Think Y.E.P. for Childhood Fevers (Adults, too!)
Do you find natural remedies always slip your mind in the heat of the moment? It happens to me all the time!
Just recently my little one came down with a sudden, unexplained fever and when she asked me for something to help her feel better my thoughts briefly scattered in all directions. Ok, maybe the fact it was 1:30am played some role in my absentmindedness.
Thankfully the best herbal ingredients for fever relief come with their own handy little acronym:
These herbs crafted into a hot infusion, also known as “gypsy tea”, makes for a tasty, nourishing beverage in times of fever.
So the next time your child awakes with a forehead burning hot (or your own mind grows foggy with a fever), just think: YEP, it’s time for tea!
The Function of Diaphoretic Herbs in Fevers
Yarrow is a very old medicinal plant and a renowned diaphoretic herb, which is why some have termed this plant the “master of the fever“.
Diaphoretic herbs are used to support the fever process by aiding outward circulation and facilitating perspiration. The point is not to promote sweat per se (that could cause dehydration) but to open the pores of the skin and allow the ventilation of excess heat.
Yarrow is specifically a stimulating diaphoretic (it’s primary use being to increase circulation toward the skin), whereas Elderflower is a relaxing diaphoretic (it’s use being to relax the pores and lessen any resistance to the increased circulation). The qualities of stimulation and relaxation work so beautifully together in herbalism!
And get this: Peppermint is both stimulating and relaxing! Together these three herbs not only support the fever process, but also contribute to the body’s immune response in their function as antivirals.
A Note on Childhood Fevers…
A fever is a wonderful sign that your child’s immune system is functioning as it should in defense against pathogens. Even high fevers (with the dreaded risk of febrile convulsions) are generally a body response that should be supported, not suppressed.
Suppression is that action which inhibits the body’s immune system from behaving the way it is intended. Consider the fact that the influenza virus begins to die at around 99F. When you artificially restrict the body from raising the internal temperature, you essentially are handicapping the body’s defense mechanism for attacking the virus!
Both acetaminophen and ibuprofen carry with them the risk of renal toxicity (further reading), so it’s wise to avoid them unless absolutely necessary. Choosing an alternative route of treatment is a wiser choice.
However, you should always seek medical help if your child:
— Is 3 months or younger and has a rectal temperature of 100.4°F (38°C) or higher
— Is 3 to 12 months old and has a fever of 102.2°F (39°C) or higher
— Is 2 years or younger and has a fever that lasts longer than 24 to 48 hours
— Is older and has a fever for longer than 48 to 72 hours
— Has a fever of 105°F (40.5°C) or higher, that is unresponsive to natural remedies or OTC antipyretic medication
— Has recently had an immunization
— If your intuition tells you something is not right! (Source)
Keep in mind, the biggest risk with fevers is dehydration. Keep a watchful eye. If the lower lip begins to chap (when it wasn’t already) that can be an early dehydration sign.
Note: When dealing with fever, it’s important to consume regular sips of diaphoretic tea and not just a cup two to three times a day.
How to Make Y.E.P. Tea (or Gypsy Tea)
1 part yarrow
1 part elderflower
1 part peppermint
Blend together and store in a glass jar. Use 1 t. per cup of boiling water. Infuse for 10 minutes, then sweeten to taste with honey or stevia. Use ice chips to cool adequately for children before administering. Take sips throughout the day for best results.
Other wonderful herbal additions would be rose hips (for vitamin C) and marshmallow root (to sooth swollen tissues in cases of sore throat or digestive discomfort).
Keep in mind that the diaphoretic properties of herbs lessen as the tea is cooled. Drink as hot as possible without causing discomfort!
Suitable for all ages.