Glandular Fever

Q.: I need advice with regard to glandular fever – my husband was diagnosed this week. (PS: I subscribe to your magazine, it’s great!) Liese


Also known as infectious mononucleosis, glandular fever is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, to which a period of stress often makes one susceptible. The acute illness is characterised by sore, infected tonsils, headaches, swollen glands, fever and painful muscles. Most people recover within a few weeks with bed rest, but some continue to suffer, with prolonged symptoms of fatigue, depression and general malaise. These may continue for several months, and bouts can recur in subsequent years.

Conventional medicine does not offer much in the way of treatment other than bed rest and analgesics. Natural treatments can do a lot to boost the immune system and support the body in the healing process.

There are four main areas on which to focus treatment.

  1. Gastro-intestinal tract. Eat lots of fruit and vegetables, which are rich in healing vitamins and minerals and are easily digested. Juices, soups and small meals also aid digestion. Eat lots of garlic for its infection-fighting properties.
  2. The colon needs to be working well, to ensure good elimination. Daily doses of 3 – 5 grams of vitamin C per day (increase the dose until the stool gets soft) will improve bowel action and boost the immune system.
  3. Supplement with a good probiotic such as acidophilus.
  4. Liver. As well as easing the burden on the liver by avoiding alcohol, processed foods, spicy and fatty foods, red meat and chemical additives, you need to take some herbs to cleanse and detoxify the liver. Good ones would be milk thistle, livotibb, dandelion or burdock root.
  5. Lymph circulation. The lymph glands will be very congested, so it’s important to facilitate the flow of lymph, which rids the tissues of toxins. Milk thistle and burdock root help with this process. A good homeopathic product designed for this is Lymphomyosot drops. Manual lymphatic drainage massage, if done properly, can be of great benefit.
  6. Immune system. The virus multiplied in the first instance because the immune system was weakened by stress. It’s crucial to strengthen the immune system to avoid prolonged and debilitating symptoms. By treating the liver and colon, as explained above, you’ll already be strengthening the immune system, as much of the immune tissue surrounds the gut and is influenced by it. A stool analysis (available through Synexa laboratory) is very useful in optimising gut balance.

High-dose vitamin C (as described above) together with a good vitamin B complex for the malaise are also important. Echinacea, olive leaf extract and Moducare are useful supplements to assist the immune system.

I hope that when all the above four areas are treated, your husband will make a full and speedy recovery.

Please follow and like us:

Glandular Fever

Dr David Nye
About The Author
- MB CHB (UCT), MFHOM (UK), DIP HOM (CEDH). He practises integrative medicine together with his wife, Dr Sandi Nye, in Pinelands Cape Town. As a registered medical doctor, homeopath and acupuncturist, he has a special interest in chronic illness, especially when conventional medicine fails to help. He uses a variety of modalities, tests and treatments in his quest to find the best solutions for each patient.