Mumps

An acute contagious, generalized viral disease, usually causing painful enlargement of the salivary glands, most commonly the parotids.

Mumps is a virus infection of the parotid glands, two of the six salivary glands that are just below and in front of the ears. This contagious condition, spread by respiratory droplets, is commonly between the ages of 3 and 6.


It has an incubation period of 14-24 days. The common symptom picture includes fever, swelling of the parotids, achiness, restlessness. The jaw may become stiff because of glandular swelling but with only mild pain. Testicular involvement occurs in up to one fifth of males, especially older patients, and can lead to sterility. Mild meningitis with headache or stiff neck is, unfortunately, not rare. Any development of a painfully stiff neck or severe headache calls for immediate professional help.


Mumps can look very alarming due to the swelling of the parotids, changing the child’s appearance quite dramatically, but is not too serious.


Actions indicated for the processes behind this disease

Anti-microbials are the key to successful clearing of the infection.

Lymphatic Alteratives are crucial in helping the effected glands.

Hepatics will help if there is associated constipation. These should be very mild.

Anti-inflammatories & Demulcents may be helpful in alleviating the pain and discomfort in the throat.


Specific Remedies

No specifics in the strict sense are used in Western herbalism, but the lymphatics might be seen as such. A problem arises when choice of appropriate lymphatics is made. Phytolacca is an excellent remedy here, but great care must be taken with dosage in young children.


One possible prescription:

Galium aparine — — — 3 parts

Echinacea spp. — — — 3 parts

Urtica dioica — — — 2 parts

Phytolacca decandra — — — 1 part to — — — 5 ml of tincture three times a day

Infusion of equal parts Nepeta cataria and Trifolium pratense drunk often.


This supplies the following actions:

Anti-microbials (Echinacea spp.)

Lymphatic (Galium aparine, Echinacea spp., Phytolacca decandra)

Alteratives (Galium aparine, Echinacea spp., Urtica dioica, Phytolaccadecandra)


Maribeth Riggs gives some excellent suggestions in Natural Child Care, obviously the result of experience blending with skill and knowledge. The following are my paraphrasing because of space limitations:


  1. To reduce inflammation and pain of the gums, rub a mixture of 1 part essential oil of cloves and 4 parts olive oil into the gums where the molars are.
  2. To alleviate pain on swallowing make Apple Juice and Clove tea. Gently decoct 8 whole cloves in 1 quart of fresh apple juice. Strain and stir to ensure any oil is dispersed. Cool to room temperature.

David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH Written by David L. Hoffmann BSc Hons MNIMH

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