Dr. Weyrich's Naturopathic Functional Medicine Notebook is a collection of information on topics of interest to Dr. Weyrich that may be of interest to the world wide audience. Due to limitations of time, not all information that Dr. Weyrich knows or would like to further research is published here. Dr. Weyrich welcomes financial contributions to support specific research topics, as well as copies of non-free access journal articles for him to review on a topic. Constructive criticism is also welcome.


Overview of Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)

Naturopathic, Complimentary and Alternative treatments for zzz that are considered below include:

  • Herbs to balance and tonify the immune system
  • Homeopathy

Etiology of Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a type of herpesvirus, and is often transmitted via saliva (hence it is sometime called the "kissing disease."). It is also called Glandular Fever or Mono (mononucleosis), or Human HerpesVirus 4.

EBV is a lipid-coated DNA virus which can integrate into host cell DNA and become latent for years before reactivating.

EBV is usually present in B cells, where it can result in lytic infection, with production of virus particles, or a latent infection in which infected B-cells are immortalized.

EBV can also be found in T cells or NK cells.

Cohen JI. Optimal treatment for chronic active Epstein-Barr virus disease. Pediatr Transplant. 2009;13(4):393-396. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3046.2008.01095.x https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776035/

EBV can also be found in endothelial cells

Gershburg E, Pagano JS. Epstein-Barr virus infections: prospects for treatment. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2005 Aug;56(2):277-81. Epub 2005 Jul 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16006448

EBV can also be found in bone marrow cells

Furuya A, Ishida M, Hodohara K, Yoshii M, Okuno H, Horinouchi A, Nakanishi R, Harada A, Iwai M, Yoshida K, Kagotani A, Yoshida T, Okabe H. Epstein-Barr virus-related post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder occurring after bone marrow transplantation for aplastic anemia in Down's syndrome. Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2013 Dec 15;7(1):438-42. eCollection 2014. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24427369

Diagnosis of Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)

Symptoms of the Epstein Barr Virus:

  • Fatigue,
  • Fever,
  • Malaise,
  • Sore throat,
  • Swollen lymph nodes in the neck,
  • Enlarged spleen,
  • Enlarged liver,
  • Rash,
  • Headache,
  • Thrombocytopenia,
  • Anemia,
  • Hypersensitivity to mosquito bites,
  • Hemophagocytic syndrome,
  • Coronary artery aneurysms,
  • Calcification of basal ganglia,
  • Oral ulcers, lymphoma,
  • Interstitial pneumonia,
  • Central nervous system diseases.
About Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV). https://www.cdc.gov/epstein-barr/about-ebv.html
Cohen JI. Optimal treatment for chronic active Epstein-Barr virus disease. Pediatr Transplant. 2009;13(4):393-396. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3046.2008.01095.x https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776035/

Testing: See https://www.cdc.gov/epstein-barr/laboratory-testing.html


Treatment of Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)

Antiviral medications that inhibit EBV replication in the lab are not effective against EBV in humans. One theory why EBV survives drug treatment is that oral antiviral medications are at too low levels to eliminate the EBV that are shed in saliva.

Gershburg E, Pagano JS. Epstein-Barr virus infections: prospects for treatment. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2005 Aug;56(2):277-81. Epub 2005 Jul 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16006448
  • Optimize nutritional status: Vitamin A, B12, D; Take supplements.
  • Optimize diet (various authors suggest): minimize simple carbs including fruits, limit grains (suppress the immune system) Gluten Free,
  • Possible herbal treatments (various authors suggest): Ginger/Turmeric/curcumin (anti-inflammatory, anti-tumor), Lycopene antioxidant), Elderberry (anti-viral), Garlic (anti-viral), Cat's Claw (anti-viral), Licorice Root (anti-viral), Astragalus, Bentonite clay, Echinacea, Olive leaf extract, Colloidal silver, Lemon, Cinnamon, Sage, Turmeric (anti-tumor), Passionflower (anti-tumor), Galanga (anti-tumor), Artemisia lactiflora (anti-tumor),
  • Treat excess Candida: can cause leaky gut syndrome which causes weakened immune system.
  • Clean out intestinal parasites
  • Avoid nuts, especially peanuts, because they are hard for the body to digest and do not do the immune system any favors.
  • Pay attention to your lifestyle factors by making sure you are getting plenty of sleep, rest and relaxation.
  • EBV has the ability to prevent cell death. However, Curcumin inhibited B-cell immortalization in EBV infected cells
    Ranjan D, Siquijor A, Johnston TD, Wu G, Nagabhuskahn M. The effect of curcumin on human B-cell immortalization by Epstein-Barr virus. Am Surg. 1998 Jan;64(1):47-51; discussion 51-2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9457037

Sequelae of Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)

See https://www.cdc.gov/epstein-barr/hcp.html

Cohen JI. Optimal treatment for chronic active Epstein-Barr virus disease. Pediatr Transplant. 2009;13(4):393-396. doi:10.1111/j.1399-3046.2008.01095.x https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2776035/

EBV has been linked to cancer formation in Burkitt's lymphoma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Ascherio A, Munger KL. Epstein-barr virus infection and multiple sclerosis: a review. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2010 Sep;5(3):271-7. doi: 10.1007/s11481-010-9201-3. Epub 2010 Apr 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20369303

EBV is hypothesized to be a trigger for multiple sclerosis.

Ascherio A, Munger KL. Epstein-barr virus infection and multiple sclerosis: a review. J Neuroimmune Pharmacol. 2010 Sep;5(3):271-7. doi: 10.1007/s11481-010-9201-3. Epub 2010 Apr 6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20369303

Oral hairy leucoplakia

Gershburg E, Pagano JS. Epstein-Barr virus infections: prospects for treatment. J Antimicrob Chemother. 2005 Aug;56(2):277-81. Epub 2005 Jul 8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16006448

Pathophysiology of Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)

Herpesviruses, including Epstein-Barr virus and cytomegalovirus, occur at high copy counts in aggressive periodontitis, and may interact synergistically to benefit periodontopathic bacteria by impairing local host defenses; The bacteria, in turn, may augment the virulence of the herpesviruses.

Slots J. Herpesvirus periodontitis: infection beyond biofilm. J Calif Dent Assoc. 2011 Jun;39(6):393-9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21823497

Hypotheses regarding Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)

Liposomal formulation of antiviral herbs may be able to deliver effective doses to treat EBV.


References for Epstein-Barr Virus (Infectious Mononucleosis)