From Mid-West Homoeopathic News journal.
THE devastating pandemic of 1918 to 1920 was exceedingly fatal and baffled the most learned diagnosticians of the medical world. Its course was rapid, a great percentage of the cases developed a broncho-pneumonia with hemoptysis even in the first twenty-four hours, and it left in its wake a host of chronic invalids.
The remarkable success of homoeopathic prescribing in the last great epidemic is now a matter of history and undoubtedly was responsible, to some extent, for the renaissance of the New School throughout the world, which had gained headway especially during the past five years. The Homoeopath was not obliged to delay his prescription until the exact pathology of the disease was determined or until the germ, which was supposed to cause it, was isolated.
He had at his command a list of twenty or twenty- five remedies from which he could select the one suited to each individual case, and his patients recovered quickly, without complications and with few, if any, after effects. Moreover, he was able to determine one or two remedies which were especially suited to the peculiar syndrome of the epidemic and this task was rendered comparatively easy.
Aconite is seldom indicated in true influenza, but may be given in the beginning when the patient has been exposed to dry cold winds or has been chilled while perspiring and develops high fever with dry skin, great thirst, violent cough with stitches in the chest and an anxious restlessness. As a rule, Bryonia or some other remedy must be given to complete the cure.
Ferrum phos. presents symptoms resembling those of Aconite, but lacks entirely the restlessness and fear so characteristic of the latter.
Gelsemium will cure when the attack occurs in mild weather or during warm, damp weather in summer. This is because climatic conditions of this sort predispose to Gelsemium conditions. Unlike Aconite and Ferrum phos., the symptoms usually appear more gradually and with less violence. The fever is not apt to run so high.
The first signs of illness are chills running up the back and an unaccountable weakness and heaviness, especially of the lower extremities. Irritation may begin in the nasal passages or in the throat, which soon becomes very painful; stitching pains shoot up into the ear of the affected side when swallowing and there is burning like a stream of hot air flowing through the nasal passage of the same side, the opposite side being obstructed with mucus.
Although the mouth and throat feel dry and the temperature may have reached 101* or 102* there is no desire for water. The patient aches all over and wants to lie down and keep perfectly still. The head feels big, heavy and full, and if there is headache, it is usually occipital.
Eupatorium perf. was used for influenza by the early settlers. They called it “bone-set” and the name was well chosen. Aching as if in the bones; sneezing, fluent coryza, hoarseness and rough voice; racking cough worse in the evening with tearing in the chest so that he involuntarily supports it with his hands; chills run up or down the back; restlessness, constantly changing position but not relieved thereby.
Causticum is indicated when there is prostration from the very beginning as with Gelsemium, but more a sensation of paralytic weakness than heaviness and apathetic languor. The patient is tired, weary, and his bones aches as if they had been beaten.
Coryza. fluent at night, stoppage of the nasal passages during the day; total loss of appetite; cough worse in the evening and from a draft of cold air; relieved by a sip of cold water: aphonia in the morning. This useful remedy is often overlooked.
The Bryonia case starts with sneezing, headache and rawness of the throat; or with a sudden chill, then fever, aching in the back and limbs and dry painful cough aggravated on entering a warm place from the cool, open air; like Eupatorium, the patient holds the chest with his hands; sharp pains in the chest, limbs and elsewhere; severe frontal headache, worse from every jar of coughing and on stooping; drinks large amounts of water at long intervals or desires hot drinks. All symptoms, even chilliness, worse from the least motion.
Nux vomica is similar in some respects to Causticum and Bryonia. But the coryza is fluent by day and in the open air; dry and stuffy at night and in a warm room. It is accompanied by a feeling of heat in the face and head, even when there is little fever; violent headache as if the brain was bruised; vertigo; aching in the small of the back and calfs of the legs; constipation; extreme irritability and chilliness; the least motion or lifting of the covers causes him to shiver.
Rhus tox. presents copious coryza burning lachrymation, sneezing and cough, with great thirst and aching of the limbs. The joints are stiff and lame on beginning to move, and somewhat better by continued motion; great restlessness. All symptoms are worse at night, while lying down, from damp weather and cold; relieved by warmth and after sweating.
The case requiring Arsenicum is also restless and worse at night, worse lying down and better from heat. The restlessness of this remedy includes more of fear and anxiety, although, like that of Rhus, if seems almost to be in the muscles and bones (irritability of fibre as it is sometimes called). The profuse coryza scalds the nares and upper lip; the mouth and throat are parched but the patient takes only a sip of water now and then to moisten them. Serious cases with great weakness and a tendency to gastro-intestinal complications.
Other remedies must be studied in unusual cases or when complications, such as pneumonia or abscess of the ear arise, but the remedies we have considered will cure the great majority of cases. There is only one that perhaps should be added, namely Pyrogen. This nosode is usually thought of only in septicaemia or the results of septic infection.
But now and then, it is a life- saver in the “flu” It must be a serious case, one that will probably end fatally unless the simillimum is given; a palliative will jeopardize the life of the patient. Perhaps Rhus or Arsenicum has been given without result. The patient is growing weaker, the temperature falling instead of going higher, and the pulse more rapid than the temperature would warrant.
The indications for Pyrogen may be summed up in a few words as follows: It combines the aching of Eupatorium; the bruised soreness of Arnica; the restlessness of Arsenicum; the prostration of Baptisia and the relief from motion of Rhus tox.