Typhoid fever is a serious bacterial infection commonly found in developing countries. The majority of cases in the United States are brought in from places where it is common. Typhoid usually spreads through the fecal matter of a person who’s infected. The bacteria may also be present in the urine. Food or water contaminated by fecal matter with Salmonella typhi usually transmits the infection to anyone who consumes it.1
When you get typhoid, you initially experience abdominal pain, fever, and a general feeling of being unwell. As the condition progresses, you may have a high temperature and severe diarrhea. You’ll also see symptoms like chills, fatigue, nosebleeds, blood in your stool, and red spots on your chest and stomach.2
Natural Remedies Can Be Supplementary Therapy
Once Salmonella typhi enters your digestive system, it quickly multiplies, triggering symptoms. And if it’s not treated properly and swiftly, it can spread to other parts of your body and cause fatal complications. Without proper treatment, this infection kills up to 20% of people who are affected.
Caused by the Salmonella typhi bacteria, typhoid can be fatal if not dealt with promptly. Fortunately, it can usually be treated effectively with antibiotics.3 Since certain strains of the bacteria that cause it have become resistant to some antibiotics, your doctor may test blood, urine, or stool samples to identify the strain of bacteria that you’ve been infected with before prescribing an appropriate antibiotic. Typically, you experience an improvement in symptoms within about 2 to 3 days of starting medication. But it’s extremely important to complete the entire course to fully clear the bacteria from your body.
Traditional medical disciplines like ayurveda have used natural and herbal remedies to treat diseases like typhoid since ancient times. And some of these remedies do show activity against the typhoid bacteria in research studies. However, they may not be as swift in action as antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. So use them as adjunct therapy – with your doctor’s consent and guidance from an Ayurvedic practitioner. Also, some herbal remedies can interact unfavorably with conventional medicines, so it’s important to check with your doctor even if you want to use herbal medication to supplement conventional treatment. Here are some options to try:
1. Take Ayurvedic Churnas To Fight The Infection
It is important to consult a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner who can guide you on the right formulations and the dosage. And don’t forget to keep your doctor in the know.
Studies have found that medicinal plants used in ayurveda like bael (Aegle marmelos), shalmali (Salmalia malabarica), pomegranate (Punica granatum), nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), kurchi (Holarrhena antidysenterica), and arjuna (Terminalia arjuna) are active against some strains of Salmonella typhi that are resistant to multiple drugs.4 Ayurveda also uses combinations of plants in formulations to increase the potency and spectrum of their antibacterial activity. The following churnas combine powerful herbs and can especially be considered for use.5
Triphala Churna: Triphala churna is a powdered mixture of three myrobalans – amalaki (Emblica officinalis), bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), and haritaki (Terminalia chebula). It is an important medicinal formulation in ayurveda that is used for various disorders, including the treatment of fever. And according to research, it demonstrates antibacterial activity against Salmonella typhi.
Haritaki Churna: Another medicinal formulation made of haritaki (Terminalia chebula), castor oil plant (Ricinus communis), ginger (Zingiber officinale), rock salt, and long pepper (Piper longum), haritaki churna also exhibits antibacterial properties against Salmonella typhi. Studies have also shown that haritaki, the principal component of this formulation, works well against the bacteria.
Mahasudarshan Churna: Mahasudarshan churna is considered to be useful in treating infectious diseases like typhoid fever as well as intestinal infections and fights the Salmonella typhi bacteria. It consists of amalaki (Emblica officinalis), bibhitaki (Terminalia bellirica), haritaki (Terminalia chebula), turmeric (Curcurma longa), Indian barberry (Berberis aristata), kantakari (Solanum xanthocarpum), ginger (Zingiber officinale), long pepper (Piper longum), black pepper (Piper nigrum), dhamasa (Fagonia arabica), kutki (Picrorhiza kurroa), and kurchi (Holarrhena antidysenterica).
Manjistadi Churna: Manjistadi churna is useful in treating fever and works as a blood purifier, aside from showing antibacterial activity against Salmonella typhi. It consists of beneficial plants like Indian madder (Rubia cordifolia), haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Damask rose (rosa damascene), morning glory (ipomoea), and senna (cassia angustifolia).
Along with these herbal remedies, some simple steps at home can ease your discomfort and set you on the route to recovery
2. Have Tulsi Leaves To Ease Fever
Tulsi leaves are traditionally taken in some Southeast Asian communities to combat fever, including fever that’s caused by typhoid. Animal studies also reinforce its role in treating fever caused by typhoid vaccine. 6 Consume fresh tulsi leaves or the juice of about 10 gm of tulsi leaves to ease typhoid fever.7
3. Have A Lukewarm Bath To Cool Down
A tepid bath can also help cool you down if you have a fever and make you feel more comfortable. But remember not to use ice, cold baths, or alcohol rubs to cool yourself. While these can certainly cool your skin, they may cause shivering, which will actually raise your core body temperature.
Also, don’t try to eliminate the fever entirely. An increase in temperature is actually your body’s way of fighting an infection as most germs which cause infections tend to thrive at a normal body temperature of 98.6°F.8
4. Apply Apple Cider Vinegar To Fight High Fever
If your temperature is really high, you may want to use a vinegar compress to bring it down. Soak a washcloth in apple cider vinegar or a mixture of apple cider vinegar and water and wring out the excess water. Use this compress on the forehead to bring down the temperature.9
5. Maintain A Comfortable Temperature At Home
If you have fever, it’s important to stay in a room that’s neither too hot nor too cold. Try to keep the temperature at a comfortable level. A fan can be helpful if you find that it’s too stuffy or hot. Also, don’t bundle yourself up. A layer of light clothing and a light blanket to cover you should be enough. If you’re overdressed or in a place that’s too warm, it could cause your body temperature to go up even further.10
6. Drink Clove Tea To Fight Infection
Studies have found that clove can act against the bacteria that cause typhoid. So sipping on clove tea can help your body fight this infection. To make clove tea, pour a cup of boiling water over a heaped tablespoon of cloves. Let it steep for 10 minutes and strain for a healing drink.11
7. Eat Cooked Unripe Bananas To Treat Diarrhea
Typhoid can cause diarrhea as well as constipation. If you’re suffering from diarrhea, having cooked unripe bananas may help. Unripe bananas contain a kind of starch known as pectin which stimulates the absorption of water and salt in your colon and makes your stool firmer. So get in some cooked unripe bananas if you have the runs. 12
8. Get In Garlic To Fight Inflammation
Garlic is a spice known for its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. And studies show that it works against Salmonella typhi too. Chop up a few cloves and add to nourishing soups to help your body fight typhoid.13
9. Take Lots Of Fluids To Fend Off Dehydration
Dehydration is a real danger if you have typhoid because of the loss of fluids through vomiting and diarrhea. Make sure you keep sipping on fluids to avoid dehydration. You don’t have to stick to plain old water. Have nourishing soups, rice water (water in which rice is boiled), and coconut water to stay hydrated.
Have An Oral Rehydration Solution If You’re Dehydrated
Darker colored urine and thirst are two early signs that indicate dehydration. If you get dehydrated you need to take immediate steps to replenish lost fluids and minerals. Oral rehydration solution products can help you do this. These solutions have a mix of sodium salts, potassium salts, and starch or glucose which help balance your body fluids.
Avoid fruit juices, particularly in the case of babies, as this can make diarrhea or vomiting worse. 14
You can also make an oral rehydration solution at home by mixing 6 six level teaspoons of sugar and ½ a level teaspoon of salt in a liter of clean drinking water. Sip small amounts frequently if large amounts of fluids make you feel like throwing up.15 If you’re extremely dehydrated you might need to be given fluids intravenously at the hospital.
10. Eat Well To Help Your Body Fight Infection
You may not feel like it, but you must have regular meals to give your body the energy and nutrients it needs to fight infection. If the thought of three large square meals a day is too daunting, try to have smaller but more frequent meals. You may also find it easier to have soft, bland foods. Porridges or gruel made of cereal and lentil soups can be good for you at this time.16 17 18
Get The All-Clear Before Going Back To Your Routine
Sometimes, people who have been treated for typhoid can experience symptoms again, typically around a week after treatment has been completed. Symptoms generally tend to be milder the second time around, but it’s important to see your doctor if symptoms return. Antibiotics are usually prescribed again to clear the infection and you need to get your stool tested again to make sure the bacteria have cleared off. Do wash your hands thoroughly after using the toilet and take care not to handle other people’s food till your doctor certifies that you’re free of typhoid to avoid infecting others. Also, keep in mind that you may be legally required to stay away from the workplace till you’re medically cleared if you work in areas that involve handling food or caring for children.19 20
|↑1||Typhoid Fever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑2||Typhoid fever. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑3, ↑19||Typhoid Fever. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.|
|↑4||Rani, Phulan, and Neeraj Khullar. “Antimicrobial evaluation of some medicinal plants for their anti‐enteric potential against multi‐drug resistant Salmonella typhi.” Phytotherapy Research 18, no. 8 (2004): 670-673.|
|↑5||Tambekar, D. H., and S. B. Dahikar. “Antibacterial activity of some Indian Ayurvedic preparations against enteric bacterial pathogens.” Journal of advanced pharmaceutical technology & research 2, no. 1 (2011): 24.|
|↑6||Godhwani, Savitri, J. L. Godhwani, and D. S. Vyas. “Ocimum sanctum: an experimental study evaluating its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antipyretic activity in animals.” Journal of ethnopharmacology 21, no. 2 (1987): 153-163.|
|↑7||Goel, Satish. Nature Cure For Health And Happiness. Diamond Pocket Books, 1997.|
|↑8||Fever. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑9||Mohammed, Fathia Attia, and Elsayeda Ibrahim Ahmed. “A Comparison of Vinegar Compresses vs. Cold Water& Water with Vinegar for treating of Fever at Tropical Hospitals.” International Journal of Nursing Science 2, no. 4 (2012): 38-46.|
|↑10||Fever. National Institutes of Health.|
|↑11, ↑13||Kumar, Yashab, Sakshi Agarwal, Abhinav Srivastava, Satyaprakash Kumar, Garima Agarwal, and Mohammad Zeeshan Alam Khan. “Antibacterial activity of clove (Syzygium aromaticum) and garlic (Allium sativum) on different pathogenic bacteria.” Int. J. Pure App. Biosci 2, no. 3 (2014): 305-311.|
|↑12||Fuchs. “Clinical studies in persistent diarrhea: dietary management with green banana or pectin in Bangladeshi children.” Gastroenterology 121, no. 3 (2001): 554-560.|
|↑14||Dehydration – Treatment. National Health Service.|
|↑15||Oral Rehydration Solutions: Made at Home. Rehydration Project.|
|↑16||Escott-Stump, Sylvia. Nutrition and diagnosis-related care. Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2008.|
|↑17||Kellogg, John Harvey. “new dietetics, what to eat and how [microform].” (1921).|
|↑18, ↑20||Typhoid fever – Treatment. National Health Service.|