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Can Homeopathy Help in an Epidemic?

Updated on November 18, 2015

Who Died from the Spanish Flu?

Please understand I am not a professional homeopath. This article represents my personal thoughts and experiences with homeopathy.

The Spanish flu is the worst outbreak in recent memory. Between 80 and 100 million people died during the 1918 epidemic. Many of them were young adults in the prime of life.

In the United States alone, as many as 675,000 people were killed by the Spanish flu. It's believed the large number of deaths, among previously robust individuals, was due to the fact that this group had a strong immune response to the pathogen, now thought to be an avian virus. Consequently, this created what's known as a cytokine storm, causing a fatal build up of fluid in their lungs.

The disease, overall, had a mortality rate of about 30 percent. It's an historical fact that one group of patients, though, fared much better. These were the ones treated by homeopathic doctors. The mortality rate, when given an appropriate homeopathic remedy, was around 1 percent.

This is very impressive, given the fact that many of the sick sought homeopathic treatment late in the course of their illness. A few years ago, I read an old report of a doctor who lamented the fact that he wasn't able to save some of his patients, whom previously were given aspirin. In general, the homeopaths of that time believed this new drug, designed to suppress fever, muscle aches and other symptoms, often led to pneumonia.

A homeopathic practitioner will generally advise against "suppressing" symptoms, due to the belief that these discomforts are a manifestation of the body's attempt to heal itself. Furthermore, it's also believed that trying to eliminate the symptoms with drugs will interrupt the natural healing process.

Homeopathy, on the other hand, works with the symptoms in order to bring about a cure. Without a set of symptoms, it would be impossible to find the right remedy.

Learning about homeopathy.
Learning about homeopathy. | Source

What is Homeopathy?

Modern homeopathy developed in Germany 200 years ago, and it operates along the lines of "like cures like." A tiny, minute dose of a minute poison will help resolve the same complaints a larger dose would cause.

For instance, homeopathic rhus toxicodenron is taken from the poison oak plant. However, a homeopathic dilution is often the best remedy for poison ivy or oak, chicken pox and other conditions that cause intense itching.

Similarly, causticum, which is potassium hydroxide, would burn if applied full-strength to the skin. However, a homeopathic dose can help the body heal from a burn, or the after-effects of one. This remedy is also useful for a number of other conditions, all of which correspond to a full-strength dose of causticum, which could cause goiter, neuralgia and paralysis, along with a host of other symptoms.

Remedies Used During the Spanish Flu

Patients who contracted the Spanish flu initially developed a fever. The end stages of the disease were characterized by purple pustules appearing on the skin, which is why another name for this outbreak is "purple plague."

According to various published reports, the homeopathic doctors who treated people during this epidemic generally relied upon one of two remedies.

The first was gelsemium, commonly used to fight less lethal flu viruses. Symptoms that would indicate gelsemium was needed include fatigue, headache, especially in the back of the head and chills running the length of the spine. The patient also appears drowsy and droopy. The eyes, in particular, also seem to droop. Another characteristic indicating gelsemium is that, despite having a fever, the patient isn't thirsty.

Bryonia was the other remedy that often led to recovery during this outbreak. Symptoms also include fever and general malaise. But the patient is also extremely thirsty. Sometimes, the desire to drink liquids can point someone to this remedy.

Papers written during this time note that, on occasion, a patient's condition called for another remedy. But, in general, gelsemium and bryonia could address nearly every other case.

Important note: Bryonia and gelsemium are excellent general flu remedies. But they may or may not be the right ones for all flu-like illnesses. Indiscriminate use of the poorly matched remedies can cause the body's vital force to move in the wrong direction. This is why I strongly urge you to work with a professional.

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Homeopathic remedies are highly diluted.
Homeopathic remedies are highly diluted. | Source

Introductory Kit With Common Remedies

The Genus Epidemicus

There are hundreds of homeopathic remedies, so choosing the right one can be challenging. Furthermore, during the early stages of the flu, the symptoms may be so non-specific. Nothing noteworthy stands out, other than a fever.

Fortunately, during a widespread outbreak, something called a genus epidemicus will appear. This is the main remedy that will likely be of the most help, for nearly everyone affected.

During an epidemic, this information will be discussed and disseminated by practicing homeopaths. Anyone who is interested can drop in on one of the online discussion forums, where the genus epidemicus will be widely discussed.

Unless symptoms differ markedly from what most people are suffering, the genus epidemicus is probably the remedy to help you and your family recover from whatever bug is going around.

People who are interested in learning more about homeopathy, and who are not working with a professional homeopath, might want to find one well before an outbreak becomes a local cause of concern.

If you need help finding a good homeopath, you can ask a chiropractor or another trusted alternative health practitioner. Sometimes, your local health food store can generate a referral.

Depending upon where you live, it may not be possible to find a local homeopath. At various times, I've worked with practitioners who live far away, with very good results.

Use a Conventional Cure if it Exists says Homeopathic MD

Does Homeopathy Work?

At one time, homeopathy was extremely popular in the United States. Many people used homeopaths much as we use primary care physicians today. If you checked into a hospital, chances are you'd be watched closely and receive a carefully selected homeopathic remedy. About one-third of all America were founded as homeopathic facilities.

This method of healing, however, seemed to disappear with the organization of the American Medical Association, along with the introduction of pharmaceuticals, such as penicillin.

Years ago, when I was looking to a solution to my children's chronic health problems, I discovered homeopathy, and was very impressed with how well their upper respiratory infections, and even ear infections, responded to the right remedy. Even when they were very ill, they started to rebound after the first dose.

This is not to say that homeopathy should substitute for regular medical care. However, our family physician was always supportive of our efforts to try this safe and non-toxic healing method first, before considering anything more invasive.

Homeopathic remedies are highly individualized.
Homeopathic remedies are highly individualized. | Source

Using Homeopathy Correctly

Homeopathic remedies are sold over the counter. Anybody can buy them and anyone can use them. However, I can't stress enough how important it is to work with a professional homeopath, especially as you are just learning about this remarkably effective form of medicine.

That's because the right remedy can bring about relatively quick healing in an acute situation, such as a cold or a flu bug. However, the wrong remedy can lead to a worsening of the symptoms, or even new symptoms. This can happen even if too much of the right remedy is given, or too many doses are taken within a short time period, which is why professional guidance is so important. (This writer is not a professional homeopath.)

If you don't see significant improvement after one or two doses, your homeopath may consider changing the remedy.

Homeopathy is very safe and effective, as long as it's used correctly and not as a substitute for conventional medical care, if that's most appropriate in a particular case. (Please see above video, where a homoepathic MD recommends conventional treatments for typhoid fever and other serious infections.) Bear in mind that the Spanish flu statistics were compiled at a time when people had better diets, and were treated in a hospital setting by highly skilled physicians.


These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). These products are not meant to diagnose‚ treat or cure any disease or medical condition.

This article is not intended as medical advice, and is written for informational and discussion purposes only. People with health concerns should discuss them with a medical professional. The author assumes no responsibility for treatment decisions or outcome. Women who are nursing or pregnant should not take homeopathic remedies unless directed to do so by a healthcare professional.


I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to


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  • Radcliff profile image

    Liz Davis 2 years ago from Hudson, FL

    That's an interesting account of the Spanish flu. I don't have much experience in homeopathy, except for colloidal silver. I always found the different dilutions confusing. That's good advice to find a homeopath. I will have to do that when I look for a remedy.

  • MsDora profile image

    Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

    I always believe that the symptoms are a "manifestation of the body's attempt to heal itself." Why would anyone want to stop the body from letting go of stuff that shouldn't be there, anyway? I appreciate all the information you have given so far on homeopathy. I am learning a lot from you. Thank you.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi MsDora, I think all of us here learn so much from each other. That's one of the benefits of these sites.

  • shara63 profile image

    Farhat 2 years ago from Delhi

    Homeopathy not only cures but provides an effective prevention from epidemics...Last year there was an outburst of Dengue in many parts of India... my own niece in Calcutta got badly effected of it ..but all praise to God and thanks to the homeopath doctors specially Dr. Ghosh who with his brillaint knowledge and experience brought the disease under control very soon and saved the life of my niece and many others who were effected of the epidemic....

    I have full trust in homeopathy and instead of three Allopath physicians there in my family, I prefer homeopathic treatment in case I need some medical assistance.

    Thankyou ologsinquito, for a gud sharing about the importance of wonderful Homeopathy.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi shara63, thanks so much for reading. Maybe I should have mentioned that India has some of the best homeopaths in the world. I've heard that Mother Theresa of Calcutta was really impressed with this type of healing. We can learn so much from the Indian homeopaths, who have preserved this treasure. Our homeopath is the first one we call when we are sick.

  • FlourishAnyway profile image

    FlourishAnyway 2 years ago from USA

    I also believe in the body's tremendous ability to self-heal. So many things we assumed were not possible we are learning actually are possible. The body just needs time and sometimes a little nudge to do its thing.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi Flourish, I totally agree that the body is continually trying to heal itself. Thanks for reading my articles.

  • teaches12345 profile image

    Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

    I had one of these kits awhile back and found it very useful in dealing with ailments and injuries. I too agree that we should not avoid the usefulness of medicine in general. Great post on this topic.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi teaches12345, thanks so much for reading.

  • Swisstoons profile image

    Thomas F. Wuthrich 2 years ago from Michigan

    Very much enjoyed reading this hub! I've been using homeopathy for many years. I find constitutional remedies especially interesting. I do believe homeopathy should be regulated, and licenses granted, but by a board of classical homeopathic MD's rather than allopathic MDs who have little understanding of this amazing healing modality. I think potencies no higher than 30x..or maybe only 6x... should be sold over the counter. But in the past couple of decades, I've seen health food stores selling C potencies. I think that popping these higher potencies can have an adverse effect.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    Hi Swisstoons, thanks so much for reading. It is so good to hear from someone else who appreciates homeopathy. I've also been using it for many years as well. I also think the homeopaths should do whatever regulating may be necessary, so this method of healing can gain more legitimacy. At the same time, it is as much art as it is science.

    I've seen scientific studies that have used one remedy for everyone, which is crazy. I've found that 30x can pretty much cover all of my own personal needs, and I don't like to take anything higher and 6x is the best potency for me. But everyone's different. At one point I became very sensitive to any remedy, probably because when my children were little I spilled so many remedies on my skin.

  • Swisstoons profile image

    Thomas F. Wuthrich 2 years ago from Michigan

    You have it exactly right about those studies. There are so many factors to take into consideration (especially when it comes to a constitutional remedy) that more artistry is required than with the blunderbuss allopathic approach which tries to treat diseases instead of individual patients...often causing as many problems as they seek to cure.

  • ologsinquito profile image

    ologsinquito 2 years ago from USA

    There are really so many factors. I've even read material written by one of the old British homeopaths, whose name escapes me, advising other homeopaths not to even get totally hung up on the materia medica, since homeopathic healing is both an art and a science.

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