Monday, February 18, 2008

Homeopathy for the Flu

I have to admit I was skeptical of the merits of homeopathy for a very long time. It just seems so unlikely that an almost immeasurably dilute solution of anything might somehow "imprint a memory" on water, or sugar, and have any real benefit on physical health.

Then I met the late Dr. Jacques Benveniste, a scientist with mainstream credentials who used homeopathy successfully in treating infections, and I have to admit a lot of the research literature does find scientific, objective, clinical evidence that homeopathy has real beneficial effects. And I have met more and more people for whom homeopathy works.

Homeopathy really isn't all about the pill you take. It's about the changes you recognize in your life. The pills are almost a shorthand for the changes you make in your health as the homeopathic treatment works.

But if you're reading this article because you have the flu and you want relief, probably you'd rather I'd get right to it. So the homeopathic remedies for flu are:

Ferrum phosphoricum is homeopathy's "emergency" flu treatment, to be taken right after symptoms are first noticed. Later, it's intended for hacking cough.

Gelsemium treats colds and flu contracted during warm weather or in the tropics. It's mean for a syndrome that includes chills, fever, fagiue, and headache.

Seven clinical trials have shown that Oscillococcinum probably reduces the duration of flu symptoms by about a day.

Pulsatilla is given when the nose is stopped-up indoors but runny outdoors.

Rhus toxicodendron treats colds and flu that began with body aches and stiffness before coughing, sneezing, and sore throat.

Eupatorium perfoliatum is a very, very dilute solution of the herb called boneset. It's used when there are "aches in the bones."

Dulcamara is meant for colds and flu that are contracted in damp, chilly weather. It's also used for allergies.

Aconitum napellum is used when symptoms come on suddnely after a period of stress, after jet lag, or after a traumatic experience. Belladonna is used when there are "red symptoms" such as rashes, redness in the face, flushing, or sore throat.

Homeopathic practitioners use Sulfur (the homeopathic preparation, not the yellow mineral) when it's taking a long time to get over symptoms, especially if there's burning in the throat and nostrils.

How do you use homeopathics? Usually it's best to start with the lowest strength (6C, 6X, or 12C, corresponding to one part in a million or one part in a quadrillion of the active principle).

Take one dose, wait at least six hours, and see if it works. If it does, take another dose when symptoms recur. If it does not work, try a stronger dosage or a different remedy better matching your symptoms.

Is there any way homeopathy could hurt you? Not from the homeopathic remedies themselves. Diluted at one million to one, you aren't going to get any kind of toxicity from a homeopathic remedy.

The concern is that your diagnosis of your symptoms might be incorrect, that you might have something other than a cold or the flu that can't be treated by homeopathy and that needs medical treatment now. That's why it's always preferable to use homeopathy with the help of someone trained to know both its potential and its limitations.

Click here for:
Acupressure for Colds, Flu, and Sinus Pain
Starve a Fever, Feed a Cold?

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