Homeopathy Papers

Revisiting Fifi’s Flu

This one was real tricky, did you guess the right homeopathic remedy?

To read last month’s full case quiz. Visit – Fifi’s Flu







OK, who’s going to be brave enough to be the first this time?  Let’s see a show of hands.  I see the Slovakia Gang is here!

Hello Elaine…

Hello Adriana!

I vote for Arsenicum despite the fact that she was not chilly and despite the fact that Arsenicum is not so much asking why he is sick but is anxious about what can happen to him because he is sick.  And I don´t understand why Belladonna and Aconite did not help.

I used the rubrics about mental state:

MIND – LIGHT – desire for (according to Dr. Sehgal because she was asking why she has headache)

But she had photophobia–she didn’t desire light at all.  And asking “Why do I have a headache and when will it go away?” can be construed as “anxiety about health” which makes more sense given that it’s a child.

MIND – CARRIED – desire to be carried

You have to be careful with that one too.  Remember what I said a few months ago, that if the pathology explains the symptom, then it’s not a symptom.  The child is prostrated, kind of like Gelsemium, a kind of paralysis of the muscles, they become lax, all one can do is lie lifelessly.  Notice that her first sign of getting well was that she began to use her muscles again–reaching for things, etc., whereas before, if the child was thirsty, the mother had to hold the glass of water while the girl sipped from a straw.  So, this is why she was being carried from room to room; not because of a mental desire to be carried but a physical manifestation of the illness, a kind of prostration, weakness.

MIND – ANXIETY – pains, from the

I would call it “anxiety about health”.

I came up with Bell, Acon and Phosph, but they didn´t seem to work.  Then I would think of Arsenicum because of the anxiety and sips of water.

Like I said, this is a tricky quiz!  The remedy is Belladonna!  Now, I know what you’re thinking: “She already had Belladonna and it didn’t work!”  When she gave Belladonna, it WASN’T Belladonna; I mean the CASE wasn’t Belladonna!  I believe that Bryonia, a partial simillimum, PUSHED the case into Belladonna!  It happened when the mother said, “Bryonia stopped working and her cheeks turned bright red!”

“Give her Belladonna!” I said; and it worked!

Sometimes the “wrong” remedy can push the case into a clearer picture of the right remedy!  Here’s what I think the first remedy could have been–a nosode!  Possibly Influenzinum or Oscillococcinum!  Why?  Because there was no clear remedy picture!  There were half a dozen remedy images at once!  There was a little bit of Arsenicum but also a little bit of Belladonna, a little bit of Phosphorus, a little bit of Bryonia, a little bit of Gelsemium…  This is a clear sign of a patient needing a nosode–when you see keynotes of several remedies in a case, but none of them, by themselves, clearly fits.

It’s time for a nosode when there’s always a “but” in the case!  It looks like Bryonia, BUT; it looks like Phosphorus, BUT; it looks like Arsenicum, BUT…. For example, “It looks like Arsenicum BUT, she’s not restless!”  “It looks like Bryonia BUT, there’s very little thirst (Bryonia doesn’t sip, Bryonia drinks the whole glass down) … and furthermore, it’s not that Fifi is WORSE FOR MOTION, it’s more that she’s too weak to move!  That would be more like the paralysis, lassitude, of Gelsemium!  So again, it looks like Gelsemium BUT, she’s not thirstless, and she’s not cold!

When the mom said, “At noon, Bryonia stopped working [the case was relapsing] and also at noon, Fifi’s cheeks turned bright red,” alarm bells went off in my head!  The rubric is, “Face: red, face, glowing red”.  As you can probably imagine, Belladonna is the main remedy for bright red face; and I reasoned that Bryonia had pushed the child into Belladonna.  And it must have been true because Belladonna didn’t work before but it worked now!  So, this is what the wrong remedy can do sometimes, it can move the case to a clearer remedy picture.  Thanks, Adriana!

Oh look, it’s Miroslav and Jitka!


Hello, Elaine and Shana,

Hi Miroslav and Jitka!

We are sending our regular contribution to the quiz:

It’s nice to have you back again at beautiful Hpathy.com.

Miroslav says:

Because of suspected influenza, she wants to be carried quickly…

I didn’t see “wants to be carried quickly”.  I didn’t see the word “quickly” mentioned in the case.  And she only wants to be carried if she has to change rooms; otherwise, she’s quite content to just lie there.

…and she is capricious = feels discomfort?

In what way is she capricious?  Capricious means doesn’t know what she wants; makes demands for things and then rejects them.

She craves cold water, but only sips it, I’d try Arsenicum.

A lot of people picked Arsenicum and I can understand why.

Jitka says:

The most similar remedy for “Fifi“ emerged Chamomilla and Belladonna. Fifi´s mother tried acon, bell, phosph and bryonia, but to no avail. Neither Belladonna nor Chamomilla are not listed in the Murphy, a section for flu.

Actually, Belladonna is listed as a 2 under Influenza in Murphy’s “Clinical” chapter.  I’m not sure how you landed on Chamomilla which is a very active, crying, screaming, angry remedy and this child is rather quiet and very still.

There still remains one similar remedy and it is Arsenicum.  So, I vote for Arsenicum although I thought strongly about Ferrum phos, too.

Everyone seems to like Arsenicum for this case–I guess for the anxiety about health and the sipping of cold water–though it’s not frequent.

What I noticed was, every time you saw a symptom that looked like it fit a remedy, there was no way to confirm it!  You both said Arsenicum; but, where is the restlessness?  The child is lying still, she’s not moving, it makes you think of Gelsemium–weak, almost thirstless, too weak to hold her own drink in her hand.  The mother thinks the stillness means Bryonia and is giving Bryonia all day long.  Bryonia has a partial effect until it finally stops working, then something unexpected happens, her face turns bright red!  What do you think now?

Miroslav wrote:

Why it is so difficult for us to chose the right remedy?

(At least for me, certainly …) The symptoms are always mixed and

it is rarely clear how to grasp the case … You can´t even put in extra

questions or verify the intensity and priorities of already described symptoms.

Personally I would always asked what is the most intensive …

That’s part of my questionnaire: “What is most striking about your case?”  The mother said “headache”.  Clearly, the case was basically one of fever, headache, prostration (collapse, sensation of heaviness)–had to be carried from room to room, had to have her drinking glass held for her while she sipped through a straw.  So, fever with dry heat and red face, minor thirst for cold drinks, worse light, worse noise, collapse, headache, anxiety about health.

Gelsemium runs through the entire case.

Except that “red face” generally doesn’t go for Gelsemium and Gelsemium is not thirsty.  Also, the mental state of Gelsemium is apathy, not anxiety.

When I went through the case again, I found out there is one very interesting symptom: She wanted to know why she has a headache and when it stops …

Have you been colluding with Adriana?  That’s “anxiety about health”.

Seghal´s method and rubric came to my mind: “Light, desires for“…

Is Dr. Sehgal the only homeopath in Slovakia?  Is everybody learning from him????  The patient is worse for light!

Gelsemium glows there.  I also think that we were “too fastened into“ a symptom:  “She wants to be carried around the house“, which was not important in this case at all.

You can’t always take a symptom at face-value, you have to analyze it.  A symptom can have different meanings in different people.  In this case, Fifi simply could not walk on her own!  A desire to be carried implies that you CAN walk, you just don’t want to, you would rather be carried.  Fifi felt too heavy to walk.  All she could do was lie in one spot.  This is why the mother was giving her Bryonia because she was just lying still, not moving.  So, if a patient is being carried because she CAN’T walk, do we pick the rubric “desires to be carried”?  No; not because it’s not important, but because it’s the wrong rubric.  She actually desires to lie still and not move; that’s what her desire is.  But is that the same as Bryonia’s “worse least motion”?  No; only partially.  This is why she got a partial result with Bryonia.  Fifi simply feels too heavy to move. It’s not so much that WHEN she moves, she gets worse; it’s that she has no inclination to move.

So here’s what happened as I was reading her questionnaire.  I actually had no idea what the remedy was!  Every remedy I considered had a “but” attached to it.  “It could be Gelsemium BUT she’s thirsty and warm.”  “It could be Arsenicum BUT she’s not restless nor cold.”  I was bewildered until I got to the end of the questionnaire when the mom said, “Bryonia stopped working and Fifi’s face has turned bright red.”  What remedy has a bright red face?  Belladonna!  I know, she already had Belladonna, but it wasn’t Belladonna then!  Why?  No Belladonna mentals!  The mentals she had were Arsenicum mentals!  If you want to read a case with Belladonna mentals, click here for “Homeopathy In The Middle Of The Night”:

Revisiting: Homeopathy in the Middle of the Night

This is when I realized the original case was probably a nosode!  When do we give a nosode?  When no single remedy fits the case!  I think so many doses of Bryonia pushed the case into Belladonna!

Thanks, Elaine.



Hi Elaine and Shana!

Hi Maria!

For this month’s quiz I was between Aconite and Arsenicum.
I’ll go for arsenicum.  She is anxious, weak, sips ice water.
All the modalities don’t fit but If I am wrong I will try again 🙂

PS: I loved your article “Questions Patients Ask – 18”, especially your answer about miasms.  You have a way to explain simple-and-to-the-point the most difficult things!

I just love that!
Gee, thanks, Maria; but getting back to Fifi’s case, see, that’s just it, all the modalities don’t fit, as you pointed out; in fact, as I’m getting to the end of the case, all I can see is that nothing really fits.  There’s always a “but”; it looks like Arsenicum BUT, it looks like Phosphorus BUT.  Then suddenly, just at the bottom of the questionnaire, she says, “Bryonia stopped working and now her face has turned bright red!”  So, as you probably know, the most recent symptom in a case is the one you have to pay the most attention to!  (“Healing takes place in reverse order”–Hering.)  So what do you think now?

Hmmmm Aconite?  Also Belladonna has this too.  But ice water is more like Aconite.

Well, the rubric is Face: red, glowing, red.   (There’s no rubric Face: red, bright red.)

So, there were 3 remedies in bold.  One was a remedy no one has, one was Cina which would have gone more for a worm case; and the other was Belladonna!  So I said, “Give Belladonna!”  I think the repeated Bryonia doses pushed the child into a Belladonna state.  Sometimes a “wrong” remedy can make the body put out a clearer remedy picture.  I think that’s what happened here.  She wasn’t in this “new” state long enough for us to discern her thirst and mentals, etc. and whether they had changed.



Hi Elaine,

This is a real conundrum.  No wonder your friend referred the case to you.  I repertorized the case, probably over-repertorised it.

Choking coughs

Red face, fever during

Red face, circumscribed,

We actually don’t know that for a fact.  All we know is “red cheeks”.

Weakness, sensation

Not a very useful rubric as practically every remedy is there.

White tongue

Same as above, practically every remedy is there.

Pressing; pain, fever, during

Headaches: pressing pain–has almost 400 remedies in it!  It’s not going to help us.

Pressing; pain

Light, mental effects of; aversion to

Should be, “Eyes: photophobia, fever, during”

Light, mental effects of daylight, agg

No, it’s not a mental symptom.  A remedy like Nat-mur has an aversion to sunlight; but, this is a fever symptom and very common in the flu as most flu patients have a headache, and a very common headache symptom is “aversion to light”.

Noise, general; aversion to

A common symptom during fever, like photophobia, won’t help us much.

Motion, general; agg

It’s not so much that motion agg.  That’s why Fifi’s mother picked Bryonia.  It’s that her body feels too heavy.  She’s disinclined to move, too difficult. That’s why she wants to be carried everywhere.

Thirst, general; small quantities, for

Cold; drinks, water amel.

Dry; fever, heat

Lying; down, act of, amel.

Lying down when one is sick is a common symptom.  If she were sick and up pacing the floor, that would be far more instructive and lead us to think of maybe Arsenicum or possibly Rhus tox.  But, lying down when you’re sick is normal and not really a symptom.

Remedies that came up were bell. sulph. bry. nux-v. phos. sep. lach, nat-mur, ars, chin, lyc, ferr, merc, puls, carb-veg, acon, calc, graph.

Most of the stronger remedies had already been tried and the others, when checking their “fever status” from the repertory, don’t seem to correspond to the symptoms( always some sweating or chills).

See, that’s the problem I saw too.  Nothing quite fits.

I can only say that possibly there is a rare and peculiar symptom of red cheeks at mid-day and that remedy would trump the others.

Never-the-less, I have to choose a remedy and I will say Sulphur.  It has been used in flu cases and is high up in the table of remedies covering most of the rubrics.

Anxious to hear your reply.

Luckily, just as I got to the bottom of her questionnaire, and having no idea what the remedy was myself, I see, “Bryonia stopped working and her face turned bright red.” As you know from Hering’s Law, healing takes place in reverse order, so the last symptom in a case MUST fit the remedy for it to work!  So, the rubric for bright red face is, “Face: red, glowing”.  There are 25 remedies, Cina and Belladonna are in bold; for Cina you’d expect the case to be about worms; so, I picked Belladonna.  Yes, I know, she already tried it!  But I don’t think it was Belladonna then, I think it was a nosode, like perhaps Oscillococcinum.  Why?  No clear remedy picture!  I think she pushed the case into Belladonna by her constant Bryonia dosing!

P.S. Like your new logo




Well, alas, everybody; nobody got the right answer, as I expected might happen; but, “I guess that don’t make you a loser!” as the Brothers of Soul said in 1968.  Try again next time!


Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.

Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website: elaineLewis.hpathy.com

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at:
https://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org

About the author

Shana Lewis

Shana Lewis

Shana spices up the Hpathy Quiz with her timely announcements and reviews on the latest in pop culture. Her vast knowledge of music before her time has inspired the nickname: "Shanapedia"!

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