Smallpox is a highly contagious viral disease.1 There are two types of smallpox. One is a serious illness that can result in death if not vaccinated.1 The other is more mild and is unlikely to cause death.1 In the 1970s, the World Health Organization (WHO) launched a program to mostly wipe out smallpox viruses, and they succeeded.1 The virus was announced eradicated in 1980.2 However, there are samples that have been saved for research.3 No smallpox cure currently exists, but the saved samples may help scientists understand the virus better in the case that it’s ever used for biological warfare.3
Smallpox is caused by a virus and spread through saliva droplets or clothing.1 It can also spread through the scabs that form on the rash, which is why sharing clothing or bedding from an infected person can cause the virus to spread.1 Viruses stay alive for 6 to 24 hours.1 Due to the WHO program that eradicated the disease, it’s extremely rare to contract smallpox today. Those at risk include scientists who handle the virus or people in a location where the virus is released as a biological weapon.1 Vaccines are no longer given for smallpox, and it’s unknown if people who once received a smallpox vaccine would remain immune should an outbreak occur.1
Smallpox symptoms include a high fever and rash.4 It usually takes about 12 days for smallpox symptoms to appear after being infected.4 Early symptoms can include headache, backache, and fatigue.4 Vomiting might also occur.5 Approximately two to three days later, a red rash appears over the skin.4 This rash turns into fluid-filled blisters that later fill with pus.5 The rash then scabs over, the scabs fall off, and it leaves scars.4
Should a smallpox outbreak occur, there are several smallpox herbal remedies believed to help fight symptoms. These smallpox herbs include:
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Tansy is an herbal remedy for smallpox. It can be taken as an infused drink or can be used as a wash to treat skin. Add 1/2 – 1 full teaspoon of dried tansy herb to 1 cup of water. Drink 3-4 times daily for up to 7 days.
Yarrow is a traditional remedy for many conditions including smallpox. Yarrow herbs can be brewed into an herbal tea and drinking daily to help heal smallpox.
Lady’s slipper is an herbal remedy for treating smallpox. Lady’s slipper can be taken orally as a tea. Add 1 teaspoon of lady’s slipper herb to 1 cup of hot water and drink daily.