Beat The Flu

Words: Dr Barbara ETCOVITCH

The onset of influenza usually takes us by surprise, so I give my patients an information sheet listing the primary homeopathic remedies for flu at the beginning of the season and suggest that they stock up on all, so that they have them ready in case they fall ill. The onset of the illness may be rapid, catching us off-guard, so it is best to have them in waiting.

I ask my patients to be vigilant in noting their symptoms, since the better they can observe the symptoms, the closer we can get to prescribing the most appropriate remedy, i.e., one that matches the symptom-picture of the ill-person to the symptom-picture of the remedy. It is important to observe the way of onset, the modalities, and character of the secretions, etc., as well as what factors make the symptoms better, or worse.

I advise patients to take the remedies in the 30C, or 200C, potency. For a flu that is low to moderate in intensity a 30C, 3-4 times a day, should be sufficient. For a flu that is more severe and/or more established, I suggest a 200C, 2-3 times a day. Remedy doses should be further spaced on improvement. As always, anything severe, or confusing requires a trip to a Hospital Emergency Room.

Belladonna & Aconite

The two remedies are to be considered at the beginning of the flu. They are our first lines of defence and if taken at the first ‘sneeze,’ they will often prevent the progression.  Suddenness is the keynote of both. They are not as effective, if taken after 24 hours of onset.

Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum  [Oscillococcinum]

This remedy is found in most North American pharmacies in only 200C and is suitable for all general flu symptoms. It can be repeated at 2-3 times a day; space the doses at longer intervals on improvement. I often give it intercurrently with Eucalyptus with excellent results.


Influenzinum is another remedy that I use as an intercurrent with Eucalyptus. It usually contains three strains of flu that the homeopathic pharmacies feel would be prevalent in the current year and is given in 9C. It should be noted that this remedy will antidote the effects of Baptisia tinctoria.  


Eucalyptus is my first ‘go-to’ remedy since in its ‘provings,’ it causes most of the ordinary influenza symptoms. It is, therefore, homeopathic to the flu and has also been said to be a preventative for it. This is one remedy I prescribe in tincture or in 1X and repeat at 2-hour intervals, further spacing the doses on improvement.

Gelsemium Sempervirens

Gelsemium is the ‘D’ remedy. The person requiring Gelsemium for a flu will be dull, dumb, drowsy, and dopey. The flu has a slower onset and more often comes on in milder weather. The eyes feel heavy, the patient wishes to be left alone, there are shivers up and down the spine and trembling. There is general soreness of the muscles, eyes are sensitive to light, the limbs feel heavy, and the secretions are clear. There is an absence of thirst and the patient feels better after passing large quantities of pale urine.


The Baptisia flu has a sudden onset and the patient very rapidly becomes prostrated. It is a gastric flu in which the tongue is ‘dirty,’ the mouth foul and the lips cracked. The patient finds it difficult to concentrate. They are restless and tender all over. The bed feels hard. They can have offensive, copious sweat and be thirsty.  They can also have very offensive vomiting and diarrhoea, a high fever and a feeling that the top of the head will fly off. It should be noted that the remedy Influenzium, another effective remedy for flu antidotes Baptisia.

Rhus Toxicodendron

The flu has a slow onset. We see great restlessness. There is a constant changing of position which gives temporary relief. The patient is much worse at night, chilly and sensitive to cold draughts which causes one to sneeze. They stagger while standing. There is a red tip on the tongue — a keynote of the remedy.

Eupatorium Perfoliatum

Eupatorium begins rapidly with aching pains all over in the bones — especially the shin bone. The bones actually feel ‘broken’ and the sufferer dares not move for the pain. There is little perspiration, but the patient is shivery and sensitive to draughts. Chills begin between 7:00am-9:00am. There is a headache, worse for the part being laid on. The patient is  sensitive to odours and too thirsty.

Bryonia Alba

This flu has a slow onset and is generally worse for movement. The Bryonia patient is hot and dry, wants to lie alone and still, and is irritable, if disturbed. The patient aches all over and the headache is worse for the least movement and better for pressure. The patient talks of business and ‘wants to go home’ — even if at home. The patient is thirsty for large quantities of fluids and likes a cool room. Coughing causes a pain in the head, or chest.


The Pyrogenium flu has very severe pains in the back and thighs. The patient is very chilly and cannot warm up. He is overactive, talkative and sleepless. He is hot, but sensitive to the least draught. There is restlessness and a terrible throbbing headache which is relieved by pressure. The patient may have a fairly low temperature and rapid pulse, or high temperature and slow pulse. There can be a thumping heart and vomiting, even after a small sip of water. The patient feels beaten all over and the bed can feel ‘too hard.’

Nux Vomica

In the Nux Vomica flu, the patient is intractably chilly and cold — even in bed. The least movement, or exposure, intensifies the cold. There is aching in the limbs and back, the stomach is upset and the nose stuffs up at night. Chills are renewed after drinking. The patient is better for rest, staying covered up and sleep.

Post-Influenza Remedies

Specific post-influenza problems should be addressed by a trained homeopath, who may prescribe one of the following remedies:

  • Post-flu cough — Strychnine 200C
  • Post-flu weakness — Gelsemium 200C; Phosphorus 200C
  • Post-flu partial recovery and relapse — Sulphur

Prevention Of Flu

Several remedies also have the ability to prevent the flu from taking hold at all. My favourite again is Eucalyptus. If surrounded by sick persons with the flu, try Eucalyptus 1X, three times a day, for three days. Other remedies suggested by leading homeopaths include Gelsemium 30C and Rhus toxicodendron 30C, three doses over a period of 24 hours; Thuja occidentalis 200C once a week and Gelsemium 30C, three times a day, during an epidemic; and, Arsenicum album 3C, morning and night, during the epidemic.

Dr BARBARA ETCOVITCH is a Classical Homeopath, Interfaith Minister, freelance writer, and lecturer. She has a BA from Sir George Williams University, a MA in Literature from the University of Ottawa, Canada, and a Diploma in Classical Homeopathy from the School of Homeopathy, Devon, England. She was ordained by the All Faiths Seminary International in New York City in 2004. She has been in homeopathic practice for 30+ years treating human and animals alike, from her office in Montreal, Canada, and worldwide via Skype and WhatsApp.

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