Fever is a condition in which body temperature is above the normal range.The upper limit for normal body temperature is approximately 38.3 degree Celsius.
Fever is generally an indication of the immune system’s response to an infection. However there could be other causes.
Body temperature is controlled by a section of the brain named as hypothalamus.
Substances that cause fever- pyrogens cause the immune system to signal the hypothalamus to increase the body temperature.
This further leads to shivering as an effort to produce more heat and to conserve it so as to reach the new set point.
When body temperature returns to normal the individual feels hot and begins to sweat.
Various reasons can cause fever as a symptom:
- Infection: Bacterial, viral or parasitic infections such as malaria, typhoid, urinary tract infections, common cold etc.
- Immunological diseases: Inflammatory bowel disease, sarcoidosis
- Inflammation or tissue destruction: surgery, muscle strain
- Skin infections
- Metabolic diseases: Hyperthyroidism
- Drug induced fever
Fever is generally treated with anti-pyretics such as paracetmol or ibuprofen.
However in case of prolonged illness and constant episodes of fever, the underlying cause should be treated.
Fever can also be controlled and rectified by herbal remedies which would be less harmful to the system in comparison to over the counter available drugs.
Mode of action of turmeric against fever
Turmeric is one of the most adored spices in the culinary industry. However it is more than just a spice.
It has various therapeutic properties which makes it the ‘Golden Goddess’ of Ayurveda.
Turmeric has a bitter peppery flavour with a warm yellowish gold hue.It is native to India and Asia where it consumed daily as a part of the diet.
Curcuminoids is a class of compounds found in turmeric powder that impart the yellow color. They are natural antioxidants.
Curcumin is the active agent of curcuminoids that displays the most potent pharmacological properties.
Turmeric serves as an anti-inflammatory agent, antioxidant, anti-microbial agent and anti-cancer drug.
One of the Sanskrit names for turmeric is jawarantika – one which cures fever. How turmeric can help control fever is reflected in the following studies and research articles.
1. It works as an anti-inflammatory agent
Fever is a clinical evidence of inflammation.
In case of infection, elevated blood counts are observed which release inflammatory mediators in the bloodstream to destroy the foreign body.
The dying white blood cells release endogenous pyrogens which in turn cause the hypothalamus to regulate body temperature.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as paracetmol are the main line of treatment.
However NSAIDS pose side effects such as gastro-intestinal damage, increased clotting risk, increased risk of stroke and heart attacks, kidney failure etc.
Turmeric serves as a natural anti-inflammatory agent which acts in a similar manner as NSAIDS but does not cause any side effects.
Curcumin is turmeric’s principle component that exhibits this activity.
What does this mean?
Inflammation is one of the common causes of fever. Curcumin and turmeric act in a similar way as NSAIDs to reduce fever.
2. It can boost immunity
Curcumin serves as an immunomodulatory agent – it can alter immune responses.
In case of inflammation or infection it can boost the immune system and support the release of inflammatory mediators to destroy infection.
However in case of allergies or autoimmune diseases, curcumin can curb the heightened response of the immune system and control the allergy and related symptoms.
Both of these conditions are likely to cause a fever wherein turmeric can aid to control it as well as help the immune system to combat the disease.
What does this mean?
Turmeric modulates immunity in order to help reduce fever.
3. Turmeric fights infections that cause fever
Staphylococcus aureus is a bacterium that can cause skin infection and food poisoning.
Fever caused by this infection leads to release of inflammatory mediators such as interferon (IFN), tumor necrosis factor (TNF), interleukin-1 (IL-1), IL-2, and IL-6.
A study was conducted to investigate the effect of curcumin on fever induced by this infection.
Elevated levels of pro-inflammatory agents were seen in active infection.
Nuclear factor-kappaB , a group of proteins that control the inflammatory process and immune responses, is active during this infection.
Curcumin was found to inhibit the activity of nuclear factor-kappa B and also reduce the levels of inflammatory mediators. It also reduced the fever caused by the infection.
Lipopolysaccharide is a substance present in bacterial cell wall that triggers fever.
It is an exogenous pyrogen. Similar to S.aureus infection, it leads to increased release of inflammatory mediators.
Study conducted in Taiwan proves curcumin’s anti-pyretic effect against LPS induced fever.
Curcumin was found to reduce the levels of pro-inflammatory substances in rabbit blood and it also reduced the fever associated with the infection.
What does this mean?
Turmeric’s anti-microbial properties destroy infections that could cause fever.
How to use turmeric as a remedy for fever
Every Indian household has made use of turmeric to treat some disorder the most common one being fever. Here are a few ways turmeric can be consumed to cure fever.
- Drinking hot milk at night with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder added to it can control fever.
- Turmeric milk can be made more appetizing by adding a few more spices. Heat 1 cup of milk with ½ teaspoon turmeric powder, 2-3 black peppercorns, 2-3 cardamom pods and ½ inch chopped ginger. Add sweetener for taste and relish this hot brew while it combats the fever.
- Ginger can complement turmeric in warding off symptoms associated with cold and fever. Boil 1 cup of water and to it add ¼ teaspoon of raw grated turmeric, ¼ teaspoon of grated ginger, ¼ teaspoon black pepper powder. Strain the mixture and let it cool. Add honey to taste.
- A simple remedy incorporating turmeric is turmeric tea. Add ½ teaspoon turmeric powder to boiling water, let steep for 5 minutes. Add honey or sugar to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature.
The best way to take turmeric is The Golden Paste. It contains black pepper and oil which increases the absorption of curcumin in the body. 1-2 teaspoons of The Golden Paste once or twice a day can help.
It is advisable to take a health practitioner’s consult before consuming turmeric supplements because inappropriate dose or allergic reactions can pose risks to health.
Turmeric supplements should be avoided in case of pregnancy and lactation.
Since it has a blood thinning property, turmeric supplements should be discontinued 2 weeks prior to surgical procedures and also in case of diabetes if one is already consuming blood thinning medications.
Caution should be observed while consuming supplements especially when suffering from gallstones, obstruction of bile passages or gastrointestinal diseases.
Turmeric is a simple natural remedy that you can use to reduce fever. It can also boost immunity and also aid in fighting infections or other root causes behind fever.