Dr. Mark Stengler on Homeopathic Flu Remedies
One reason I am a believer in homeopathic remedies is because the philosophy emphasizes adjusting medications and dosages in precise ways according to how each individual happens to feel — as opposed to mainstream medicine, which tends toward broad and sweeping approaches. I asked regular Daily Health News contributor Mark Stengler, NMD, to share his expert medical insights on how we can best use homeopathy to fight particular symptoms of flu this season since it is a central part of the treatment protocol in his practice.
Homeopathy for Dummies: The Basics
In contrast with the use of herbs and supplements, in homeopathy there is no single best remedy for any given ailment or even individual. Rather remedies are selected based on your specific flu symptoms or clusters of them, such as if you have nausea or not… muscle aches or not. Also, since homeopathic medicines have no troublesome side effects (at least, not at the potencies available over the counter), Dr. Stengler says they’re quite safe, even for children and pregnant or lactating women. They are easy to find in health-food stores or online.
Below is a list matching homeopathic remedies with flu symptoms, so you can see which will relieve the particular aches and pains that are plaguing you. Always follow manufacturer recommendations carefully, says Dr. Stengler. The dose for all of the substances on the list is two pellets of 30C potency, four times over 24 hours. Take the remedies at least 30 minutes before or after eating, and continue for three days. But, notes Dr. Stengler, if you don’t experience any relief within the first 24 hours, move on to one of the other remedies that is also recommended for your symptom profile. If this too fails to produce results, try another until you find one that works, he says. Do not take more than two remedies at a time. Homeopathic remedies typically will help within the first day and bring significant relief within two to three days — after which you can stop taking them. If your aches and pains return, repeat the regimen as before.
What to Try
Here is Dr. Stengler’s list of symptoms and the substances recommended to address them…
- When you first begin to notice you aren’t feeling well in a “flu-ish” way, take Anas Barbaria (also known as Oscillococcinum), which studies show may shorten flu duration. (Standard dosage is a whole vial of pellets taken every six hours, no more than three vials per day.)
- Coldlike symptoms… exhaustion… anxiety… chills… diarrhea and vomiting… thirst for warm water. Remedy: Arsenicum album.
- Severely aching joints… discomfort when moving… hard, dry cough… intense thirst for cold drinks. Remedy: Bryonia alba.
- Fever… deep aching in the bones and muscles… thirst for cold drinks. Remedy: Eupatorium perfoliatum. Note: Call your doctor if you experience a high fever or one that lasts more than a few days.
- Cold symptoms… fever, sweating, chills… muscle aches… fatigue… sleepiness… possibly a headache near the base of the skull. Remedy: Gelsemium (Gelsemium sempervirens).
- Sensitivity to both hot and cold temperatures… thick coating on the tongue… bad breath… raw and sore throat… excessive saliva production… possibly profuse sweating. Remedies: Mercurius solubilis or Mercurius vivus.
- Digestive distress… stomach cramps… nausea… chills… irritability. Remedy: Nux vomica.
- Stiff muscles and joints that can be soothed by heat… restlessness… discomfort in any position. Remedy: Rhus toxicodendron.
In addition to the symptom-specific substances, there are several formulations you can take that will help you with overall flu symptoms or, even better, help you avoid getting the flu altogether, says Dr. Stengler. One that he likes in particular is called Triple Flu Defense (available in health-food stores and online at www.triplefludefense.com), which was developed by naturopathic medical doctor and homeopathic specialist to combine several of the substances that address flu symptoms. It is safe for everyone to use regardless of age, and it is not in conflict with any medications a person may be taking.
Dosage: Adult dose is 20 drops… children under age 12 can take one drop for every 10 pounds of body weight, maximum 20. Drops should be placed directly on the tongue or mixed with one ounce of water. This can be taken once weekly throughout the flu season for prevention. If you do get sick, take once three times per day until symptoms subside.
Another option is a remedy called Influenzinum (which is an ingredient in Triple Flu Defense). Like the flu vaccines, the mix is updated each year in accordance with the World Health Organization recommendations. Though it does help reduce severity of flu symptoms, its primary benefit is prevention — taking this may be a good strategy for people who have chosen not to get the flu vaccine (seasonal or swine flu). If this is of interest to you, however, seek the advice of a physician who is knowledgeable about homeopathy for dosage and directions.