Many viruses cause diseases in humans. Some infect the mucus membranes of the nose, throat, sinuses, eyes, larynx (voice box), trachea (wind pipe) and cause the common cold. The most common virus- the Rhinovirus causes the common cold.
Another group of viruses- the Influenza virus cause the FLU. There are 3 major types of Flu viruses Influenza A, B, C and they include many subtypes (serotypes). Because of many serotypes and immunity produced to the serotypes, mutating and evolving viruses, consequent influenza infections in an individual are produced by different serotypes. Meaning not the same virus that caused the flu in a person one year will infect him the next year. Many times the virus infecting a bird or an animal infects humans and we have cases of bird flu (avian flu), swine flu.
Symptoms of the flu: Though the symptoms of the FLU are similar to that of common cold they are relatively severe and debilitating. Fever, Chills, body ache, muscle aches, headache, nasal congestion, nasal stuffiness, runny nose, sore throat, cough, watery eyes, fatigue, in some cases diarrhea, abdominal pain
Symptoms of common cold: Runny nose, nasal congestion, nasal stuffiness, scratchy or sore throat, fever is uncommon but feverish feeling might be present. Usually self limiting- resolves in 5-7 days
Seasonal occurrence: Colds can occur throughout the year. Flu typically occurs during late fall and winter months.
Factors that promote infections– handling infected objects- doorknobs, books, banknotes, shopping carts, handshakes, coughs, sneezes of an infected person, hand to eye transmission, hand to nose transmission.
Flu may affect few hundred individuals in a country to millions of people across countries (pandemics).
How can Homeopathy help you with the Flu and colds?
1. Make you less susceptible to the virus or prevent an attack-
Constitutional prevention– h/o repeated colds, ear infections, coughs-
6 year old DS came to me with asthma of 4 years with repeated colds/flu like symptoms each winter. He was on the inhalers, nasal sprays and conventional medications for cold and asthma without any improvement. He developed asthma attack after symptoms of common cold. I prescribed him Arsenicum Album 200 to be taken when his symptoms came on and repeat only if the symptoms reappeared. After the acute episode had subsided, I prescribed one dose of Tuberculinum 1M and one dose of Thuja 1M- only 3-4 episodes of common cold though milder as compared to past episodes and practically no asthma. No flu like symptoms in past 2 winters.
2. Preventative for Flu-Homeopathic Nosode- Influenzinum– made of the strains of Influenza A, B, Asian flu virus- to be taken each week or monthly as per your health care practitioner. Consult a health care provider as it is not indicated for people with compromised immune system.
3. Lessen the intensity of the symptoms and make them go away–
Remedies that are useful for the symptoms of the flu are-
Oscillococcinum (Anas Barbariae) – this a generic remedy to be taken as soon you get the first hint of having flu like symptoms.
4. The commonly used remedies for Flu are Eupatorium, Bryonia, Gelsemium, Arsenicum Alba, and Baptisia. Homeopathic prescribing is symptom specific- the right homeopathic remedy can be chosen after a detailed acute homeopathic consult. For e.g. Persons with chills, excessive thirst, muscle aches and bone pains will benefit from Eupatorium.
Those with nasal congestion, headache, excessive thirst and muscle pain will need Bryonia.
Those with fever, extreme fatigue, chilliness, and diarrhea will need Arsenicum Alba and so on……
5. Get rid of the tailgaters of the flu or colds- like fatigue, loss of smell, taste
Mrs. SJ aged 67 yrs who was a diabetic and hypertensive came to me with extreme fatigue of 1 year duration that started after she had the flu in 2009. After detailed history, I prescribed Carbo Veg 30 once a day for 2 weeks. She was able to restart cooking and felt perkier after taking the Carbo Veg. We stopped the remedy after 2 weeks and she takes it only as needed now.
Many patients have complained to me that their general resistance to colds and cough has gone down after they had the flu- Silicea 6 X – a biochemic form of homeopathy- helps to strengthen the constitution.
There were some patients who complained of loss of appetite after the flu– Remedies like Kali Bichromicum, Cinchona, and Antimonium Crudum brought back the appetite when they were prescribed on symptom similarity.
Another common symptom after the flu was mental lethargy and physical inertia– Remedies like Phosphoric Acid and Cocculus Indicus resumed the mental sharpness and physical vitality.
Homeopathic efficacy in Pandemics.
Homeopathy has been a saving grace in various epidemics and pandemics like the plague, cholera. The most impressionable has been the success rate of homeopathy in the Swine Flu Pandemic of 1918 where the death rate was minimal in patients who took homeopathic remedy for their symptoms.
Perhaps the most recent use of homeopathy in a major epidemic was during the Influenza Pandemic of 1918. The Journal of the American Institute for Homeopathy, May, 1921, had a long article about the use of homeopathy in the flu epidemic. Dr. T A. McCann, from Dayton, Ohio, reported that 24,000 cases of flu treated allopathically had a mortality rate of 28.2% while 26,000 cases of flu treated homeopathically had a mortality rate of 1.05%. This last figure was supported by Dean W.A. Pearson of Philadelphia (Hahnemann College) who collected 26,795 cases of flu treated with homeopathy with the above result.
The most common remedy used was Gelsemium, with occasional cases needing Bryonia and Eupatorium reported. Dr. Herbert A. Roberts from Derby, CT, said that 30 physicians in Connecticut responded to his request for data. They reported 6,602 cases with 55 deaths, which is less than 1%. Dr. Roberts was working as a physician on a troop ship during WWI. He had 81 cases of flu on the way over to Europe. He reported, “All recovered and were landed. Every man received homeopathic treatment. One ship lost 31 on the way.”
General steps for prevention of the Flu:
1. Allow plenty of sunlight in your house- it kills harmful viruses.
2. Maintain sufficient humidity in your house in winters- dryness helps the virus to stay active for longer time.
3. Spray Lavender mist on your clothes, door knobs and surfaces that you want to keep disinfected.
4. Live on simple and healthy food like fresh vegetables and fruits- Store up on limes, lemons, oranges, pineapples, grapefruits, tomatoes, sweet peppers- these are packed with Vit C
5. Include garlic, onions, mushrooms, ginger 2-3 times a week, as many spices as you can like cinnamon, turmeric, cloves, black pepper, cayenne pepper,
6. Herbs and herbal teas: Basil, parsley, oregano, thyme. Herbal teas- Tulsi tea, Ginger tea
7. Traditional Indian Kada– This is a traditional drink used in Indian Culture for first stages of cold/sore throat/ nasal congestion: Boil 2 cups of water, to the boiling water add 7-8 Tulsi or Holy Basil leaves, add 1/2 inch fresh grated ginger or 1 tsp ginger powder, 2-3 crushed black pepper corns. Boil till it is reduced to half of what you started with. Strain it and add 1 tsp honey. Stir and sip it till finish. Drink 2-3 cups during the day with 1 cup in the morning.
8. Constitution building grains- wheat porridge, Toor dal soup ( see recipes ), Mung dal Khichadi (see recipes),Tapioca pudding( see recipe) oatmeal, pearled barley, quinoa
9. Warm milk with saffron- for persons who do not have mucus producing colds- a glass of warm milk with a pinch of saffron or spiced milk ( see recipe) strengthens the vitality.
Don’t forget to schedule your wellness checkup with Amishi Natani – call us today at 847-236-1701 for an appointment!