6 Benefits of Using Herbal Tea During a Fever

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Benefits of Using Herbal Teas During a Fever
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My post on why I don’t reduce fevers (and what I do instead) is one of my most popular, and I totally understand why! What parent hasn’t gone through a sleepless night or two … or twenty … worrying about a child with a high fever? Thankfully, fevers aren’t as dangerous as many people fear, and comfort is just a cup of herbal tea away.

How to Use Herbal Tea to Reduce a Fever

Even if research does show (overwhelmingly) that fevers are actually protective and rarely life-threatening, it’s still not fun to have a fever (or watch a child suffering from one). The usual response is to reach for Advil or Tylenol to make them feel better quickly, but this can actually prolong the illness by working against the body’s natural defense mechanism. These medications also have some scary and little talked about risks from frequent and repeated use.

True, I’m a mom, not a doctor, so do read up on the warning signs of the rare fevers that warrant emergency action (more on that below). For most fevers though, herbal tea is an effective and safe natural remedy.

Why Herbal Tea?

Teas are one of the best ways to get the healing benefits of herbs. Steeping herbs in hot (boiling) water make the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants even more accessible. Herbal tea is also quick to make and tastes good even to kids.

It’s interesting to note that while herbal tea looks and tastes like tea, it actually isn’t tea at all as it isn’t made from Camilla senensis plant, the source of black, green, oolong, and other teas.

As the name suggests, herbal tea results from brewing the leaves, roots, seeds, and/or bark from certain botanical ingredients experts call “tisanes.” Tisanes offer known medicinal benefits and have long been used for health-boosting infusions.

I love my teas (and my coffee), so if you’re like me you probably already have some of the best herbs for fevers, colds, and flu on hand:

Sound tasty?

So how can a cup of tea do what pain reliever can’t? Here are several (research-backed) reasons to reach for a cup of herbal tea the next time sickness strikes:

6 Benefits of Herbal Tea During Fevers

Herbal tea is healthy and delicious in general, but I never thought of it as a fever remedy until a trusted friend suggested it. And research confirms the anecdotal evidence that taking herbal tea during fever is a natural way to:

  1. Warm and stimulate the body
  2. Encourage detoxification through sweating
  3. Provide extra hydration
  4. Relieve pain and unpleasant symptoms
  5. Offer immune-supporting vitamins and antioxidants
  6. Boost mood and relaxation (sleep)

Skeptical? (Or worried what your mother-in-law might think? … No comment!)

Here’s a deeper look at the research-backed reasons why herbal tea is an effective natural remedy for fever:

1. Herbal Tea Warms and Stimulates the Body

Feeling chilled and achy is often one of the first signs illness is approaching. We head for bed and shiver under the covers. Contrary to popular belief, fever is actually a natural signal that the body is going into protective mode by raising body temperature to create a less hospitable environment for bacteria or viruses.

A warming herbal tea helps in this effort by increasing body temperature (as the fever is trying to do), and not just because it’s a hot drink. The properties of certain stimulating herbs work to increase circulation in the body. This is a good thing because it allows white blood cells to get where they need to go faster and fight infection.

Some stimulating herbs especially beneficial for fever are:


Notice these are all commonly used in cooking and known for their pungent fragrance and taste … an easy giveaway of its stimulating effects.

2. Herbal Tea Detoxifies Through Sweating

When fever (supported by stimulating herbs) raises body temperature, the pores of the skin open to allow perspiration in an attempt to cool off and keep the temperature from getting too high. (There’s that amazing self-regulating body again!)

Not only does sweating help cool the body but it also detoxifies and cleanses the body in a natural way by releasing toxins. Fragrant herbs like yarrow, thyme, bee balm, and ginger (also called diaphoretics) support this natural healing mechanism, especially in an infusion like an herbal tea.

3. Herbal Tea Hydrates

It turns out dehydration, not fever, may be the thing to fear.

If hydration is important when we’re healthy, it’s even more crucial when we’re sick. In fact the most important thing to do for a child during a fever is to get fluids into them.

Bone broth or even just plain (filtered) water are great choices — or even this homemade electrolyte drink — but herbal tea offers all the additional benefits listed here as well.

4. Herbal Tea Relieves Pain and Discomfort

When we get right down to it, all we moms really want (besides healthy kids of course) is to have something to offer to make our kids more comfortable when they’re sick. A warm cup of tea might smell and taste great, but it has real benefits for reducing pain as well.

How do non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) work? They reduce inflammation, the primary cause of pain. Studies show certain herbal teas offer the same analgesic and anti-inflammatory herbs benefits in many cases (without the risk of liver damage and other complications from long-term use).

Peppermint, for example, contains menthol, a known muscle relaxant great for relieving sore muscles and body aches from fever. This study rates turmeric, white willow bark, cat’s claw, and even true green tea as effective pain-relieving herbs, and this study concludes that powdered ginger offers the same pain-relieving benefits as ibuprofen!

Other herbal teas offer relief from congestion, sinus pressure, headache, digestive upset, and other unpleasant symptoms that often accompany a fever. Make an herbal decoction to suit!

5. Herbal Tea Supports Immunity

Herbs like chamomile and mint contain a wide range of nutritional benefits, including being a great source of readily absorbed calcium, magnesium, iron, zinc, and copper. As in the case of healing bone broth, the body can easily digest and soak up all the benefits of herbs prepared as a tea. (Most herbal teas need to steep for 20-30 minutes to for full infusion.)

Chamomile is a highly nutritious herb good for supporting a fever, and it tastes naturally mild and sweet with a hint of apple flavor kids love. I love chamomile so much I keep it on hand in the form of this handy and easy-to-make tincture, which could even be added into any herbal tea before serving.

Nutritional content does vary according to the freshness and quality of the source, so choose organic herbs from a reputable company.

6. Herbal Tea Helps Relaxation (and Sleep)

All the tea and supplements in the world can’t outmatch the benefits of sleep for the immune system, especially when sick with a fever. We all know getting kids to sleep is a challenge (although maybe less so when they’re not feeling well).

Yarrow, catnip, mint, and chamomile are all fever-reducing herbs mentioned above that also promote good sleep. (Herbs for the win again!) I use them all in my Sweet Dreams Sleep Tincture even when the kids are healthy. The same herbs make a great blend for tea, or there are several good  sleepytime teas on the market with these ingredients. Again, the quality of the brand matters.

How to Make Herbal Tea for a Fever

I know we’ve covered a number of choices here, so here’s a simple place to start building an herbal arsenal, from sources I trust. Or, you may already have these teas!

If you’re unsure how to make herbal tea correctly, here is a guide from the excellent blog Growing Up Herbal (the expert I mentioned above) to teach you how to make the perfect cup of herbal tea every time!

For other immune-boosting tea recipes, try:

Elderberry Tea – Cinnamon and turmeric (warming and stimulating herbs) work together with the power of elderberries in this simple herbal tea.

10 Health-Boosting Herbal Teas– These are the herbs I keep in bulk and use for teas and tinctures both for sleep and immune support.


Fever Calming Herbal Tea Recipe

The calming tea I make to help offer some relief during fevers and mild illnesses. This soothing combination of herbs helps support the body and offers relaxation and relief. 
Author Katie Wells




  • Place herbs in a cup or in a tea ball or strainer.
  • Boil water and pour into the cup.
  • Cover the cup with a plate to keep the steam and important oils in. 
  • Steep for 10 minutes.
  • Strain tea through fine mesh strainer or remove tea bag.


Sweeten with 1 teaspoon honey, if desired.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

When I Do Get Concerned About a Fever

I’m not a doctor, but based on my research I seek medical care for a fever when:

  • A child under three months has a fever over 100.4 or exhibits any serious symptoms
  • Child exhibits a fever over 104 as this can signal a more serious infection or poisoning
  • Fever for more than two consecutive days
  • The ill person has other symptoms like stiff neck, listlessness, or sensitivity to light
  • The person is unable to hold down food for more than a few hours or shows any signs of dehydration
  • Person exhibits any sign of respiratory distress (seek immediate help)
  • Person has been exposed to toxins or poisons that may have caused the fever
  • And as always, if my mother’s intuition says there is something more serious going on, even if the child appears fine.

This article was medically reviewed by Madiha Saeed, MD, a board certified family physician. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

Do you use herbal teas during fevers? If so, what kind of tea do you use? Share your secrets with me in the comment section below!

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


34 responses to “6 Benefits of Using Herbal Tea During a Fever”

  1. Rachel Avatar

    Are the herbs mentioned in this article safe to use while nursing?

    Any tips for helping a toddler drink the tea other than putting honey in it?

    Are these herbs safe for a baby and how much would you give at certain ages: 3 months, 6 months, etc. ?

    1. Wellness Mama Avatar

      I would avoid peppermint while nursing. Making the tea into popsicles may help a toddler be more interested. I would not give this to a child under 1 year.

  2. Vernell Avatar

    Thanks so much for this great post on herbal teas to reduce fevers. Thanks also for the great reference list of teas that can be used- great resource!

  3. Vince Avatar

    Natural solutions are always powerful, especially for issues like a fever. It’s easy to feel powerless is situations like these but I can see how the tea would work. Plus honestly, there isn’t much to lose. If nothing else, it’s a healthy drink that doesn’t contain sugar.

  4. Tabitha Avatar

    My name is Tabitha and I have a fever of 103.3 and this has been going on now for the last 5 days. I found some jasmine herbal tea in my friends pantry. Will this type of tea also help with bringing my fever down??? If so can i put some pure honey in my cup with it with a lil bit of sugar in it for a better taste and make it a lil sweeter? If my fever does not brake by tomorrow morning i am going to have to go to the E.R. Thank you guys for ur responses.

  5. Susan M Avatar

    A catnip tea enema will bring a fever down. If you dont have catnip tea, then give a garlic enema.

    Read in book: Prescription For Nutritional Healing.

    The catnip enema works! Brought their fever right down.

  6. Jody Avatar

    I made a batch of fire cider this year that contains lots of garlic, onion, horseradish, ginger, and other herbs along with vinegar and honey. It seems to chase whatever ails ya away! Have you tried it?

  7. Tesen Avatar

    Have you looked into Honeysuckle tea? There is scientific evidence that it acts as a virological penicillin to fight flu.

  8. Rick Avatar

    Tea is great and has manny health benefits, I use an Immune Booster Tea from Herbal Tea Direct which has many viral properties and such.

  9. ntombi Avatar

    Thank you so much, I had fever today, and I bought the herbal teas made of lemon and ginger, the staff is.great I dont.think I will go to the doctor again because I have natural remedy

  10. Nae Avatar

    My mum would always make us camomile tea with lemon & honey when we were sick. If I feel I’m coming down with something I immediately make myself a lemon drink with honey. I have a lemon tree that is always laden with fruit so I squeeze a lemon and warm it on the stove until just before boiling point. Then I add plenty of raw honey to taste and dilute with some water as it is pretty strong. Gives you a huge vitamin c boost and I find that the illness/cold is far less severe and of a shorter duration.
    For a cough I find that thyme tea is a good expectorant and my 2 year old toddler even likes the taste of it without honey.

    1. Meagan Avatar

      I love the fresh lemon and honey remedy you shared Nae! That works great for coughs too! And yes, thyme is a great anti-microbial herb. I’ve really only heard of it being used for respiratory issues (it seems to have an affinity for that sort of thing), but I can totally see it being beneficial for other things as well! And that’s great that your little one will take it without sweetener. I love it! Thanks so much for sharing!

  11. anna kasior Avatar
    anna kasior

    I grew up drinking stinging nettle tea for almost every illness. It tastes fantastic and is awesome for adults, kids, and pregnant women. We also covered the chest and head with raw cabbage leaves. They sucked out a lot of toxins and eased the misery. I recall getting the cabbage wraps as a young child when I was very ill. My grandparents just kept changing the leaves for fresh ones in between cooling baths to reduce the illness and discomfort.

    1. Meagan Avatar

      Thanks for sharing Anna! Nettle tea is very nutritious and high in a good bit of vitamins and minerals… making it perfect for when illness strikes. I don’t know much about cabbage leaves, but I have heard of them being used a lot… mainly for mastitis while nursing, but for a few other things as well!

  12. Lizbeth Avatar

    Hi – can you recommend the best ginger tea or it’s better to make it from scratch (recipe??), thanks

    1. Meagan Avatar

      Hi Lizbeth,
      I personally prefer making my own ginger tea using boiled water over a small slice or two of fresh ginger root. You can adjust it depending upon how strong you want it. As far as teas you buy in a store go, Traditional Medicinals would be who’d I’d go for first. I’m sure they have a ginger tea. Hope that helps a bit.

  13. Diane Avatar

    I used to drink ginger tea with fresh lemon and honey. It’s a very great digestive aid. I always prefer to drink herbal tea everytime I’m sick. Thank you for this article.

    1. Elizabeth Avatar

      Diane, you are right. I am a big fan of Ginger tea with raw honey and lemon in this situation.

    2. Meagan Avatar

      Yeah, ginger is a great option because it’s a stimulating diaphoretic which means it promotes sweating and that’s a great, natural way to keep fevers from getting too high. Plus it tastes great! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Ashlee Avatar

    Every time I’m sick, I drink Echinacea tea with raw honey for immune system boosting. It tastes awesome and always feels so good on a sore throat! My toddler even likes it, so if it’s toddler approved, you know it’s good.

    1. Meagan Avatar

      Sure… echinacea is always something I use and give my kids when they come down with any kind of sickness as it boosts the immune system into gear quickly. My goal is to always help the body heal itself, and echinacea is a great way to get that process moving along. Thanks for sharing!!

  15. Cassie Hower Avatar
    Cassie Hower

    Thanks Meagan. Just wondering if fresh ginger in warm water would be a good option. Maybe with a little lemon and honey (or I use rice malt syrup in place of honey) to make it more palatable for them.

    1. Meagan Avatar

      That sounds like a great option Cassie! Fresh ginger in bath water works great for fever reducing detox baths as well. Just remember to keep your kiddo consistently drinking liquids!

  16. Peggy Spencer Avatar
    Peggy Spencer

    Thank you for this! I’ve been on my way to living more naturally, and traditionally, including getting into essential oils, and herbal teas. I have a 15 month old and a 27 month old, and we’ve all been in various stages of illness this past week. It’s hard to break the habit of giving Tylenol or Motrin when they had their fever. They get so miserable with the fever.
    I’ll need to try this next time! The peppermint oil under the arms, helped too.

    I think the part of the fever bothers me as a Mom is that they are so miserable…any tips on that part? (So I can toss the NSAIDS once and for all)

    1. Meagan Avatar

      Peggy, you’re right. Little ones usually are pretty miserable when they don’t feel good and they have fevers, but one benefit to that, at least that I’ve noticed with my children, is that it keeps them still for a period of time so their body can work on getting better.

      It seems like when you give an OTC fever reducer it will drop a child’s fever, they feel better and are ready to play and be wild again, but if you let them keep the fever or if you work to lower it naturally (if it’s really high) without getting rid of it totally, it allows them some time to stay still and a bit more calm so that they can rest and give their body time to heal.

      So as far as working on how miserable they are, what I do is that when my child is sick is we spend lots of time cuddling, reading books, watching movies they like, they can play games on the iPad, v-reader, or tag, we color, we play with playdoh, and other things like that. I try not to get them out and about. We stay home in our jammies, take fever/detox baths, and do things that don’t require lots of energy. As kids get older they do tend to do better with fevers than when they’re smaller so my advice would be to just stick with it and find those things that they enjoy doing with you that make them happy and do that when they’re sick. Hope that helps some!!

      1. Lisa Avatar

        For a 3 yr old having fever, do you recommend combining the 3 herbs (ginger, catnip and elderflower)? How many tablespoon for a cup of water? And how much to give at a time and how often? Is it ok to give this tea if I just given Tylenol / Advil? Thanks so much!

  17. Ren Avatar

    This is really great. I don’t usually get fevers and I usually let myself sweat it out. But I love this (and your linked post on not reducing fevers) because you give lots of great tips on how to manage the experience, in the meantime. Thanks for sharing, Megan!

  18. Ren Avatar

    This is really great. I don’t usually get fevers and I usually let myself sweat it out. But I love this (and your linked post on not reducing fevers) because you give lots of great tips on how to manage the experience, in the meantime. Thanks for sharing, Megan!

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