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posted on Monday, April 2nd 2012 6:21 pm

In this part of my preparedness series, I will talk about different common and uncommon diseases, illnesses and other health inflictions that wouldn’t be easily treated during a long term crisis. This is not a replacement for medical advice, it is just my notes on how to cope with the situation using herbs if no medical help was available due to a long term crisis or other disaster scenario. It is intended for educational purposes only. All cases of polio should be assessed and treated by a medical provider.


What is it?

It is a virus which only infects humans. It is more common during summer months in temperate climates. The virus lives in the intestinal tract and the mucus of the nose and throat. 

It should be noted that there is some dispute that polio is caused by a virus and the possibility of polio actually being symptoms of DDT poisoning. For more information, see sources at the end of this chapter.

Why should it be feared?

It is highly contagious. Anyone residing in close proximity of the infected person will most likely contract the virus. It is generally spread through handling the infected person’s stools. There has been some research showing flies may also contribute to the spread of the virus.

Up to 95% of the people who are infected will have no symptoms but will still spread the virus to others.About 2 – 5% of children and 15 – 30% of adults infected with the poliovirus will die from the infection.

Polio can cause paralysis, myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle), high blood pressure, fluid in the lungs, pneumonia and urinary tract infections. 

What should be done?

During normal times, there is no treatment for the polio virus. Supportive care is used to control fever or pain. Fluids are offered to keep the patient from becoming dehydrated and the patient should rest until the fever is gone. For every 3 days of fever, 2 extra days should be spent resting.

For severe cases, medications are given to reduce pain and improve strength. Antibiotics are given for treating secondary bacterial infections, if they should arise. Antibiotics will not do any good for the actual poliovirus. Breathing assistance with a ventilator may be necessary as well.

What are the stages and symptoms?

Incubation Period: 4 – 35 days

While the incubation period runs between 4 and 35 days, symptoms usually start 7 – 14 days after becoming infected with the poliovirus.

Those infected with the virus are contagious 7 – 10 days before and after symptoms are seen and can spread the virus for weeks in their stools.


Up to 95% of the people infected with the virus will have no symptoms. There are 3 types of polio:

I. Minor polio, referred to as abortive poliomyelitis. Minor symptoms last 2 – 3 days with complete recovery and no paralysis or other serious symptoms will occur. 4 – 8% of the people who are infected will develop minor symptoms which include:


Sore throat

Abdominal pain




Flu-like symptoms


2. Aseptic meningitis

Early symptoms can be similar to minor polio symptoms. Then aseptic meningitis symptoms can develop but will improve within 2 – 10 days with complete recovery. It is estimated 5 – 10% of infected people will develop this type of symptoms. Aseptic meningitis symptoms include: 

Stiffness of the back or legs or back/leg pain

Stiffness in neck or neck pain

Increased or abnormal sensations


Muscle spasms


3. Paralytic poliomyelitis

Less than 1% of those infected with poliovirus will result in paralysis. Those falling in this category will begin with other minor illness symptoms plus:


Muscle aches

Loss of reflexes

After several days, the symptoms will improve. 5 – 10 days later, the fever returns and paralysis begins and progresses for 2 – 3 days. Usually, once the temperature returns to normal, the paralysis goes away. The risk of paralysis increases with age. Children 5 and under often have paralysis in 1 leg. Adults often have paralysis in both arms and legs. Most people with paralytic symptoms recover completely and muscle function returns to some degree. If paralysis hasn’t resolved after 6 months, it is usually permanent. Other paralytic poliomyelitis symptoms include:

Painful muscle cramps

Muscle Twitching

Bladder muscles may be disabled, causing uncontrolled urination

Breathing may be affected


There are several types of paralytic poliomyelitis:

Spinal polio 

Most common, affects the nerve cells in the spinal cord and may cause paralysis of the muscles that control breathing and the arms and legs. If neurons are completely destroyed, there will be no recovery from paralysis.

Bulbar polio

Sever type, affects the cranial nerves which control the ability to see, hear, smell, taste and swallow. May also affect the movement of muscles in the face, heart, intestines and lungs. Affects ability to breathe, speak and swallow and can be fatal without respiratory support.

Bulbospinal polio

A combination of bulbar and spinal paralytic polio and can lead to the paralysis of arms and legs and also affect breathing, swallowing and heart function.

Post-Polio Syndrome

Some people who have recovered from polio will contract Post-polio syndrome 10 – 40 years after the initial illness. Signs and symptoms include:

General fatigue and exhaustion after minimal activity

Breathing or swallowing problems

Muscle and joint pain

Sleep apnea and other sleep related breathing disorders

Decreased tolerance to cold temperatures

Muscle weakness in arms and legs that may or may not have been originally affected

What are my options?

Prevention is the best medicine. Cleanliness is best to avoid contracting the disease. Avoid sugar and increase calcium in the diet. Quarantine anyone suspected to be infected. 

Step 1: Kenny packs.

Named after a nurse from Australia who practiced this treatment with her patients. She applied hot water packs to the patients on parts or all of their bodies. Have the patient take hot baths or apply hot water bottles to the body and wrap in wool blankets.

Step 2: Boost the immune system

Vitamin C supplements or herbs high in vitamin C such as pine needle tea (Pinus spp.) and rose hips (Rosa spp.) tea and/or tincture, elderberries, citrus, strawberries, basil, cilantro, thyme, parsley, bell peppers, dark leafy greens, mulberries, passionfruit, tomatoes should be given. 

Echinacea (Echinacea spp.) given hourly (tincture form, 1 dropperful) or alternated hourly with Elderberry (Sambucus nigra) tincture, 1 dropperful, through duration of illness.

Avoid sugars, alcohol (tinctures are ok), and processed foods. Feed patient wholesome food, dark, leafy vegetables, nourishing bone broths, etc. 

Step 3: Herbal Treatments

Antispasmodic Herbs

If patient is having muscle spasms, abdominal cramping or muscle cramps, use any of these herbs you have available:

Tincture or tea, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea as needed unless otherwise noted.

Cramp Bark (Viburnum opulus) 

Tincture can be applied directly to the area and rubbed on like a liniment or taken internally.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Peppermint (Mentha piperita)

Tincture or tea, taken internally. Essential oil can be applied to cramped area, it should be diluted, 1 – 2 drops in 1 teaspoon carrier oil (whatever you have available).

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Wild Cherry (Prunus serotina)

Tincture, tea or syrup, taken internally, 1 dropperful, 1 cup of tea, 1 teaspoons syrup as needed.

Cannabis (Cannabis indica, C. sativa)

Infused animal fat or coconut oil, applied locally to muscle spasms or used as massage oil.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 

Useful for heart conditions, heart palpitations and other problems of the heart. Use if heart problems are suspected. Tincture, 1 dropperful as needed.


These herbs will help soothe nerves that are being attacked by the virus while helping to calm the patient.

St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum)

Tincture taken internally, 10 – 15 drops 3 times a day. Infused oil used during massage.

Milky Oats / Oatstraw (Avena sativa)

Infusions of Oats (both tops and straw) are very soothing to the nervous system. A bag of oatmeal in the hot baths will also help in soothing the body.

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Tincture, 1 dropperful every 2-4 hours or tea, 1 cup 4 times a day.

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 

Useful for heart conditions, heart palpitations and other problems of the heart. Use if heart problems are suspected. Tincture, 1 dropperful as needed.

Sedative Herbs

Herbal sedatives are helpful for treating patients’ anxiety towards paralysis and muscle weakness. Keeping the patient calm is important.

Tincture or tea, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea 3 times per day unless otherwise noted. Can be taken every 15 – 20 minutes for first hour.

Passionflower (Passiflora incarnata)

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis)

Motherwort (Leonurus cardiaca) 

Useful for heart conditions, heart palpitations and other problems of the heart. Use if heart problems are suspected.

Antiviral Herbs

These herbs are antivirals and may help reduce the virus in the body. These can be combined or used singly. Use what you have available.

Tincture or tea, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea 3 times per day unless otherwise noted.

Sage (Salvia officinalis)

Sage is often used in the treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Use if heart problems are suspected.

Catnip (Nepeta cataria)

Calendula (Calendula officinalis)

Tincture, taken internally, 1 dropperful or 1 cup of tea 3 times per day.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

Japanese Knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum)

Studies in China show promise for Japanese Knotweed inhibiting poliovirus. Tincture of roots/rhizomes, 1 – 2 droppersful 3 times a day.

Step 4: Massage and Physical Therapy

This treatment should be reserved for the recovery stage, after the fever lowers. Passive and strengthening exercises, sitting balance and standing balance training all should be incorporated. 

Light massage can be helpful during and after the onset of symptoms. Make a massage oil out of any available oil infused with equal parts of Skullcap (Sculletaria laterflora), Goldenrod (Solidago spp.) and St. John’s Wort (Hypericum perforatum) oil.


Vaccinations: A Thoughtful Parent’s Guide. How to Make Safe, Sensible Decisions about the Risks, Benefits and Alternatives by Aviva Jill Romm pgs. 

Healing Lyme Disease Naturally by Wolf D. Storl, A Necessary Comment Regarding Polio pgs. 80 – 82








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