Homeopathic Flu Guide: Overview

by Domenick J Masiello, DO, DHt

The purpose of Flu Guide is to provide the homeopathic practitioner with some treatment options during cold and flu season. Many times the initial presenting symptoms are not distinctive enough to lead to a confident prescription and knowing what remedies have been effective for the most recent winter infections is always welcomed during this busy time of year.

Collecting this type of information goes back to Hahnemann himself. In addition to acute and chronic diseases, he also wrote about epidemic diseases. In paragraphs 101 and 102 of The Organon he notes that regardless of the name of the disease, if a physician made a careful study of the essential features of an epidemic disease, especially those features unique to that specific epidemic disease, then a cure could be found. After treating a number of cases successfully, a specific remedy for the specific epidemic would be known. This remedy could then be used to treat others afflicted by the same disease.

This was not theoretical for Hahnemann. He successfully treated an epidemic of scarlet fever with Belladonna and after receiving a letter from his grandnephew, a physician in St. Petersburg; he predicted which remedies would be needed during an epidemic of Asiatic cholera.

James Tyler Kent, in chapter three of his Lectures on Homeopathic Philosophy, restates Hahnemann’s teaching on the nature and treatment of epidemic diseases. Kent also asserted that a careful physician will be able to develop an image or schema of the epidemic disease and know which remedy to give - even if a particular patient does not exhibit all of the symptoms of that schema.

Eventually, this concept of the emerging remedy picture during an epidemic became known as the genus epidemicus. We find mention of this term in the Mercurius cyanatus Chapter of H.C. Allen’s, Keynotes and Characteristics with Comparisons. In Constantine Hering’s Guiding Symptoms, it can be found in the Colcichum autumnale chapter. Likewise, E.B. Nash makes use of it when discussing an epidemic of diphtheria in the Apis chapter of his Testimony of the Clinic.

Think of the word “epidemic” and it conjures up images of starving children in a third world country and while this is certainly true it also includes infectious diseases which are common, widespread, and right here at home.

Every autumn we are beset by epidemics of viral respiratory and gastrointestinal illness. Coming quickly on the heels of these by about January, is influenza. This guide is dedicated to making the life of the homeopath easier during these seasons.

For the purposes of this guide I will only include information that is well tested. This means that syndromes and their corresponding remedies will only be listed if at least six cured cases have been recorded. In the early weeks of cold and flu season I call patients and see if they have responded to the epidemicus remedy. One may ask how accurate are results from a homeopath in New York City in relation to a practice say, in California or Florida or Canada? I have found over the past 22 years that they are amazingly so. This may be due to the fact that New York City is a global community. It is one of the most ethnically, racially and economically diverse places in the world. People travel to, from and through New York all the time and these days airplane travel is the number one vector for respiratory viruses. Over the years I have prescribed for family in the near East and Asia with great success. It may in fact be that epidemics are actually seasonally changing fields of energy that make some of us susceptible to these viruses such that the epidemic is from the very onset, a global one.

In addition to colds and flu, I will occasionally comment on health issues that are currently important news items. If there is a homeopathic alternative for a condition or if there is a homeopathic slant on an issue, I’ll include it. Keep in mind, of course, that there is always a time lag between the first appearance of a condition and the time when I have a sufficient number of cases to post something. You may be seeing a certain pattern in your practice and I may not have reached the critical number of cases before I publish my results. As always, fall and winter are key times for strep infections and many of these syndromes include pharyngitis or tonsillitis so with children it is advised that a rapid strep antigen test and follow-up throat culture be obtained when appropriate.

Dr. Domenick Masiello, D.O. is board certified in Family Practice (C-FP), Osteopathic Manipulation (C-SPOMM) and Homeopathy (D.Ht.).  Dr. Masiello is published in many peer reviewed journals and continues to practice in New York City.  He graduated in 1985 from the New York College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his internship at Kennedy Memorial Hospital in New Jersey.  You can read more about Dr. Masiello here, and contact him for appointments at 212-688-4818.