Mononucleosis, commonly known as the kissing disease, mono or glandular fever, is an infectious condition caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus belongs to the herpes family and targets lymphocytes and epithelial cells.
Generally present in the saliva and mucus, the virus is mostly spread by kissing, sneezing and coughing, or sharing food utensils or straws. The virus is not spread by any sort of casual .
The disease is seen most commonly in adolescents and young adults into their early 20s. Most older adults are already immune to the virus because of exposure as children.
Common signs and symptoms of mononucleosis are fatigue, a sore throat, a fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck and armpits, swollen tonsils, a headache and a skin rash.
The disease can also lead to complications like enlargement of the spleen, liver issues like hepatitis and jaundice, anemia as well as swollen tonsils that can make breathing difficult.
There is no proper treatment for this infectious disease, as antibiotics don’t work against viral infections like mono. It usually heals on its own within 2 to 4 weeks. However, once you become infected with the virus, it stays in your body for the rest of your life, even though symptoms are not active.
The main focus of treatment is to address the symptoms associated with the infection and to boost immunity. Certain lifestyle changes and home remedies can be helpful.
Here are the top 10 home remedies for mononucleosis.
1. Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has medium-chain fatty acids that make it a highly effective antiviral agent. It is effective against mono and influenza, as well as beneficial for those who have measles, herpes, hepatitis C and AIDS.
The lauric acid and the other medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil are rapidly absorbed by the body and used to form monolaurin, a monoester that has powerful antiviral and antibacterial activity.
Plus, the array of vitamins and other nutrients in the oil help restore immune function and improve overall health.
- To treat the infection, take a daily dose of extra-virgin coconut oil by mouth. Depending on your tolerance level, you can take 1 to 3 tablespoons daily until the infection subsides.
- To prevent infections, you can use this oil in your daily cooking.
2. Vitamin C
A water-soluble vitamin, vitamin C is an important component of a mono treatment regimen. It supports the immune system and helps shorten the duration of the condition.
A 2014 study published in the Medical Science Monitor reports that high-dose intravenous vitamin C therapy has a positive effect on the duration of Epstein-Barr viral infections, including mononucleosis, and reduces the viral antibody levels.
Well, an intravenous infusion is not the only way to boost your vitamin C level. A diet rich in vitamin C can help a lot.
- Eat foods rich in vitamin C, such as bell peppers, kale, broccoli, strawberries, lemons, grapefruits, kiwis, pineapples, blackberries, tomatoes, spinach, Swiss chard and oranges.
- You can also take a vitamin C supplement, after consulting your doctor regarding the best dosage for you.
3. Apple Cider Vinegar
Another effective treatment is apple cider vinegar. Being rich in antiviral properties, it helps kill the virus responsible for this infection.
Plus, apple cider vinegar is rich in vitamins and minerals that give a boost to your immune system, which helps speed up recovery.
- Mix 1 tablespoon of raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar in a cup of warm water. Add a little raw honey and stir thoroughly. Drink it twice daily to help fight the infection.
- Also, mix 1 to 3 teaspoons of apple cider vinegar in 1 cup of warm water. Gargle with this solution several times a day as needed to relieve a sore throat.
One of the best ways to treat mononucleosis is to get plenty of rest. This disease can completely wipe you out and make you feel exhausted, even if you are sleeping properly at night.
Do not push your body through viral fatigue in order to work, as it can make you weaker and delay recovery. Get plenty of rest and sleep until the fatigue subsides and your energy returns.
Whenever you feel tired, listen to your body and give it a chance to heal. It is best to avoid sports, exercise and other physical activities for a month after the infection starts. Also, moving around too much increases the risk of rupturing the spleen if it has become enlarged.
Drinking plenty of water and other healthy fluids is very important, especially when you have a fever. Fluids help bring down a fever, ease a sore throat and prevent dehydration.
Plus, adequate hydration is good for your immune system. Water helps flush toxins out of the body and ensures that your cells and organs function properly.
- Drink plenty of water at regular intervals. To relieve a sore throat, you can sip warm water.
- Homemade vegetable juice, broth and fruits rich in water content will also help keep your body hydrated.
Be sure to avoid alcoholic and caffeinated beverages, which can contribute to dehydration.
6. Salt Water Gargle
A sore throat is one of the most common symptoms of mono. A salt water gargle is the best remedy for it.
Warm salt water will have a soothing effect on the throat and reduce the discomforts to a great extent.
- Add ½ teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of lukewarm water.
- Stir it well to dissolve the salt.
- Gargle with this solution for a few seconds, then spit it out.
- Do this at regular intervals to relieve a sore throat.
Garlic contains allicin, a compound that has antiviral properties. Allicin helps kill the virus responsible for the kissing disease.
It also has vitamin C, which stimulates the production of interferon, a natural virus-fighting substance. Plus, the manganese, vitamin B6 and selenium present in garlic promote overall health.
- Eat 2 to 3 raw cloves of garlic on an empty stomach daily.
- Also, add crushed garlic to your dishes. Avoid cooking garlic too much, as it can destroy its active compounds.
- You can opt to take garlic supplements, but only after consulting your doctor.
L-lysine is an amino acid good for inhibiting viral infections as it interfers with herpes virus replication. In fact, a deficiency of l-lysine makes you more susceptible to viral infections.
- Take 1500 mg l-lysine supplement daily for 2 weeks. Make sure to consult your doctor before taking the supplement.
- You can also include lysine-rich foods such as eggs, cheeses, fish, lean meats, nuts and legumes in your diet.
Astragalus is a traditional Chinese herbal medicine that helps boost immunity. The immune-building and adaptogen property of astragalus helps fight the infection quickly and provides relief from the discomforts. It also helps boost the body’s energy level.
- Add a handful of dried astragalus root slices to 1 quart of water. Boil it, then let it simmer for 30 minutes, strain and drink this tea twice daily.
- Astragalus is also available as a supplement, which you can take after consulting your doctor.
Note: If you have an immune disorder, talk to your doctor before taking this herb.
The herb echinacea can also help treat symptoms of mononucleosis as well as promote recovery.
Also, it strengthens the body’s defense system so it can fight several infections.
- Steep 1 or 2 teaspoons of dried echinacea in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Drink 1 to 2 cups of this tea a day.
- Alternatively, mix 1 teaspoon of echinacea tincture in a glass of water. Drink it 3 or 4 times a day.
- You can opt to take echinacea capsules until symptoms disappear, but consult your doctor first.
Note: Those suffering from autoimmune disorders must not take this herb. Plus, this herb is not suitable for children.
- Avoid kissing others for several weeks to prevent spreading the infection.
- Do not indulge in heavy lifting and other rigorous activities for several weeks to reduce the risk of injuring your spleen.
- Do not share food as well as dishes and utensils while suffering from mono.
- Quit smoking and drinking until you have recovered completely.
- Keep your throat moist by sucking on a piece of hard candy.
- Limit your intake of simple carbohydrates.