Monday, June 25, 2012


Herbal medicines work with the body's intrinsic healing mechanisms and one of them is sweating (diaphoresis) which cools the body and helps to remove metabolic wastes. Plants that promote sweating  (diaphoretics) are an important part of the herbal treatment of fevers and infection.

Lemon balm
Like other aromatic mints, lemon balm (Melissa officinalis) is a mild and sweet-tasting diaphoretic especially good in tea formulas for colds and flu (see Fresh Plant Medicines). It also has antiviral properties as well as being soothing for a sore throat, calming for an upset stomach, and sleep promoting - just what the doctor ordered for a child with a fever.

Yarrow in early summer

Yarrow (Achillea millefolium) is a stronger diaphoretic and anti-microbial with added diuretic properties. A tea or tincture of the dried flowers is especially helpful for fever with elevated blood pressure, cystitis (bladder infection), or gastrointestinal bleeding. Boneset aerial parts (Eupatorium perfoliatum) are an alternative to yarrow but with a propensity for helping fevers with musculoskeletal aches and pains.

Gravel root (joe pye weed)

Stronger still is a diaphoretic tincture made from the root of joe pye weed (Eupatorium purpureum, E.fistulosum). It's also known as gravel root since it grows in rocky stream beds and is especially good at treating kidney infections and preventing stones. Substitute pleurisy root (Asclepias tuberosa) when the fever is related to lung infections with stabbing pain upon inhalation.

Pleurisy root (butterfly weed)

DOCTOR'S NOTE: Pleurisy root should not be used when taking digitalis containing heart medicines which can more easily become toxic.

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