In 2014, the Flu season has been severe with the advent of H1N1 epidemic in the US. In China, authorities are worried that the H7N9 virus would mutate and spread easily from humans to humans resulting in a worldwide pandemic. A single severe flu pandemic could cost the world more that $3 trillion. It would bring shared misery, economic decline, and societal disruptions on a global scale, with the poor and those in fragile states hit the hardest. It is in that background, I have attempted to educate the readers to alternatives. There are many flu remedies in Homeopathy and I have only listed a few. The purpose of this article is for educational purposes. This article is not intended to replace the heath care systems or the Allopathic system of medicine. The remedies listed below can be used both as curative and preventative medication.
Eating certain foods that are rich in Vitamin A & C helps in Influenza:
- Bell Peppers.
- Blueberries lower fevers and help with the aches and pains
- Chilli Peppers can open sinuses.
- Mustard & Horseradish helps break up mucus in air passages.
- Onion: Has phytochemicals that help in clearing infections.
- Rice useful in influenza with diarrhoea.
- Tea: Black and green tea act like natural antibiotics
- Lemon and honey juice boost the immune system
- Cayenne pepper helps keep you warm if you have a fever
- Chamomile tea: gives good sleep and relaxation.
- Peppermint tea is useful when sinuses are blocked.
- Ginger is useful for flu with stomach problems
- Thyme is a good herb in coughs.
- Oregano: is good for colds and coughs.
- Sage is an excellent herb for sore throats and fevers.
- Cinnamon is an immune booster.
Homeopathy and influenza:
It is generally impossible to pinpoint a few remedies. But, what is fascinating is that during an influenza epidemic, a remedy or two will work marvellously during an epidemic. This remedy is sometimes referred to as “Genus epidemicus”.
- This remedy is useful in a sudden onset of the flu with great anxiety and fear.
· Symptoms come on very suddenly, especially after exposure to a dry, cold wind or from an emotional alarm or fright.
· The individual is very restless
· High fever, dry cough, sore throat and feeling of great worry and fear
· It is very useful in Pneumonia of a sudden onset.
· It is useful in the early stages of croup.
· The patient always feels better in fresh air
Worse: in a warm room, in the evening or at night, lying on the left side, hearing music, when exposed to tobacco smoke.
· Other uses: any situation where the person is scared, such if they just witnessed something terrible, were just involved in an accident, etc.
· This remedy is useful when the Flu is associated with a feeling of soreness, as if bruised internally and externally
· The patient complains that the bed feels too hard.
· Desires sour drinks and alcohol.
· Other uses: This is the main initial remedy for acute injuries and accidents. It is a great remedy for bumps, bruises, sprains, strains, cuts, etc. It is commonly given to patients before and after surgery to improve outcome, decrease bleeding and bruising and promote healing. It is a great remedy to have in your emergency kit.
· The patient is extremely restless, oversensitive, anxious and weak.
· There is an acute fear of death. The face is pale with an anxious expression
· There is extreme prostration, which is out of proportion to the disease.
· Very restless, can’t stay in one place. Does not want to be left alone
· Burning pains that are better with warm applications
· Thirsty, drinks in small sips often
· Worse between 1 and 2 a.m.
· Vomiting and diarrhea are common. The diarrhea with acrid, offensive, watery stools.
· Desires fatty and sour things, especially lemon
· The patient is called as a GOLDEN HEADED CANE PERSONALITY. He is too neat, upset by clutter. This is a peculiarity. The patient insists on being spic and span despite his aliments.
· Other uses: Food poisonings and flu’s caused by gastric derangements.
· The patient looks drowsy and drunk.
· The Flu comes on suddenly and is associated with high fever and a feeling of being bruised all over.
· Profuse sweating with a high fever and an intense thirst
· The bed feels hard (Compare with Pyrogenium and Arnica)
· The flu is associated with a stupefying headache, with confusion.
· The fever is associated with a delirium with strange sensations, like as if there is somebody else in bed with him, parts of her body are separated, etc
· Patient smells bad.
· Flu with a high fever, red face and dilated pupils.
· The face is typically flushed. The patient may have a sore throat, eyes wide and staring, pupil’s dilated, bright red tongue, and red throat with white spots on the tonsils.
· Dryness and burning heat.
· Everything is intense and concentrated in the head.
· High fever that comes on suddenly, often as a result of a change in temperature (e.g. becoming chilled or overheated, washing the hair).
· Constriction on attempting to swallow
· Symptoms tend to affect the right side of the body.
· Craving for lemon or lemonade.
· General aggravation at 3 p.m.
· Better: standing, sitting upright, in a warm room.
Worse: any noise, bright light, movement, lying down, night.
· Other uses: streptococcal throat, meningitis, abdominal cramps, menstrual cramps, etc, when the overall picture fits.
· The patient with Flu is extremely irritable and strangely talks about business despite the fever.
· Flu with a severe, throbbing headache, body pains.
· All symptoms are worse from any motion.
· Slow onset.
· Thirst for large amounts infrequently, preferably cold.
· Pains (headache, body pains) better by pressure.
· Lies on the painful part.
· Dryness everywhere, dry tongue, with generally a white coating
· Nose bleed
· Pneumonia, especially of the right side; pleurisy (pain on breathing and coughing).
· This remedy is useful in Dengue fever. It is useful when the fever is associated with severe body pains. The patient feels that the bones are broken
· Feels as if run over by a truck, with pain deep in the bones.
· Bursting headache and sore eyes.
· Thirsty for ice cold water (opposite to Gelsemium, which is not thirsty).
· Chills running up and down the back.
· High fever preceded by chills, especially from 7 – 9am.
· This Flu is associated with chills and paralytic weakness.
· They feel as if run over by a truck.
· This tends to be the number 1 flu remedy.
· Slow onset
· It is a remedy for people who are afraid of a forthcoming task or event such as a public speaking
· Sore throat
· Bursting headache beginning in the neck and which may extend over the head to the eyes and forehead; relieved by copious urination.
· Double vision often before or during the headache. Eyelids are heavy and droopy, can’t keep them open.
· Fatigue, heaviness and dullness. The legs feel weak and shaky and they just want to lie in bed.
· Pain is felt in the muscles
· No thirst.
· Aching muscles
· Chills begin in the hands and feet, and run up and down the spine
· The patient is generally worse in the early morning and last thing at night, in the sun, and when exposed to tobacco smoke.
Better: after urination and fresh air
The remedy Bryonia is also useful in pains, but they are much worse from any movement. The patient requiring Gelsemium does not want to move due to fatigue and heaviness, not because there is aggravation from movement
The patient requiring Eupatorium perfoliatum also feels as if run over by a truck, but the pains are more severe, and they are felt in the bones. In addition, Eup-per patient is thirsty, and Gels patient is not.
Other uses: Anxiety anticipating an important engagement.
· This remedy is useful when the flu is associated with yellow slimy tongue, nasal discharge, ear discharge, and diarrhea.
· Fever with easy sweating
· Cough with easily expelled yellow slimy sputum.
· Thirsty. Averse to hot drinks
· Wants to lie down, but it makes her worse, so she must walk for relief.
· The patient requiring this drug has a Flu and the body has a dirty, smell
· There is increased salivation, offensive breath, and profuse offensive sweat.
· There is a drooling of saliva.
· Filthy tongue, large, flabby, tooth – notched
· Craves bread and butter
· Craves bread and butter
· Worse: night, heat of bed
· Flu with great irritability and over sensitivity. Easily offended, angry, cold.
· Irritable, impatient, angry and easily offended.
· Very chilly. Chilliness on the slightest movement. On the slightest exposure to the open air, shivering and chilliness for an hour; dreads to go out into the open air. The slightest draught of cold air chills the patient. He cannot get warm. The chill is not relieved by heat or by bed coverings. The patient wants to be completely covered
· Very sensitive to light, noise and odors.
· Shivering and chilliness immediately after drinking
· This is essentially useful for fast track modern day executives who are fastidious.
· Such people want everything done in a particular manner and will not take any less…
· It is useful when patients collapse due to fatigue and states of overwork.
· Other uses: Ailments from overdoing: overeating, overwork, etc.
· This remedy is useful for a Hangover after an alcoholic binge
· The flu quickly affects the lungs, especially the base of the right lung.
· Lots of cough. Bleeding. Bloody sputum, which is bright red.
· The patient craves cold drinks, which may be vomited when they become warm in the stomach.
· Burning, pressure and constriction in the chest; worse lying on the left side; worse lying on the painful side (patient and the cough).
· This remedy is also useful in nasal bleeds, which are bright red.
· Cough, worse talking and laughing
· This remedy suits individuals who become clingy and weepy when sick.
· One-sided chilliness – heat – sweat. One cheek red, the other white.
· There are palpitations with anxiety along with the symptoms
· The patient is compelled to throw off the clothes
· Dry cough at night, better sitting up, worse on lying down again.
· Thick yellow-green discharge from nose. Yellow-green expectoration
· Craves butter, cream, pastries.
· Thirstlessness is almost a key-note symptom of the flu.
· Tearful, craves company and sympathy.
· Worse: external warmth, closed room
Better: open air, outside, slow motion
Other uses: This is one of the most commonly used remedies in children. Whatever the problem (ear infection, teething, cold, etc), when the child is weepy, wants the caregiver next to him all the time and gets better only when held. This is opposite to Chamomilla children, who are often angry and reject kindness.
· This is a master drug for septic states.
· The bed feels too hard, aching everywhere, feels beaten and bruised
· Everything is offensive: sweat, breath, discharges, stool, etc
· The pulse is abnormally rapid for the temperature.
· There may be high temperature with slow pulse, or the reverse.
· Creeping chills in the back, with a thumping heart.
· Bursting headache
· Rapid bed sores
· Extremely restless. Has to keep on moving, rocking, wringing, for momentary relief.
· This remedy is useful in Flu where there is Stiffness and restlessness in the joints that become better with movement.
· The patient is restlessness. Wants to move all the time.
· Aching and stiffness in the joints, worse on first starting to move and better with continued movement.
· Red triangle on the tip of the tongue.
· Intense fever: thirsty: great prostration: weeps without knowing why
· Severe aching in the bones.
· Fear of poisoning. She may refuse taking medicine feeling it is poison.
· Anxiety and fear, which are worse at night.
· Other uses: Sprains, strains, when the pain is better with movement (opposite of Bryonia).
· This is a good remedy where the patient complains of hot, burning sensations.
· This is a well-known remedy for skin irritation.
· This remedy is useful when the fever partially recovers and then relapses.
· Very sensitive to the open air and drafts (opposite to Pulsatilla);
· All complaints become worse from washing and taking a bath.
· The crown of the head is very hot but the feet are cold.
· The soles of the feet burn at night; they must be put out of the bed.
· Hungry and starving at 11am, but not before then
Remedies that are considered in life-threatening cases:
My personal experience in these complicated Flu cases is not too good and I prefer to admit them into Intensive care, especially my older patients. But two remedies are popular with Homeopaths and they are listed below.
· This remedy is called as a “Corpse reviver” It is said to make a nearly dead man alive.
· It should be used in desperate cases, and that too in high potency.
· The patient feels cold; even the breath and tongue are cold; very pale, air – hunger, and yet asks for the windows to be opened strangely, he wants to be fanned.
· Shortness of breath. Must sit up in bed.
· Bloating, indigestion, and tremendous amount of gas.
· This is a frequent ICU remedy, when life seems to be ebbing away.
China (Cinchona officinalis):
· This remedy has shown some promise in Malaria as well as Flu.
· It is useful in ailments resulting from loss of fluids: blood loss, vomiting, and diarrhea.
· Desperate cases
· Debility with chilliness
· Anemic; pallid; weak. Sensitive to touch: motion: to cold air.
· Worse at regular period: alternate days, every third day, every seven days, etc.
· Weariness of the limbs, with desire to stretch, move or change position
· Painless diarrhea with a lot of gas
Even though natural and homeopathic methods are useful and gentle, care should be taken while prescribing these medicines in the elderly and the very young. In both these cases a common cold can turn into a dangerous chest infection and if unchecked can lead to extreme morbidity and even death. In any case, all fevers lasting for more than three days should be investigated properly to rule out any serious disease. As ever, the cautionary statement is that PLEASE DO NOT TRY THESE REMEDIES ON YOUR OWN. PLEASE TAKE THE ADVISE OF AN EXPERIENCED HOMEOPATH NEAR YOU.