.

Peppermint

Peppermint contains menthol, which has natural fever-reducing effects. It helps lower core temperature by promoting sweating. Peppermint also has pain-relieving, antiviral, and antioxidant properties.

Drink peppermint tea or take peppermint essential oils internally to reduce fever. Avoid giving peppermint to infants under 1 year old.

Garlic

Garlic has powerful antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects that can help fight infection and lower fever. It contains allicin, a compound shown to inhibit viruses, bacteria, and fungi.

Consuming raw garlic may be an effective remedy for cold, flu, and respiratory infections accompanied by fever. You can also take garlic capsules or use garlic essential oil.

Catnip

Catnip has a long history of use treating colds and flu. Studies show its active ingredient, nepetalactone, has antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory effects. It may also induce sweating to cool fever.

Drink catnip tea or take capsules to reduce fever, especially in children. Use caution when giving catnip to infants. Avoid while pregnant or breastfeeding without medical approval.

German Chamomile

German chamomile contains chamazulene, a compound with antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antipyretic (fever-reducing) benefits. It may shorten cold duration and relieve symptoms like sore throat, cough, and headache.

Chamomile tea can be soothing and fever-reducing. It is safe for children over 1 year old. Those allergic to ragweed should avoid chamomile.

Lemon Balm

Lemon balm has traditionally been used to treat fever and viral infections. Research shows it has antiviral activity against cold and flu viruses. It also promotes sweating to help lower temperature.

Drink lemon balm tea or take extracts to potentially reduce fever duration. Lemon balm is considered safe for children over 2 years old. It may cause drowsiness.

Licorice Root

Licorice root has anti-inflammatory, soothing, and antipyretic effects. One of its components, glycyrrhizin, may inhibit virus replication. Licorice also enhances mucus production, which could ease chest congestion.

Short term use of licorice root or DGL tablets may help relieve viral infections, sore throat, and fever in adults. Avoid licorice if pregnant, have high blood pressure, or take digoxin.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains antioxidants called polyphenols that demonstrate antiviral, anti-inflammatory and fever-reducing activity. It may inhibit influenza viruses and help destroy bacteria.

Drinking cinnamon tea or taking capsules may help fight respiratory infections and lower fever. Cinnamon is considered safe even for children over 12 months old.

Other Natural Fever Reducers

In addition to herbs, several other natural remedies may help lower elevated body temperature:

  • Cool baths – Baths with lukewarm water can help lower core temperature, especially in children with high fever. Do not use cold bath water as this may cause shivering.
  • Cool compresses – Placing a cool, damp cloth on the forehead, wrists, armpits, and neck can effectively reduce fever. Re-wet compresses as needed.
  • Stay hydrated – Drinking adequate fluids like water and diluted juices helps cool the body temperature. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Dress lightly – Wear lightweight, loose, breathable clothing. Avoid bundling up, which can trap heat.
  • Rest – Resting helps the body direct energy towards fighting infection rather than other activities.
  • Sponge down – In infants or others who cannot bathe, sponge down with lukewarm water to gently reduce fever.

When to Seek Medical Care

While herbs and natural remedies can often safely treat mild fevers, it’s important to consult a doctor if:

  • Fever is over 104°F (40°C) in adults or over 102°F (38.9°C) in children
  • Fever lasts more than 3 days in adults or 2 days in children
  • Fever is accompanied by severe headache, rash, neck stiffness, disorientation, or difficulty breathing
  • You have a chronic medical condition or weakened immune system
  • You are pregnant
  • An infant under 3 months has a fever over 100.4°F (38°C)
  • Symptoms get worse or fever recurs after improving

Prolonged, very high fevers can have serious complications. Seek emergency medical care for fevers over 105°F (40.6°C) or any fever in infants under 2 months. Have a medical professional evaluate any concerning symptoms accompanying a fever.

Best Herbs and Plants to Treat Fever in Children

Fevers are especially common in infants and children. While they are generally not harmful, parents often want to help lower a high temperature safely and effectively. Here are some of the top herbs and remedies used to reduce fever in children:

Catnip

Mild, natural sedative that is gentle and safe for older infants and children. Catnip tea can help lower fever, soothe upset stomach, and promote rest.

Chamomile

A soothing, anti-inflammatory herb that makes a pleasant, mild tea to reduce fever and settle the stomach. Safe for children over 1 year old.

Lemon Balm

Has an excellent safety profile in children over 2 years old. May help lower temperature, fight infection, and speed recovery.

Elderberry

Elderberry syrup provides immune support with antiviral properties. It may shorten flu duration and reduce symptoms in children over 1 year old.

Peppermint

Has a cooling, decongestant effect to relieve fever. Use peppermint essential oils or extracts for children over 2 years old. Avoid giving infants peppermint.

Ginger

Ginger tea, with honey, provides warming relief for congestion while helping lower elevated temperature in children over 2 years old.

Hydrotherapy

Lukewarm baths, cool compresses, and sponge baths effectively reduce fever in children without medication. Helpful for all ages.

Thyme & Oregano

Mild teas made with fresh or dried thyme or oregano can fight infection and gently lower fever in children over 2 years. Have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Staying hydrated

Offering small amounts of water, juice, or ice pops frequently can prevent dehydration and gently cool the body. Important for children of all ages.

When using herbs and natural remedies for children, always follow age guidelines and recommended dosing. Seek medical advice to ensure proper fever management and treatment. Bringing fevers down gently helps children rest while their bodies fight infection.

Herbal Teas and Drinks to Reduce Fever

Warm and cool herbal teas can provide relief when you have a fever. Here are some beneficial teas to sip:

  • Ginger tea – Anti-inflammatory and great for sore throat. Use fresh grated ginger.
  • Peppermint tea – Cools the body by promoting sweating to lower temperature.
  • Chamomile tea – Soothes the stomach and has antipyretic effects. Avoid in ragweed allergy.
  • Echinacea tea – Stimulates the immune system to help fight infection. Good at onset of illness.
  • Catnip tea – Gentle fever reducer, especially suited for children over 1 year old.
  • Lemon balm tea – Has antiviral activity. May help break fever and ease headaches.
  • Licorice root tea – Has antiviral and fever-reducing effects. Do not use long term.
  • Hibiscus tea – Provides vitamin C. Can help lower fever and relieve congestion.
  • Cinnamon tea – Fights bacteria and viruses while lowering temperature. Use honey to sweeten.
  • Turmeric tea – Contains curcumin that reduces inflammation and provides antipyretic effects.

Herbal teas are most effective at fighting fevers when drinking 4-6 cups daily at onset of illness. Be sure to choose high-quality, organic tea ingredients.

Indian Herbs and Plants to Treat Fever

India has a rich tradition of using native herbs and medicinal plants to treat fever and associated illnesses. Some examples include:

Tulsi (Holy Basil) – This popular Ayurvedic herb fights infection, reduces inflammation, and lowers fever. All parts of the tulsi plant can be used. Brew leaves into a strong tea.

Giloy – Also called guduchi or Tinospora cordifolia, giloy stems have anti-inflammatory, antipyretic, and immune boosting properties. Take in powder or tincture form.

Neem – Neem bark and leaves are used in Ayurveda to treat fevers and malaria. They contain antimicrobial compounds that fight infection. Boil leaves and bark to make bitter tea.

Vasaka – Vasaka or Malabar nut leaves and flowers treat respiratory illness often accompanied by fever. They have expectorant benefits and reduce inflammation.

Chirayata – Chirayata, or Swertia chirata, is used to treat intermittent fevers like malaria. It clears toxins and heat from the body. Take as a powder or concentrated liquid extract.

Kalmegh – Also called green chiretta, kalmegh has anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antipyretic properties. It relieves fevers and flu symptoms when taken as a tea or extract.

Ashwagandha – Ashwagandha root strengthens the immune system and protects the body from infection when feverish. It reduces stress that can accompany illness. Take in capsules or as powder.

These traditional Indian herbs can provide natural relief for viral and bacterial infections that often cause fever. Always consult an Ayurvedic practitioner for proper dosage and administration guidance.

How Garlic can Help Treat Fever

Garlic is one of the most powerful natural antibiotics and has been used for centuries to fight infection and treat fever. Here are some key ways garlic can help:

  • Contains allicin, an antimicrobial compound that fights viruses, bacteria, and fungi to address the underlying infection causing fever. Also has antifungal and antiviral properties.
  • Provides anti-inflammatory effects to reduce inflammatory cytokines that promote fever and chills. Helps calm an overactive immune response.
  • Has antioxidant benefits that support the immune system and help destroy disease-causing free radicals.
  • Stimulates circulation and induces sweating which helps regulate body temperature to break fever.
  • Opens up clogged sinuses and acts as a decongestant. Helps treat illnesses like colds and flu that often cause fever.
  • Can be consumed raw, cooked, or as garlic oil or aged garlic extract to get maximum benefits. The allicin in raw garlic has highest potency.
  • Well tolerated, even in children. Can be given in small amounts mixed with food. Aged garlic extract may be most acceptable for kids.

Garlic is an excellent natural fever reducer that should be consumed at the first sign of infection or illness. Adults can take 2-3 cloves of raw garlic per day or 300-500mg garlic extract. Give children smaller amounts based on body weight. Discontinue once fever subsides.

Which Leaves are Useful in Treating Colds and Flu with Fever?

Along with herbs, certain leaves from plants and trees can also provide relief for respiratory infections and fevers:

  • Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus leaves contain antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory compounds. Inhaling the steam or using the oil can help relieve congestion and lower fever.
  • Mint – Peppermint and spearmint leaves reduce fever through sweating and have decongestant effects for cough and colds. Use leaves to make tea or essential oil.
  • Neem – Neem leaves fight viruses and infection while lowering inflammation and temperature in fever. Boil leaves to make tea or take extracts.
  • Holy basil – Also called tulsi, holy basil leaves have powerful infection-fighting properties. Effective at lowering mild fevers from viral colds and flu.
  • Banana – Banana leaves extracts have antipyretic effects. Traditionally used in Ayurveda to treat fever by placing leaves on forehead.
  • Moringa – Moringa leaves contain vitamins and antioxidants that strengthen the immune system and may help reduce fever duration and severity.
  • Papaya – Papaya leaves juice helps fight dengue fever according to some studies. May reduce severity of chills and muscle aches.

Drinking teas made with these beneficial leaves or using their extracts can support the body’s natural fever response and aid in recovery from associated respiratory illnesses. Be sure to purchase leaves from reputable suppliers.

Homemade Herbal Tea Recipes for Fever

Here are two recipes for homemade herbal teas to help fight fever:

Immune-Boosting Fever Reducer Tea

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp dried echinacea
  • 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tsp dried elderflowers
  • 1⁄2 tsp cinnamon chips
  • 1⁄2 tsp crushed garlic cloves
  • 1⁄2 tsp turmeric powder
  • Dash of cayenne pepper

Directions:

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add all herbs and spices.
  3. Allow to steep for 20 minutes, covered.
  4. Strain tea into mugs and sweeten with honey if desired.

Drink 2-3 cups daily when feverish. Provides antiviral, antibacterial, and fever-reducing benefits.

Soothing Fever Relief Tea for Children

Ingredients:

  • 2 tsp dried catnip
  • 1 tsp dried chamomile flowers
  • 1 tsp dried lemon balm
  • 1⁄2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1⁄2 tsp dried elderflowers
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 tsp local honey

Directions:

  1. Bring 4 cups of water to a gentle boil.
  2. Remove from heat and add all herbs except honey.
  3. Allow to steep for 15 minutes, covered.
  4. Strain and stir in honey.
  5. Let cool to lukewarm before giving to child.

Give kids 1⁄2 cup servings every 2-3 hours to gently relieve fever symptoms. Avoid giving to infants under 1 year old.

These herbal tea blends provide natural relief for viral and bacterial infections that often cause high fevers and chills. Their soothing, infection-fighting properties aid in recovery. Be sure to use organic, high-quality dried herbs.

When to Use Medicinal Plants and Herbs for Fevers

While herbal remedies can reduce mild fevers and support the body’s immune response, it’s important to use discretion and know when medical treatment is needed. Guidelines include:

  • Medicinal herbs and plants are most effective when used at the very first signs of infection before fever spikes – within 24 hours of symptom onset.
  • They can be used to gently reduce low grade fevers under 102°F to provide relief in children and adults. Offer mild teas and tinctures and use hydrotherapy techniques.
  • Seek medical advice if fevers reach over 104°F in adults, 102°F in children, or 100.4°F in infants under 3 months. Very high fevers can lead to seizures.
  • Look for signs the condition is worsening like dehydration, extreme fatigue, difficulty breathing, or confusion which warrant medical evaluation.
  • Seek emergency care for any fever over 105°F. Get immediate medical help for infants under 2 months with any unexplained fever.
  • Discontinue herbs and medicinal plants if symptoms persist more than 2 days in children and 3 days in adults without improvement. Consult a doctor.

While many natural remedies can reduce fever and fight infection, they should not replace medical care in severe cases or when fevers fail to respond. Work closely with your healthcare provider to ensure proper fever management.

Conclusion

Treating fever and chills with natural herbs and medicinal plants has a long history of traditional use worldwide. Many remedies like ginger, echinacea, catnip, peppermint, chamomile, lemon balm, licorice, garlic, and cinnamon have antiviral, antibacterial, and fever-reducing properties to fight infection and gently lower temperature.

Herbal teas, cool baths, hydrotherapy, and adequate rest can provide comfort and aid recovery. While these natural therapies can often safely manage mild fevers, it’s important to seek medical attention when fevers are very high, last more than a few days, or are accompanied by concerning symptoms. Integrating natural remedies with medical care when needed can help support immune function and restore health.