As in the case of most viral illnesses, mononucleosis, an Epstein-Barr virus infection, stymies the best efforts of conventional medicine. Not so with homeopathy, which has a long and successful track record in treating this ailment, both the acute illness and protracted cases with tardy convalescence. Below is a case illustration from my patient files.
A 23 year-old female presented with the chief complaint of mononucleosis, previously diagnosed by her allopathic/conventional physician. She had been ill for ten days. She had an excrutiating headache located behind the eyes. She ran a fever from about 6 p.m. until 6 a.m. when she would have a profuse sweat. Her neck hurt considerably. She complained of feeling so tired that she was almost unable to hold her head up. Strong nausea precluded her eating much of anything. She was unable to even tolerate the thought of eating. Her nausea was worse after drinking anything and after eating. She felt full after eating one-third her usual meal. She had pain in the left upper abdomen on deep inspiration. She also complained of a raw throat, which felt as if it were closing up. Her lymph nodes everywhere felt inflamed and sore. Chills alternated with "boiling" heat when her fever was up at night. During fever she suffered severe headache in the temples and base of the neck, with stiffness of the neck. She was dizzy and almost fainted during fever. She was thirsty, but it hurt her throat to drink; hot drinks provided slight relief. She preferred warm drinks. During fever her legs were so extremely weak that she was unable to walk up and down stairs. She complained of mental dullness and inability to read. She was unable to even hold up a book due to arm fatigue. She had occasional night sweats. During fever her joints ached and her skin felt sore. Her urine was very dark yellow-brown; she thought her skin was "yellower," her toe nails as well. She was sensitive to light. The midsection of her abdomen was sore to pressure. She also felt anxious, sad and weepy.
Her physical exam showed the following abnormalities: sallow skin, enlarged lymph nodes in her neck and groin; inflamed, swollen tonsils; tenderness of the stomach and right flank; minimal enlargement of the spleen.
She was given China 200, one dose (peruvian bark or cinchona). Within a few hours she began to notice improvement in all of her symptoms. Within a day she was significantly better, and after two days essentially well!
On analysis of this case, what was most striking were the stomach and abdominal symptoms, especially the peculiarities pertaining to the nausea. When these symptoms were considered along with her abdominal tenderness, early satiety, and soreness of the skin, China presented itself as the most likely remedy, which fortunately it was. The effect was profound and lasting.
A number of homeopathic remedies can be effective for mononucleosis, each having to be individualized to the case at hand. Some of these remedies include: Cistus canadensis, Mercurius, Gelsemium, Conium, Calcarea carbonica, Muriatic acid, Carbo vegetabilis, Sulphur — just to name a few. Such treatment is rather complex and not easily accomplished by self-treatment. Consultation with a homeopathic professional will yield the best result.
Patients with mononucleosis will display many of the same common symptoms – great fatigue, fever, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes in the neck (highly characteristic is enlargement of lymph nodes in the back of the neck). Below are the symptoms of a few remedies that help to identify it as the “simillimum” of the case – the correct remedy.
A Few Remedy Characteristics
Cistus canadensis (rock rose): great cold sensitivity, enlarged cervical (neck) lymph nodes, sensations of coldness in various parts (especially a burning, ice cold sensation in the nose when air in inhaled), nasal discharge and sneezing, sinusitis, burning sore throat, craving for cheese.
Gelsemium (yellow jasmine): great weakness – verging of tremulousness from weakness, flu-like aching and heaviness of the extremities (and back), chills running up and down the back, lack of thirst, dull headache over the eyes with difficulty keeping the eyes open, sleepy appearance, chills alternating with heat, feeling better after urination.
Muriaticum acidum (hydrochloric acid): so weak he can’t sit up – slides down in bed; sleeps most of the day, waking only briefly to take nourishment; copious sweating on turning to the right side in bed, burning pains, canker sores, thorough aversion to meat.
Mercurius vivus (or solubilis) (mercury): alternating heat and chills, clammy perspiration, worse extremes of heat and cold, profuse salivation (offensive and especially at night during sleep); coated, dirty tongue showing teeth imprints on the edges, aggravation at night, offensive discharges.
Carbo vegetabilis (vegetable charcoal): great weakness/collapse, often with air hunger (better in cool air; desires to be fanned – improves breathing), very chilly; intestinal bloating and flatulence (better belching and passing flatus), cold breath, cold sweat, worse lying flat (prefers to sit), emotional apathy.
Calcarea carbonica (carbonate of lime): weakness (especially worse ascending stair/hills), cold sensitivity, sweaty, perspiration (head) at night, anxious, despairing of recovery, complaints could come on from exhaustion and overwork, worse from cold, damp weather.