The Treatment of Fever (Jwara Roga)

According to Ayurveda, the generator of the bodily temperature is located in the forehead.  In Ayurveda, a disturbance to the regulation of body temperature is called jwara, which is correlated to the medical concept of fever.  In most cases fever relates to a situation of diminished heat inside the gastrointestinal tract (i.e. the amasaya), and a high peripheral temperature.  According to Ayurveda, fever can either be a disease or a symptom of another disease.  Fever as a disease is classified into eight categories: Vata, Pitta, Kapha, Vata-Pitta, Vata-Kapha, Pitta-Kapha, Vata-Pitta-Kapha, and Aghantuja.  Fever as a symptom is found in infectious diseases or diseases classified within the character of Pitta.

General Rules for Fever Management

img_0493In general, fasting or light food is recommended at the beginning stage of all fevers except those of Vata character.  Fasting stimulates the stomach to draw heat away from the periphery to the center by increasing the digestive fire (i.e. agni).

Warm water is prescribed to drink except for fevers with the character of Pitta, and is beneficial to maintain the balance of heat inside the stomach.  Useful foods in the management of fever include a warm liquid diet including barley, sago or vegetable soup.  Anything that is astringent in taste is prohibited to take at the beginning stages of fever.

The prescription of antipyretic medicines is prohibited during the beginning stages of a fever.  Such cooling medicines lower the temperature inside the stomach, defeating the primary strategy to restore the digestive fire.  It is permitted however to use other types of antipyretic remedies made from poisonous plants or minerals, or to prescribe cooling herbs along with digestive or appetizing remedies.  The word “poison” in the Ayurvedic sense means an agent that quickly penetrates into the body without needing to be digested, and poisonous antipyretic medicines thus do not weaken the digestive fire in order to be effective.  The addition of digestive and appetizing agents to an herbal formula will neutralize the weakening effect of cooling herbs on digestion.

General Therapies in the Treatment of Fever

The standard compound used to treat fever is Sudarsana churna, which is found in the classic Ayurvedic text the Bhaisajya Ratnavali, taken in doses of 1-2 grams twice daily.  In addition to the other treatments mentioned here, this formula can be used to treat almost any type of fever.  Another simple fever treatment is Vasaka leaf (Adhatoda vasica) mixed with 10% Shukti Bhasma (oyster shell ash /Ostrea gigas), taken in doses of 1-2 grams twice daily with warm water.

Vataja Jwara (Seasonal Fever of the Monsoon)

Fever with the character of Vata is concerned with the aggravated function or the loss of control of the nervous system.  Symptoms include excited or throbing pulse, shivering, fluctuating fever, dry lips and throat, a feeling of generalized dryness, body ache, an astringent taste in the mouth, and yawning.  It is common in the monsoon season (after summer), during the vata times of day in the morning and afternoon, and after digestion.  Other causes for vataja fever include the suppression of natural urges (e.g. defecation, urination, flatus, sleep), in mental agony and depression, excessive exercise, the misuse of laxatives, and the overconsumption of foods with an astringent, bitter and pungent taste. Although vataja fever is easy to treat, this same type of fever when found in another season is more difficult to cure.

Vataja fever is treated with general treatments and diet to reduce Vata along with antipyretic herbs.  A typical formula for treating vataja fever is Sudarshana churna, 1-2 grams twice daily.  Based on signs and symptoms, treatment can be modified by using specific herbs such as Nagarmotha (Cyperus rotundus) and Pippali (Piper longum) or a decoction of Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia) and Punarnava (Boerhavia difusa)

Pittaja Jwara (Seasonal Fever of Autumn)

img_0279Jwara with the character of Pitta is concerned with the aggravated function of the vein system.  Symptoms include a high fever, burning sensations, dizziness, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, sweating, and a bitter taste in mouth, all of which are more prominent during mid-day, or in the middle of the night.  Pitta fever is caused by factors including excessive exercise, excessive exposure to heat, fire or the sun, and the excessive consumption of pungent and salty foods and beverages, including alcohol.  It is common during the season following the Monsoon season called Sharat, as well as in summer, and is easy to cure.  If however the same fever occurs in a different season it becomes more difficult to cure.

Pitta fever treated with general treatments and diet to reduce Pitta (page 51) along with general antipyretic herbs (page 126).  Specific formulations include equal parts Sudarshana churna and Chandanadi vasa yoga, given in doses of 1-2 grams twice daily.    Another simple formulation is equal parts Kutki rhizome (Picrorhiza kurroa) and Indrayava seed (Holarrhena antidysenterica), 1-2 grams twice daily, taken with honey.

Kaphaja Jwara (Seasonal Fever of Spring)

Jwara with the character of Kapha is concerned with the aggravated function of the artery system.  Symptoms include a feeling of heaviness, lethargy, coldness, nausea, difficult respiration, a sweet taste in the mouth, and whitish discoloration of the eyes, all of which are more prominent mid-morning and evening.  Kapha fever is common in the Spring and is easy to cure, but if this same fever occurs during another season, however, it becomes difficult to cure.  It is caused by the excessive consumption of cold foods and beverages, foods and beverages with a sweet, sour or salty taste, sleeping during the day, and a lack of physical exercise.   Kaphaja fever is treated with general treatments and diet to reduce Kapha along with the general antipyretic medicines.  Herbal therapy for Kapha fever includes Sudarshana churna, as well as specific herbs such as Amalaki fruit (Phyllanthus emblica), Haritaki fruit (Terminalia chebula) and Chitraka herb (Plumbago zeylanica).

Additional headings in this chapter*

Vata-Pittaja Jwara (Paratyphoid Fever Type A) (book version only)
Vata-Kaphaja Jwara (Paratyphoid Fever Type B) (book version only)
Pitta-Kaphaja Jwara (Paratyphoid Fever Type C) (book version only)
Vata-Pitta-Kapha (Sannipataja) Jwara (Typhoid Fever) (book version only)
Aghantuja Jwara (Externally Caused Fever) (book version only)
Jirna Jwara (Chronic Fever) (book version only)
*To acquire the complete contents of “Ayurveda In Nepal: The Bajracharya Samhita” please click here.

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