Please note that information in this posting should not be taken as being a replacement for conventional medical advice.
I’ve been inundated with queries about swine flu over the last week, with worried patients asking about vaccinations, nosodes, suggestions for homeopathic help, and ideas for natural health steps they can take to protect themselves and their families.
Swine flu fear seems to be on the increase, so here’s the latest update from the Phoenix Homeopathy clinic.
The first and most important thing to say is: please don’t panic. At the time of posting, although the virus is unusual in that it’s spreading during warmer summer months, there’s no evidence that the swine flu virus is mutating into a more virulent strain. Homeopaths know that stressors like fear can affect the immune system, so do your best to keep calm, and keep things in perspective. Meanwhile, you can access the latest UK government information and advice here: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Swineflu/DG_177831?CID=SFlu&TYPE=sponsoredsearch&CRE=2 .
Researchers at the University of Wisconsin are reported as saying that the virulence of the swine flu is greater than with normal flu, but it’s hard to know what sources to believe. The UK‘s Independent newspaper reported the UK’s Prime Minister as saying today, “Cases of swine flu in the UK have so far proved to be generally mild in most people but they have been severe amongst a small minority, mostly where patients have had underlying health problems”.
Many homeopaths consider that natural immunity is the best defence to most infectious diseases, and there are concerns that vaccination can cause or worsen health problems for some people.
Human trials on swine flu vaccines are apparently underway.
The Independent newspaper reported today that the UK’s vaccine contracts with Baxter and GSK are worth £155.4 million over four years, which gives pause for thought.
As always with conventional medicine, we can’t advise on the wisdom or otherwise of accepting the vaccination when it becomes available, or what the likely chances of suffering side-effects will be.
Prevention – nosodes
There’s no scientific proof that homeopathy can be used to prevent you catching swine flu. However, some people feel that taking a homeopathic ‘nosode’ may be helpful. A nosode is a potentised remedy which is made from massively diluted and succussed - or energised - diseased matter, but it doesn’t contain actual molecules of the crude substance, so is entirely safe to take, even for babies.
From my understanding of homeopathic philosophy, I have some doubts that homeopathic prophylaxis really makes sense, but as we don’t yet know how homeopathy works, it is of course possible that homeopathic nosodes might be helpful alongside the usual conventional preventative advice like frequent handwashing.
At the moment in clinic, we’re constantly being asked for the swine flu homeopathic nosode, so we’ve bought supplies in for those patients who want to take it. The remedy is available to registered Phoenix Homeopathy clinic patients only, to order: it’s called ‘Cold & Flu with Swine Pneumonia 30c’, and is generally taken three times daily on one day of the week for four weeks, then three times daily on one day every fortnight after that, depending on your homeopath’s advice. (If you’re not a registered patient, it’s best to contact Helios or Ainsworths or one of the other homeopathic pharmacies direct for help and advice.)
Another option (ideal if you already have supplies of the remedies needed) is to take the standard annual homeopathic flu prophylaxis (because homeopathic philosophy is based on treating with something similar to your disease, not something identical, it shouldn’t matter if the Influenzinum you take hasn’t been made from the current virus). With this option, you can either take Anas barb 200c (brand name Oscillococcinum 200c) once per week, or take the combination remedy Influenzinum/Bacillinum 30c daily for three days, then weekly for a month.
Prevention – constitutional homeopathic prescribing
As ever, my best advice is to get some good constitutional homeopathic prescribing, with the aim of helping to stabilise and balance your immune system.
As there may be some risk of the immune system over-reacting and producing a dangerous cytokine storm, it’s best to focus naturopathic efforts on balancing the immune system, rather than boosting it. Whilst herbs like Echinacea and Goldenseal may be safe, it might be wise to avoid these totally, and use the Chinese herb Astragalus instead. As both are included in the Immune-stim blend, so it’s worthwhile putting this to the back of the cupboard for now, and getting in a little plain Astragalus tincture instead.
Other herbs worth considering include Skullcap, Cats claw and St John’s Wort. Green tea, vitamins C and E, freshly-pressed organic apple juice, garlic from freshly-pressed cloves, and turmeric have also been suggested as being of potential use.
Be prepared – add the following to your natural healthcare kit now
Treatment – conventional
As with vaccination, we can’t advise you about conventional medications for swine flu. If you think you might have swine flu, you can check the official advice on the NHS Direct website at http://www.nhsdirect.nhs.uk/ , where there’s a link to a helpful online symptom-checker.
Treatment - homeopathic
Although homeopaths consider that susceptibility (the state of your system) is more important in disease than the presence of an exciting factor (like the virus itself), it makes sense to take steps to minimise your exposure to the virus.
We’re well-used to treating patients via phone and Skype, so if you think you’ve developed swine flu and want some homeopathic help, it’s best to stay at home and call us for a phone or Skype appointment, rather than coming into the clinic.
Please note that in the event of an increased demand for our help, priority will be given to advising patients already registered with the practice, and to children and young people.
Paul Herscu, an eminent homeopath, has argued that the swine flu genus epidemicus (remedy of wide application, suitable for most cases) is the homeopathic remedy Nux vomica. See http://www.hersculaboratoryflu.org/research/swineFlu_1.html . Nux vomica is included in the blue 36 remedy homeopathic self-help kit available from www.Holistic2go.com .
In terms of homeopathic remedies generally, as usual it’s a case of treating what is uppermost, and choosing the homeopathic remedy to match the patient and their most marked and characteristic symptoms. The self-help booklet in your homeopathic remedy kit will help, but from the symptoms of swine flu collected so far, homeopathic communities worldwide are predicting the following remedies to be useful in swine flu cases. Many more remedies may get added as the time passes and we collect more information.
Please note that this information is hypothetical and has not been tested in the field.
Homeopathic remedies marked with an asterisk are included in the blue 36 remedy self-help homeopathic kit available from www.holistic2go.com . Other remedies mentioned are available from Phoenix Homeopathy (registered patients) or from www.holistic2go.com or Helios Homeopathic Pharmacy ( www.helios.co.uk ).
Aconite*: A intense flu, with sudden onset with fever, anxiety, constricted pupils, and strong thirst, is likely to respond to this remedy. The person may feel fearful or agitated, and the fever can alternate with chills. Symptoms are often worst around midnight. Exposure to cold wind or a shock of some kind often precedes the illness.
Anas barb (Oscillococcinum): often given routinely in flu cases, in alternation with the indicated remedy.
Ant tart*: Shaking, loose cough, with oppressed breathing, which is relieved by expectoting; gastric symptoms.
Apis*: This remedy may be helpful if a person has dry fever that alternates with sweating, facial flushing, and a very sore throat with swollen tonsils. Pain may extend to the ears, and the eyelids may be swollen. Exposure to cool air and cold applications may bring relief. Despite the fever, thirst usually is low. The person can be very irritable, disliking interference.
Arnica*: A person who needs this remedy during flu feels shivering all over the body. Heat and redness of head, while rest of the body is cold. Limbs and body ached; as if beaten, as if sprained. Bed feels too hard. Sore, lame, bruised feeling all over the body. Respiratory symptom includes paroxysmal cough aggravated in night and during sleep. Pneumonia; approaching paralysis.
Arsenicum album*: A person who needs this remedy during flu feels chilly and exhausted, along with an anxious restlessness. The person may be thirsty, but often only takes small sips. If the digestive system is involved, nausea with burning pain, or vomiting and acrid diarrhoea may occur. If the flu is respiratory, a watery, runny nose with sneezing paroxysms and a dry or wheezing cough are often seen.
Baptisia: Looks drowsy and drunk. Flu with sudden onset and high fever and a feeling of being bruised all over, the body and limbs feel as if they are scattered. Profuse sweating with a high fever and an intense thirst. Dull red face, looks dazed and sluggish as if they may fall asleep at any time. The bed feels hard . Stupefying headache, with confusion. Delirium with strange sensations, like as if there is somebody else in bed with him, parts of her body are separated, etc. The keynote of the remedy is every discharge is very offensive.
Belladonna*: Sudden, intense symptoms including fever, red face, hot skin, and extreme sensitivity to light and jarring suggest a need for this remedy. The person may have a very red sore throat, a throbbing headache, a tickling short throbbing cough, or other throbbing and inflammatory symptoms. Despite high fever, the extremities may feel cold.
Bryonia*: When a person is very grumpy and feels miserable with the flu, wanting only to lie still and be left alone, this remedy is likely to be useful. Headache, muscle aches, and coughs or stomach pain may be the major symptoms. If the digestive system is involved, nausea and faintness when rising up may occur. The key note of the remedy is everything feels worse from even the slightest motion. The person’s mouth usually is dry, with a thirst for long cold drinks.
Eucalyptus globules: This remedy may be helpful during flu with high fever. As compared to high temperature the pulse is not so strong. Stuffy nose with watry coryza. Excessive saliva with slow digestion. Acute diarrhoea preceded by sharp pains. Acute nephritis, complicating influenza.
Eupatorium perf: Flu with aching pain, with soreness of flesh in back and in bones of extremities, often responds to this remedy. Pain may be felt in the eyeballs, with a heavy sensation in the head. Illness often begins with chills and thirst, followed by high fever. Chills may be felt the back and legs, and the aching in the bones is worse from motion. The person feels “wiped out” and miserable.
Ferrum phos: This remedy may be helpful during flu with fever, headache, rosy cheeks, and a feeling of weariness. Sensitive eyes, a short hard cough, strong thirst, and vomiting after eating are other indications. This remedy is often helpful in early stages of flu or fever, even if symptoms are not especially clear.
Gelsemium*: Dullness and achiness that come on gradually, increasing over several days, may indicate a need for this remedy. The face feels heavy, with droopy eyes and aching. A headache may begin at the back of the neck and skull, and the person may feel chills and heat running up and down the spine. Complete absence of thirst is a keynote for the remedy. Anxiety, trembling, dizziness, perspiration, and moderate fever with chill are other indications for Gelsemium.
Kali sulph: Fever with easy sweating . Yellow slimy tongue, nasal discharge, ear discharge, diarrhoea. Cough with easily-expelled yellow slimy sputum. T hirsty. Averse to hot drinks. Wants to lie down, but it makes the patient worse, who wants to walk for relief.
Lachesis*: Feels worse after sleep; fever worse in afternoon; sweat without relief.
Merc sol*: Increased salivation, offensive breath, profuse and offensive sweat. Filthy tongue, large, flabby, with indentations from the teeth. Thirsty, craves bread and butter. Worse: night, heat of bed.
Nux vomica* (possible genus epidemicus – see above): When this remedy is indicated in influenza, the person may have high fever, violent chills, strong nausea and cramping in the digestive tract (or a painful cough and constricted breathing if the flu is respiratory). Headache usually occurs, along with oversensitivity to sound, bright light, and odors. A person who needs Nux vomica is often very irritable, feeling worse from exertion and worse from being cold in any way.
Phosphorus*: When this remedy is needed during flu, the person has a fever with an easily-flushing face, and feels very weak and dizzy. Headache, hoarseness, sore throat, and cough are likely. If the focus is digestive, stomach pain and nausea or vomiting usually occur. A person who needs this remedy often has a strong anxiety, wanting others to be around to offer company and reassurance. Strong thirst for the cold water, with a tendency to vomit when liquids warm up in the stomach, is a strong indication for Phosphorus.
Pulsatilla*: Chilliness that comes and goes; chilly areas of the body. Chilly in a warm room. One-sided chilliness with heat and sweat. One cheek red, the other white. Palpitations with anxiety: must throw off the clothes. Dry cough at night, better sitting up, worse on lying down again. Thick yellow-green discharge from nose. Yellow-green expectoration. Craves butter, cream, pastries. Thirstless. Tearful, craves company and sympathy. Worse: external warmth, closed room; Better: open air, outside, slow motion.
Pyrogenium: Septic states. Extremely restless. Has to keep on moving, rocking or wriggling, for momentary relief. The bed feels too hard, aching everywhere, feels beaten and bruised. Everything is offensive: sweat, breath, discharges, stool, etc. The pulse is abnormally rapid for the temperature. High temperature with slow pulse, or the reverse. Creeping chills in the back, with a thumping heart. Bursting headache. Rapid bedsores. Feels as if someone else is in his bed. Consciousness of the heart beating.
Rhus tox*: A person who needs this remedy during flu feels extremely restless. Fever is accompanied by bone and muscle aches. Sore throat, red tongue, a teasing cough, and nausea and bloating are other likely symptoms. Soreness and stiffness may be felt all over, with improvement from hot showers or from getting up and pacing. A person who needs Rhus tox usually feels worse when waking up, beginning to move, after lying in bed, or from keeping still too long. Symptoms are relieved by continuous motion, rubbing and stretching, but especially by warmth and movement.
Sabadilla: Lachrymation in open air, when looking at bright light, when coughing or yawning. Sleepy in day time; chillyness, with heat of face; cough on lying down.
Sanguinaria: Smell in the nose like roasted onion; wheezing-whistling cough and finally diarrhoea, which relieves the cough.
Sticta: There is general feeling of dullness and malaise with raw throat. Dropping of mucous from the posterior sinuses/down the back of the throat. Dry, hacking cough at night; worse when breathing in.
Sulphur*: This remedy may be useful if a flu is very long-lasting or has some lingering symptomsoften after people have neglected to take good care of themselves. Symptoms, either digestive or respiratory, will often have a hot or burning quality. The person may feel hot and sweaty, with low fever and reddish mucous membranes. Heat aggravates the symptoms, and the person often feels worse after bathing.
Additional homeopathic resources
Information collected by Mexican homeopaths: http://www.hpathy.com/papersnew/galicia-Observations-Mexican-Flu-2009.asp
For more information, contact the clinic .