Do we know why we have fever? Most of us do no not. We simply feel sick and our temperature is up that is when we know we have fever.
Fever is a rise in temperature as a result of an infection in the body. The rise in temperature is a mechanism that the body adapts to fight infection by making it uncomfortable for the organism in the body.
Fevers are symptom of the body getting sick as they indicate a struggle that is going on in the body between your immune system and a foreign organism.
The rise in temperature can also be as a result of the accumulation of toxins in the body. They can be as a result of being sick from the common cold (e.g cough, sore throat, and catarrh), parasitic infections (e.g malaria), Bacterial and Viral infections (e.g diarrhea), vaccinations and immunizations, some medications, etc.
Checking the patients temperature is usually the first step in identifying fevers. To check for one’s temperature, it is best done with a thermometer but I can imagine most of us in Nigeria do not have such tools.
To check manually by touch, touch the sick patient and touch yourself or other people around you. This will allow you to gauge if their temperature is indeed higher than the average body temperature.
We all have different body temperatures where some feel warmer to the touch than others. Body temperatures are known to vary at different times of the day from morning till night and with different activities.
Symptoms of fever
An increase in temperature is not enough evidence for fever. For it to classified as fever, it has to be accompanied by:
- Feeling cold, chills or shivering
- Loss of appetite
- Body ache/muscle ache etc.
How to care for fevers
During times like this, it is important that the body is supported in its struggle to defend itself with the following practices:
- Getting adequate sleep and rest so that the body is not distracted by other activities.
- Staying hydrated as water is needed for most function in the body
- Keeping warm
- Eating well
- Taking supplements that support the body’s immunity such as black seed powder
- Take a steam bath or a very hot bath to cool down your body temperature.
Very high body temperatures can be dangerous for our health especially when they are accompanied by unusual symptoms such as shortness of breath, muscle stiffness and pain, skin rash, mental confusion, unexplained bleeding etc. This is when you need to visit the doctor ASAP for a proper checkup perhaps your fever is a symptom of a serious health condition that needs medical intervention.
Herbs and remedies for fever
There are some simple home remedies that are within our reach at home both in Nigeria and beyond that we can use to bring down our temperature such as:
Garlic is here again. Yes, it is also good in breaking one’s fever when the body’s temperature gets too high. Garlic is known for its strong properties and potency in treating numerous infections and the like.
How to use:
- Pick about 5-7 pieces of garlic not the whole garlic bulb
- Pound, grate or blend them without adding water or any other additive
- Get adequate mild oil e.g. coconut oil, grape seed oil, olive oil, or pure raw butter e.g. Shea butter, mango butter, and mix it with blended garlic. The amount of oil or butter should just be enough to be applied all over the body.
- Apply the garlic-oil/butter mixture all over the body
- Can be used for both adults and toddlers.
* Remember not to apply garlic directly to the skin without adding another oil or body butter because is very strong and it can burn the human skin. I still remember my experience of this.
Neem is found all over Nigeria, West Africa, India, and so on. It is well researched for its effect on fevers. Many studies have shown how Neem enhances the body’s immune response during an infection. you can search for them on the internet.
How to use:
For oral application
- Wash a handful (two hands put together) the fresh leaves of the Neem plant
- If you only have fresh or dried powder, it should work also. Use 2 tablespoons of the powder and a single handful (single hand) of the dried leaves
- Boil them with adequate clean water of about 2-3 liters
- Strain, divide it for seven days, and drink a cup morning and evening for seven days
- Be careful not to overdo it because the plant is very powerful and it can cause harm
For external application
To break one’s fever:
- Make a poultice of the herb adequate for rubbing all over the body.
- Or pound, blend the neem leaves with as little water as possible
- Rub all over the skin of the feverish person
- It cools down the body’s temperature
For steam bath
- Boil a handful of the leaves in a pot or kettle
- Find a comfortable sitting area
- Sit and pour the boiled leaves into a container or bring the pot to the sitting area
- Open the lid and place the towel or blanket over your head and body
- Maintain your posture and position of your face over the hot neem water until it cools down by itself
- Steam baths are not the most comfortable but they can be very helpful in bringing down body temperatures
Salvadora persica herb
English name: Toothbrush tree
Scientific name: Salvadora persica
Hausa local name: Tazargade
some of you in Nigeria might recognise this name tazargade. it is one of the most popular antimalarial herbs used in Nigerian traditional medicine. it is a similar plant to the popular artemisia annua that is the main component of the anti-malarial artemisinine drug sold in the pharmacies.
How to use:
- Boil a teaspoon of the leaf powder
- Boil about 3 pcs of the leaves if using fresh leaves.
- Take twice a day after meals making it 2 teaspoons a day
- Take this for about 5 days
Thesium viride herb
Scientific name: Thesium viride
Hausa local name: Huntu
This herb mostly grows in the mountainous areas away from the city. It is sold in the local herbal market in nigeria in a bundle form as the herb has no leaves and grows as long stalks.
It is well used for not just fever but also other illnesses like kidney problems. You can try searching for more information on it on the internet if you are interested.
How to use:
- Boil a tablespoon of the powder
- If using the herb itself, take a pinch between your thumb and two fore fingers and boil it for one usage
- Take twice a day for 5 days
Coffee senna herb
English name: Coffee senna, septic weed , negro coffee, stink weed, mogdad
Scientific name: Cassia occidentalis
Hausa local name: Rai dore
This is a very common herb that grows as a weed all over Nigeria and West Africa and I am sure you have passed by it before. Rai-dore in Hausa means something that always has life as the plant is found in all seasons of the country.
How to use:
- Boil the leaves (a handful) of the herb
- Strain the water and use it for the day
- Take it twice a day morning and evening
- Use this herb for a week twice a day every day (morning and evening)
Herbal anti-fever tea
This tea is a well known remedy for fever in nigeria. It is commonly used in the rural areas and local settlements. You can probably find a copy of ot lying around in other blogs.
It is an effective anti-fever tea that treats this illness within a few days. So do try it and let me know. It is safe and can be easily sourced from your the neighbourhood. you don’t even need to visit the local herbal market.
- Boil the leaves of Guava (10 leave pieces), pawpaw (1 medium-sized leaf), mango (10 pieces of leaves), and lemon (10 pieces of leaves) plants with about 7-9 liters of water.
- Take this tea in the morning and evening
- Take this for 3 days consecutively.
When one has a persistent fever, it is important that the cause of the infection is understood or the underlying condition is identified. When it is just normal fever, they can easily be treated with home remedies in most cases.
Remember that neem is a very strong medicine so be careful of using too much of it or using it carelessly. Refrigerate the remaining teas/medicines that are to be used for the coming days.
You can choose to reheat them if they get cold or take them out of the fridge ahead of the time to take the medicine so that it will warm up to room temperature by the time it is time to take the medicine. You can also decide to only boil the amount you need for the day only. it is all up to you.
For us in Nigeria and West Africa, a fever that lasts for more than 3 days is probably as a result of malaria or typhoid infection. It is good that you get tested for either of the health conditions or begin taking a preventive medicine because we know that we easily contract malaria and typhoid in our country.
Before you reach for the drug cabinet, try out one of these remedies because these pharmaceutical drugs can be harsh on our vital organs such as the liver and kidneys.
Some studies even show that it can be counter-productive to start taking pharmaceutical drugs at the onset of a fever because it can hinder the immune system properly responding to the organism or threat. I would suggest that a mild to moderate fever should be allowed to run its course as it will naturally go away faster without inference.
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