BACK TO ASK THE HERBALIST
QUESTION: I was just diagnosed with mononucleosis. are there any herbs that would help with this? if not, what herbs should
I take to boost my immune system and hopefully lessen the time it takes to fight off the virus?
ANSWER: Note: the caution with Mono is enlarged spleen, your spleen is easier to rupture now and you should wait several weeks after full recovery to engage in any sports or physical activities.
Mono is a virus which effects the body in the Liver, Spleen and Lymph systems just to name a few areas.
I would incorporate, antiviral, antihepatotoxins, alterative and immune/lymph stimulative herbs in a formula.
Eat lots of Garlic, smell like garlic, get it in the diet daily or as a second choice as pills, deoderized not as effective.
I would rotate antivirals herbs so that the virus does not get resistant to them, you can get them in your diet: such as Lemon Balm, Elderberry, Sage, Thyme, Basil, Licorice, Cinnamon, Fresh Ginger, Horehound, Hyssop, Chrysanthemum flowers, Mullen Flowers. Add them to dishes for meals or make teas.
Additionally Saint Johnswort is antiviral
Traditionally the following herbs have been used to increase immune response, help the liver and increase elimination via the lymph, liver and large intestines.
Milk Thistle, Latin Named Silybum marianum - Great choice for Mono, Good for liver damage and recovery from chemical, alcohol or viral damage. Use for enlarged spleen caused by mono or other problems, best used with red root.
Red Root, NJ Tea, Latin Named: Ceanothus americanus - This is a very profound Lymphatic agent, helping to drain lymph system. Good for viral and bacterial conditions, mumps, mono, CMV, rocky Mtn fever, cat scratch fevers. Reduces enlarged spleen especially when due to mono or fever. Reduces enlarged liver and helps to improve circulation to liver.
Echinacea, Purple Coneflower, Snake root Latin Named: Echinacea angustifolia, E. purpurea, E. pallida and E. tennessiensis - Each works a little differently but all potentiate the immune response to pathogens, good for bacterial and viral conditions including colds, flus, mono, bronchitis, pnuemonia and strep throat to name a few.
Burdock Root, Latin Name: Arctium lappa or A. minor - Used for mono/Epstein Barr Virus, helps to tonify the liver
Red Clover, Latin Named: Trifolium pratense - Good to increase lymph congestion and systemic viral attack such as mono and chronic fatigue. It is rich in flavonoids and very nutritive because of its high mineral content.
Cleavers, Goose grass, Clivers, Clives, Latin Name: Galium Aparine - stimulates lymph flow good for children/adolescents who have mono or swollen glands from flu or cold.
Yellow Dock, Curly Dock, Latin Name: Rumex crispus - Increases the liver's ability to absorb iron which helps to build blood, Mild Liver herb, stimulates activity, mild laxative, bitter tonic, cholagogue (i.e. increases bile secretion lowering chance of Jaundice associated with Mono). Used in many Alterative formulas, increases elimination via the bowel and liver.
Picrorrhiza, Latin Named: Picrorrhiza kurroa - this herb helps to suppress the virus and speed recovery. It reduces enlarged liver and spleen especially enlarged spleen associated with mono.
Barberry, Oregon Grape Root Latin Name: Berberis vulgaris, Mahonia aquafolium - good antiviral, useful for liver problems - liver insufficiency. It is a bitter and Alterative herb. It increases bodies ability to eliminate waste without putting a large drain on the body.
In general the Alterative activity is very important and not found outside herbalism.
Lomatium, Bear Root, Biscuit Root, Latin Named: Lomatium disectum - Good for acute or chronic viral or bacterial disease such as Mono, CMV, HIV, EBV, Herpes, Shingles, etc
The Chinese herbs
Dang Shen, Codonopsis, Asian Bellflower, Latin Named: Codonopsis tangshen, C. pilosula - Strengthens immune systems brings it back to normal to fight disease such as Mono, Pneumonia and repeated colds and flues Increase both white and red blood cells.
The following is a download off the Onhealth website.
Mononucleosis, often referred to as "mono," is a very common viral illness. About 90 percent of people over age 35 have antibodies to mono in their blood, which means that they have been infected with it, probably during early childhood. When mono strikes young children, the illness is usually so mild that it passes as a common or the flu. When it occurs during adolescence or adulthood, however, the disease can be much more serious.
Mono comes on gradually. It begins with flu-like symptoms -- fever, headache and a general malaise and lethargy. After a few days, the lymph glands -- especially those in the neck, armpits and groin -- begin to swell, although this symptom is not noticeable in everyone. Swollen glands in the back of the neck are especially typical of mono. Most people develop a sore throat, which can be very severe, with inflamed tonsils. A fever -- usually no higher than 104° F can also develop and may last up to three weeks. About 10 percent of people with mono develop a generalized red rash all over the body. Some people may notice red spots or darkened areas in the mouth, especially on the palate, that resemble bruises. In about half of all cases, the spleen may also enlarge, causing an area in the upper left abdomen to become tender to the touch.
In 95 percent of cases, the illness affects the liver. However, only about 5 percent of individuals with mono develop jaundice, a yellowing of the skin and eyes caused by an increase of bile pigment in the blood. In rare cases of mono, the liver fails. Other major complications that can develop from mono include rupturing of the spleen, low platelet count, meningitis and encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain; but these, too, are extremely rare.
Most people who come down with mono feel much better within two or three weeks, although fatigue may last for two months or longer. Sometimes the disease lingers for a year or so, causing recurrent, but successively milder, attacks. In the past, some research suggested that the virus causing mono might be linked to a persistent and debilitating form of the illness known as chronic fatigue syndrome, which can last for years. Most recent research has shown no such link, however, and the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome remains unknown.
The early symptoms of mononucleosis resemble those of the flu, including: Severe fatigue, Headache, Sore throat, Chills, followed by a fever, Muscle aches. After a day or two, the following additional symptoms may occur: Swollen lymph nodes, especially in the neck, armpits or groin, Jaundice (a yellow tinge to the skin and eyes), measles like skin rash anywhere on the face or body; sometimes the rash develops suddenly after taking amoxicillin for a severe sore throat, Tiny red spots or bruise-like areas inside the mouth, especially on the roof of the mouth (palate). Soreness in the upper left abdomen (from an enlarged spleen).
Mono is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, named after the two British researchers who first identified it in 1964, although the disease itself had been recognized many years earlier. A common member of the herpes family of viruses, Epstein-Barr is spread primarily through the exchange of saliva, which is why mono is sometimes known as the "kissing disease." However, coughing or other contact with infected saliva can also pass it from one person to another.
The mono virus can stay active in a person weeks or months after all overt symptoms are gone, so close contact with someone who shows no sign of the disease can still put a person at risk. On the other hand, not everyone who lives in proximity to an individual infected with mono comes down with the illness. Scientists believe that a healthy immune system may make it possible to fight off the infection successfully.
Mononucleosis is usually a self-limiting illness. Most people recover on their own without any treatment within two weeks. Thus, the primary prescription for mono by both conventional and alternative practitioners is complete bed rest with a gradual return to normal activity. Because the spleen is often enlarged and, as a result, at a greater risk of rupture, contact sports, such as football and soccer, should be avoided for at least several weeks.
In addition to bed rest, your doctor may prescribe aspirin or acetaminophen for the fever, sore throat and other discomforts of the illness. Because of possible liver involvement, check with your doctor about using acetaminophen. Similarly, if you have a rash, consult your doctor about aspirin use. If your sore throat is so severe that you have trouble breathing or eating, your doctor may give you prednisone, a steroid drug.
CAUTION! To protect your spleen from rupturing, do not participate in any strenuous exercise until you have fully recovered.
CAUTION! Reye's syndrome is a rare, life-threatening disorder that occurs primarily in children who are recovering from a viral illness, particularly the flu or chickenpox. A child is at much greater risk for Reye's syndrome if the child takes aspirin or another medicine that contains salicylate while he or she has a viral illness. This applies especially to anyone under age 19 who has a viral illness or fever.
QUESTION: I have a young athlete with mononucleosis, otherwise known here as Glandular
Fever, Kissing Disease, Epstein Barr. Do you have any herbal remedies for this? Or, sources I can go to, to find a
solution to reducing the prognosis, speeding up recovery?
ANSWER: Note: the caution with Mono is enlarged spleen is easier to rupture in
sports, wait several weeks after full recovery to engage in these
activities. (See above answer for detailed answer).