Dengue fever is one of the worst viral infections that affects millions of people each year. While its mortality rate is relatively low, between 50 million and 500 million people are affected each year by the dengue virus, which is transmitted via mosquitoes. This tropical disease used to be somewhat limited in its reach, but since the middle of the 20th century, it has become endemic in more than 100 countries. While there are no medical treatments available to cure dengue, there are some effective remedies that relieve symptoms of dengue fever. These include the use of barley grass, goldenseal, neem leaves, papaya, orange juice, coriander, basil leaves, water, fenugreek, and pomegranate juice.
There are several types of mosquitoes that can transmit the disease, of which there are five varieties. If you survive one type of dengue fever, then you typically have lifelong immunity to that variety, but if you then contract a second type later in life, it usually results in much more serious complications.
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Symptoms of Dengue Fever
The symptoms of dengue fever, also known as “breakbone fever”, are typically a sudden onset fever, body aches, headaches, muscle pain, and a skin rash that closely resembles measles. While 80% of contracted cases are asymptomatic or imperceptibly mild, approximately 5% of cases show serious symptoms, while less than 1% of cases prove to be fatal. Dengue hemorrhagic fever and dengue shock are the two more serious forms that dengue fever can take, the former resulting in bleeding and severe platelet decline, whereas the latter results in a dangerous plunge in blood pressure. While there is no vaccination or cure for the dengue virus, treatment of secondary conditions is common, and in most cases, patients can survive. However, due to the lack of a formalized cure, many herbal and home remedies have been developed, the most popular and effective of which are explained in greater detail below.
Home Remedies for Dengue Fever
The most effective form of “treatment” is actually prevention, but fending off annoying mosquitoes can be very difficult. Some of the most effective preventative strategies are avoiding or eliminating standing, stagnant water, as that is where mosquitoes reproduce. Also, if you are in a heavily wooded or tropical area, apply mosquito repellent to any exposed skin and your clothes. If possible, keep exposed skin to a minimum and ensure that wherever you sleep is fully enclosed, including tears in any mosquito netting that you may put in place to protect yourself.
However, in case you are infected by the dengue virus, follow some of these home remedies below for a quick recovery and an alleviation of your symptoms.
Barley grass has the unique ability to significantly increase the body’s blood platelet count by stimulating the production of more blood cells. You can drink barley tea or eat barley grass directly and see a rapid increase in platelet count, which is one of the more serious side effects of dengue fever that can prolong weakness and increase the susceptibility of the body to dengue hemorrhagic fever and more serious complications.
Although many herbal or natural remedies aren’t directly approved or proven through research, homeopathic physicians have praised goldenseal for its ability to clear up the symptoms of dengue fever very quickly and eliminate the virus from the body. Goldenseal not only helps to ease fevers, chills, headaches, nausea, and vomiting, but its natural antiviral capacity can essentially cure dengue fever in a matter of days.
This may seem like common sense, but due to the excessive sweating, bodily exertion, and the internal toll that dengue fever takes on the body, extreme dehydration is common. Drink as much water as possible to keep the body hydrated, which will also help to ease symptoms like headaches and muscle cramps, both of which are exacerbated by dehydration. Furthermore, water will help to flush the body and eliminate excess toxins that can complicate the viral impact of the pathogen.
Neem leaves are commonly prescribed for a variety of ailments, and dengue fever is no exception. Steeping neem leaves and then drinking the subsequent brew has been shown to increase both blood platelet count and white blood cell count, two of the most dangerous side effects of the virus. Properly brewed neem leaves can improve the immune system and return your strength much faster than many other home remedies.
Although the exact pathway is unclear, papaya leaves are widely known as being a natural cure for dengue fever. The complex mix of nutrients and organic compounds in papayas can cause a rise in your platelet count, the high levels of vitamin C help stimulate the immune system, and the antioxidants help to reduce oxidative stress and eliminate excess toxins in the blood. The leaves can be crushed and then strained with a cloth to drink the pure juice.
The rich mixture of antioxidants and vitamins found in orange juice make it ideal for treating the secondary symptoms of dengue fever and eliminating the virus. Orange juice helps to promote antibodies of the immune system, increase urination and the release of toxins, and stimulates cellular repair due to vitamin C’s crucial role in the creation of collagen.
Fenugreek leaves are known to reduce fever and act as a slight sedative to ease pain and promote more restful sleep for patients. This is a popular home remedy for dengue fever symptoms in numerous places around the world.
Chewing on basil leaves may not sound particularly appetizing, but this is known to be an important immune-boosting technique, and has long been recommended in Ayurvedic medicine for the treatment of dengue fever. Basil essential oil also has natural insecticidal properties that will make you less attractive mosquitoes, making basil a treatment and a preventative strategy!
A Final Word of Warning: Although most cases of dengue fever are not fatal, the fever can progress rapidly to more serious stages if the initial symptoms are not treated and preventative measures are not taken. If at all possible, seek professional medical attention if you think you’ve contracted dengue fever; only use these home remedies as supplemental treatments and realize that these aren’t formal “cures”.