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Glandular Fever

Q: I am writing on behalf of my son who has been diagnosed with glandular fever.

The initial symptoms have been going on for a few months, he has been falling asleep in classes, and complained of aches and pains, generally no energy to do anything since February. 2 weeks ago the joints became painful at times intense. A week today he started getting a sore throat,watching him try to swallow is quite harsh and his neck swelled quite badly for 2 days, his elbows are swollen and extremely painful. I can't stand seeing my son suffer this way, there must be something that can help him, nothing is working.


A: I’m so sorry that your son is suffering so much and, as a mum, it must be awful to sit by and feel so helpless. I think that what we’re seeing here is a body in crisis which has become completely imbalanced due to the onslaught of glandular fever and the attack it has mounted on your son’s poor immune system. I had glandular fever at the age of 26 too and can well remember how dreadful it made me feel.

As you will know by now glandular fever (infectious mononucleosis) is caused by the Epstein-Barr virus and, as you’ve seen with your son, it can make you feel very ill. It can also have a devastating effect on the immune system and really knock it for six.

So let’s try and find something that will help.


G.F. is diagnosed by a specific anti-body test and, although your son appears to be post G.F. he will test positive for this because his body has made the anti-bodies.

Around half of all people who have glandular fever get an enlarged spleen. Your spleen is an organ on the left side of your abdomen and it forms part of your immune system. An enlarged spleen usually develops in the first few weeks of illness. A swollen spleen is more delicate than normal hence it is vitally important to rest to avoid complications.

Most people develop painfully swollen glands and lymph nodes, a fever and aching joints and muscles as your son clearly has

But the body is very clever and will soon begin to correct this imbalance and heal itself when we can get everything working properly again.

So now we’ve established the link between all these symptoms let’s look at the actual virus.

A feature of the Epstein Barr virus is its ability to establish lifelong latent infection after the initial infection. Essentially once you have it you have it for life. However, this latent infection (present in a large percentage of the population) is kept in check by a healthy immune system and this also plays a vitally important in recovery. EBV is a clever virus which tricks the immune system into triggering inflammation.

The signs and symptoms are as follows:

  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Sore throat, often severe
  • Swollen tonsils
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck
  • Enlargement of the spleen
  • Enlargement of the liver
  • Rash
  • Headache

Symptoms may not show up until (in general) 4 - 7 weeks after you’ve been exposed to the virus. Symptoms may last only a few days or as long as several months. In most cases, they go away in 2 - 6 weeks but can sometimes last for much longer if the immune system becomes compromised and weak.

So with the immune system potentially compromised you need to give it and your body a helping hand. The good news is there are many things you can do to do just that. A viral infection such as from Epstein Barr actually lowers the level of EFA (Essential Fatty Acids) in the blood. More importantly EFA have direct antiviral effects and are lethal to many viruses. Salmon and flaxseed oil are some of the best food sources of EFA. I like Vegepa from www.igennus.co.uk

The anti-viral properties of garlic are attributed to its biologically active compound known as allicin. I think that a supplement of this would be of huge benefit to your son I would get him some of this as soon as you can but don’t buy ordinary garlic capsules as they’re not as effective. Allitech is available fromwww.dulwichhealth.co.uk.

2 tsp. of fresh sage leaves  boiled in water, cooled and strained can then be used to gargle for two to three days to get relief from sore throat, Or he can also try gargling with a few drops of tea tree oil in a glass of warm water, then spit it out but be careful not to swallow. 

We also have 2 really two good products called SIMBA and FILISA which we have used extensively to help with GF/EBV over the years. For the past 4 years we have worked closely with Gina Burton http://www.glandularfever.me.uk/ Gina is a nutritional therapist and consultant who has helped more than 1,000 glandular fever sufferers all over the world since she started her Glandular Fever Help Services in 1998. She has lots of empathy with her patients, having gone through it all herself and has Simba and Filisa on her G.F. protocol.

SIMBA is the African Potato tuber (Hypoxis hemerocallidea) The African Potato tuber is rich in phytosterols (in particular beta sitosterol) and works to balance and regulate the immune system. The tuber is also a potent natural anti-inflammatory. We use 100% African Potato tuber with nothing added or extracted and we encapsulate the freeze dried product into veggie caps.

I have a very good report on the African Potato tuber, done out for us by Dr John Wilkinson of Middlesex University Herbal Sciences Department. This looks at the botany, chemistry, pharmacology, toxicology and clinical trials of the African Potato tuber. Dr Jimmy Gooi, Consultant Immunologist at St James Hospital in Leeds, also looked at the tuber in the laboratory for us and I have a report from him on it's mode of action. I am quite happy to send you these reports to show to your doctors.

The beauty of SIMBA is that it helps to restore normal immune functioning, and Simba and Filisa work very synergistically with each other  The actress Barbara Windsor was very vocal about the benefits of SIMBA which she used to treat her Epstein Barr virus.

SIMBA takes around 6 weeks to really get into the system and take effect so is by no means a ‘quick fix’ Working to re-balance the immune system is a huge task ahead of a little plant and so perseverance is needed. But it is vitally important to restore normal immune functioning post EBV.

I must stress that any new symptoms should be reported to your doctor as this could be a complication of the illness. If your son is having abdominal pain, fever higher that 38.6 degrees C, severe headache, yellow skin or weakness in your arms or legs, you should contact your doctor immediately.

All these measures I’ve suggested are not a cure for EBV but a way of helping the body to cope with the illness and restore balance. If you would like me to provide any further information on our products for your doctor please let me know.

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