I contracted Ross River Fever (RRF,) also called Ross River Virus, in early March (the virus takes 3-11 days to show) this year and thought I’d share a little bit of info and my experience with the virus, also some herbs and treatments that helped me along the path to recovery.
RRF is a virus that is transmitted from infected animals, via female mosquitoes, to humans. Symptoms include a rash, fever, chills, headaches and particularly (for me anyway) swollen and inflamed joints and muscles. Some good info is available in a quick search for RRF, see the one below.
Initially it started for me with achy joints. Then all of a sudden after being bitten by a wasp on a walk, a rash developed on limbs and trunk of my body that night, along with a night fever and incredibly painful joints, such that I could hardly walk. Rolling over in bed was a painful task! My partner who is a physiotherapist and acupuncturist tried acupuncture on me the following morning but I was hypersensitive and this was quite painful. Phenergen (antihistamine) and some codeine based painkillers (i hate them but use only in times of need) brought about the relief I needed for a better sleep and a bit more movement. Early morning waking was a problem and I felt sleep-deprived for a few weeks. Ibuprofen tablets just before bed also helped for the first two weeks. A blood test a few days after developing symptoms confirmed RRF.
Wanting to ditch the tablets quickly we settled on some acupuncture treatments and light yoga and gentle exercises. If I felt better and did some more rigorous excessive, I found I would be uncomfortable and have various painful joints and muscles for up to a week afterwards. So gentle exercise was best!
Herbs that helped along the way were Andrographis paniculata (King of Bitters), Ocimum sanctum (Purple Tulsi), Eletheurococcus senticosus (Siberian Ginseng), Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra and G. uralensis which is Chinese Licorice), Cinnamon aromaticum (Cassia) and a local Ganoderma sp. (QLD Reishi mushroom). In the mornings for 3 weeks or so I would prepare a tea of QLD Reishi, Tulsi, Siberian Ginseng, Licorice and Cassia. Bring the Reishi (5g) to a boil first, reduce heat and only barely simmer for 5-10min, add a teaspoon of Siberian Ginseng, continue to simmer and add half a teaspoon each of both Licorice species and a small 2cm piece of Cassia bark and a few tops of Purple Tulsi leaves and turn heat off. Leave to decoct for 10 minutes or more and then strain and drink. No need to add sweetener when using Licorice which is a new favourite herb of mine. This treatment felt good for me with no side-effects.
Seven or so weeks after developing the first symptoms, the illness has receded and I feel pretty much back to normal. I occasionally get a sore joint or muscle but that’s to be expected. I understand it’s quite different for everyone who gets it, but a few things to remember; you will get better, take it easy and don’t overdo work or sport/activity, don’t drink alcohol, eat healthy and take immune stimulating and anti-inflammatory medicine/herbs.
CHEERS TO GOOD HEALTH 🙂
ps. recovering from this illness, i found i kept have recurring bouts of feeling unhealthy and relapsing into fatigue. Two herbs that helped were Andrographis paniculata (crushed up leaves in mortar and washed down with water, once per day, a few grams of fresh herb) and Silybum marianum or Milk Thistle; this proved to be the final herb i needed to kick the recurrence of RRF, being the penultimate liver herb it was perfect in the final stages. A daily dosage of 15g seed ground up in coffee grinder, 7.5g in morning washed down with water and again in evening, taken for 3-4 weeks.