All air-breathing animals are susceptible to upper and lower respiratory tract infections, usually associated with various viral, bacterial or fungal organisms. These include the common cold and different types of influenza (“flu”), usually thought of as associated with “viral” infections, including symptoms currently attributed to Covid-19.
Flu symptoms generally include fever, cough, body pains, headaches and, to a lesser extent, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and nasal congestion. Most cases of the flu resolve naturally and without complications; however, there is a small chance of more serious outcomes in immunocompromised individuals, including outcomes like bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma flare-ups, heart problems and acute respiratory distress syndrome.1 For older adults and people with chronic illnesses, these complications can sometimes be deadly.
Homeopathy has a long history of use in influenza as well as for complications such as pneumonia and respiratory distress. This article will discuss a number of very useful and important remedies that everyone would be well-advised to have on hand—as I was reminded of myself just recently. Freshly invigorated on all levels by attending the absolutely amazing Wise Traditions Conference 2021 in Allen, Texas, in early November, I was promptly felled by a bout of influenza (maybe Covid-19 if you believe the “positive” PCR test result) upon return to my dear homeland of Canada.
Days Two and Three
Two days after returning home, I developed a mild headache and cough, which quickly morphed into a rather severe, splitting headache—and a persistent, dry, hard, bone-shaking, spasmodic, tearing and tickling cough—plus fever over the next twenty-four hours. I was surprised how quickly my symptoms accelerated. I had not had a cough in over twenty years at that point, so this was definitely unusual for me. I just wanted to lie still in bed and not move, which was hard to do with the intense coughing. I had also lost all interest in my usual three to five cups a day of herbal tea and only wanted sips of cold drinks with ice.
Fortunately, every good homeopath would recognize the remedy Bryonia alba here, one of the most commonly used homeopathic remedies in many acute conditions. I took a dose of 30C and experienced almost instant relief of the coughing. What a blessing!
Bryonia alba as well as its cousin, Bryonia dioica (both are used in homeopathy with the same indications), have an affinity for all serous and mucous membranes, the pleura, the meninges, the gastrointestinal tract, the lining of the joints and membranes around the muscles. Once we understand this affinity, its usefulness as a medicinal substance becomes obvious, as pretty much everything in our bodies is wrapped in or covered by serous and mucous membranes. Historically, the plant was used in herbal form (and still is to this day) before Samuel Hahnemann—the founder of homeopathy—decided to make it into a homeopathic preparation on account of its inherent toxicity.
Most of the Bryonia patient’s symptoms are aggravated by movement, including talking, coughing, turning over in bed, being jarred and so forth. Dryness is also a prominent feature for Bryonia; throughout my flu episode, I found my mouth to be extremely dry, almost as if covered in dust on waking.
Bryonia can also be a useful remedy for injuries and trauma such as intensely painful sprains and fractures, which are worse from the slightest movement. It is also one of homeopathy’s main migraine and headache remedies. The Bryonia patient is often irritable but does not necessarily want to be left completely alone. Think of a bear hibernating in winter; he or she does not want to be disturbed but wants to just lie quietly and sleep until springtime, maybe then giving birth to a litter of cubs. “Bryonia = bear” is a good mnemonic.
Considering this incredibly wide range of action, it makes sense that Bryonia alba would be a top remedy for influenza, and it has been very successfully employed by many different practitioners around the world in the current coronavirus situation.2-5 I had to take the remedy very frequently for it to be effective, about every thirty to sixty minutes. At first, the 30C potency was helpful, but soon I needed 200C. With such intense symptoms, I could have used 1M and 10M, but I did not have these potencies available. I recommend that everyone have Bryonia alba on hand in all of these potencies in case of influenza-like illness.
On day four of the illness, my headache grew to immense proportions; even just moving my eyeballs hurt! Another famous flu remedy, Eupatorium perfoliatum, comes with precisely the indication of splitting headaches aggravated by movement of the eyes.
Eupatorium can be a marvelous remedy for flu with fever and horrible aching “as if the bones are broken,” especially backache. The patient may even feel like a CT or MRI scan is needed because the pain in his back and joints is so intense. Eupatorium can also be useful for malaria, which is quite similar to the flu in many ways.
Days Five and Six
After a few days of fever and coughing, I developed an annoying nausea and aversion to most foods, while being hungry at the same time. It was an awful feeling, and I tried a number of remedies to no avail. In retrospect, I probably just needed a higher dose of Bryonia, which also has indications for some of these symptoms. Finally, however, Sepia officinalis— a remedy often useful for morning sickness in pregnancy—provided complete relief.
Then I developed an intense burning sensation in my left nostril on inhaling, which went right up to the sinuses. Two doses of Arsenicum album (homeopathic arsenic)—famous for burning sensations6—put that symptom to rest.
Meanwhile, I also developed a feeling of faintness from being up for any length of time and actually passed out one night after going to the bathroom. Coming to, I found myself face down on the floor with a big scratch on my nose, and I crawled carefully back to bed on all fours. Interestingly, Bryonia is also a great remedy for vertigo, so in all likelihood, it again would have been more helpful in a higher potency. Ah, healer, heal thyself!
Day Seven and Beyond
After a week of fever, coughing and mostly sleeping, my nose started to run like a tap, and I was sneezing a lot. A couple of doses of Allium cepa, a remedy made from onions, corrected this little phase.
I’m happy to report that as of this writing I have almost fully recovered from my bout with the flu (Covid?), which took about ten days. I certainly learned a few lessons in the process, including the fact that this is not a trifle of an illness for anyone who is weak or immunocompromised. Without the aid of homeopathy, the level of coughing alone could certainly cause death—with the person unable to catch his or her breath—or the illness could move toward pneumonia, which of course influenza-like illness does every year around the world. For both Covid-19 and various types of influenza, respiratory distress syndrome and cytokine storms with sudden collapse can also occur as complications.
Homeopathy was definitely the most useful intervention for my own healing, but in addition I used high doses of vitamins D, A and K2 as well as zinc, quercetin and echinacea, along with many liters of chicken broth. I also took some ivermectin and each time I took it, the ivermectin provided some relief from the coughing within about thirty minutes.
Don’t Be Caught Short
There are a handful of remedies that everyone should have on hand in case of influenza (see sidebar). Keep in mind that you may need several different remedies as your symptoms change. Again, I strongly recommend that you have some higher potencies of these remedies on hand. The more intense the symptoms, the better a higher potency works. Also keep in mind that remedies may need to be given frequently—even every few minutes. Ideally, you should have a professional homeopath on speed dial if you’re trying to help weak, elderly or immunocompromised family members or friends.
The Home Medicine Chest: A Dozen Homeopathic Remedies for Influenza-like Illness
ACONITUM NAPELLUS: One of the most useful remedies for the sudden and intense onset of acute symptoms, often related to shock, fright or exposure to cold and wind. Rapid inflammation of almost any organ system. A good, early-stage remedy, best given in high potency (at least 200C). One of the main remedies for early stages of croup.
ALLIUM CEPA: Homeopathic onion. Like the effects of cutting an onion, the vapors of which irritate the mucous membranes of the nose and eyes, this remedy can be helpful if someone suffers from fluid coryza with much sneezing,
ARNICA MONTANA: Though not usually thought of as a remedy for influenza, it nonetheless is most useful when the person feels sore as if beaten all over. The bed may feel too hard. Traditionally used in malaria and even typhoid fever.
ARSENICUM ALBUM: Homeopathic arsenic; one of the top acute remedies. Chilly and restless; has trouble warming up. General aggravation at midnight or from midnight to 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. Pains tend to be burning in nature. Arsenicum album was widely used as a prophylactic remedy in the early stages of the coronavirus situation in India.
BELLADONNA: Another top acute remedy, mostly used when conditions come on suddenly, often with high fever and great intensity of symptoms. Red/hot face, often throbbing pain; there can be hallucinations with fever. Common remedy in children with acute colds, flus or coughs. For pneumonia with Belladonna symptoms. Worse around 3:00 (p.m. or a.m.).
BRYONIA ALBA: As described, a most useful acute remedy. Always give based on the overall state of the patient, who is worse from any movement, is often irritable and may have high and prolonged fevers, dry mucous membranes and body pains. Indicated in bronchitis and pneumonia if the overall state fits.
CAMPHORA: Think of camphor rubs like Vicks VapoRub, which cools the skin and relieves coughs. The patient in the Camphora state is close to or in a state of collapse with icy coldness, yet does not like to be covered up and may even crave cold baths. Can be very depleted with a barely perceptible pulse; face may be cold and blue. Homeopathic Camphora has been successfully used in cholera epidemics. Has also been used extensively around the world to help in collapsed states of Covid-19 symptoms. I recommend people have this one on hand in at least a 1M potency.
EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM: Famous for its use in influenza. Keynote is tremendous bone pain. High fever, worse around 7:00 to 9:00 a.m., pain worse from motion. Terrible headaches where movement of eyes aggravates the pain.
GELSEMIUM SEMPERVIRENS: Influenza with weakness, heaviness, can barely lift the head. Eyelids heavy and drooping; may be trembling with weakness and feel faint on sitting. Can be a good remedy for congestive heart failure and potentially for heart symptoms related to influenza or Covid (and maybe the vaccines). Generally not thirsty. Often a remedy in children.
LYCOPODIUM: May be a good remedy in later stages of influenza, including Covid-19. Person craves air but is chilled by it. Short, rattling breathing, worse lying on back. Dry, tickling, teasing cough. Salty greenish-yellow, lumpy or foul expectoration. Unresolved pneumonia. Difficult respiration due to hydrothorax (water on the lungs) and/or hydropericardium (water around the heart), with flapping of wings of the nose. Feeling of tightness in chest with burning. Lycopodium is also complementary to Bryonia. Worse on right side, slow onset, physically weak, worse around 4:00 to 8:00 p.m.
OSCILLOCOCCINUM: My favorite first-stage remedy for acute cold and flu symptoms. Made in France from (what else?) duck liver! Taken in the first stages of sore throats, fevers and flu symptoms, can often greatly reduce symptom intensity. Take 5-10 grains every hour for a few hours (rather than following package instructions of taking a whole vial once a day).
OZONE: Homeopathic remedy made from ozone. Dark, pungent and toxic ozone (O3) is opposite to colorless, odorless, life-supporting oxygen (O2). Homeopathic ozone has been used in the collapsed and “unable to breathe” states of Covid-19 patients in advanced stages of illness. Exhaustion is common, sometimes with a sensation of a terrific heaviness “as if from a lead apron.” Interestingly, the remedy is associated with being able to understand higher levels of truth.7 Some practitioners are also using medical-grade ozone to help treat Covid -19.8 Italian researchers reported: “Systemic ozone therapy seems useful in controlling inflammation, stimulating immunity and as antiviral activity and providing protection from acute coronary syndromes and ischaemia reperfusion damage. . . . Systemic ozone therapy in combination with antivirals in COVID-19-positive patients may be justified, helpful and synergic.”9
PHOSPHOROUS: Another potentially very helpful remedy in complications of flu, including pneumonia. Lingering, tickling cough, worse with cold air, worse talking and laughing, worse lying on left side. Left-sided pneumonia with oppression of the chest and a painful, burning cough. May cough up blood.
- To KLA, Fok YYY. Homeopathic clinical features of 18 patients in COVID-19 outbreaks in Hong Kong. Homeopathy. 2020;109(3):146-162.
- Takacs M, Frass M, Walder G, et al. Adjunctive homeopathic treatment of hospitalized COVID-19 patients (COVIHOM): a retrospective case series. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2021;44:101415.
- Talele G, Vaidhya S, Chowdhary A, et al. Randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled feasibility study, evaluating the efficacy of homeopathic medicines in the prevention of COVID-19 in a quarantined populations. Homeopathy. 2021 Sep 30.
- Zimmermann A. Nothing a little arsenic can’t cure! Wise Traditions. Winter 2020;21(4):44-46.
- A homeopathic study of ozone. South Devon Homeopathy, Oct. 8, 2019. https://southdevonhomeopathy.com/?p=629
- Izadi M, Cegolon L, Javanbakht M, et al. Ozone therapy for the treatment of COVID-19 pneumonia: a scoping review. Int Immunopharmacol. 2021;92:107307.
- Cattel F, Giordano S, Bertiond C, et al. Ozone therapy in COVID-19: a narrative review. Virus Res. 2021;291:198207.
This article appeared in Wise Traditions in Food, Farming and the Healing Arts, the quarterly journal of the Weston A. Price Foundation, Winter 2021🖨️ Print post