As the cold weather rolls in again it’s probably useful for most of us who use homeopathy to give some thought to boning up on some favorite treatments for winter illnesses. Aggravations of arthritis, coughs, colds and other winter ailments take their toll, but few of these can have as much impact as the flu. Homeopathic treatment has an excellent track record in influenza. During the global flu epidemic of 1918 to 1919, the mortality rate among those treated by homeopathy was 1.05%, compared to 30% for those treated by the standard medical means of the time1. The author and several noted authorities2-8 have found great relief can be offered to sufferers of the flu by a small group of homeopathic remedies, the main prescribing features, 9-13 for which are outlined below.
Used primarily in the early stages where the symptoms develop rapidly, this remedy is characterised by restlessness, fever, sweating, thirst. Symptoms are worse in a warm room and at night and better for open air (but not in a dry, cold wind).
Copious watery nasal discharge accompanied by a headache, excessive lachrymation, frequent and violent sneezing as well as laryngeal pain on coughing often indicate the need for Allium cepa. Symptoms improve in a cold room or in the open air and become worse in the evening or in a warm room.
One of the world’s most popular homeopathic remedies, Anas barb is often used in the early stages of influenza at a 200C potency every 3 hours for up to 4 doses.
Influenza with exhaustion, chills and restlessness, watery coryza and lachrymation that irritates the skin are indicative of this remedy. The symptoms involved are usually worse after midnight and from cold air, drinks or food as well as wet weather, and better from heat and warm drinks.
Influenza symptoms for those needing Baptisia include a sore throat, fatigue, aching muscles, dull headache, bad breath as well as mental confusion. These issues may be made worse from open air and cold winds and are worse on waking.
Belladonna may be indicated where the sufferer is oversensitive, experiencing from congestion, muscular spasm, fever, insomnia and a sore, dry throat, most of which come on suddenly. These symptoms are better for rest and worse between 11 am to 3pm as well as being worse for noise and draughts.
Joint stiffness, dry throat, irritability, headache, difficulty breathing and excessive thirst in relation to Influenza may indicate the need for Bryonia. Aggravations may arise from coughing or deep breathing and may be improved by cold and rest.
Camphor can be useful for influenza where there is weakness, shivering and coldness even though the sufferer dislikes being covered. These issues may be aggravated by cold air, motion, may be worse at night and are improved for warmth.
Chronic forms of influenza where the symptoms seen include chilliness, congestive cough, hoarseness and dryness of the larynx often call for this remedy. Symptoms are worse for dry, cold winds and better for warmth and wet weather.
This remedy works well where pain is the predominant symptom, particularly pain in the bones and limbs as if the sufferer has had bones broken. Intermittent fevers, chills, restlessness as well as great thirst with dry skin also feature here.
Useful in the initial stages of most febrile conditions; with influenza, the need for this remedy may be indicated by a very high fever with fatigue and inflammation of the affected parts. Symptoms are generally better for cold and worse for motion and worse at night.
Gelsemium is one of the most commonly prescribed remedies for influenza and works most effectively where there is drowsiness, confusion, chills alternating with flushing of heat, and weakness. Worse for damp weather, better for open air and stimulants.
Indicated where there is pronounced irritability, Nux vom is useful where there are violent chills, fatigue, high fever and insomnia. Symptoms are worse for motion, open air and being uncovered, and better for a nap.
Rhus tox is useful where there are aching pains, particularly bone pain, that cause the sufferer to constantly move around. Symptoms also involve sneezing, dry cough, back pain, stiffness and fever. These problems may be better for warmth and worse during rest, cold, draft, or rainy weather.
An irritating copious watery nasal discharge and profound paroxysmal sneezing characterise the Sabadilla influenza. Difficulty swallowing, chills and an itchy nose may also be seen. Symptoms may be aggravated by cold air and drinks and improved by open air and heat.
Sticta may be of use where there is nasal congestion and dryness of the nose, congestive headaches and general catarrhal symptoms that are improved in the open air and aggravated at night and by sudden temperature changes.
1. Winston J, Influenza-1918: Homeopathy to the Rescue, New England Journal of Homeopathy, Spring/Summer, 1998, 7, 1, 1-3.
2. Das RBB, Select Your Remedy, 14th Ed, B Jain, New Delhi, India, 1992.
3. Clarke Dr JH, A Clinical Repertory to the Dictionary of the Materia Medica, Health Sciences Press, England, 1979. ISBN 0-85032-061-5.
4. Dewey Dr WA, Practical Homoeopathic Therapeutics, 2nd Edition, B Jain, New Delhi, 1991. Book code B-2189.
5. Bouko Levy MD Dr Michael M. Homeopathic and Drainage Repertory, Editions Similia, France, 1992, ISBN-2-904928-70-7.
6. Raue CG, Special Pathology and Diagnostics with Therapeutic Hints, 4th Edition, 1896 (B Jain, New Delhi).
7. Knerr KB, Repertory of Hering’s Guiding Symptoms of our Materia Medica. (1997, B Jain, New Delhi). ISBN 81-7021-241-3.
8. Lilienthal S, Homoeopathic Therapeutics, 3rd edition, 1890, Indian Books and Periodicals.
9. Morrison R, Desktop Guide, Hahnemann Clinic Publishing, California, USA, 1983 ISBN 0-9635-368-0-X.
10. Vermeulen F, Concordant Materia Medica, Emryss bv, The Netherlands, 1997 ISBN 90 76189-02-1.
11. Murphy R, Homeopathic Remedy Guide, 2nd Edition, H.A.N.A. Press, Virginia, USA, 2000. ISBN 0-9635764-0-2.
13. Schroyens F, Synthesis, Edition 9.1, Homeopathic Book Publishers, London, 2004 ISBN 1-902575-13-x.
13.. Von Lippe A, Key Notes and Red Line Symptoms of the Materia Medica, IBP, New Delhi, 2001, Book Code No IB0579.