The Homeopathic Treatment of Influenza: Surviving Influenza Epidemics and Pandemics Past, Present and Future with Homeopathy
By Sandra Perko, PhD, CCN
Benchmark Homeopathic Pubns, 2005
“Shut the doors! Stay out of public places! Take aspirin!. . . Influenza is on the way!” This was the battle cry of conventional medical and public health authorities throughout the world when the earth’s most widespread and tragic pandemic annihilated millions. Undeniably, the Spanish Flu of 1918 rivaled the devastation of the plague of the 14th century. The world hadn’t seen the likes of it before nor has it since. Some authorities are certain of its return. That is why the author of The Homeopathic Treatment of Influenza has spent so much time on the connection between the epidemic of 1918 and the next big influenza.
But don’t be put off by the Chicken Little opening to this riveting book by Sandra Perko. And prepare for the first few chapters to be white knucklers in the realization that, given the scientific evidence, the tragedies of the Spanish Flu of 1918 could certainly take another foothold. However—and I mean a big however—the author also includes commanding substantiation of the curative role homeopathy played during that 20th century pandemic. She also includes instructive chapters aimed at treating influenza homeopathically for the general public.
Dr. Perko unfolds the fascinating account of the homeopathic versus conventional medical methods. At the turn of the last century, approximately thirty to forty percent of the physicians in the U.S. were homeopaths. While the allopathic (conventional) doctors stood helplessly by as their patients died, (the influenza of 1918 would claim upwards of 39 million victims worldwide) their homeopathic counterparts were administering safe and gentle homeopathic remedies that proved to be powerful indeed. And their results were astonishing, reports Perko. These doctors treated the afflicted in large homeopathic hospitals (where homeopathy was used exclusively), in city dwellings, factories and the countryside. And they were successful in keeping their patients alive and in eliminating much suffering. In the aftermath of the 1918 influenza, while the allopaths were still scratching their heads, the homeopaths assembled for their annual convention to evaluate sound data. In 1921 at the 77th convention of the American Institute of Homeopathy in Washington, DC, Dr. T.A. McCann from Dayton Ohio informed his distinguished homeopathic colleagues that he had collected statistics of 24,000 cases of the flu treated by conventional means. In these cases a 28.2 percent rate of mortality was reported.
Meanwhile, homeopathic physicians had treated 26,000 cases of the flu solely with homeopathic means, and reported a mortality rate of only 1.05 percent. Another report was offered by Dr. Frank Wieland of Chicago, who noted that in the plant where he was employed, of 8,000 workers, “We had only one death. We used no aspirin and no vaccines. Gelsemium was practically the only remedy used.”
The reports of many doctors from New York to San Francisco and many towns in between substantiate homeopathy’s ability to thwart even the deadliest of flus in the history of mankind, and in a most impressive manner. An interesting aside in Perko’s book concerns the use of aspirin, which was the drug of choice for the allopaths. It took another fifty years for conventional medicine to comprehend aspirin’s devastating effects when used to treat viruses. In 1957 Reye’s syndrome was discovered as the cause of illnesses and deaths related to viral infections which had been treated with aspirin.
The homeopath understood only too well the danger of using conventional medications in any form during such an illness. Sandra Perko devotes one chapter to the distain of homeopathic doctors for the use of aspirin while recounting the link between the large number of deaths associated with the use of this drug. Could a simple remedy such as gentle little Gelsemium have thwarted the attack for so many? You bet! In fact Dr. Perko has gathered the recommendations of homeopathic physicians from around the world to compile a list of the top remedies used for influenza from 1918 to the present. Many homeopathic physicians recommended Gelsemium, each doctor unaware that others were doing the same in other corners of the world! Truths are universal. As a practicing homeopath, this book stirred me with another historical example of homeopathy’s ability to stand up to illness, even to epidemics. It will likely comfort any reader to know that there are proven remedies at hand. I’d recommend it as a tool to protect loved ones from the potential “Big One.”
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly magazine of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Fall 2009.