Herbal Remedies for Fevers

Written by: Katarina Subotich

Fever is a beneficial immune response. The body temperature is considered normal when it is bellow 37C or 99.9F. Everything higher than this values is considered fever.

So, why do we get fevers?

When there is a viral infection in the body, the hypothalamus recognizes that information and sends a negative feedback that the body needs to increase temperature and that way create inhospitable conditions for life of the virus. So this is response of the body that is aimed to getting rid of infection. Therefore, stopping the fever is hurting your immune system. 

Fevers that last 3-4 days, with changing temperatures, are normal response. However, red flag arises if the fever lasts longer than 4 days, the person stops taking the fluids or becomes unresponsive. People that have heart conditions should be monitored during the fever.

General suggestions for fevers are: hydration, keeping the feet warm and head cool, not forcing eating. 

Fevers don’t need to be treated. However, we can use the herbs to bring comfort and support fever process. And sweating it out is always your safe bet.

In Chinese medicine, there are two types of fever: wind hot and wind cold.

Symptoms of wind hot fevers are: heat, red tongue, fast pulse, red throat. In this type of fever we use relaxant diaphoretics, meaning the herbs that will open the periphery and let the heat out by diluting the capillaries. Herbs for this purpose are: elderflowers, linden, boneset (used when fever is followed by strong aches and pains, used for dengue), yarrow, lemon balm, chamomile, goldenrod, willow, medowsweet,

Symptoms of wind cold fevers are: coldness, slow pulse, itchy throat, white tongue.

In case of this type of fever we are going to use stimulating diaphoretics: those herbs worm up the body from the core towards the periphery and they make us sweat. Those herbs are: ginger, cayenne, bee balm,yarrow.


Electrolyte Blend 

Hydration is very important not only in the cases of fevers, but in diarrhea, excessive sweating and vomiting. This is simple electrolyte blend recipe made by Aviva Romm, MD.

1/2 liter of water 

1/2 teaspoon salt 

1/2 teaspoon baking soda 

2 to 3 tablespoons honey or sugar 

Juice of half a lemon 

Mix all the ingredients together (you may need to heat the mixture slightly to get everything to blend well). Sip often. 


Fever Tea

1/4 cup dried elderflowers 

1/4 cup dried yarrow leaves and flowers 

1/8 cup dried rose hips 

Pinch of a dried mint 

Just-boiled water 

Place the herbs in a liter jar. Fill the jar with just-boiled water and let steep for 30 minutes. Strain.
Sip while warm. 


Boneset Tea

In case fever is accompanied by pains and aches in your body, boneset is your herb of choice. It is very bitter herb, so sip it during the day. I once used only boneset tincture and it did’t do much on its own, but adding it to boneset tea, made a big difference. It helps to sweat out things much faster.

10 grams boneset leaf 

5 grams lemongrass 

1 pint just-boiled water

Steep the boneset and lemongrass (if using) in the water for 20 minutes. Strain. Drink in small, frequent sips.