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General characteristics

General characteristics

Meningitis literally means inflammation ('itis') of the protective membranes that surround the brain (the 'meninges'). The meninges are 3 sheet like membranes that are arranged in layers around the brain and spinal cord. They provide a framework for blood vessels, give strength and support to the many folds and convolutions of the brain and also secrete a fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) which acts as a protective cushion around the entirety of the delicate spinal cord and brain structures.

The effect of the inflammation is to put pressure on the brain or spinal cord, potentially cutting off or reducing the vital supply of blood and nutrients to the brain cells. If the inflammation is prolonged or severe then the affected brain cells can become damaged or die which may lead to permanent brain damage.

Meningitis can be caused by many different things including bacteria (Streptococci, Hib, Neisseria,E.coli, Salmonella, TB etc.) viruses (Coxsackie, Echovirus, Herpes etc.) fungi (Candida, Histoplasma etc.), bleeding into the meninges, an immune reaction to chemical agents (eg. vaccines, pollutants, pharmaceutical drugs), some cancers, physical trauma or concussion (e.g. after a severe bang to the head) and more rarely, protozoa. Symptoms of meningitis include a severe headache, aching joints, stiff neck, shivering with cold hands and feet, vomiting, irritability and the need to be quiet and unfussed, screaming or yelping on being moved or picked up (infants), digestive disturbance (constipation or diarrhoea), pain on moving, sensitivity to light, confusion, mental disturbances or delirium,  seizures, coma, fever, rash (that stays visible when pressed with a glass), septicaemia (blood poisoning) and lethargy/listlessness. The infection can often be mild with few symptoms and a full recovery, especially in viral meningitis. Bacterial meningitis tends to be more serious and lead to a more severe illness often with more complications and a risk of death.

Diagnosis is often difficult by symptoms alone and a sample of cerebrospinal fluid is usually analysed to confirm the presence of a pathogen in the central nervous system.

Healing objectives of viral or bacterial meningitis are to assist the body in dealing with the source of the infection or inflammation, such as with the use of anti-bacterials or antivirals. See a doctor immediately if you have any of the above symptoms or suspect meningitis.

Diet and lifestyle

Diet and lifestyle

This advise is valid for less serious cases of meningitis. Severe meningitis requires hospitalisation and should not be attempted to be treated at home.

Avoid all processed foods and sugary, junk foods, refined carbohydrates, meat and dairy, processed meats, fizzy drinks, alcohol, smoking, etc.

Take only organic, well washed fruit and vegetable juices, diluted with fresh water, to which the juice of 2 cloves of garlic have been added.

Fresh, organic lemon juice, other citrus and berry fruits and small amounts of green leaves diluted with water will provide valuable nutrition and anti-oxidants. Vitamin C is known to protect against the more serious complications associated with meningitis.

Berry fruits can be taken to help protect against developing meningitis.

Useful herbs

Useful herbs

Anti-inflammatory and relaxant herbs that are specific to the brain and spinal cord include lady's slipper, passion flower and black cohosh (a specific for spinal meningitis).

Lobelia tincture at a dose of 30 drops every hour (adult dose) has been known to give relief from symptoms and inflammation.

Echinacea tincture can be given to help combat the infection and relief pain.

A tea containing olive leaves, chamomile, thyme, lemon balm and a pinch of turmeric can help the body to fight infection and ease the inflammation.

Goldenseal is a powerful antibiotic and tonic to the membranes, use a tiny pinch in water of the powder or around 2 drops of tincture.

Natural healing

Natural healing

Applying cold compresses to the head, neck and spine can help to reduce inflammation.
Propolis has anti-viral, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties so add a few drops of the tincture to juices or water several times daily.

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