Named after its dual team of lead researchers, Sir Michael Anthony Epstein and Yvonne Barr in 1964, EBV is cause of the popularly infectious mononucleosis often referred to as ‘mono’. This illness is associated with various symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, sore throat, fatigue, rash, headache and sometimes an enlarged spleen or liver.
EBV is estimated by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) to have infected upwards of 90-95% of Americans however most people’s bodies quickly create antibodies which are able to stave off the disease without any symptoms. Although antibodies keep EBV at bay, the virus usually remains dormant in the system for life and, if re-activated, often does so through the saliva hence giving its offshoot, mononucleosis, the label of ‘the kissing disease’. Saliva as well as infected blood transfusions are the two transport systems for EBV.
Conventional medicine can only offer acetaminophen, steroidal treatment to ease throat and tonsil swelling as well as some attempted anti-viral formulas. In rare cases the spleen may have to be surgically removed. Another common, often peripheral fallout of carrying this disease is strep throat which would be treated with antibiotics. However, rest is the only recommended conventional remedy for the virus to run its course and allow the body to regain homeostasis. With bed rest, symptoms can dissipate over about two to three weeks but a close watch on the patient could continue for about two to three months. EBV is usually not life threatening and is reported to mostly infect teens between 15-19 years old with symptoms rarely presenting in anyone over 35.
Approaching EBV with acupuncture and nutritional supplementation medicine could be one of the best, most effective approaches overall. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center alternative treatments for this condition may be beneficial, reporting that, “While no herbs or supplements treat mono specifically, some may help reduce the long-term effects of EBV infection and complications linked to EBV.” They go on to include acupuncture, “Although no scientific studies have reviewed the use of acupuncture for mono, it may help to reduce symptoms, to improve immune function, and to relieve congestion (blockage of qi, or energy flow) of the liver, spleen, and lymph.”
Acupuncture: Addressing Fever and Fatigue Symptoms of EBV
As any virus runs its course, addressing the symptoms through alternative medicine may give the body a chance to wholly embrace treatment rather than succumb to synthetic attempts. Acupuncture could play a role in reducing pain associated with major to minor symptoms of EBV.
Constant low fever is a common presentation of those suffering from this virus which in turn can manifest into an unshakeable fatigue. Dealing with constant exhaustion affects everything a person attempts to do from the minute they rise in the morning (waking with fatigue is highly discouraging) to dealing with career, family and life in general. Due to EBV, this fatigue can sometimes manifest into chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) which triples the downward spiral of one’s quality of life. The safe administering of acupuncture using specific meridian points could be highly useful in battling fever and fatigue. These are some points used to address fever and fatigue along with their Chinese as well as English name, body location and targeted symptom(s):
- Bladder (BL)12 (Fengmen/Wind Gate)- located below the second thoracic vertebrae this point relieves fever, cough, neck stiffness and headache, all common symptoms of EBV.
- BL 13 (Feishu/Lung Shu) – below the third thoracic vertebrae this point addresses lung issues associated with fever. It regulates lung qi, opens the chest and clears heat.
- Large Intestine (LI) 4 – (Hegu/Joining Valley) – sometimes called ‘The Great Eliminator’ LI4 is a highly usable point inasmuch that it is capable of being applied to many ailments. It expels damaging Wind-Heat, strengthens the immune system and stops pain. LI4 is part of the Yuan-Source points, paramount in treating diseases of internal organs such as the often EBV infected spleen and liver. Interestingly, this point is so effective it was common for use on pregnant concubines to induce miscarriage.
Ferrum Phosphoricum, Mercurius Vivus, Phytolacca Americana and Kali Muriaticum
These tongue twisting, Latin derived names just may be the key to relieving EBV symptoms as well as future outbreaks. They are the scientific genus of remedies used in homeopathic medicine. Derived from a variety of plant, animal and mineral sources, homeopathic remedies are used to approach a specific condition according to their similarity in symptom presentation (law of similars). In the case of EBV and its varying symptoms, these four homeopathic remedies are a good starting point depending on the individual’s specific constitutional type which includes the physical, mental and emotional factors. Their particular, associated vibrations, could, under the keen guidance of a professional homeopath, allow one or more of these remedies to penetrate into the root cause of EBV, targeting its deep ‘vibrational’ energy.
- Ferrum Phosphoricum – Derived from the high dilution of iron sulfate, phosphate and sodium acetate, ferrum phos is on the ‘short list’ for common use. It is the go-to formula for onset of the early stages of fever as well as inflammation, anemia and low energy.
- Mercurius Vivus – Elemental mercury makes up this remedy also called mercurius solubilis or quicksilver. Because EBV is closely related to the herpes virus mercurius may be used due to its ability to target disorders of the skin. It is also is applied for sore throats, limb weakness, painful aching bones and body temperature disorder.
- Phytolacca Americana – Pokeweed is the plant source for phytolacca. Although there are several applications for this compound, when applied to EBV it is usually the healing affect it has on throat inflammation that radiates to the ears upon swallowing in which it is applied.
- Kali Muriaticum – Diluted from potassium chloride natural found in the mineral sylvine, kali mur, when combined with ferrum phos has been known to be able to treat various stages of mononucleosis. It is also beneficial for extremely swollen tonsils.
There are thousands of homeopathic remedies that must be carefully administered per individual constitution which is the complete opposite of the generalized one-for-all conventional remedies. Other EBV homeopathic choices may also include: belladonna, lachesis, conium, hepar sulph and baryta carbonica.
Challenging the Epstein-Barr virus with acupuncture and homeopathy is a combined therapy with great potential. At Integrative Med Solutions, we will design an acupuncture and naturopathic treatment program that works for you. In many cases, insurance covers portions of the acupuncture treatment. Allow us to support you to achieve optimal health. To make an appointment or find out more about how acupuncture and naturopathic medicine can benefit you, please call our office at 914.337.2980 or click here to schedule an online appointment.
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