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Treatment Of Fever In Ayurveda – Jwara Chikitsa

Jwara Chikitsa is a subject dealt with in detail in Ayurveda texts. According to Ayurveda, no body is free from fever that manifests itself owing to a variety of causes. Fever requires correct diagnosis and curative management. It is for this reason that a description of fever is found in all major texts, before the narration of other disorders.

Fever is generally divided into three stages for the purpose of management. These are taruna (up to seven days), madhyama (up to 11 days) and purna (12 days onwards).

Fasting is an essential measure in the first stage, but it is contraindicated if the fever is due to vata, emaciation, or mental causes like fear, anger, lust, over-exertion, and chronic fever. Fasting is to be followed for a maximum period of six days from the day of the onset of fever, depending on the necessity. During the first six days only rice gruel, either pure or medicated, is to be administered. Direct administration of any medicines during this period is not recommended.

Drinking warm water is advised in vata or kapha type of fever. This is contraindicated if the fever is due to pitta or alcoholic drinks. Where boiled and cooled water is available, a composition known as sadangapaniya is best suited, for it improves appetite, helps digestion, gives strength, and causes perspiration.

Emesis is advised in fevers of kapha type and taruna fever, where kapha is invariably predominant. To cure this, yavagu, or relatively thicker rice gruel, is to be given after emesis or fasting or both, except in grishma-ritu (April – May). This type of gruel prepared out of rice and certain antipyretic drugs. A mixture of roasted rice with honey and sugar or fruits like green grapes are advised in the case of fever due to alcohol consumption.

Light diet (including soup prepared from green gram) with antipyretic and digestive medicinal decoctions are given from the seventh to the tenth (second stage) day. Decoctions may be continued till the thirteenth day. Medicated ghee (clarified butter) is orally administered thereafter, provided vitiating factors or doshas are not acute and vata pitta are in predominance. If kapha is predominant and the desired effects of fasting are absent, ghee is contra-indicated.

Milk is advisable instead of ghee, if the patient is suffering from burning sensation, thirst or constipation. Cow’s or goat’s milk is to be given in situations of loose motion. If the patient does not improve by the above measures, purgation is to be adopted during this period, provided the patient is strong enough to bear it. According, to Caraka, a type of treatment called niruha basti is to be adopted thereafter, in order to gain strength and digestive power, and to get rid of fever at the earliest.

As for chronic fevers in patients where kapha and pitta are in a stage of depletion, the power of digestion is impaired or constipation is observed, another type of treatment called anuvasana basti is adopted. In chronic fevers associated with heaviness of head, headache, etc, ermines are to be adopted. Massage with appropriate oils, shower bath, tub bath, etc, are also advisable at this stage. It is important that exercise, bath, intercourse, and walking is strictly forbidden for some time, even after fever disappears, until the patient gains proper strength, in order to avoid recurrence of fever and other complications.