Last Modified on Jun 18, 2014
The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is part of the herpes family of viruses and a very common infection. In many cases infection causes no symptoms, but in late youth the infection can cause infectious mononucleosis (aka mono or "the kissing disease"). Later in life, EBV infection seems related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The virus is further associated with two forms of lymphoma and with multiple sclerosis.
Most people have in fact been infected by Epstein-Barr but developed antibodies that protect them from disease development. For those that develop symptoms from Epstein-Barr later in life the exposure simply did not occur in childhood. Exposure later in life may not result in symptoms, but for some it can create life-threatening or otherwise impactful health conditions.
Home Remedies: If the Epstein-Barr virus has created Chronic Fatigue symptoms, some have tried Essiac Tea, colloidal silver, and olive leaf extract to kill off the virus. Natural anti-inflammatory treatments should also be considered for those with active infection by the Epstein-Barr virus.
[YEA] 07/10/2010: Dezi from San Jose, CA: "I have battled chronic fatigue for more than 20 years. Sometimes it's baffling; it comes and goes. However, I have managed to keep working all this time because of the natural remedies I've used. The XMRV viral connection makes sense to me. I had Epstein-Barr virus. I treated this with the essiac fomula very successfully, and I am due for another brewing. It might be worth a try. It turns my energy around with a week of taking the brew morning and night on an empty stomach. Essiac is said to kill viruses and cancer cells in the bloodstream. I'd like to add that I took the essiac formula to my cousin and his partner, who had come down with AIDS many years ago. To this day, they still take it, and it has been a literal life saver for them. Chronic fatigue can also have a thyroid component, and also adrenal exhaustion may play a part, or a combination. A homeopathic doctor told me years ago that my mitochondria were dysfunctional. The mitochondria are organisms that live in our cells. They consume sugar and release energy, giving us energy at the cellular level. If this is not working correctly, you will not have any energy being supplied to your body. The mitochondria can be effected by viruses, candida, etc.! I'm currently looking into how to support the mitochondria. Anyone out there have any suggestions for that?"Replies
12/31/2012: Kate from Manassas, Va replies: "Mitochondria are not organisms that live in cells... They are part of your genome.... Handed down from your maternal relatives (maternal dna) (as opposed to nuclear dna, which come from dad)."
03/28/2013: Christy from Whittier, Usa replies: "Dear Kate from MA.. Mitchondria are a structure within a living cell that is responsible for ATP which is a fancy word for energy.. anyone with a basic class in biology would know that."
03/29/2013: Timh from Louisville, Ky, Usa replies: "Dezi: to reenergize the mitochondria supplement with these nutrients: Quercetin, Calcium Pyruvate, and Magnesium Malate."
10/23/2013: Sarah from Kansas replies: "I have just been diagnosed with reactivated EBV, have no idea how long this has been going on but I can say I have felt awful for at least a year. I am beginning essiac tonic today and was curious if this is something you do indefinitely or until you feel better?"
10/24/2013: Mama To Many from Tennessee, Usa replies: "Dear Sarah,
I have heard of people using Essiac Tea indefinitely. Since you have been sick a long time, it seems to make sense that you would take it for a good while. I believe Essiac has Burdock Root in it? Herbalist Philip Fritchey says that Burdock Root needs to be taken long term (at least 3 months) to do its job as a blood purifyer. Personally, I have seen it help in a short time, but when I took Burdock, I took it for at least six months.
You will probably be the best judge of how long to take it. If you feel better and wean yourself from it and begin to feel worse, go back on it and wait longer to go off of it.
Also, you might consider adding extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil to your treatment plan. My son had mono a few years ago (also cause by EBV) and was very sick. I did lots of natural things but nothing was helping. Within 2 days of starting him on coconut oil he was significantly improved. I had him taking 1 Tablespoon twice a day, though some recommend you start with less and build up th that. (He was 17 at the time and probably weighed 130lbs.) Anyway, our experience was that coconut oil (a great anti-viral) was effective against EBV.
Hope you start to feel better soon. Please keep us posted on your progress!
~Mama to Many~"
10/24/2013: Dave from Fountain Inn, Sc replies: "Hello Sarah,
If the Essiac Tea doesn't help kill the EBV, try colloidal silver. Since this EB Virus is, as you say, re-occuring, that means it's likely system wide and if this were me, I'd be taking the CS for a year or longer.
Good luck on the Essiac though. Let us know how it worked."
[YEA] 03/20/2008: Rathmussen from Montreal, Canada: "I recently read that people who suffer from chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia benefit remarkably from cortisol treatments (75 per cent showed significant improvement, and 62 per cent reported substantial improvement). This is because they have adrenal dysfunction, meaning their adrenal glands, which produce sex hormones and cortisol, don't work effectively. I suspect this is due to viral damage. Cortisol is that stress hormone...you get a shot of it in fight or flight situations for a quick burst of energy, decreased pain sensitivity, etc. Proper levels are important for proper glucose metabolism, regulation of blood pressure, insulin release for blood sugar maintanence, immune function and inflammatory response. Maybe this is why when you exercise it makes it worse because your cortisol levels should increase with aerobic exercise to help deal with the wear and tear. The bulk of cortisol release happens when we sleep, which would also explain why you might not wake up feeling refreshed. If you read up on cortisol, you'll see that if you don't have enough, you just don't have access to energy to burn.
I would definitely try the cortisol therapy, but perhaps there is a more natural way to stimulate the adrenal glands. Research has found that the nutrient Phosphatidylserine (PS) helps balance both high and low levels of cortisol. Usually our brains manufacture sufficient levels of PS, but if there is a deficiency of folic acid and vitamin B12, or of essential fatty acids, the brain may not be able to make sufficient PS levels. So get lots of fish, ridiculous amounts of dark green vegetables, and even rice and soy (or lecithin, I imagine). You can find PS supplements...they used to make them from cow's brains, but now they make a soy lecithin-derived one. (Phew!) At the very least, this nutrient would help with brain fog.
(My interest in chronic fatigue stems from having the Epstein Barr virus. I couldn't shake the fatigue for years and years. I did find getting fish oil and a teaspoon of chlorella everyday finally produced some results, which I would recommend to absolutely everyone!)"Replies
10/08/2009: Susan from Stroudsburg, Pa replies: "In response to mentioning cortisol treatments for chronic fatigue. I did this, but only for 9 months, as I was suffering from chronic fatigue after mold exposure which caused adrenal burnout. I would not suggest this for everyone. You have to realize that when you choose to do this, it shuts down your adrenal glands. And you risk the possibility of having them not be able to function again on their own. I did not know this when I started the treatment. I gained over 50 pounds as a side effect which was not fun. I can honestly say, it was a temporary help on an energy level, maybe in fact much needed, but I still was not able to function up to par. After 9 months and finding out I risked not having a functioning adrenal glands at all if I stayed on the drugs, I chose to go off of the, I consulted my M.D. about weaning me off of the cortisol, and he agreed. (Note: I did a saliva adrenal test first before being placed on the cortisol). As I weaned off the cortisol, I took a regiment of Adrenal support, Cod Liver oil was also taken 1 tablespoon in the a.m. (as EFA's are important),other supplements, Traditional Weston A. Price Diet, as well as Phosphatidylserine at bedtime, along with a pill called 7 flowers. Sleep is very important...So getting to bed at 9:30 or 10 the latest....was part of my regiment. (your body repairs itself from 10 pm to 2 am) Avoid caffeine and sugar as this stresses and stimulates the adrenals. And if your adrenals are not functioning...caffeine stays in your body much longer, because the body can't function properly to get it out.
If your adrenals are not functioning, then chances are neither is your thyroid, or hormones. It's all CONNECTED. Adrenal fatigue, I have found can not be self diagnosed or messed with without first getting adrenal saliva testing, hair analysis, thyroid and hormone testing. And all has to be addressed according to each persons body chemistry. It is all a delicate balancing act. I tried many avenues of trying to help myself, but found relief after finding the right holistic doctors who understand natural therapies and proper testing. Doctor who helped me Dr. Bogazot."
07/07/2013: Piyush from Delhi, India: "Hi there, my wife (32 yr age) is having Epstein-Barr Virus–Induced Hemophagocytic Lymphohistiocytosis and currently stable with etoposide chemotherapy. Do you have any specific natural solution to this? Thanks, Piyush"
12/14/2012: Hoke from Oakland, Ca: "Anyone know how to treat Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis caused by EBV virus?"Replies
03/14/2013: Hoke from Oakland, Ca replies: "Alternative treament for HLH (Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis). Please stop chemo and taper off the steroids. These are toxic and ineffective. Follow protocol below... try for three weeks and you should see the effectiveness......
2 to 3 oregano oil softgels 150mg after meals or 2 to 3 times a day.
2 Olive leaf extract 750 mg after meals or 2 to 3 times a day.
These herbs can save your life. You should see the ferritin levels drop and platelets go up. Nothing to lose, just give it a try. God bless you!"
10/27/2013: Matthew from Bellingham replies: "My wife has been diagnosed with EBV, and looks like she is experiencing HLH (lots of inflamation and pain).
I have found that turmeric is helping, along with pineapple bromeline. Also, there is a herb I ran across which may help. Mandrake root (aka Mayapple). I found a homeopathic remedy that has this, it is Boiron's podophyllum Peltatum. It appears that may apple is the plant that etoposide is derived from. Etoposide appears to help ameleorate HLH from EBV.
Thanks for the oregano oil and olive leaf extract suggestions, we will give them a try as well.
[YEA] 12/18/2008: John from Hazleton, PA: "I am in month 8 of fighting a reactivated Epstein Barr infection. I am gradually starting to feel better, although not 100% yet. Here are my strategies for combating the illness:
1) Cut way back on sweets, sugar hampers your immune system.
2) Ate a lot more fruits and vegetables.
3) Limit caffeine, switch from coffee to green tea.
4) Quit alcohol.
5) After about month 5, I quit using my steroid nasal spray. Steroids lessen your immune function. Also I believe it was adding to my anxiety.
6) From month 3 to month 6 I took L-lysine - 2 500mg pills 3 times per day.
7) Olive leaf extract, 1 500mg capsule 4 times per day for its antiviral properties (started in month 5).
8) Monolaurin, 1 capsule 4 times per day - antiviral (started in month 4).
9) Astragalus, 1 capsule 4 times per day for immune help (started in month 6).
10) A multivitamin 1 per day.
11) I take about 2 tablespoons of coconut oil every day.
12) Apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon in a pint of water daily.
13) I recently started magnesium, 1 250mg tablet 4 times per day. It is supposed to have a calming effect and promote restful sleep.
14) Also, I recently started fish oil, 1 1200mg capsule 4 times per day. Among its many benefits, fish oil is said to help brain function and lift one's mood.
15) Pray...a lot. ask others to pray for you too.
I am not sure which, if any, of these supplements/strategies helped. Maybe it is just the passage of time and my body's own healing process that is making me feel better, but I want to help that process along as much as I can."Replies
03/06/2012: Terri from Fresno, Ca replies: "I am a 59 year old woman. I have ulcers in my colon for at least 2 years. I try to stay on a very clean diet. No bread, sugar, processed foods ect. I've tried every natural remedy I can find to try to cure this. It there any thing someone has tried that worked?"
12/14/2012: Hoke from Oakland, Ca replies: "Hi Terri from Fresno, Ca. Please try Aloe mucilaginous polysaccharides (AMP) for ulcers. IT worked for my friend."
Ted from Bangkok, Thailand: "The easiest treatment and simplest treatment for herpes is to use fresh olive leaf or use olive leaf extract. However, in practice I used more than one just to make sure they don't come back again.
Since I am talking about olive leaf, this is also used against Epstein-Barr Virus and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as well, due to its antiviral properties. As a result, I have cut and paste portions describing in more details the oleuropeins found in olive leaf -- see below. I suspect that olive leaf extract when mixed with apple cider vinegar would increase its antiviral potency, especially when you have the common colds or pneumonia coming.
For those already against vaccination the olive leaf can be eaten regularly as a protection against other deadly viral diseases as well."
EC: Read more about Ted's remedies for herpes here: http://www.earthclinic.com/cures/genital_herpes.html#TED
11/01/2008: Emmy from Laguna Woods, CA: "Hi how come you don't have a section on Epstein Barr Virus? I would really like to know what people have been doing for it. Thanks!"
EC: Thanks for the suggestion, Emily. New page has just been created for EPV!
11/03/2008: Joyce from Joelton, Tn replies: "Hi Emmy, I would be trying L-lysine 2000mgm. (2 grams) 4 times a day for EPS or any other virus first. It hits a lot of viruses. Of course this is the adult dosage. I would also be hitting the Vitamin C 1 gram every hour while awake up to 10 grams per day. You will get some GI upset with more than l0 grams per day."
12/04/2008: Emmy from Laguna Woods, CA replies: "Thanks for adding the page! I am trying alot of different things on my friend with EBV will let you know if anything works! :)"
10/04/2012: David from Greenville, Sc replies: "On any viral infection, if other remedies and medical treatment fail, try colloidal silver. Silver can kill a virus. You can buy silver at a health food store. For a virus that is "system wide" you'll have to take the silver solution daily for many months to knock the virus out body wide.
Also, any virus that is system wide is likely in the sinus and ear canal. Place about a tablespoon full in the palm of your hand or use an ear syringe, and sniff up sinus on both sides. May sting a bit on more dominately infected side. Will sting a lot with a bad infection. Use syringe to squirt into ears also. Basically, this is a sinus "irrigation.""