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Influenza refers to many strains of viral
illness that are more intense than a common cold, and typically
include fever, muscle aching, headache, and fatigue. Some kinds of
flu have cold-like symptoms with sore throat or respiratory
involvement; others focus on the digestive tract, with diarrhea,
nausea, or vomiting. If a strain of flu with a characteristic set of
symptoms is “going around,” a remedy that matches them can often
be used preventively. When a person is ill, a remedy should be
chosen to match the specific symptoms.
For dosage information, please read the information at the end of
this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional
Guidance” in What
Aconitum napellus: A flu that comes
on suddenly and intensely—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.
Apis mellifica: 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
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 diarrhea may occur. If the flu
is respiratory, a watery, runny nose with sneezing paroxysms and a
dry or wheezing cough are often seen. The person’s head usually
feels hot, while the rest of the body is chilly.
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 pounding headache, a
nagging cough, or other throbbing and inflammatory symptoms. Despite
high fever, the person’s hands and feet may feel cold, or chills
and heat may alternate.
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 cough or stomach pain may be the major symptoms.
Everything feels worse from even the slightest motion. The
person’s mouth usually is dry, with a thirst for long cold drinks.
Eupatorium perforliatum: Flu with
deep pain occurring in the legs or back (“as if the bones would
break”) 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 phosphoricum: 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: Symptoms of fatigue 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. Anxiety, trembling, dizziness, perspiration, and moderate
fever are other indications for Gelsemium.
Nux vomica: When this remedy is
indicated in influenza, the person may have 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
Oscillococcinum (also called Anas
barbariae): Oscillococcinum is one of the common names
used for a remedy that is widely used for prevention and treatment
of flu in the United States and Europe. Research suggests that it
has strong antiviral effects.
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, with a tendency to
vomit when liquids warm up in the stomach, is a strong indication
Rhus toxicodendron: 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, after lying in bed, or
from keeping still too long. Symptoms are relieved by rubbing and
stretching, but especially warmth and movement.
Sulphur: This remedy may be useful
if a flu is very long-lasting or has some lingering symptoms—often
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.
Select the remedy that
most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where
self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a
physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C)
should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually
printed on the label.
physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one
dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue
to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags
significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be
taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and
the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times
an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a
day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be
If no response is seen
within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
For more information, including references, see What
is Homeopathy? and Understanding
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Online is for informational purposes only. It is based on
scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical
experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article.
The results reported may not necessarily occur in all
individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment
with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also
available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented
healthcare practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health
problem and before using any supplements or before making
any changes in prescribed medications.
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