Homeopathy and Influenza: Real Research, Real Results
By Dana Ullman MPH, CCH
Further information about homeopathy and homeopathic research is available in a special eBook calledEvidence Based Homeopathic Family Medicine.
It seems that every winter the #1 health topic has been the horrible influenzas that are going around. Not only are people dying from it, millions of people are suffering from it.
Sadly, the media has not adequately reported on the only over-the-counter flu medicine that has at least FOUR large independent clinical studies verifying its efficacy.and that medicine is a homeopathic medicine called OSCILLOCOCCINUM.
Oscillococcinum may be the most difficult name of the medicine ever created, and that is why so many people simply call it "Oscillo." This medicine is wonderfully effective as long as you use it within the first 48 hours of getting flu symptoms.
By the way, Oscillococcinum is actually made from the heart and liver of a duck. Although this may sound like quackery (my apologies for that sick pun), biologists and epidemiologists have determined that 80% of ducks carry every known flu virus in their digestive tracts. Therefore, Oscillo includes homeopathic doses of these viruses (and of their antibodies).
For the record the three studies that have confirmed the efficacy of Oscillococcinum are Ferley, 1989; Cassanova, 1992; Papp, 1998. Each of these trials was relatively large in the number of subjects (487 patients, 300 patients, and 372 patients), and all were multi-centered placebo-controlled and double-blind (two of the three trials were also randomized). Each of these trials showed statistically significant results.
Even the highly respected Cochrane Collaboration acknowledged that these results were "promising" (Vickers and Smith, 2007).
Some other medicines to consider for the flu are:
- Gelsemium (yellow jessamine): When fatigue and a generalized heavy, weak feeling pervades the person, even leading to trembling of individual parts and to having heavy, half-open eyelids, this remedy should be considered. These people tend to have little or no thirst, can experience chills up and down their spine, and have a headache in the back part of their head.
- Bryonia (white bryony): People who have marked body aches during the flu that are aggravated by any type of motion suggest the need for this remedy. Generally, these people also have a headache in the front part of their head which is also aggravated by motion. They have dry, even chapped lips, a dry cough, and a great thirst for cold water. Despite being warm, they are averse to warm rooms. People with the flu who are very irritable and insist upon being left alone tend to benefit from this remedy.
- Aconitum (monkshood): This remedy is primarily useful during the first 24 hours of a fever. It is helpful when a fever begins after exposure to cold or cold, dry winds. Chilliness and a cold sweat may also be experienced.
- Belladonna (deadly nightshade): When a person has a rapid onset of a high fever with a flushed face, reddened mucous membranes, glassy eyes, and cold limbs, consider this remedy. Typically, the person tends to have wild dreams at night.
- Nux vomica (poison nut): When a fever with chills begin after an overindulgence of food, drink (alcohol), or drug use, consider this remedy.
- Eupatorium perfoliatum (boneset): People with the flu who experience aches in the muscles and pains in the bones and/or in their eyes often benefit from this remedy. Another characteristic symptom of people who need this remedy is chills that occur in the morning, especially 7-9am. These people desire cold drinks, even during a chill and even though it may elicit a chill response, and they feel better lying on whatever part of their body is aching.
- Rhus toxicodendron (poison ivy): This remedy is effective for people with muscle aches that are aggravated by initial motion but relieved by continued motion. These people are often very restless, especially at night in bed, tend to have a sore throat, and are very thirsty but only for sips of water at a time. If a cold sore develops during the flu, consider this medicine.
- Arsenicum album (arsenic): This is an important medicine for people with the stomach flu who experience nausea and vomiting along with a fever. These people are sensitive to and worse by exposure to cold. They experience a great thirst, but only for sips of water at a time. They feel restless and anxious, usually worrying if they might actually be sicker than they are, and they may seek several professionals' opinion on their condition. They feel better with company around, and they feel the worse at or near midnight.
- Influenzinum (influenza virus): If a person develops long lasting symptoms after a bout of the flu, give a single dose of this remedy in the 30th or 200th potency.
DOSE: Use the 6, 12, or 30 th potency every other hour for the first two or three doses and then every six to eight hours until resolution of the condition. If significant improvement doesn't occur after 24 hours, consider another remedy.
Casanova, P, Gerard R. Bilan de 3 annees d'estudes randomisees multicentriques Oscillococcinum/placebo. Oscillococcinum-rassegna della letterature internationale. Milan : Laboratoires Boiron; 1992:11-16.
J.P. Ferley, D. Zmirou, D. D'Admehar, et al., "A Controlled Evaluation of a Homoeopathic Preparation in the Treatment of Influenza-like Syndrome," British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, March, 1989,27:329-35.
R. Papp, G. Schuback, E. Beck, et al, "Oscillococcinum in Patients with Influenza-like Syndromes: A Placebo Controlled Double-blind Evaluation," British Homeopathic Journal, April, 1998,87:69-76.
Vickers AJ, Smith C. Homoeopathic Oscillococcinum for Preventing and Treating Influenza and Influenza-like Syndromes (Cochrane Review) The Cochrane Library, 4, 2007.