– Rose Nightingale, Senior Lecturer, CNM
Homoeopathy is a complete system of medicine which is based on the principle of “The Law of Similars” – the principle of like curing like – a substance which can cause symptoms in a healthy individual can also be used to treat those symptoms when they manifest as part of a disease.
It was developed about 200 years ago by a German Doctor called Samuel Hahnemann – a medic disillusioned with the ineffective and often barbaric treatments of the day.
Homoeopaths do not treat physical, emotional and mental symptoms separately but take the view that they are all interconnected as facets of the patient’s suffering. This is what makes homoeopathy a truly holistic and refined art.
Because the central principle requires the use of medicines that are often derived from toxic sources, homoepathic preparations are made in a special way which involves repeatedly diluting and shaking the medicines until they contain virtually no trace of the original substance. Nobody quite knows for sure how homoeopathic medicines work but it is thought that the processes of preparation somehow imprint a characteristic energy pattern or blueprint of the substance onto the water in which they are diluted.
A subtle dose of the correct homoeopathic remedy can act as a key to stimulating the body’s own self-healing powers, working on the energetic level. In fact, it is widely accepted that the more diluted a remedy, the more effective it can be and homoeopathic medicines are available in a wide range of potencies. Another central principle of homoeopathy is the idea of “minimum dose” – that doses of medicine are only required so long as the body is not winning the battle towards recovery. Once someone is improving, a Homoeopath would only recommend further dosing if symptoms started to return or improvement slowed.
Although in most cases it is strongly advised to consult a professional Homoeopath for any ongoing or recurrent illness, there are many minor or first aid complaints which can be treated at home, although some skill is still required in choosing the remedy which most closely matches the patients symptoms.
Although in most cases of the common cold, the body’s own natural immune system is strong enough to make a full recovery without treatment, it is certainly worth considering the use of homoeopathic remedies for more serious winter ailments such as flu. The following are several examples of the most common remedies prescribed for flu, all of which are readily available through homoeopathic pharmacies. To select the most appropriate remedy, take special note of the way the patient feels, their physical and mental symptoms or anything you notice about their appearance. When you have decided on the most suitable from the list below, it is advisable to give the remedy in a potency such as 30c which acts effectively when symptoms are very strong. Give one tablet under the tongue and allow it to dissolve slowly – ideally not within 10 minutes either side of eating or drinking.
Improvement should begin within the next few hours and if things start to get better, there may be no need to repeat a second dose. However, if symptoms relapse or “get stuck” you may need to give several doses over the next few days until a cure is attained. If there is no improvement at all after 2 doses, it is unlikely to be the correct remedy and you will need to re-assess the symptom picture. Remember – giving too many doses may be counterproductive and some of the best cures take place with only one or two doses.
This remedy made from Yellow Jasmine is a very common flu remedy. Symptoms include general prostration, dizziness, trembling, aching soreness and mental dullness. There can be blurred vision, overpowering weakness and sneezing with hot nasal discharge. The patient can be very chilly with a heavy head and flushed face and they may desire to be left alone. A marked symptom of Gelsemium is the tendency to be thirstless – even during a fever.
Made from poison Ivy, this remedy is particularly useful for flu with stiff aching pains in the limbs and lower back which may be made worse on initial movement but better for continued motion. There can be a sore dry throat, chilliness and general restlessness. There can be a metallic taste and the tongue can show the imprint of the teeth.
Made from the element Mercury, this remedy is one of the most sensitive to temperature – like a thermometer! Patients can be as easily chilled as overheated. Particularly useful for septic flu with putrid sore throats, offensive perspiration and breath. Sweat can be oily, yellow and is usually profuse. There can be ulcers in the mouth and throat and the patient is likely to be full of catarrh with swollen glands and thick, swollen eyelids. The catarrh is putrid and green and there can be buzzing noises in the ears. Symptoms often become worse at night-time. Mentally the patient can be either confused or irritable – sometimes even offensive!
Made from the poisonous plant Monkshood, this is one of the first remedies we should think of in a case where the flu had a very sudden onset, particularly when brought on after exposure to cold wind or a mental shock. There is a hot, bursting head, the eyes feel dry and hot as if they are full of sand, with swollen lids. The nose is stuffed up with a watery discharge, there is a bitter taste in the mouth and the breath may be hot. Aconite patients are intensely thirsty during all stages of the fever and may have hot hands with cold feet, a hoarse dry cough and a full, hard pulse. Mentally they are inclined to be fearful, anxious and can even be convinced that they are about to die.
A plant remedy known as “Boneset” because of its traditional use for aching bone pains. This flu has violently aching pains in the bones that make the patient very restless, perhaps even crying out from the pain. Even though there may be a great desire to lie still, the physical discomfort does not allow the patient to do so. All the muscles and bones feel bruised and sore, generally chilly and often very thirsty. The patient may be nauseous and generally better for perspiration.
Made from deadly nightshade, this remedy has marked high fever, often with delirium. Although there is a high temperature the patient may feel chilly in themselves, have great sensitivity to light, noise or any movement. There is a strong pulsation or throbbing felt throughout the body, a great thirst – particularly for lemonade – and bright red face. The headache is hammering and intense.
From the element Sulphur, this remedy is especially useful at the end of acute illnesses when the catarrh has thickened and sinuses are full. There can be frequent sneezing, particularly in the morning or evening with thick yellow mucous in nose, eyes or throat. The patient may feel “toxic” with flu that has got stuck – leaving them debilitated. Pains generally can be burning; there can be flushes of heat and drowsiness. Sulphur is also indicated where the skin has been affected – for example where a rash or sores have appeared.