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Treating Mononucleosis with Herbs

| October 29, 2008
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Herbal Allies for Prevention of Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

I heartily recommend Astragulus root for preventing EBV infection. Astragulus is a powerful anti-viral that does particularly well up against a vast host of viruses. Astragulus tincture is the most effective form of this herb.

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Echinacea root is easily available in many forms to boost the immune system. Teas, tinctures, capsules and glycerites are just a few.

Lemon Balm leaf is an antiviral herb specifically suited to deal with the family of viruses known as Herpesviridae of which EBV is a member. Lemon Balm herb is not only effective but its lemony taste makes it one of the easiest herbal medicines to take in teas, tinctures or glycerites.

List of Herbal Allies for Prevention of Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

Nutrition for Prevention of Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

Keep your immune system healthy during an outbreak of EBV by concentrating on your diet. Organic, fresh fruits and vegetables do wonders for the immune system. Do not share eating utensils or community food (like salsa or hummus for dipping with a crowd) that may have contamination from unwitting EBV carriers.

Stay properly hydrated. Stay away from dehydrating foods like potato chips or coffee.

Wash your hands often.

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Astragulus Root Sliced and in Tea Cut and Sift Form

Herbal Allies for Treatment of Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

Taking Astragulus for treatment of mono as a tea or as a tincture is your best bet for quick recovery. It’s sometimes offered in capsule form but the freshness can be an issue. Check the expiration date. It also difficult to reasonably expect a person with a sore throat to take a capsule. Stick with liquids if you can.

For the sore throat, drink Ginger tea. The absolute best throat soothing remedy is grated ginger and turmeric roots in a pot of water, covered and boiled for a minute or two. Let the liquid sit until it is cool enough to drink then strain it and serve it up. If the patient is up to it, let her breath the steam in as is cooling through her mouth and out her nose. If your  patient craves ginger ale, it’s the ginger not the sweet part she or he wants. Some ginger ales that are healthier than others. Look for ones made from organics, preferably sweetened with cane sugar or honey rather than corn sugar.

List of Herbal Allies for Treatment of Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

  • Astragulus
  • Ginger
  • Turmeric

Nutrition for Treatment of Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

Protein rich foods like chicken broth with garlic will help the body develop more antibodies. Sugar foods should be off the list since they depress the immune system.

Whole foods offer natural sources of multi-vitamins. Even soft foods like bananas, yogurt, smoothies and applesauce do wonders to help lead the patient back to health. For supplements, focus on vitamins A, B, C, D, and E.

Drink eight 8 oz. glasses, or 64 fluid ounces, of water daily

During recovery, the risk of injury to the spleen is high. Do not strain while having a bowel movement. That advice goes for recovery from any condition that enlarges the spleen as well.

Herbal Allies for Recovery from Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

ORgraperoot Goldenseal root and Oregon Grape root are very important tinctures to take during recovery from mono since secondary bacterial infections, such as ear infections, may occur. Glycerite versions of these herbs are available but should be reserved for the very stubborn patients since bacteria also feeds on the sugar in glycerites. Teas of Goldenseal and Oregon grape root generally taste terrible, and I personally don’t even try to give them to children unless the taste is heavily disguised with other herbs. Consider harvesting Oregon Grape berries for healthy jams and jellies or juice the berries and add this to homemade drinks. Remember that the flowers of Oregon Grape are edible too.

One side effect of mono is a swollen liver. Dandelion root, greens or whole plant (without the flower and stem) and/or Milk Thistle does wonders for reducing stress on the liver. Try adding chopped dandelion greens to your patient’s broth before straining and serving it. Warm vegetable broth feels comforting to patients recovering from mono and is a great way to get much needed nutrition that is easy for the body to digest. If you make your own broth from scratch, you can reduce the amount of salt that is normally available in store bought broths to a healthier level without losing the flavor.

List of Herbal Allies for Recovery from Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

Nutrition for Recovery from Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

Recovery from this disease can be fairly slow. Maintain a diet that is at least 1/2 whole foods, get plenty of rest and reintroduce outdoor exercise slowly but steadily. Remember to keep protein consistently accessible in the diet.

Medicine to Avoid

Do not give children or young adults aspirin when suffering from mono. This can open the door to Reyes syndrome.

Further Resources on Mononucleosis/EBV Infection

The American Academy of Family Phycisians offers a free site that gives information and advice on treating a wide variety of illness.

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Category: Medical Conditions

About the Author ()

Sue Sierralupe is a Certified Master Herbalist, Master Gardener and Sustainable Landscape Specialist. She is the clinic manager and lead herbalist at Occupy Medical clinic. Sue is author of The Pocket Herbal: Medicinal Plants that Changed the World and co-author of The Practical Herbalist Herbal Folios series. Follow her blog at http://www.herbalistmanifesto.com/herbs/ for commentary on herbs, parenting, nutrition and a whole lot more.

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