Free Homeopathy Journal Homeopathic Medicine Discussion Forums Homeopathy seminar Calendar Homeopathy Audio Lectures Video Lectures Free Homeopathy Books Download Homeopathic Crosswords

The Treatment and Prevention of Dengue Fever in Sri Lanka – the Role of Echinacea angustifolia



Hpathy Ezine, November, 2012 | Print This Post Print This Post |

Homeopath Vaish Sathasivam shares her experience in treating Dengue in Sri Lanka and discusses the important role of Echinacea A. She offers three case examples to illustrate.

Introduction

My impetus to treat Dengue fever came from the fact that in 1998 I had submitted my final year project on ‘The Therapeutic Use of Homeopathy in Cholera’. On graduating, my intention was to return to Sri Lanka and use this information to treat such epidemics. In developing nations such as Sri Lanka, resources are not always available to combat epidemics and homeopathy can provide cost effective treatment. Homeopathy also had an exemplary record in treating the Cholera epidemic in London in 1854, where a fatality rate of 16 percent was compared to the fatality rate of 54 percent under allopathic treatment. Homeopathic medicines were used in reducing the incidence of Dengue fever by 93 percent in Brazil in 2008. Homeopathic prophylaxis was administered to over two million people in Cuba in 2007 against Leptospirosis which reduced the incidence of disease by 90 percent.

Dengue Fever

Dengue was first reported in Sri Lanka in 1965 but has become a regular epidemic since 1989. The peak incidence of the disease generally comes after the monsoon season, in June – July and October – December, when the density of the two mosquito carrier species – Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictu – is especially high”.

(National Plan of Action for Prevention and Control of Dengue Fever 2005 – 2009 Epidemiology Unit, Ministry of Health, Sri Lanka)

This trend has changed as reported by the Epidemiology Unit in April 2009; 1,249 cases were reported in January alone and a total of 3308 cases reported in the last nine weeks and 40 deaths have occurred. This is in comparison to the 6,560 cases reported in 2008 and 27 deaths in that year.

A virus carried by mosquitoes, mainly the Aedes aegypti, infects humans with Dengue fever. A patient is deemed contagious until the fever abates. Isolating patients is crucial during this phase, although this is not the reality. There are four types of the virus that cause Dengue and infection from one type confers immunity against that type only, meaning that individuals may contract Dengue again in their lifetime from the other three types. The incubation period is about five to six days, usually preceded by two days of headaches and malaise. It may take a patient about three months to fully recover.

Characteristic Symptoms of Dengue Include:

  • Fever lasting more than three days. It tends to go down for a day or two, only to reappear. (Bi-phasic pattern)

  • Petechial rash starting in the limbs and spreading to the body and face.

  • Photophobia.

  • Nausea and vomiting.

  • Excruciating body pains and headache.

  • Bleeding from the nose, mouth or rectum may indicate Haemorrhagic Dengue Fever.

Clinical findings will include thrombocytopenia and plasma leakage shown in the Haematocrit count (HCT) or Packed Cell Volume (PCV).

CASE 1

Female 31 years old

Symptoms started on 21/05/2004.

Platelets 264,000 K/ul Normal Range 150,000 – 300,000 K/ul

WBC 6,018 K/ul Normal Range 7,000 – 9,000 K/ul

22/05/2004

Platelets 204,000 K/ul

WBC 2,066 K/ul

HCT 40.1 % Normal Range 38 % – 42 % (female)

23/05/2004

Platelets 173,000 K/ul

WBC 2,048 K/ul

HCT 41.2 %

24/05/2004 Admitted to hospital and Dengue antibody IgM tests positive

Platelets 130,000 K/u

WBC 2,270 K/ul

As she was pregnant we decided being in hospital was the safer option. The patient only received intra-venous fluid. I started the patient on therapeutics employed to match the symptom picture and to support the red flag symptoms. Therapeutic prescribing involves looking at group of remedies that have an affinity with a certain disease picture. They are differentiated on the totality of the patient’s characteristic symptoms in the acute context. In the case of Dengue, the red flag situations are: when the platelet count drops below a critical level and the patient may need hospitalization for intra-venous fluids or transfusion of plasma/blood; WBC may fall leaving the patient’s immune system vulnerable to any infection; high fevers of 102 degrees Fahrenheit or 39 degrees Celsius and over; severe nausea/vomiting where the patient is unable to keep hydrated.

Rx China officinalis 30c one pill thrice daily (to prevent the platelets from going below 150,000 and it regulates the HCT by preventing plasma leakage)

Echinacea angustifolia 30c one pill thrice daily (to regulate WBC count/fever)

Apis mellifica 30c one pill thrice daily (therapeutic – dusky appearance of skin/oedema/headache and no thirst)

I instructed her to take these three remedies 15 minutes apart, morning, noon and evening. (Approximately 6 hourly)

Patient was discharged on the 27th of May and I have a blood report dated 06/06/2004

Platelets 349,000 K/ul

WBC 8,047 K/ul

HCT 34.6%

At this point the remedies were discontinued. Constitutional remedies like Sepia and Phosphorus were prescribed to complete the recovery.

Complications

The complications of Dengue are that it is a debilitating disease taking about three months, in some cases, to fully recover. There can be hair loss, low energy, lack of appetite, liver complications and depression. These can be addressed with organ support remedies like China officinalis, Avena sativum and Nux vomica and constitutional remedies for the depression.

Chikungunya

According to the health protection agency in U.K. 37,000 cases were reported in 11 districts in Sri Lanka during 2006 – 2007. 1058 cases were tested and of them 682 tested positive for Chikungunya. Serology tests are the only way to distinguish between the Dengue and the Chikungunya virus, as they share similar symptoms. It is spread by the same mosquito as the one that carries Dengue and an interesting fact is that Chikungunya epidemics appear and disappear at intervals of 7- 8 years. The last time Chikungunya was reported in Sri Lanka was in 1969. This is a case during the start of this epidemic but tested positive for Dengue.

CASE 2

Female 68 years old

Presenting symptoms: lack of appetite, fever and immobility due to oedema and joint pain especially of the ankles and wrists. Absence of rash.

Admitted to hospital on 04/10/2006 because she could not sit up or feed herself.

Platelets 177,000 K/ul

WBC 2,024 K/ul

HCT 39.6 %

05/10/2006 Time 6:30 pm

Platelets 165,000 K/ul

WBC 2,019 K/ul

HCT 36.6 %

She was given intra-venous fluids, Paracetamol and her prescription drugs for Diabetes.

Rx Echinacea angustifolia 30c. and I instructed her to take one pill every hour of being awake until the next blood report.

06/10/2006 Time 5:57 p.m.

Platelets 172,000 K/ul

WBC 2,076 K/ul

She was discharged on 7th October and continued Echinacea one pill thrice daily

11/10/2006

Platelets 251,000 per cu mm

WBC 4,700 per cu mm

HCT 37.3 %

My reason for giving Echinacea angustifolia only was an intuitive and practical decision. WBC was critically low and the Platelets were dropping and the Echinacea comprehensively dealt with the whole symptom picture! I later prescribed Rhus toxicodendron for the arthritic symptoms that persisted for nearly six months. Adjunctive treatment included physiotherapy.

CASE 3

Male 36 years old

04/11/2006 presented with exhaustion, cough and fever. The patient did not wish to take the Dengue antibody test.

WBC on 01/11/2006 12,890/mm3

Rx Hepar Sulphuris 30c one pill thrice daily

China officinalis 30c one pill thrice daily (prescribed only for the exhaustion because the platelet count 216,000/mm3 and HCT count 43.20% were normal)

08/11/2006 WBC 12,250/mm3

Platelets 392,000/mm3

HCT 45.40% Normal Range 42 % – 54 % (male)

14/11/2006 WBC 11,780/mm3

Platelets 369,000/mm3

HCT 44.40

28/12/2006 fever relapsed. It was at this point that I realized that I may be treating Chikungunya. It was also the first case where I observed the virus increasing the WBC/Platelet count.

Rx Echinacea angustifolia 30c one pill thrice daily for two weeks

04/01/2007 WBC 6,590/mm3

Platelets 222,000/mm3

HCT 46.20 %

The Role of Echinacea angustifolia in Viral Infections

Echinacea angustifolia

Echinacea angustifolia

Under the diseases chapter of Robin Murphy’s Homeopathic Medical Repertory you will find a small rubric – ‘Dengue fever’. This lists the following remedies:

Acon., Ars., Bell., Bry., Chin., Coloc., EUP-PER., Ferr., Ham., Ip., Merc., Nux-v., Podo., Rhus-tox., Sec., Sul-ac.

I hope to document more cases in the future and I think that Arsenicum album, Belladonna atropa and China officinalis are important remedies. Ferrum metallicum, Ipecacuanha, Secale cornatum and Hamamelis virginicus, Phosphorus and Crotalus horridus are useful for Haemorrhagic Dengue fever.

Echinacea angustifolia is not in the Dengue fever rubric! It is a fever remedy and treats Malaria as recorded in the Lotus Materia Medica. The Boericke Pocket Manual of Homeopathic Materia Medica records the following symptoms: great debility, tired feeling and aching in limbs.

Echinacea not only increases blood cell production but can decrease the production when it has been higher than optimum levels. This confirms the dynamic and systemic nature of the remedy’s action on the vital force – the ability to regulate cell production as the situation demands. As Dengue treatment, I prescribe Echinacea 30c twelve doses over twelve hours and blood counts show a favourable response – it works quickly which is vital in any acute disease and more importantly stimulates the accurate immune response. When the immune function is restored, the fever as well as HCT/PCV is regulated and the infection does not overwhelm the patient.

According to the article ‘Echinacea’, in the herbal form it:

Promotes Macrophage activity

Stimulates T-cell production

Stimulates Interferon production

Increases Phagocytosis

The best method of prevention is avoiding mosquito bites and eliminating breeding sites, but this is not always possible. Stagnant water and garbage provide rich breeding ground for the mosquitoes in close proximity to homes, and schools, and government resources cannot cope with eradicating this menace completely without the concerted help of the public. The changeable weather patterns may also contribute to the unpredictable incidence of Dengue. It is sobering to think of repeated attacks of this disease in a person’s lifetime and that the virus can mutate. Constitutional remedies and Echinacea to support the immune function are prescribed during peak seasons and offer effective protection – with emphasis on a diet rich in antioxidants and adequate hydration. As preventive medicine I usually prescribe Echinacea angustifolia 30c one pill daily for two weeks when Dengue is imminent. It has been six years since that epidemic and Echinacea has become a familiar and dear remedy to my patients, family and friends and indeed to me!

Conclusion

Diseases such as Dengue are physically debilitating, have a long recovery phase, can be lethal and result in a lot of anxiety and depression. In 2011 approximately 28,000 cases were reported (55.9 percent of cases from the Western Province) and nearly 200 people died in Sri Lanka. Homeopathy has the potential do so much more in improving these mortality rates and incidence of the disease.

References

Ross G. (1981) Cholera. British Homeopathic Journal. Vol 70, No 3, pp 159 – 161.

Shepherd D. (1967) Homeopathy in Epidemic Diseases. Health Science Press, Devon. Pp 83 -88

..\DENGUE\Dengue Brazil.pdf

..\DENGUE\Dengue Brazil 2.pdf

http://avilian.co.uk/2011/03/macae-in-brazil-uses-homeopathy-to-prevent-dengue-fever/#more-2336

http://www.homeopathytoday.org/2011/04/landmark-research-for-homeopathy/

www.news.lk

www.doctorbhatia.com/Infectious-Diseases/dengue fever

Watson I. (1991) A Guide to Methodologies of Homeopathy. Cutting Edge Publications, Cumbria, England

www.hpa.org.uk/hpr/archives/2007/news2007/news1507.htm

Echinacea’ (1995) Woodland Publishing Inc P.O Box 160, Pleasant Grove, UT 84062

http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/jun2009/slhl-j30.shtml

http://www.thesundayleader.lk/2012/01/29/dengue-sri-lankas-death-trap/

Vaish Sathasivam

Vaish Sathasivam LCH practices in Colombo, Sri Lanka and is currently the Honorary Treasurer of the Homeopathic Association of Ceylon. She graduated in 1998 from The College of Homeopathy, London and pursued post-graduate studies at The Dynamis School for Advanced Homoeopathic Studies with Jeremy Sherr. She has also worked at Ainsworths Homeopathic Pharmacy. Vaish has given several interviews, written numerous articles and been involved in creating public awareness about homeopathy and holistic health.

Comments

  1. Dr Vaish Sathasivam

    November 20, 2012

    Today I read your article about Dengu etc.
    Thanks a lot for your contribution to Homeopathy

    kind regds
    Sunil Jay

  2. Ismar Pereira Filho

    November 20, 2012

    It is good to know that Echinacea angustifolia is such a potent remedy against dengue fever. Thank you, Mrs. Vaish Sathasivam.

  3. francis fernandes

    November 20, 2012

    great work by Dr. Vaish!
    Dengue is a cause of concern even in our country, so we should benefit from such proven treatments.

  4. Vaish Sathasivam

    Vaish Sathasivam

    November 20, 2012

    Thank you all for such positive and encouraging comments! Also thanks to the Hpathy team and to Echinacea!

  5. Dr. Snigdha Chattopadhyay

    November 20, 2012

    It is really an useful article since Dengue has become an epidemic in many places in India…. Echinacea has definite action in improving the body’s immune system against various infections ….. It’s role in treating Dengue would be really helpful… Thanks Dr. Vaish Sathasivam….

  6. SURESH MATHURIA

    November 20, 2012

    THANKS A LOT DR.VAISH. WHAT A BRILLIANT STORY FOR ENTIRE HOMEO WORLD MAY ALMIGHTY BLESS YOU.

  7. Roszalie Chidwick

    November 21, 2012

    Thank you as always Dr Vaish for the very informative article, if only the west would be more open minded with regards to Homeopathy. We have been taking Echinishea for years now as a preventative against Dengue and Maleria, the side effects of the Malaria medications are very worrying especially for children, this is so much more of a gentle and safer option.

  8. Sridevi

    November 21, 2012

    Article is really helpful .. a ray of hope to combat deadly dengue fever… thank you very much

    • shabir

      December 8, 2012

      i really impressed from you Devi Ge

  9. Sridevi

    November 21, 2012

    Thankyou very much… a proved ray of hope to combat dengue fever

  10. Kanishka

    November 22, 2012

    Thank you Dr Vaish

    Certainly a valuable piece of research in an area which would benefit many!

  11. Bh.V.S.N.Murthy

    November 25, 2012

    This article is very good use to homoeopathic learners.

  12. Bonnie

    November 28, 2012

    Thank you Dr. Vaish, I learned a lot from your informative article. Will forward to my friend, who will visit India soon with her family, including a young son.

  13. Dr Shaikh S Rahman

    November 28, 2012

    Thanks Dr Vaish Sathasivam for good article and good medicine.

    Abu Dhabi,
    UAE.

  14. dr c s gupta

    November 30, 2012

    DEAR DR,
    YOU HAVE USED ECHINACEA ANGUSTIFOLIA AS PREVENTIVE AND CURATIVE MEDICINE. I WILL BE GRATEFUL IF U PLEASE LET ME KNOW IN HOW MANY CASES U HAVE USED IT AND WHAT IS % OF SUCCESS ON MY EMAIL
    THANKS
    DR SHEKHAR

  15. sunanda

    December 4, 2012

    dear sir,
    its really nice of u to share ur experience. the article is informative and i shall sure try this approach in future . do you mean to say that in any case with low WBC Ct echinacea would help irrespective of other criteria and later when stabilised can go for a contitutional medicine?
    regards
    dr sunanda

  16. Nikhil

    December 6, 2012

    Thanks for sharing your experience. I wish you similar successes.

  17. Aravind

    December 6, 2012

    Nice to have information on dengue with Homoeopathy cures

  18. ganesan.m

    December 15, 2012

    Sir, A good example for allopathic pattern of applying Homeo remedies. Dengue fever is a blood poisoning one by the reduction the counts of the immune cells and the cells of wall barrier for circulation. Thiru vaish has given a pathosymptomatology for APIS. i.e dropsy with no thirst. CHIN. and ECHI. were used as supporting remedies. I think APIS. is alone suffice to case 1. ganesan.m

  19. sanjeev

    October 25, 2013

    Dear Dr.
    realy good article on dengue fever,Thank,s again and again.

  20. Profile photo of Guruji

    Guruji

    October 7, 2014

    A very useful information to treat Dengue fever.With the details provided by you,at present I am to treat a case of Dengue,where a lady at her 65 is suffering for about 20 days.Dr.Vaish, May Gods and Heavens be blessing you…

Add a comment

You must be logged in to comment.