Amidst the joys that summer brings, this is also a time when our bodies become more susceptible to certain health issues.
Such as fevers.
The heat, changes in our routines, poor dietary habits, and the potential exposure to a variety of summer bugs, can all put strain on our immune system, leaving us more vulnerable.
In this blog, we’ll delve into understanding and treating an increased body temperature, from an Ayurvedic perspective, and explore natural remedies to reduce fever to restore our health during these sunny days.
First, it’s important to put fever in perspective.
Fever, as understood in the realm of Western medicine, is our body’s natural response to a variety of illnesses and infections. It’s an elevated body temperature, generally above 100.4°F (38°C), that serves as a protective mechanism. By raising the body’s internal temperature, our immune system seeks to create a less hospitable environment for invading pathogens, thereby aiding in their eradication.
Ayurveda perceives fever, or ‘Jwara’, as a fundamental imbalance in the body’s innate energies, or doshas. This holistic perspective regards fever not merely as a symptom but as an ailment itself, resulting from an aggravated state of one or more doshas.
Besides some effective Ayurvedic Remedies to Reduce Fever, it is also key to treat it with proper diet, herbs, and a calm state of mind.
Ayurvedic view on fever
At the core of the Ayurvedic philosophy lies the concept of ‘doshas’ or the three vital energies, namely Vata, Pitta, and Kapha, which govern our physiological activities.
According to Ayurveda, health is a state of equilibrium among these three doshas, and illness emerges from any imbalance within or among them.
To understand the role of each dosha in the context of fever, let’s explore their characteristics and influences:
- Vata dosha (Space and Air): When out of balance, Vata can cause chills, body aches, restlessness, and anxiety during a fever. The fever may come and go and there might be significant fluctuation in body temperature.
- Pitta dosha (Fire and Water): An aggravated Pitta dosha can result in a high fever, often accompanied by excessive thirst, sweating, and a feeling of heat in the body. The fever may be persistent and intense due to Pitta’s fiery nature.
- Kapha dosha (Water and Earth): When Kapha dosha is out of balance, the fever usually comes on slowly and stays consistent. Symptoms may include lethargy, congestion, a feeling of heaviness, and a loss of appetite.
Although fever is typically the result of a Pitta aggravation, a dual-dosha or tridoshic imbalances can also provoke it.
Ayurvedic lifestyle adjustments
Lifestyle adjustments play a crucial role in managing fever from an Ayurvedic perspective.
These not only help in reducing the fever but also support the body’s healing process.
Ayurveda recommends light, easily digestible foods during fever to avoid overburdening the digestive system.
A simple meal of rice gruel or Kitchari (a traditional dish made with rice and mung beans) can be healing. Moreover, including spices like turmeric, ginger, and black pepper in your diet can be beneficial due to their anti-inflammatory and immunity-boosting properties.
In general, I would recommend adhering to an anti-Pitta diet as well as avoiding heavy, oily, or spicy foods, ghee, yogurt, and curd.
Keeping yourself hydrated is essential when you have a fever. Water helps in flushing out toxins from the body, which is a key aspect of managing fever according to Ayurveda.
Drinking warm herbal teas, like those made from tulsi or ginger, or sipping hot water can also be harmonizing.
Further, avoid cold drinks as they can disrupt the digestive fire (‘agni’) and worsen the fever.
Rest and sleep
Adequate rest is crucial when dealing with fever.
It allows your body to channel its energy towards healing and restoring balance. Moreover, quality sleep supports immune function, which is critical in fighting off the underlying cause of the fever.
Avoid sex and strenuous activity and getting angry.
The role of Ayurvedic herbs in fever reduction:
A holistic management of fever requires the utilization of Ayurvedic herbs.
Herbs can help rebalance the doshas, boost immunity, and support overall wellbeing.
Here are a few notable examples:
- Tulsi (Holy Basil): Known as the ‘queen of herbs’ in Ayurveda, Tulsi can pacify Kapha and Vata doshas, and it has potent antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties that can help fight the pathogens causing the fever. The most common form to take it is as a tea.
- Neem: Neem is another powerful Ayurvedic herb to reduce fever. It has antimicrobial properties and can cool down the body, reducing the excess heat. You can boil the neem leaves and then take the tea.
- Giloy (Tinospora Cordifolia): Often referred to as ‘Amrita’ or the root of immortality in Ayurveda, giloy is known for its immune-boosting properties. Drinking giloy juice or tea helps balance all three doshas and reduces fever by strengthening the body’s defense mechanisms.
- Turmeric: A common ingredient in many households, turmeric contains curcumin, a compound with strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It’s also an excellent immunity booster. Simply add turmeric to warm plant-based milk or water.
Remedies to reduce fever
In Ayurveda, healing emphasizes restoring harmony among the doshas and enhancing the body’s innate capacity to resist and recover from illness. Many Ayurvedic remedies for fever involve natural substances that pacify aggravated doshas and stimulate the body’s self-healing mechanisms.
Some of these remedies are:
Cilantro tea: This is a wonderful herb for high Pitta as it is sweet, astringent, and cooling in energy, with a sweet post-digestive effect. It is an exceptional febrifuge that works really well in the case of high fevers. Cilantro is also effective for sore throats, hyper-acidity, skin allergies, and urinary tract infections, all Pitta disorders.
Tulsi (Holy Basil) Tea: Tulsi is a powerful immunomodulator that helps in reducing fever. Prepare a tea by boiling 10-15 tulsi leaves in 500 ml of water until the volume reduces to half. Drink this concoction every few hours. This remedy is particularly effective against fevers when the dominant imbalance is due to excess Pitta or Kapha, as tulsi exhibits potent anti-inflammatory and decongestant properties.
Golden milk: Turmeric contains curcumin, an active compound known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. To prepare this remedy, add 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric powder to a glass of warm almond milk and drink it at night. This helps in alleviating fevers associated with Vata and Kapha imbalances, as it warms the body and promotes detoxification.
Coriander Tea: Coriander seeds have cooling and digestive properties, making them effective for fevers caused by Pitta imbalances. Boil 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds in a cup of water until it reduces to half. Strain and drink this warm, once or twice a day.
Spiced tea: This tea is diuretic, and a great blood cleanser and purifier. Coriander is powerful for skin rashes, herpes, swollen glands, and high fever; while cinnamon is a diuretic that helps relieve the signs of fever.
Prevention is better than cure
Ayurveda offers a unique and comprehensive approach to managing fever.
It does not merely view fever as a disease but as a symptom of an imbalance in the body’s innate energies or doshas. Through dietary adjustments, lifestyle practices, herbal remedies, and mindful awareness, Ayurveda can support you in restoring balance, enhancing your body’s natural healing mechanisms.
These remedies, in particular, will help you decrease the high body temperature and burning sensation that are often present in Pitta conditions.
In what ways can you incorporate the Ayurvedic understanding of fever into your personal or family wellness practices?
Are there any specific remedies or lifestyle adjustments that resonated with you?
Remember, achieving optimal health is a journey.
It requires patience, experimentation, and a willingness to listen to your body’s unique needs.