Understanding Fever: A Simple Guide to its Physiology, Importance, and Natural Management with Herbs

Fever is one of the body’s oldest defense mechanisms against infection, a physiological response that has been conserved throughout millions of years of evolution in both warm and cold-blooded vertebrates. Contrary to common misconception, fever is not a disease itself but rather a symptom signaling the presence of an underlying infection or illness. In this simple guide, I delve into the physiology of fever, its crucial role in fighting infections, and explore natural management strategies using herbal remedies.

Physiology of Fever:

Fever is initiated by the body’s immune system in response to the presence of pathogens such as bacteria, viruses, or other foreign invaders. When the immune system detects these threats, it releases chemicals called pyrogens, which act on the hypothalamus in the brain, specifically the thermoregulatory center. This results in the elevation of the body’s set-point temperature, leading to an increase in core body temperature.

The rise in body temperature serves several essential functions in combating infections. Firstly, it creates an environment that is less favorable for the growth and replication of many pathogens. Higher temperatures can also enhance the activity of immune cells, such as neutrophils, which play a crucial role in fighting off infections. Additionally, fever helps to stimulate the production of certain cytokines, signaling molecules that coordinate the immune response.


Elderflower is great for any stage of fever

Importance of Fever in Fighting Infections:

Research has shown that the increase in core body temperature during fever is associated with improved survival and resolution of many infections. The elevation in temperature activates various immune responses, including the enhancement of neutrophil activity and the production of cytokines, ultimately aiding in the body’s defense against pathogens.

It’s essential to recognize that fever is not the enemy but rather a friend in the body’s fight against infection. Instead of immediately suppressing fever with antipyretic drugs such as paracetamol or aspirin, it is crucial to understand that fever is a natural and beneficial response. However, in some cases, especially when fever becomes excessively high, more than 38 C or prolonged, medical intervention may be necessary to prevent complications.

Echinacea is not only diaphoretic but also immune stimulant

Natural Management of Fever with Herbs:

Western Herbal  Medicine offers a holistic approach to fever management, utilizing a variety of herbs known for their diaphoretic, antipyretic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. These herbs aim to support the body’s natural defenses and promote the resolution of infection.

Herbs to Increase Body Temperature (diaphoretic):

  • Linden
  • Yarrow
  • Lemon Grass
  • Ginger
  • Peppermint
  • Thyme
  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea

These herbs can be prepared as hot herbal teas, which help to raise body temperature and induce sweating, facilitating the elimination of toxins and pathogens from the body. Bed rest and adequate hydration are also essential components of natural fever management.

Warming diaphoretic tea

Herbs to Reduce Fever (clear heat and reduce infection):

  • Gentian
  • Chicory
  • Willow bark
  • Barberry bark
  • Yarrow
  • Elderflower
  • Catnip leaf
  • Boneset and many more

These herbs possess refrigerant properties, meaning they help to cool the body and reduce fever. They also possess anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antiseptic actions, further supporting the body’s immune response.

In addition to herbal remedies, drinking plenty of pure water is recommended to stay hydrated and support the body’s detoxification processes.


Fever is a vital defense mechanism that has evolved over millions of years to protect the body against infection. Instead of viewing fever as an enemy to be immediately suppressed, it is essential to understand its physiological importance and support the body’s natural response to infection.

By utilizing herbal remedies from traditions such as Western Herbal Medicine, we can effectively manage fever while promoting overall health and well-being. However, it is essential to consult with a qualified healthcare practitioner, especially in cases of severe or prolonged fever, to ensure proper diagnosis and treatment.

Remember, fever is not the enemy but a friend in the body’s fight against infection. Embrace its role in promoting health and healing, and empower yourself with knowledge to support your body’s natural defenses.


If you would like to know more about how the DH-Natural Medicine Clinic can help you, please call us now on

(02) 4854 0205 

Danuta Hulajko is a Naturopath, international speaker and the founder & practitioner at the DH Natural Medicine Clinic and www.healingremedies.com.au in the Southern Highlands 

Danuta specialises in Allergies, Anti-Aging, Auto-Immune Conditions, Cardiovascular Conditions, Female Reproductive, Long Covid, Menopause, Mould Toxicity, Skin Conditions, Stress and Insomnia and Thyroid Dysfunction.


1.Fever and the thermal regulation of immunity: the immune system feels the heat – PMC (nih.gov)

2.Mills, S., Bone K.,  Principles and Practice of Phytotherapy, Churchill Livingstone , 2000

3.Homes P.  The Energetics of Western Herbs, Snow Lotus Press

4.Batch, Phyllis A.Balch James F, Prescription for Nurtritional Healing 3rd Edition , Avery, 2000


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