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Measles is a highly contagious illness caused by a virus. Contagious means the disease spreads very easily. [1]



Measles is caused by a virus. The infection is spread by contact with droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of an infected person. For example, sneezing and coughing can put contaminated droplets into the air. Symptoms occur generally 8 to 12 days after exposed to the virus. This is called the incubation period. Persons with the measles typically have a fever, cough, redness and irritation of the eyes (conjunctivitis), and a rash that spreads. Those who have had an active measles infection or who have been vaccinated against the measles have immunity to the disease. Before widespread immunization, measles was so common during childhood that most people became sick with the disease by age 20. While the number of measles cases dropped over the last several decades to virtually none in the U.S. and Canada, rates have started to rise again recently [citation needed].


  • Sore throat
  • Runny nose
  • Cough
  • Muscle pain
  • Fever
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Tiny white spots inside the mouth (Koplik's spots)
  • Photophobia (light sensitivity)
  • Rash
  • Usually appears 3 to 5 days after the first signs of being sick
  • May last 4 to 7 days
  • Usually starts on the head and spreads to other areas, moving down the body
  • Rash may appear as flat, discolored areas (macules) and solid, red, raised areas (papules) that later join together
  • Itchy

Exams and Tests

  • Viral culture (rarely done)
  • Measles serology


Those who do not have complications such as pneumonia do very well.


Complications of measles infection may include:

  • Otitis media
  • Bronchitis
  • Pneumonia
  • Encephalitis (occurs in approximately 1 out of 1,000 measles cases)

CAM therapies for measles


The following ingredients can be mixed.

  • 125 mg of Shringa Bhasma.
  • 125 mg of Swarn Amakhshik Bhasma.
  • 120 mg of Kasturi Bhairava.
  • 250 mg of Saubhagyavati.

It can be taken and repeated after an interval of 4 hours. [2]

Herbal Remedies

Flavonoids, plant compounds with potent biologic activity, are believed to help fight viruses. Rhusflavanone, from the wax tree (Rhus succedanea L.) has demonstrated benefit against measles. Calendula flower ( Calendula officinalis ) has shown antiviral activity in test tubes and is thought to enhance the immune system, although it has not been studied against measles specifically. It is also used to reduce rashes such as the one that is a symptom of measles. A tea can be made by steeping 1 - 2 g dried flowers in one cup boiling water followed by straining and cooling. It can be taken three cups per day. Elderberry ( Sambucus nigra) also has shown antiviral properties in studies. Dose will vary with different formulations, so a qualified herbal prescriber may be consulted to determine the right dose. Spicebush (Lindera benzoin) is a remedy used by Native Americans of the Cherokee nation for measles. Herbs that boost the immune system include Echinacea (Echinacea spp.), Garlic ( Allium sativum) and Goldenseal ( Hydrastis canadensis). Witch hazel (Hamamelis virginia) may be useful to reduce itching from the rash. Adding oatmeal to a bath may also be useful. [3]


Homeopathic medicines are often effective in treating measles, though medical attention should also be sought due to the possibility of complications from this disease. [4] Few studies have examined the effectiveness of specific homeopathic remedies. A professional homeopath, however, may recommend one or more of the following treatments for measles based on his or her knowledge and clinical experience. Before prescribing a remedy, homeopaths take into account a person's constitutional type -- the physical, emotional, and intellectual makeup. An experienced homeopath assesses all of these factors when determining the most appropriate remedy for a particular individual. [5]


Aconite is one of the first remedies for measles; that is, while the case is presumed to be one of measles, and a hard croupy cough are present. Ferrum phosphoricum in many respects is similar to Aconite, and will take its place where restlessness and anxiety are wanting. It is somewhat questionable whether Aconite will ever be strictly indicated in any disease depending on a poisoned or infected condition of the blood, since in its pathogenesis it does not show any evidence of such condition; however, it may be indicated in the catarrhal irritation, sneezing , etc., before the case can be fully determined to be measles. In catarrhal conditions Aconite ceases to be of use after exudation has taken place, and so in measles; it would cease to be of use after it modified the fever, and the eruption appears and the disease is diagnosed as measles. Ferrum phosphoricum will perhaps be the better remedy if there be chest involvement together with the catarrhal symptoms.


Gelsemium is, on the whole, a more useful remedy in commencing measles than Aconite ; that is, it is oftener indicated; there is much chilliness, the fever is a prominent symptoms, the child is dumpish, apathetic, does not want to be disturbed ; there is watery coryza which excoriates the upper lip and nose, and there is harsh, barking, croupy cough, with chest soreness and hoarseness. Gelsemium, too, has an action on the skin and may be continued with benefit after the eruption has appeared; there is an itching and redness of the skin, and a decidely measly eruption produced by it. It has some aching in the limbs, and may be compared with Dulcamara, but seldom be mistaken for that remedy. Gelsemium has more coryza, Dulcamara more aching. Both may be useful in an undeveloped eruption ; Gelsemium when there is pain at the base of the brain , high fever and passive brain symptoms ; Dulcamara when occurring from damp, cool air, rainy weather or sudden changes. Belladonna may be indicated in measles when sore throat is present and the cerebral excitement indicating that remedy, together with moisture and heat; but it corresponds more closely to scarlet fever.


When the catarrhal symptoms greatly predominate Euphrasia may be used. Acrid tears stream out of the eyes, with a red and swollen conjunctiva. The cough is dry and very hoarse, and there is an intense throbbing headache which is relieved on the appearance of the eruption. The excoriating discharge from the eyes will distinguish from Allium cepa. The photophobia of Euphrasia is worse in artificial light , and a brightness of the eyes despite the catarrhal condition is characteristic.


A little later in the disease Pulsatilla symptoms may make their appearance. The fever has subsided or entirely disappeared. There is coryza and profuse lachrymation. The cough is still dry at night, but loosens a little in the daytime. The child sits up to cough. There is much predisposition to earache and sometimes sickness at the stomach. Where there is catarrh of the digestive canal and diarrhoea Pulsatilla will be found useful. The eyes agglutinate and the discharge is purulent. Kali bichromicum is so similar to Pulsatilla in many respects that it may be mentioned here, as the two remedies seem to differ in intensity only. Kali bichromicum has pustules developing on the cornea. The throat is swollen and there is catarrhal deafness. It produces an eruption which closely resembles measles. It comes in very well after Pulsatilla when the patient develops more intense symptoms. Measles associated with ear symptoms and swollen glands especially call for Kali bichromicum, and it is one of our best remedies for laryngeal affections, with a hoarse, dry,croupy cough. Dr. Jousset recommends Viola odorata for the cough. Sulphur is a great measles remedy. It is useful where the skin is dusky and the rash does not come out, or is purplish when it does appear.


In measles which do not run a favourable course, in malignant type or black or haemorrhagic measles we have two or three important remedies. The first of these is Arsenicum. There will be sinking of strength, diarrhoea,delirium, restlessness and debility, petechiae and general typhoid symptoms. The stools are particularly offensive and exhausting. Arsenicum may save the patient in these conditions. Dr. Gaudy, of Brussels, considers Arsenicum almost specific in measles. He says that its action is little short a marvelous. It is prophylactic and curative, and one of the best remedies to remove all sequelae of the disease. It corresponds to the insidious phenomena of severe epidemics of measles. Crotalus may also be indicated in the form known as black measles. Also Baptisia, with its foetor and prostration, may prove useful. Lachesis is the fourth remedy for these conditions. The individual symptom of each remedy will differentiate them, but all four should be studied carefully in these low conditions of measles.


When the eruption does not come out properly, or when it disappears suddenly and grave symptoms appear, there are a few remedies which play a most important role. Stramonium is one of these. In a case calling for it you will find these symptoms: non-appearance of the rash; the child is hot, restless, and on falling asleep cries out as if frightened ; there are convulsive movements and the face is red. Cuprum is indicated in convulsion due to recession of the eruption. It has the same terror on awakening, but its symptoms are move violent than those of Stramonium and the face instead of being red is more apt to be bluish. Zincum has the same awakening from sleep as if terrified, but with Zincum there is much weakness, the child seems too weak to develop the eruption. Bryonia is useful when chest symptoms appear upon a retardation or a recession of the eruption. Too slow development of the eruption with chest symptoms calls for it. Antimonium tartaricum is another remedy for retarded or repelled eruption. There will be great difficulty in breathing, rattling of mucus, bluish or purplish face, drowsiness and twitching.


This remedy comes in well when the rash appears late, or runs an irregular course, and when inflammatory diseases of the chest accompany. The cough is dry and painful , there is soreness of the limbs and body, stitches in the chest, etc. Spasms from suppressed measles when the child is seized with great lassitude and debility, twitching of muscles or of single limbs or if the spasms are preceded by deep and violent coughing and oppressed respiration. For the chest complications a number of remedies may come into use. Sticta, if there be present an incessant dry and spasmodic cough, worse when lying down and a night ; it is a teasing, titillating cough. Phosphorus with its dry, exhausting cough with oppressed breathing. Rumex with its short tickling bronchial cough worse from cold air. Drosera with its whooping-like cough. All these may be indicated in measles. Sabadilla is the remedy when among the catarrhal symptoms there is violent sneezing attended with a frontal headache. It will corresponds to some epidemics and should not be overlooked. [6]

Home remedies

Powdered liquorice root with honey may be given to the patient suffering from measles. A powder of equal parts of tamarind seeds and turmeric may be given in doses of 350 to 425 mg three times in a day. A sponge bath will also help the patient give relief from the disease when the fever is high. Patient can sit in a tub that's partially filled with lukewarm water. Gentle sponge may be provided over the neck and shoulders. Garlic and valerian root may be taken to help combat with measles. Lobelia and Yarrow will also help to aid the healing process. The mixture of lobelia and yarrow can be taken daily. Barley water may also be taken 2-3 times daily. [7]


  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia Measles
  2. Ayurvedic Treatment for Measles
  3. University of Maryland Medical Center - Medical Reference - Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  4. Homeopathic Medicines for Measles
  5. University of Maryland Medical Center - Medical Reference - Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  6. Homeopathic Medicines & Treatment for Measles
  7. Home remedies for measles
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