‘Kissing Disease’

Words: Dr George GUESS

A newspaper item screamed not long ago that New Delhi was literally under the weather as hospitals reported a spurt in viral infections, especially the highly-infectious mononucleosis — also known as the ‘kissing disease’ — which is common in the West. Intermittent rains over a fortnight, as the newspaper report said, were to blame for the rise in cases of regular viral influenza and viral hepatitis, although doctors were surprised to witness mononucleosis — a relatively uncommon illness in developing countries.

Mononucleosis often spreads through saliva and close contact, such as kissing, and, hence, the colloquial name. What’s more, several hospitals reported that they detected cases of mononucleosis, caused by the Epstein-Barr virus, during laboratory tests of patients’ blood and mucous samples.

As in the case of most viral illnesses, mononucleosis, an Epstein-Barr virus infection, stymies the best efforts of conventional [allopathic] medicine. Not so with homeopathy, which has a long and successful track record in treating the ailment — both in its acute and protracted forms, what with its tardy convalescence.

A Case In Point 

A twenty-three-year-old lady presented with the chief complaint of mononucleosis, previously diagnosed by her allopathic, or conventional physician. She had been ill for ten days. She had an excruciating headache located behind the eyes. She ran a fever from about 6:00pm until 6:00am when she would have a profuse sweat. Her neck hurt considerably. She complained of feeling so tired that she was almost unable to hold her head up. Strong nausea precluded her eating much of anything. She was unable to even tolerate the thought of eating. Her nausea was worse after drinking anything and after eating. She felt full after eating one-third of her usual meal.

She had pain in the left upper abdomen on deep inspiration. She also complained of a raw throat, which felt as if it were closing up. Her lymph nodes everywhere felt inflamed and sore. Chills alternated with ‘boiling’ heat when her fever was up at night. During fever she suffered severe headaches in the temples and base of the neck, with stiffness of the neck. She was dizzy and almost fainted during fever.

She was thirsty, but it hurt her throat to drink; hot drinks provided marginal relief. She preferred warm drinks. During fever her legs were so extremely weak that she was unable to walk up and down stairs. She complained of mental dullness and inability to read. She was unable to even hold up a book due to arm fatigue. She had occasional night sweats. During fever her joints ached and her skin felt sore. Her urine was a dark yellow-brown; she thought her skin was ‘yellower,’ her toe nails as well. She was sensitive to light. The midsection of her abdomen was sore to pressure. She also felt anxious, sad and weepy.

Her physical exam showed the following abnormalities: sallow skin, enlarged lymph nodes in her neck and groin; inflamed, swollen tonsils; tenderness of the stomach and right flank; and, minimal enlargement of the spleen.

I prescribed her the homeopathic remedy, China officinalis 200C, one dose. Within a few hours she began to notice improvement in all of her symptoms. Within a day she was significantly better, and after two days essentially well.

On analysis of this case, what was most striking were the stomach and abdominal symptoms, especially the peculiarities pertaining to the nausea. When these symptoms were considered along with her abdominal tenderness, early satiety, and soreness of the skin, China [pronounced keena] presented itself as the most likely remedy. The effect was profound and lasting.

A number of homeopathic remedies can be effective for mononucleosis, each having to be individualised to the case at hand.

However, one should bear in mind that homeopathic treatment is rather complex and not easily accomplished by self-treatment, even when most patients with mononucleosis display some common symptoms — great fatigue, fever, sore throat and enlarged lymph nodes in the neck.

Consultation with a homeopathic professional is imperative to yield the best results.

Useful Homeopathic Remedies 

Calcarea Carbonica. Weakness [especially worse, when ascending stairs/hill], cold sensitivity, sweaty, perspiration [head] at night, anxious, despairing of recovery, complaints could come on from exhaustion and overwork, worse from cold, damp weather.

Carbo Vegetabilis. Great weakness, or collapse, often with air hunger [better in cool air; desires to be fanned — improves breathing], very chilly; intestinal bloating and flatulence [better belching and passing flatus], cold breath, cold sweat, worse lying flat [prefers to sit], and emotional apathy.

Cistus Canadensis. Great cold sensitivity, enlarged cervical [neck] lymph nodes, sensation of coldness in various parts [especially a burning, ice-cold sensation in the nose when air in inhaled], nasal discharge and sneezing, sinusitis, burning sore throat, and craving for cheese.

Gelsemium Sempervirens. Great weakness — verging of tremulousness from weakness, flu-like aching and heaviness of the extremities [and, back], chills running up and down the back, lack of thirst, dull headache over the eyes with difficulty keeping the eyes open, sleepy appearance, chills alternating with heat, and ‘feels better after urination.’

Muriatic Acid. So weak the patient can’t sit up, slides down in bed; sleeps most of the day, waking only briefly to take nourishment; copious sweating on turning to the right side in bed, burning pains, canker sores, and great aversion to meat.

Mercurius Vivus. Alternating heat and chills, clammy perspiration, worse extremes of heat and cold, profuse salivation [offensive; especially, at night during sleep]; coated, dirty tongue showing teeth imprints on the edges, aggravation at night with offensive discharges.



Ayurveda works primarily on the principle of balance, especially of the three doshas, viz., vata, pitta and kapha. There are certain herbs that are quite useful in managing the symptoms associated with the ‘kissing disease,’ viz., Ashwagandha [Withania somnifera], Amalaki [Emblica officinalis], Haritaki [Terminalia chebula], Bibhitaki [Terminalia bellerica], Giloy [Tinospora cordifolia], Ginger [Zingiber officinale], Black pepper [Piper nigrum], and Pippali [Piper longum], among others. It is, however, imperative to consult a professional Ayurveda physician for the best treatment outcomes.


  • Omega-3 fatty acids [fish oil], reduces inflammation and improves immunity
  • Probiotic supplements, containing Lactobacillus acidophilus, are also useful
  • Green tea [Camellia sinensis], has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and immune effects and is just as useful
  • Echinacea [Echinacea purpurea] strengthens the immune system and clears infection.

Speak to your healthcare provider, or nutritionist, for guidance and appropriate dosages.

[Additional inputs: Dr Rajgopal NIDAMBOOR]

Dr GEORGE GUESS, MD, DHt, is a well-known American homeopathic physician with Board Certification in Family Medicine. Dr Guess, who has been practicing homeopathy since 1978, became interested in homeopathy, a few years after completing his family practice residency as MD. He affirms that homeopathy is a gentle, yet potent method of healing. Homeopathy, Dr Guess also adds, appealed to him because of its promise and methodology, which addresses the whole individual — mind, body and spirit. This article is ©Dr George Guess.

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