Homeopathic Treatment of Flu and Other Epidemics
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With flu season looming, it is useful to consider how homeopaths deal with epidemic diseases. While the homeopathic treatment of disease is generally an individualized process, the treatment of epidemics is usually more straightforward and streamlined. Indeed, it is the success of homeopathy in treating epidemics that led to its popularity and spread worldwide during the 1800s. In essence, the strategy is to treat each epidemic as a single case of disease. This is possible because most people who fall prey to an epidemic tend to have the same symptoms.
The treatment process goes something like this. First, homeopaths gather the symptoms of several patients (not just their physical symptoms, but their emotional, mental, and behavioral symptoms as well) and come up with a small set of remedies (usually between 2 and 5 remedies) that best match this collective set of symptoms. Often, homeopaths work together to find this key set of epidemic remedies, which is called the genus epidemicus. Then, when a particular client comes in for treatment, it is relatively easy to choose which one of this small set of remedies best fits them. Over time, if one particular remedy predominates as the curative remedy, it can also be used prophylactically to prevent the disease in the first place.
Here are a few more important points about this process:
1) Not every instance of the same type of epidemic will have the same genus epidemicus. Thus, one flu season may be cured by a particular set of remedies, and another flu season will be cured by another set. Nevertheless, because specific remedies may repeatedly come up for a particular disease, these remedies can often be used prophylactically with success.
2) The kinds of symptom information provided by conventional medical sources like the CDC is, unfortunately, insufficient to determine a good genus epidemicus. That is because emotional, mental, and behavior symptoms are omitted, as well as the particularities of physical symptoms that are so key for making a good homeopathic prescription. These include: time and speed of onset, causative factors, lethargy vs. restlessness, thirstiness vs. thirstlessness, patterns of heat and sweating in the body, the specific nature of excretions, sleep patterns, things that improve or aggravate symptoms, as well as many other kinds of symptoms essential to homeopathic prescribing.
3) Homeopathic treatment of epidemic disease does not require precise identification of the cause of a disease to be effective. This is because treatment is based on the symptoms being experienced, not on the identity of the virus, bacteria, parasite, or other pathogen. Indeed, this is a very handy and wonderful aspect of homeopathic medicine!
Common Flu Remedies
Below are a few of the most common flu remedies, along with some differentiating features.
The number one flu remedy (also the remedy that was curative for the 1918 flu epidemic). Totally weak and prostrate, almost paralytic weakness. Droopy eyes — can hardly keep them open. Legs weak and shaky. A slow onset. Flu might be preceded by worry over an upcoming event or task. Bursting headache beginning in the neck and back of head. Aching muscular pain. Thirstlessness. Chills up and down the spine. Better from fresh air and urinating.
Irritability and oversensitivity, especially to noise and light. Flu might be preceded by anger or indignation, or be precipitated by overwork. Very cold. Wants to stay under the covers. Desires warm drinks. Shivering. Headache from noise and light. Fatigue and collapse. May want to keep working even when sick. Stomach upset, gas, diarrhea.
Sudden onset of fever, with chilliness, anxiety and great restlessness. A remedy to consider after patient has been exposed to cold, dry weather or a fright.
Intense aching and painful limbs and back, bones feel like they were broken. Bursting headache. Dare not to move because of the pain. Shivering with chills in back. Chill begins 7-9:00AM. Eyeballs sore.
Very anxious, restless, and thirsty. Fear of death, being left alone. Worse from midnight to 2am. Exhaustion after the slightest exertion.
Very irritable. Very thirsty for cold drinks. Worse from any movement or noise. Pain from moving eyes. Wants to lie quite still and be left alone. Headaches and pain better from pressure. Can have great pain in the head when coughing.
Rapid onset. Sinks rapidly into stupid state. Dull red face; patient looks drugged and out of it. High temperature with red face. Drops asleep while answering questions. Gastric flu: sudden attacks of violent diarrhea and vomiting. Great prostration.
Flu that comes on after cold wet weather. Aching and stiffness in joints, worse from first movement but better after continued movement. Restlessness. Better from warmth. Anxious and weepy.
Good to consider when none of the other flu remedies match well. A mid-grade fever — 102-103F. Flushed face. Headache better from cold applications. Burning sensation in eyes. Stuffiness. Nose bleeds. Red swollen throat. Cough better at night. Sour burps, vomiting of undigested food. Aversion to meat and milk. Stiff neck. Restless and sleepless. Chill at 1pm. Worse from being touched or jarred.
by Amy L. Lansky