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The Flu is Here

by Dr. Randy


Father Checking Son's Forehead for Fever ca. 2003

A significant flu epidemic has arrived again this winter. It is characterized by fevers, chills, stomach symptoms including vomiting, and a cough that can become severe and persistent. If you need help managing the different stages of the flu or finding the right homeopathic medicine for your symptoms, I am happy to consult by phone.

The first thing to consider about this flu is prevention. The flu vaccine has once again proven to be ineffective. Instead fortify your immune system with daily vitamin D and elderberry, and consider taking a medicinal mushroom formula. Using a xylitol nasal spray (Xlear) can prevent viruses from multiplying in the nasal membranes if you are exposed.

Then keep a Chinese herbal antiviral formula on hand to treat any symptoms that arise. Any Yin Chiao formula is good, (including Lonicera “honesuckle” and Forsythia). Many manufacturers produce these, for example Cold Away tablets or Yin Chiao junior liquid by Health Concerns, Children’s Clear and Release liquid by Golden Flower, and other formulations. Another Chinese herbal formula for flu is Gan Mao Ling. Use these at any onset of colds or fevers.

A western herbal formula of Echinacea and elderberry can be used at the same time. Examples of these are Wellness Formula by Source Naturals or Viracid by OrthoMolecular.

Finally, treat all flus with the appropriate homeopathic medicine as well.

The two most frequently indicated homeopathic flu medicines over the past 100 years have been Gelsemium and Bryonia. There are significant differences in the symptom pictures of these two medicines that make it easy to decide which is the better fit. They are not the only medicines used to treat the flu, but between them they will probably fit the majority of cases.

Bryonia and Gelsemium type flus both come on slowly over a 6-12 hour period. You begin to feel gradually worse over that time. By the second day you have aching muscles, feel pretty bad, and usually have a headache. Bryonia has more pain in the front of the head, which is definitely made worse by moving the head, or moving the eyes, and feels better from pressing the hand on the head. Gelsemium has pain in the back of the head with stiffness and aching in the neck and across the shoulders. Gelsemium does not want to move much either, and you may feel worse from moving around, but you avoid movement primarily because you are so tired. The characteristic state of Gelsemium is lethargy and fatigue. By contrast, Bryonia is tired but also restless. Bryonia discomfort is worse from motion, but at the same time you feel the urge to move about restlessly in the bed. No position seems comfortable. Bryonia is thirsty, Gelsemium is not. In fact Bryonia is generally warmer and drier. Bryonia wants air and cool temperatures to calm the heat. Gelsemium is chilly and sensitive to cold; cold shivers go down the spine. At the same time Gelsemium is clammy with the fever, and feelings of heat and cold may alternate. Bryonia has more coughing and chest symptoms, a painful cough that aggravates the sore throat. The Bryonia cough will also cause chest pains, and the inevitable reaction to this situation is to press the palm to the chest to minimize the movement caused by coughing.

Gelsemium does not have the energy to be emotional. Bryonia is irritable, worried, and fretful. Bryonia wants to be left alone, Gelsemium is too exhausted to respond.

Contrasting Gelsemium and Bryonia

Gelsemium                                    Bryonia

Chilly with chills down spine      Warm with desire for cool air

Thirstless                                        Thirsty

Dull, sleepy, heavy                        Dull, but irritable, worried

Worse from movement                All symptoms worse from movement, but restless

Headache at back of head,          Headache in forehead, better from pressure, worse motion

with stiff neck



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