Homeopathy-light years ahead of allopathic (conventional) medicine-has already successfully introduced an influenza remedy made from the hearts and livers of wild ducks. This remedy is still in use today to fight annual winter flu.
While drinking tea one morning, a headline caught the eye of homeopath and author Sandra Perko: “Scientists Say Killer Flu Chances High.” The report said that “although scientists cannot predict when the next pandemic will strike, they have uncovered surprising knowledge of where flu viruses come from.”
Expecting the article to continue with convoluted medical jargon, Perko recounts how she laughed aloud at the next sentence: “Research shows that the breeding place for major flu viruses is in the intestines of wild ducks.”
Homeopathy–light years ahead of allopathic (conventional) medicine–had already successfully introduced during the 1918 pandemic an influenza remedy that was made from the hearts and livers of wild ducks. That remedy is still in use today to fight annual
Like Cures Like
Discovered 200 years ago by German physician Samuel Hahnemann, homeopathy is a form of energetic medicine based upon the theory that “like cures like.” A substance deemed to stimulate symptoms similar to those caused by the illness (for example, onion for runny eyes and nose) is mixed with water, vigorously shaken, and repeatedly diluted until it’s unlikely that even a molecule of the original substance remains. According to homeopathic theory, the energy of the substance is imprinted on the water and triggers a healing response. If the breeding place for avian flu is found in the guts of wild ducks, it makes sense that the homeopathic remedies are found there too.
During the 1800s homeopathy was widely practised in North America, and there were almost two dozen homeopathic medical schools. But homeopathy fell out of favour–in fact was actively discredited–after the American Medical Association was formed to promote allopathic medicine.
The Gathering Storm
Many health and policy experts agree that should avian influenza A, also known as H5N1 virus, mutate into a super-strain that would be easily transmissible from human to human, its virulence could be equal to that of the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed an estimated 5 percent of the world’s population. Not only might tens of millions die, but with workers staying home, air travel minimized, and services and food distribution interrupted, the world’s economies would come to a grinding halt. Approximately 130 people worldwide have died so far from avian flu through animal to human transmission, though in May 2005 several clusters of fatal cases appeared in Indonesia. The virus has yet to reach the shores of North America, but one plane flight might be all it takes.
The conventional method for fighting influenza is vaccination. A functioning H5N1 vaccine is not yet available and is unlikely to be so until months after the first wave of infection. In addition to the exorbitant expense and the potential lack of sufficient doses of the only two currently prescribed vaccines, Tamiflu and Relenza, concerns exist about viral mutation and resistance.
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine by Jeremy Farrar of Oxford University (September, 2005) states that in two of eight patients in Vietnam, the H5N1 virus rapidly developed resistance to Tamiflu, and the patients died within 24 hours.
Lessons from the Past?
The forecast may look bleak, but according to Randall Neustaedter in his book Flu: Alternative Treatments and Prevention (North Atlantic Books, 2004), evidence from the 1918 epidemic offers hope for the future.
Neustaedter compares mortality rates between homeopathic and conventional medical treatments of the time. In 26,975 cases of Spanish flu treated by homeopaths, Neustaedter claims that data show the mortality rate to be 1.05 percent, while the death rate for an estimated 24,000 flu cases under conventional medical care was 28.2 percent. Neustaedter notes that, according to reports published at the time, 30 homeopathic physicians in Connecticut reported 6,602 flu cases with only 55 deaths, and of 8,000 workers treated with homeopathic remedies in a Chicago factory, only one died.
Homeopaths Join Forces
In anticipation of a possible avian flu pandemic, in November 2005 about 150 homeopaths gathered in Paris to collaborate on strategies. Among the concrete actions to emerge from the conference were the creation of an Internet site for homeopaths to exchange breaking information about homeopathic treatments of the avian flu and the formation of a scientific committee with representatives from the various international homeopathic organizations to implement proposed studies and trials. Additionally, one million Euros (about $1.5 million CDN) were donated to the effort by a major producer of homeopathic remedies.
“Given the ease of [using] the Internet,” said Dr. Amalia Punzo of the National Center of Homeopathy in the United States, “it would be easy to quickly determine the genus epidemicu (the remedy specific to a particular disease) by analyzing a representative cross-section of patients and subsequently letting others around the world know what remedies are being successfully used.”
If the avian flu does strike, homeopathic practitioners could be inundated with patients. “The Ontario Homeopathic Association (OHA) has regular contact with its membership via email and the capacity to spread remedy information very swiftly,” explained OHA member Andrea Groff. “We also have a website for public information (see ontariohomeopath.com). If there is a need to instruct laypeople about how to treat themselves homeopathically, I am confident homeopaths will lend support.”
Arsenal of Prevention
In addition to homeopathy, other preventive measures can be taken. “The immune system can also be boosted with antivirals such as echinacea and osha root (Ligusticum porteri) that stimulate natural killer cells and are best taken as a preventive when first exposed to a virus,” advises Jeanine Pollack, herbalist and author of Healing Tonics (Storey Publishing, 2000). “Dry root powder of either or both together can be made into tea or a tincture.” She suggests, as a preventive dose, one dropper twice daily for several days; if sick, one dropper every half hour for the first three to four hours to saturate the system, then ease back to four to six droppers daily.
An extract of elderberries is another supplement scientifically proven to thwart the flu. In a Norwegian double-blind trial, the treated group (four Tbsp/60 mL daily) experienced 90- percent recovery within 48 to 72 hours, while in the placebo group, only 24 percent were improved. An in vitro study found the extract apparently inhibited viral replication.
Don’t forget the old immune-boosting standby, vitamin C. Experts such as Linus Pauling suggest that at the first sign of flu, you should begin taking vitamin C orally, between 1,000 and 4,000 mg per hour until the bowels becomes loose. Once “bowel tolerance” is reached, maintain or slightly decrease the dose until the bowels normalize.
While health is undoubtedly determined by a combination of natural immunity and genetic make-up, whether people succumb to any given illness may also depend on their bodies’ alkaline/acid balance. It has been shown that when the proper pH is maintained (slightly alkaline), the body is less susceptible to communicable diseases.
“To ward off illness it’s crucial to eliminate acidic foods such as sugars, coffee, greasy foods, hydrogenated fats, dairy, and carbonated drinks,” says Nathalie Babazadeh, licensed acupuncturist. “Boost the immune system by exercising, getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and eating properly, which means lots of greens, whole grains, and enough easily digested protein to help build antibodies.”
Because antiviral vaccines may not be effective against resistant strains of the avian flu virus, your best medicine is, as always, preventive medicine.
Homeopathic Flu Remedies
The most prescribed homeopathic remedies during the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic were Gelsemium, Baptisia, and Bryonia.
Other recommended remedies include Eupatorium, Arsenicum, Phosphorus, and Influenzinum.