Sweet Pills For Influenza


Words: Dr Barbara ETCOVITCH 

As summertime comes to an end and the chill of October enters, natives of the Northern Hemisphere start feeling the effects of the shorter days, diminished daylight and colder temperatures. By December, we are layering clothing, wrapping our necks in scarves, donning boots and gloves and spending a lot more time indoors in overheated environments and stale air.

The seasonal fresh fruits and vegetables that were a staple of our diet over the summer months, disappear and our optimal nutrition falters.

All these factors make us more susceptible to contracting one of the many strains of influenza prevalent in the current year.

Fortunately, homeopathy has much to offer in the way of preventing and addressing the prominent fall illness.

The onset of the illness may be rapid, catching us off-guard, so it is best to stock up on the remedies suggested in this article rather than look for them after you’ve fallen ill.

Being vigilant in noting the symptoms of the particular flu that one is suffering from is the key to success. The better we 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 a remedy that produces a similar picture through ‘provings’ in healthy subjects. ‘Like cures like.’

Assessing the symptom-picture includes noting the ‘keynotes’ [the unique characteristics of the remedy], the ‘modalities’ [things that make the symptoms better, or worse], the character of the secretions, etc.

Each indicated remedy is prescribed in a particular potency. Most often for influenza I prescribe the dilution of 200C for adults whose flu has set in and is relatively acute. For babies and children 30C is well indicated. Doses are best repeated when improvement stops, but generally a 200C will have to be given, again, in about 3-4 hours; the 30C in about 2-3 hours. A general rule is: with improvement space the doses farther apart and finally wean off when the illness is on its way out.

The prescribed remedy for acute conditions, such as the flu, are given as dry doses and dissolved under the tongue, away from meals.

As always, anything severe, or confusing, requires a trip to the hospital ER [Emergency Room].

General Prescription For Influenza

Aconite napellus 30C and Belladonna 30C are our first lines of defence soon after influenza strikes. Suddenness is the keynote of both and if one, or the other, is taken at the first ‘sneeze,’ or right at the beginning of the flu, either can prevent progression. They are not as effective, if taken after 24 hours from onset.

Anas barbariae hepatis et Cordis extractum is a remedy found in most North American pharmacies under the label, Oscillococcinum in 200C. It is suitable for all general flu symptoms. It can be repeated 2-3 times a day. Doses should be given at longer intervals as the patient improves.

Influenzinum is a remedy that contains several strains of flu that are expected to appear in a given year and is usually prescribed in 9C. As a preventative for influenza it is given in 200C.

Eucalyptus is one of my ‘go-to’ remedies since, in its provings, it causes most of the common flu symptoms. It is, therefore, homeopathic to influenza; it has also a proven preventative for it. This is one remedy most effectively prescribed in tincture, or in a low dilution, such as 1X and repeated at two-hour intervals, further spacing the doses upon improvement. I often give it intercurrently with Anas barbariae with excellent results.

Remedies With Specific Symptoms


The person experiencing the Gelsemium sempervirens flu and, therefore, requiring Gelsemium as the remedy will exhibit its keynotes of drowsy, droopy, dull, and dumb. This flu has a slower onset and more often manifests in milder weather. The patient wishes to be alone and is worse, if disturbed. The eyes feel heavy, there are shivers running up and down the spine and trembling. The muscles are generally sore, the limbs feel heavy, there is a lack of muscle co-ordination, eyes are sensitive to light and the secretions are clear. The patient is ‘thirstless,’ but there is copious urination which makes them feel better.


The Baptisia tinctoria flu has a sudden onset and the patient becomes prostrated rapidly. It is a gastric flu in which the tongue is ‘dirty,’ the mouth foul and the lips cracked. The patient is restless and tender all over and the bed feels hard. They can have offensive, copious sweat, and be thirsty. There may also be offensive diarrhoea, vomiting and high fever. Concentration is difficult and there is a feeling that the top of the head may ‘fly off.’ It should be noted that Influenzinum will antidote Baptisia. They should, therefore, not be given together. 

Rhus Tox

The Rhus toxicodendron flu has a slow onset and we see a great deal of restlessness — the keynote is a red-tipped tongue. Constant changing of position and continued motion temporarily relieve, but over-exertion worsens. There is staggering when the patient stands. Patients are worse at night and chilly and sensitive to cold draughts which cause sneezing. 


The Eupatorium perfoliatum flu begins rapidly with aching pains all over in the bones — especially, the shin bone. Bones actually feel ‘broken’ and the sufferer may dare not move for the pain. There is little perspiration even though the patient is shivery and sensitive to draughts. Chills are characteristically seen between 7:00am and 9:00am. There is a headache worse for the part being laid on. The patient is sensitive to draughts and extremely thirsty. 


This flu has a slow onset and is generally worse for movement— a keynote of the remedy. The patient aches all over and has a headache that is worse for movement and better for pressure. The Bryonia alba patient is ‘very hot and dry,’ and wants to lie still and be alone. They are very irritable if disturbed. The patient may ramble on about business and even, if at home in bed, say they ‘want to go home.’ They are also very thirsty for large quantities of fluids and like a cool room. The tongue is coated white. Coughing causes pain in the head, or chest. The person suffering from the Bryonia flu is better for absolute rest. 


The Pyrogenium flu has very severe pains in the back and thighs. The patient is very chilly, cannot warm up and is overactive, talkative and sleepless. They are very hot, but sensitive to the least draught. There is restlessness and a terrible, throbbing headache relieved by pressure. They may have a fairly low temperature and rapid pulse, or high temperature and slow pulse. The patient’s heart may ‘thump’ and there may be vomiting after a sip of water. They may feel 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, covering and undisturbed sleep.

Preventative Remedies   

There are certain homeopathic remedies with the ability to prevent the flu from taking hold. My favourite is Eucalyptus. If surrounded by people sick with a flu try Eucalyptus 1X, three times a day, for three days. The other suggested preventative remedy is Gelsemium 30C, three doses, over a period of 24 hours, or three times a day during an epidemic. 

Thuja occidentalis 200C, once a week, and Arsenicum album 3C, morning and night, during an epidemic, may also be used as preventatives.

It is imperative to speak to a professional homeopathic physician for guidance and also the best treatment outcomes.

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.

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