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Measles is a highly infectious virus disease of the respiratory system very common in childhood. It is so common at this stage of life that nearly all children everywhere in the world go through this brief period of red spots. The disease appears in epidemic form, often in the winter season. Mostly it is a mild infection which will clear up quickly but susceptible children with a lowered immune system may experience more unpleasant effects and, in very rare cases, it can lead to serious complications, including blindness and even death.


The first symptoms which appear during 7 to 14 days after exposure to the virus are feverishness, cold, watering of the eyes and dry cough. Rashes appear on the skin in three to five days after the onset of these symptoms.

These rashes, which consist of small rounded spots with reddened skin in between, initially appear on the sides of the face and the neck and then gradually spread all over the body, appearing last on the extremities. Initially pink in colour, these rashes grow darker as time passes. Measles is usually accompanied with slight fever and diarrhoea. In rare cases of great severity, high fever and delirium may occur.


Complications can arise from this disease including pneumonia, bronchitis and ear abscess. One serious but rare complication is the inflammation of the brain.


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Measles rash



Measles, also known as rubeola or rubella (German measles), is one of the most contagious diseases, caused by a virus that is a member of the genus Morbilli of the Paramyxoviridae family of viruses. The measles virus is so infectious that in cities, children catch this disease before they reach the age of five years. Mothers generally pass their antibodies to their children which immunise them passively. This protection, however, does not last beyond six months.

Measles is easily transmitted in the early stages through the invisible droplets of moisture which are discharged from a patient’s nose or mouth when he coughs or sneezes.

Because of widespread immunization, the number of children who contract measles has declined dramatically. When cases of measles do occur, it is generally because children have not been vaccinated, their immunity has diminished since they received the vaccine, or they have weakened immune systems.


In the beginning of the treatment, the patient should be given juices of fresh fruits like orange, tangerine and lemon frequently. This is sufficient as the child suffers from lack of appetite during this period. They should be kept in a well ventilated room. Pineapple juice and coconut water can rehydrate the body during fever.

As light has a detrimental effect upon the eyes during measles, because of the weakened condition of the external eye tissues, the child should have their eyes shaded or the room should have subdued light.

The treatment should aim at bringing down the temperature and eliminating the toxins from the system. This can be achieved by the application of mud packs on the abdomen twice a day in the morning and evening and repeated application of chest packs.

Lukewarm water baths can be given every day to ease itching. Addition of extracts of neem leaves to this water will prove beneficial.

For pain and itching relief and to promote healing, soak cotton balls in milk and apply to the skin. Coconut milk can be especially soothing and has antibacterial and antifungal properties to avoid infection due to scratching.

As the condition improves, the child can be placed on an all fruit diet for a further few days. Thereafter he may be allowed to gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet. See below.


Certain home remedies have been found beneficial in the treatment of measles. The most valuable amongst these is the use of orange. When the digestive power of the body is seriously hampered, the patient suffers from intense toxaemia and the lack of saliva coats the tongue and often destroys thirst for water as well as desire for food.

The agreeable flavour of orange juice helps greatly in overcoming these drawbacks. Orange juice is the most ideal liquid food in this disease. The juice of lemon is another remedy. It also makes an effective thirst-quenching drink in measles. About 15 to 25 ml. of lemon juice should be taken diluted with water for this purpose. Tangerine juice maybe be more agreeable if the stomach is upset.

Natural food remedies

Aubergine: The seeds of aubergine are stimulant. Intake of half a gram to one gram of these seeds daily for three days can help to develop immunity against measles for one year.

Barley water: The use of barley water has proved beneficial for a troublesome cough in measles. This water should be taken frequently sweetened with the newly drawn oil of sweet almonds.

Coconut water has nutrients that help to cleanse and rehydrate the body which makes it very effective against the measles virus and coconut flesh is rich in anti-oxidants.

Garlic is an effective natural cure for measles. Powder the cloves of garlic and leave to stand for 15 minutes then mix with honey. It may be better to lightly simmer the sliced garlic first to avoid an upset stomach.

Lemon juice: The freshly squeezed juice of one lemon mixed with water can be an effective cure for measles.

Tamarind seeds and turmeric: Grind the tamarind seeds to a fine powder. Mix equal portions of the tamarind seeds powder with turmeric powder. Add 350 gm to 425 gm of this powder to some pure organic local honey and give three times a day. 

Turmeric is beneficial in the treatment of measles. Raw roots of turmeric should be dried in the sun and ground to a fine powder. This powder, mixed with a few drops of honey and the juice of a few bitter gourd leaves should be given to the patient suffering from measles.

Herbal remedies

The herbs below are effective at fighting off the virus and can be useful as a respiratory tonic:

Ashwagandha assists with recovery, energy and stamina.

Chinese rhubarb root: The anthraquinones in Chinese rhubarb root are effective agents against the measles virus.

Liquorice root: Powdered liquorice root has been found valuable in relieving the cough, typical of measles. The child should be given this mixed with honey.

Marigold flowers contain many essential minerals that can help speed up the healing process of measles. Boil three cups of water and add one tablespoon of the powdered flowers. Strain and drink twice a day till the symptoms of measles subside. A teaspoon of honey and freshly squeezed lemon juice can be added for more benefit and to make it more palatable.


Plenty of bottled still mineral water


Any of the following can be added to warm water with freshly squeezed lemon, ginger and a teaspoon of honey.


Steep two or three or more of the following ingredients in hot water for 20 minutes, strain and then sip slowly (three cups a day).


Pure unrefined sea salt or pink Himalayan salt crystals can help during fever and recovery as they contains 92 minerals which the body can lose during sweating and illness. Normal table salt and most sea salt has been refined and stripped of all its essential minerals.



Goat's milk

Yoghurt (plain with live cultures)



Coconut water, fresh pineapple juice and simmered and strained barley water with freshly squeezed lemon juice and a teaspoon of honey.






Ash gourd leaf juice

Brine pickles

Green tea


Olive oil

For fast recovery a micro-diet of sprouts can provide high nutrition in small portions. See the Sprouting page to find out how to grow sprouts in a jam jar on the window sill in five days with just a daily rinse of tap water. This is highly beneficial for children with small appetites.


A slice of raw onion or crushed garlic and olive oil held in place with medical tape and lint on the soles of the feet can bring down the fever.

Chamomile or marigold added to the bath water can soothe the symptoms.

Honeysuckle can be used in a warm bath to relieve the itching.

Indian gooseberry powder mixed with water is very effective in reducing the itching and burning sensation of measles.

Mud packs can help to relieve itching.

Neem leaves ground and made into a paste with water can relieve itching. They can also be added to hot bathing water to relieve itching. Patient should be immersed in the water for at least 20 minutes, for best results.

Rice flour as a poultice can relieve the inflammation of the skin

NOTE: Children with measles should be given complete rest. Hygienic conditions along with the above mentioned treatment will lead to speed recovery. Wash bedding, towels and clothes daily. Unnecessary medications should be strictly avoided especially aspirin and anti-inflammatory pain killers such as neurofen and ibuprofen.

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"Nature cures not the physician..." Hippocrates 460 BC


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