Flu Fighters

Every flu season I brace myself for the onslaught of pharmaceuticals around me: fever suppressants, painkillers, and decongestants. As a homeopath, I see fever, pain, and mucous as healthy immune responses that pharmaceuticals suppress, hindering the body’s healing processes. Instead, homeopathy treats flu symptoms by improving the person’s overall condition.

Homeopathy literally means “similar suffering,” so coined because homeopathic remedies are chosen for their similarity to the sickness being treated. In fact, homeopathy all began when a German medical physician and apothecary, Samuel Hahnemann (b. 1755), tested the curative effects of China officinalis, the herbal medicine for malaria, by taking it himself. He subsequently developed chills, fever, and weakness, flu-like symptoms similar to malaria that disappeared again when he stopped the medicine. Delighted to have found direct proof for the “like cures like” principle, he used it as the foundation for homeopathy.

Over 200 years later, homeopaths still select remedies according to their similarity to the symptoms presented. When choosing remedies for the flu, Hahnemann’s China off. is still used for signs of weakness, bloating, and diarrhea, especially when they recur. Other “flu-like remedies” are often more suitable.

For instance, Gelsemium is the most common remedy when exhaustion and weakness are significant: the eyes feel heavy and droop, and dizziness can develop. Aching and headaches may also be present, but fatigue is predominant.

Choose between Bryonia and Eupatorium when pain is at the forefront. Bryonia is the better choice when every movement is so painful that the person wants to be left alone and lie very still. The mucous membranes are dry, thirst nags at the throat, and headaches may be severe. Eupatorium is helpful for flu’s deep bone pain, which feels as though the bones are broken, often in the low back. Usually, a fever is present.

Use Rhus toxicodendron for an aching flu when stiffness develops, most uncomfortable on first getting up, but temporarily relieved by constant movement. Cold damp weather is often the cause and a restless anxiety is often underlying.

Arsenicum relieves typical stomach flu symptoms that worsen at night and are associated with anxiety and restlessness, chilliness, fatigue, and diarrhea. Vomiting may occur. Sipping warm drinks soothes symptoms.

The popular flu remedy Oscillococcinum works best in the 200C potency at the onset of the flu, before symptoms are well established and before signs for other remedies become apparent.

While painkillers and fever suppressants definitely have their place in some circumstances, homeopathic remedies are the quickest, most natural way I know to relieve flu symptoms.

Dosage Data

Take a 6C or 9C potency every two to four hours, as needed, then less often as symptoms improve. Alternatively, take 30C every four to eight hours but stop as soon as symptoms improve. Remember: in homeopathy, less is better than more.

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