Influenza symptoms of Gelsemium and its role in treatment given by Dr. Douglas M. Borland in his book on Influenza….


VISUALISE the ordinary, typical influenza case, probably developing over six to eight hours. The patient feels a little out of sorts the day before, possibly a little headache, a little feverish, has a little indefinite pain, is probably a little catarrhal; he goes to bed, does not sleep awfully well, and next morning feels rotten.

Fortunately, there is a drug in the materia medica which produces exactly that picture, and which will cover a large percentage of the cases of straightforward influenza. The drug is Gelsemium. It develops its symptoms fairly slowly and produces exactly the symptom picture given above. Other influenza drugs will be dealt with in due course.

Gelsemium is somewhat slow in onset, and produces primarily a feeling of intense weariness. The patients are very dull and tired, look heavy and are heavy-eyed and sleepy; not wanting to be disturbed but to be left in peace, and yet-the first outstanding symptom-if they have been excited at all, they spend an entirely sleepless night, in spite of their apparently dull, toxic state.

The patient is definitely congested, the face slightly flushed rather a dull kind of flush-the eyes a little injected the lips a little dusky; the skin generally is a little dusky, and the surface is definitely moist-hot and sticky.

Another Gelsemium symptoms is that with the hot, sticky sensation, the patients have a very unstable heat reaction. The feel hot and sticky, and yet have the sensation of little shivers of cold up and down their backs-not actual shivering attacks but small trickles of cold, just as if somebody ran a cold hand, or spilt a little cold water, down their back.

With their general torpor, Gelsemium influenza patients always have a certain amount of tremulousness, their hands become unsteady much more quickly than you would expect from the severity of their illness; they are definitely shaky when they lift a cup to try and drink. Frequently linked with the shakiness is a feeling of instability, and very often a sensation of falling. They feel as if they are falling out of bed, particularly when they are half asleep: they wake with a sudden jerk and feel as if they have fallen out of bed. As one would expect with anyone in this toxic state, the Gelsemium patient does not want to make any effort at all discomforts of every kind are aggravated by moving. With their unstable circulation they are definitely sensitive to cold draughts, which make them shiver.

As a rule, their mouths are intensely dry and the lips very dry: very often dry and cracked, or dry with a certain amount of dried secretion on them. The patients complain of an unpleasant taste, and there is frequently a sensation of burning in the tongue. The tongue itself usually has a yellowish coating- though, sometimes, it is quite red and dry.

Gelsemium influenzas always include a very unpleasant, severe headache. Typically, there is a feeling of intense pain in the occipital region, spreading down into the neck with a sensation of stiffness in the cervical muscles; and, as it is a congestive headache, it is usually throbbing in character.

The patient is most comfortable when keeping perfectly still, propped up with pillows, so that the head is raised without the patient making any effort. With these headaches, the patients often complain of a sensation of dizziness, particularly on any movement.

There is another type of headache sometimes met with in Gelsemium. Again, it is congestive in character, but the sensation is much more a feeling of tightness- as if there were a tight band round the head, just above the ears from the occiput right forward to the frontal region. This, also, is very much aggravated by lying with the head low.

Douglas Borland
Douglas Borland M.D. was a leading British homeopath in the early 1900s. In 1908, he studied with Kent in Chicago, and was known to be one of those from England who brought Kentian homeopathy back to his motherland.
He wrote a number of books: Children's Types, Digestive Drugs, Pneumonias
Douglas Borland died November 29, 1960.