Flu Ammo

Words: Dr Deborah OLENEV

We are right in the midst of the winter flu season and I know it has been traveling around the neighbourhood, visiting my house and my neighbour’s houses. Well, what can we do about it? How do we protect ourselves and our loved ones? How do we hasten recovery? Having just gone through this in my household, I would like to share some defensive and offensive strategies that may be helpful to you.

Here are some ideas of homeopathic and folk remedies for cold and flu.

The best offence is a healthy body? How do you get that? Eat right; sleep well and sufficiently; exercise to keep the vital energy moving; pay heed to your spiritual life; nurture your relationships; and be on a good homeopathic constitutional remedy.

Let’s say you are doing all of this, but yet you wake up one morning, and your nose is running, or you notice a cough that wasn’t there before. This may be the first sign of a cold starting. There are various things you can do to try to nip the cold in the bud at its incipient stage.

Here are a few suggestions.

At The First Sign of Cold/Flu

1] Take Windbreaker. Windbreaker is a Chinese herbal formula put out by Kan Herbs and formulated for children, but of benefit to people of all ages. This formula is only available by prescription, so please let me know if you are interested in this for your family. Many of my clients and their families are using this herbal formula and finding that it does the trick. From my experience, it does not interfere with homeopathic remedies.

2] Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic remedy [use 200C potency] made from the heart and liver of a duck. Taken at the first sign of a cold, it can work very well to nip your cold symptoms in the bud. If you are not on a homeopathic constitutional remedy already, it is fine to take this remedy at the onset of cold symptoms. In many people it works miraculously. If you are on a constitutional remedy, there is a risk that this remedy will interfere with it. The other potential downside of this remedy is that if it does not stop the cold immediately, it can make it more difficult to determine the homeopathic remedy that you need for your flu, as it can mask some of your symptoms.

3] Influenzinum is a remedy formulated anew every year, just like the flu vaccine, which is supposed to contain flu strains that people in laboratories believe are mostly likely to be prevalent that year. The Influenzinum the homeopaths use is usually made to match the flu shot for that year. Which flu shot will be prevalent that year is just an educated guess, but this poses fewer risks than the flu shot, because it is administered in minuscule homeopathic dynamised doses and does not contain the preservatives that the flu shots contain.

Acute Illnesses

As homeopaths we are taught that when a person develops an acute illness, one of the two things can be going on: first, this may be an exacerbation of their chronic complaints. If this is the case, generally speaking, the chronic symptoms may persist during the acute illness, but with the cold, or flu, symptoms added on. In this case, what often helps the patient is a repetition of their constitutional remedy. We are warned, however, not to administer the remedy at the onset of the illness, but at the end, because the flu symptoms can be aggravated initially. From my experience, yes, this does happen, and sometimes it doesn’t happen. What I have seen is that there often is an increase in symptoms for a number of hours, followed by a rapid improvement in symptoms, and also in the chronic health situation as well.

Pure Acutes

The second thing that can happen is that the acute illness is what we call a ‘pure’ acute. In this case, the chronic symptoms of the patient are suspended. For example, if they suffer from chronic back problems, or chronic bad temper, all of a sudden these symptoms are much better and they are a joy to be around. The chronic symptoms are replaced by a new set of symptoms, which are the symptoms of the cold, or flu. When this happens the patient usually needs an acute, or flu, remedy.

Acute Miasm Remedies

How does one know which acute remedy the patient needs? The acute miasm remedies are characterised by a sudden onset of symptoms. They were feeling fine and now they are terrible. This type of illness usually happens to healthy children. They come down suddenly, violently and dramatically with the illness. Two of the most commonly used acute miasm remedies are Belladonna and Aconitum napellus.

Belladonna

Belladonna is characterised by a sudden onset of fever, high temperature, redness of the face, dilated pupils and the patient is ‘hot’ to the touch. This remedy has a 3:00pm aggravation time, a desire for lemons, or lemonade, and excited mental activity, which can include hallucinations. The symptoms come on suddenly, acutely and violently, and the patient can also be violent, with a desire to kick, bite, or strike. They are aggravated by the jar of the bed. They can have throbbing right-sided headaches, and pulsating carotids.

Aconitum Napellus

Aconite is characterised by tremendous restlessness and fear of death. They can have panic attacks and unaccountable fears. Tossing, or turning, in bed is one of the big signs of the need for this remedy. The pains are terrible and drive them crazy. The face is red, hot, and flushed, or they can have one cheek red, the other flushed [like Chamomilla]. The parts can feel numb, tingle and burn. They are worse at night. This illness can often come on after a frightful experience.

Another important thing to be said when selecting an acute remedy for a person is to keep in mind the relationship of remedies. For example:

Calcarea carbonica will often ‘go’ to Belladonna, Pulsatilla nigricans, or Rhus toxicodendron in acute illnesses.

Natrum muriaticum individuals often go to Bryonia alba, or Apis mellifica, in acute illnesses.

Sulphur individuals often go to Nux vomica, or Arsenicum album in acute illnesses.

Sepia officinalis often goes to Nux vomica in acute illnesses.

Some constitutional remedies are also excellent flu remedies, viz., Rhus toxicodendron, Nux vomica, Arsenicum album, and Pulsatilla. In this case, repeating the constitutional remedy during the flu can lead to very good results.

Flu Remedies

We have some excellent ‘flu’ remedies in homeopathy. They are excellent for the flu because their symptoms match flu symptoms very well. The main flu remedies are:

Gelsemium Sempervirens

This is a great remedy for anticipatory anxiety, and for people who are really having a hard time recovering from a flu. They have never felt well since a bout of influenza. The symptoms calling for it are a great feeling of weakness and of heaviness in the lower limbs. They are so weak that they can tremble from weakness. They feel dull, drowsy and dizzy. They are usually thirstless, with profuse urination and their face looks flushed, or dark red. They have heavy droopy eyes. They can have a headache that begins in the back of the neck, extends over the head, with pulsating pains in the forehead and eyeballs.

Bryonia Alba

One of the big symptoms calling for Bryonia is irritability. The patient often wants to be left alone. They are worse from movement, so prefer to lie still. They are also worse from pressure and lying on the affected parts. The patient is usually thirsty for large quantities of cold water and feels better from perspiration and wet weather. They have to hold their head, or chest, when they cough, due to the aggravation from the coughing motion. The mucous membranes are excessively dry. They are often worried about business, or finances.

Eupatorium Perfoliatum

The symptom that will usually guide you to Eupatorium perfoliatum is the bone pains. The patient has an aching in the bones, with a feeling as though they are broken, aching, or bruised. They have to move constantly to relieve the soreness. This is in contrast to Bryonia, which needs to lie still. Another difference between the two remedies is that Eupatorium has scanty perspiration, while Bryonia has profuse perspiration. They can have an intense backache, as if it is broken. Like Bryonia, they also have to hold the chest when coughing and they are often thirsty.

This is a very good remedy for flus and other febrile illnesses characterised by bone pains.

One way to help determine, which of these flu remedies to prescribe, is simply to ask, what is the ‘worse’ thing about this flu for you? If they say the weakness, prescribe Gelsemium; if they say the bone pains prescribe Eupatorium; and, if they say the aches and pains in the body that are worse on motion prescribe Bryonia.

Sore Throat & Asthma Remedies

What if your cold, or flu, has other remarkable features, such as a sore throat, or asthma and breathing difficulties? In the case of a flu with a strong sore throat component, remedies such as Mercurius and its salts, Lachesis muta, Lac caninum and Phytolacca decandra come to mind? If the asthma component is very high, remedies like Arsenicum album, Ipecacuanha, Antimonium crudum and Antimonium tartaricum come to mind.

As you can see homeopathy is vast, and this is just a brief summary of what it has to offer in the flu season to folks who want to stay healthy and are looking for alternatives to taking the flu shot.

Dr DEBORAH OLENEV, CCH, RSHom [NA], is a Classical Homeopath based in Mountain View, California, US. She treats people from all over the world via phone and video conferencing. Dr Olenev has had a passion for homeopathy for nearly forty years and has been in private practice since 1991. She has a vast knowledge of homeopathic Materia Medica, and integrates homeopathy with herbal medicine too. She is the owner of First Aid Cream, where she teaches about and sells homeopathic first-aid creams. She has several years of experience treating autistic children and people of all ages for all manner of health conditions.

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