Homeopathy Papers

Treatment of influenza

Remedy indications for influenza as compiled by members of the International Hahnemannian Association in 1919 and reported by Dr. Guy Beckley Stearns. Cases treated: 16,913. Deaths, 67. Mortality: 3.95 per thousand.

In January, 1919, a questionnaire was sent to the members of the International Hahnemannian Association, composed of physicians who prescribe only homoeopathic remedies, asking information as follows : The number of influenza cases treated, the general treatment, the remedies used and their indications and the number of deaths, including’ those from the complicating pneumonia.

The number of cases treated and the number of deaths are as follows: Cases treated, 16,913. Deaths, 67. Mortality, 3.95 per thousand.

The opinion is unanimously expressed that if the similar remedy be given early enough no case of influenza need die, except in extreme old age or where grave organic conditions already exist. Not only will the disease be cured by the sufficiently early administering of the simillimum, but the cough, the pain and other distressing symptoms will be relieved with reasonable promptness.

The remedy indications have been compiled from all the reports sent in, from the standard Materia Medicas, and from the general clinical experience of all good prescribers. Thanks are due especially to Dr. C. M. Boger and to Dr. Royal E. S.  Hayes for valuable additions and suggestions.

ACONITE cures cases that have a sudden onset, acute congestive in type, with high fever, high arterial tension, burning thirst, dry skin, fear and restlessness. The cough is dry and painful. The keynotes are:

Anxious look. (Expressions), Fear and restlessness. (Ars.), Sudden onset. (Bell.) Attacks following chilling from cold, dry winds or during cold spells of weather or after sweating. Hot, fluctuating red face, turns pale on rising. (Verat- rum alb.)

ALLIUM CEPA cures coryza types having red, watering smarting eyes, as from onions, with a bland discharge from the eyes and excoriating discharge from the nose, markedly better in the open air, increased hunger, and tearing in the larynx when coughing. These cases occur mostly during the dusty winds of autumn or during cold northwest winds. The key- notes are:

Bland lachrymation
Excoriating nasal discharge
Marked improvement in the open air

Compare EUPHRASIA which cures the coryza type having nasal discharge which is bland and acrid discharge from the eyes. The symptoms are worse or at least not better in the open air.

ARNICA cures cases that have great soreness as though bruised. Bed feels too hard. Restless and prostrated. Tendency toward typhoid state with foul discharges. Haemorrhagic tendency. Stupid, drowsy, flushed face. The keynotes are:

Pain and soreness as though bruised. In delirium, drops asleep while answering. Says nothing ails him. (Opium.) Face has a dark flush and a drowsy look.

ARSENICUM ALBUM cures some of the worst cases which begin with prostration, burning in the throat, scanty excoriating coryza, extreme thirst for small amounts, agonizing restlessness. The conditions are aggravated at 1 A. M.  The patient is chilly and wants to be covered, though the headache is better from cold. Pleural involvement going on to the formation of pus. Virulent types of pneumonia. Angry hectic flush early in the disease; later, pale face. Septic tendency. The keynotes are:


Restlessness with fear. (Aconite.)

Insatiable thirst for small amounts frequently.


Cough after every drink.  1 A. M., aggravation. (Compare Cuprum )

ARSENICUM IODIDE cures cases similar to Arsenicum Alb., especially the coryza types. Acrid burning coryza and lachrymation. Air hunger.

ARUM TRIPHYLLUM cures cases with excessive excoriating nasal discharge that corrodes the lip. Bores finger in nose or picks at lip until it bleeds.

BAPTISIA cures cases with besotted dark red face; cases that rapidly become prostrated, with tendency to sordes. The tongue is thickly coated with a dark streak in the centre.  Bed feels too hard. Curled up like a dog. Feels too sick to move. Confused, stupid, parts of body feel scattered about during delirium or in dreams. The keynotes are:

Besotted expression. (Gels.)
Dark streak in centre of tongue. (Veratrum Vir.)
Soreness; restless, curled up like a dog
Delirium, parts of body feel scattered and is endeavor- ing to collect them together.

BELLADONNA cures cases that begin suddenly with flushed face, bright staring eyes, dilated pupils, bright red or glazed and sore throat and mental excitement. It cures cases that relapse, where in the afternoon there is a sudden rise of temperature with the above mentioned symptoms. Headache with throbbing carotids and marked aggravation from jar- ring. Mind excited, overactive, even wildly delirious. Hot head and cold limbs. Jerks in sleep. The keynotes are:

Brightly flushed face.
Bright, staring eyes, dilated pupils.
Mental excitement verging on wildness.
Sudden onset in mid-afternoon.

BRYONIA is one of the most frequently indicated remedies. It cures the cases which have soreness of all the joints, which feel tired, which desire to be quiet; the cases with bursting or dull headache made worse by any motion. Dry, painful cough that hurts the head, the chest or abdomen.  Mouth dry, with thirst for large amounts of drink (though at times without thirst), easy sweat, sharp pains in chest or other parts of body, with aggravation of all symptoms from motion. In the delirium of Bryonia, the patient wishes to go home.  (Opium, Lachesis, Hyos.) Delirium of day’s work. (Cuprum Rhus tox.)

The keynotes are:
Great aggravation on motion.
Desire to lie curled up like a dog. (Baptisia.)
Mouth dry with thirst for large amounts of drink (at times thirstless. Puls.).
Dry, hacking, painful cough.
Sharp pains in chest and headache, worse from coughing.
Symptoms are relieved by lying on the painful side.

BRYONIA frequently meets the indications not only in influenza, but in the sometimes ensuing pneumonia with the above symptoms.

CAMPHOR saves some desperate cases where there is sudden and extreme prostration. Profuse sweat alternately hot and cold. When hot, patient wishes to be covered, and when cold wants to be uncovered. Icy coldness of body.  Bluish, pinched look. Coryza.

The keynotes are:
Sudden prostration.
Icy coldness with aversion to covering.

CAPSICUM helps the cases that have had aspirin or other depressants and that have become mentally and physically depressed. Homesick feeling, burning throat, craving cold drinks which cause chilliness when swallowed. Face and nose red but cold. Fat persons with lazy temperaments, who dread the cold.

The keynotes are:
Face flushed but cold.
Fat; chilly; depressed; poor reaction.
Burning, smarting pains.
Craves cold drinks, but chilly from drinking.

CAUSTICUM cures where patient began with hoarseness and rawness in larynx or where he has rawness in streaks behind sternum. The hoarseness is better from talking. Cough dry, hard, relieved by a sip of cold water. Spurting of urine with cough. Patient cannot cough deeply enough; the sputum slips back. Complete loss of voice.

CUPRUM in some localities cured the worst types. The indications are:

Face bluish ; moderately active delirium ; nausea ; frightful colic; cholera-like stools ; cramps in calves or in soles ; thumbs clenched into palms; icy coldness ; col- lapse ; efficient in the most malignant types, in those which are rapidly fatal, with thin bloody discharge from nose and lungs, aptly characterized as “ cholera of the lungs.”  Specially beneficial with persons who have worried much.  The trend of the symptoms must be noted early and the remedy given or it will be too late to save life.

EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM cures the cases which have pains which make the patient feel as if the bones would break, with restlessness, with chilliness commencing in the back, thirst and sweat.

The keynote is:
Aching as though in the bones.

FERRUM PHOS. cures cases with full, soft, flowing pulse; congestion of passive type; face alternately red and pale (Aeon., Verat. Alb.); talkative; mentally excited without fear or restlessness; pneumonia; earache; bloody discharges.  Relapse or extension to another part of lung with upshoot of temperature.

The keynotes are:
Full, soft, flowing pulse.
Mental excitement without fear.

GELSEMIUM is frequently indicated. Cures cases with great languor, heavy aching, relaxed, dull, drowsy, tired and sore. Heavy, drooping eyelids; full, drowsy, red face. Besotted look. Thin, acrid coryza. Sneezing. Thick speech.  Bandlike headache. Thirstless, with fever. Chilly up and down back. Trembling on rising.

The keynotes are:
Besotted appearance with drooping eyelids.
Fever without thirst.
Relaxation; drowsiness.
Chilliness in back.

HYOSCYAMUS cures cases which have a low-grade delirium of the typhoid type. They throw off the covers, pick at the bedclothes, talk to people not present; sing; have dry, red tongue, dry lips and sordes on teeth. Face may be flushed but more often is pale. Subsultus tendinum. Greedy thirst or none at all. Patients who reach this stage before HYOSCYAMUS is given may die; but when the trend is recognized sufficiently early, the remedy will save their lives. Warning symptoms: Fantastic hallucination, even momentary or flight.

IPECAC cures cases having hemorrhages from anywhere of bright red blood, associated with nausea and a clear tongue.  Its cough is suffocative and paroxysmal, and accompanied by loose, coarse rattling in the chest.

NUX VOMICA cures cases with stuffy cold in head which clears up in the open air. Throat is rough and scratchy.  Constipation with unsuccessful urging. The fever that calls for Nux Vomica is accompanied by red face. Chilliness on least motion or uncovering, or if clothing gets away from the back.  Backache; must sit up to turn over. Coryza, usually acrid, nose stuffed, then clear, better open air, stopped in room, sneezing alternating with above rawness of throat, dull head, impatience with condition. Golden yellow nasal discharge Specially required by overworked persons who are irritable.

LACHESIS is occasionally indicated in cases which tend toward disintegration of the blood; bluish skin; left-sided sore throat, which is worse from empty swallowing and better from cold drinks, which cannot bear anything around the throat; loquacious; general aggravation after sleep; skin sensitive to touch. Delirium after sleep. Wants to go home or escape from bed.

Its keynotes are:
Left-sided complaints.
Aggravation after sleep.
Strangling cough waking patient immediately on falling asleep.
Bluish color of affected part.
Intolerance of touch, especially around throat.

OPIUM – Lack of reaction. Painless. Face is deep red or blue. Patient hot, sweaty. Bed too hot. Delirium; patient fancies himself away from home. Thinks nothing ails him.  Hears distant sounds. Although delirious, alert to any voices in the room and follows speaker with eyes.

Keynotes are:
Face dark red or bluish.
Delirium; away from home. (Bryonia.)
Says that nothing ails him. (Arnica.)
Acuteness of hearing.
Patient hot and sweaty.
This remedy has cured some desperate cases.

PHOSPHORUS This cures the cases that begin with hoarseness, great weight on the chest, rawness in the air pas- sages, hard, dry hacking cough and inability to lie on the left side. Hoarseness worse morning and evening or cough worse morning and evening. The general symptoms are worse in the evening. Cold begins in chest and works up. There is great thirst for ice-cold drinks. Sputum is rust colored and may have a salty or sweetish taste. Relapsing cases that begin in the evening with hoarseness, tight chest, and cough, hectic cheeks and thirst. These cases develop into pneumonia, but phosphorus will abort or cure if given early enough.

Keynotes are:
Tightness of chest.
Aggravation from lying on the left side.
Craving for ice-cold drinks.
Evening aggravation.
Hoarseness and hard, dry cough, with bloody expectoration.
Hectic cheeks.

PHYTOLACCA is occasionally useful in cases beginning with sore throat and dark, inflamed tonsils; sore aching all over, in eyeballs, neck, back and limbs.

The keynotes are:
Sore throat, dark red, associated with sore aching all over body.

PULSATILLA is occasionally indicated. Mental state is mild and yielding or tearful. Patient is chilly but craves the air; thirstless although mouth is dry, or sips water to moisten the mouth; thick, greenish nasal discharge ; shifting pains, especially in women who have suppressed or scanty and pain- ful menses; evening aggravation..

Keynotes are :
Weepy state; wants sympathy.
Thirstless with dry mouth.
Chilly, yet wants the cold and craves air.
Thick, yellow or green discharge.

PYROGEN cures septic cases with aching, soreness and bruised feeling; bed feels too hard; prostration and restless- ness and pulse rapid out of proportion to the temperature.  The more septic the more indicated.

Keynotes are:
Septic state associated with soreness, restlessness and prostration.
Pulse out of proportion to fever.

RADIUM BROM. Cases occurring in raw spells of weather. Spring season. Pains better by motions. Better open air or fresh air. Cough better open air. Irritation suprasternal fossa. Pains keep him moving (more intense than Rhus tox). Electric-like pains. Rhus has this in provings. Seldom observed clinically. Radium has it clinically in most cases. Or electric-like burning or heat in certain locations Worse night. (Rhus tox worse than morning.)

RHUS TOXICODENDRON cures cases that have tearing pains down backs or thighs and in limbs; cases which have feeling of being sore, bruised, stiff all over, which cannot find rest in any position, which have great restlessness where motion gives relief. This restlessness is worse after midnight and grows worse until morning. These patients dream of hard work and wake tired. They are chilly, and the chilliness is aggravated by the slightest motion or uncovering. (Eupat., Perf., Nux Vom.) Thirst for cold drinks. Red triangle at tip of tongue. Itching herpetic eruption.

Keynotes are:
Great restlessness with relief from motion.
Red triangle at tip of tongue.
Night aggravation.
Conditions brought on from becoming chilled after sweating or from getting wet.

SULPHUR cures cases which resolve slowly and which develop some of the following Keynotes:

Red lips
More thirst than hunger.
Empty, “all gone” feeling at 11 A. M.
Soles of feet so hot and burning at night that patient puts feet out of bed. (Compare Cuprum, )
Restless nights.
Sleeps in short, wakeful naps.

At beginning of the illness, patients start with chilliness running up the back. Heavy eyelids. Hectic flush, or red lips, or red ears, or red eyelids, or hot feet, or a full, congested sensation in head or chest. Sulphur will abort this condition even if a pneumonic process has begun.

TUBERCULINUM has saved many cases where there have not been good indications for some other remedy, or where, despite close prescribing, the patient has failed to respond. Its indications may be summed up as:

Craving motion, fresh air and coolness. Peculiar pungent offensive breath and sweat.
Lack of reaction. Indications constantly changing, or else partial response to remedies without any real improvement.
Tubercular tendency.
These may be associated with air-hunger or easy sweating.

Tuberculinum should not be given where there are good indications for other remedies, for then it is likely to mix the case and do harm. When properly used it is a life- saver. A dose not lower than the 30th potency every 4 to 12 hours for three to six doses will be all that is required. Some of the best results have been obtained from the 200th and higher.

VERATRUM ALBUM has cured some of the severest types, with severe prostration, collapse or fainting, with cold sweat on the forehead. These have often been accompanied by excessive purging and vomiting. (Compare Camphor and Cuprum.)

The keynotes are:
Prostration and collapse.
Profuse cold sweat on forehead.
General coldness.
Face becomes deathly pale when patient rises. (Aeon.)
Excessive vomiting and purging.

VERATRUM VIRIDE cures cases of a sudden congestive type, with foul breath, dry red streak down centre of tongue with bloated, livid faces. Patients who become faint on sitting up. Pulse full, slow, soft.

Keynotes are:
Sudden violent congestion.
Red, dry streak down middle of tongue.
Faintness on attempting to sit up.
Pulse soft, full.

The foregoing remedies cover most of the cases, although special indications may call for any remedy in the materia medica.  Part of this group of remedies corresponds only to the simple catarrhal type of influenza, but the following are equally useful in early catarrhal stages and in those which develop pneumonia:

Acon., Ars., Bry., Bell., Cup., Ferr. Phos., Hyos., Ip., Lach.,

Op., Pyrog., Phos., Sul, Tub. and Verat. V.

Cases which convalesce poorly or which have been badly prescribed for, or in which the exact similar remedy has not been found, develop conditions requiring remedies that are apt not to cover the early symptoms but that meet the deeper developments of the patient. This opens the entire field of homeopathic therapeutics, but the following are among the most important:

In pneumonia:

ANTIMONIUM TART., when the patient has blue lips, cool sweat on the face, drowsiness and lack of reaction, loose coarse rattling cough where it sounds as though the chest were full of mucus and as though, if only the patient could cough a little harder he could raise it.

Mucus rises into larynx causing a little cough repeating every five or ten minutes.
The keynotes are:
Coarse rattling in chest.
Face blue and covered with cool sweat.
Old persons and children.

CARBO. VEG. Grave states, where the vital forces are nearly spent; blue, pinched, or dusky face, after hemorrhages or loss of body-fluids, with icy coldness of nose, breath, knees and legs.  Great desire to be fanned. Dark, thin oozing hemorrhages.  Much flatulence. This remedy saves patients who are apparently dying.

The keynotes are :
Desire to be fanned.

HEPAR SULPH. cures cases in which suppuration is imminent, as in pleuritic effusion tending toward pus ; third stage of pneumonia, with a croupy cough having a loose edge ; cases that are chilly and cannot stand the least draught or cold; which sweat easily and crave sour drinks.

IODINE cures desperate cases of pneumonia, particularly where the lungs remain solid, with high fever, much thirst, somnolence, and hectic flush.

KALI BICHROMICUM cures cases with a frontal sinusitis, with pressure at root of nose, acrid sticky nasal discharge especially if it becomes yellow and stringy ; cough from tickling at bifurcation of bronchi, worse at 3 A. M., dry tickling. Absence of fever. Sharp, wandering pains.

KALI CARB., cures cases with great weakness, backache, and feeling of back and legs giving out; easy sweat, cold; sharp sticking pains; pneumonia, with sharp pains through lower right chest, spasmodic, worse at 3 A. M.

KALI IOD. Discharge of large amount of pus from nose after influenza. (Boger.)

KALI PHOS. is useful in convalescence where patient is easily fagged, filled with gloom or dread; has tongue coated bright yellow and is hungry soon after eating.

LYCOPODIUM saves desperate cases of neglected pneumonia where the abdomen is distended, where there is fanlike motion of the wings of the nose, where the condition is worse from 4 to 8 P. M., and where the trouble is right-sided. Also left-sided cases with sharp, intense pains under ribs. (See Nat.  Sul.) The chief remedy in tubercular meningitis. (Boger.)

NATRUM SULPH. cures left-sided pneumonia associated with sharp pains, pains so sharp that the patient cries out. Greenish, frothy expectoration. Sadness.

PSORINUM cures cases of slow convalescence. Patient despairs of recovery; is sensitive to draughts about head and wants head covered. Wraps up from coldness. Discharges are offensive. Tendency towards itching eruptions. Fails to regain appetite or it disappears after the first. Exhausted, trembling, depressed, fretful and irritable toward evening.

N.B. — In influenza epidemics, it has been observed that in one locality one remedy will cover the majority of cases, while in another it will be another remedy. After two or three weeks the symptoms of the disease will change and another remedy will take precedence.

E. (In the 1918 epidemic in parts of New England, Arsenic was the principal remedy, while in another Phosphorus, and another Cuprum, while in New York it was Bryonia and in Oswegd Veratrum Alb.

During one period Bryonia covered nearly all of my cases, then Eupatorium perf. covered many and at another time, Sulphur. No matter how true to form the epidemic runs, besides the main remedy there will be scattered cases requiring many others. The remedies should be used in dilutions from the third centesimal to the highest, a few drops being put in one-half glass of water and a teaspoonful given every two hours until the symptoms begin to subside. Then increase the intervals.

When the similarity of symptoms is exact, the highest potencies (200th and above) work quicker than the lower. At times a remedy will exactly cover the case, but will only help temporarily. A change to a higher dilution will usually start improvement at once. Once in a great while, dropping to a lower dilution acts better. Only the single remedy should be used. Alternation leads to confusion and inexactness.

The knowledge of the use of these and many other remedies comes only through careful study of drugs from the standpoint of their similarity of action. He who looks upon disease as an entity for which a specific remedy can be devised never can attain the knowledge of how to cure. Only he can gain it who recognizes :

1st. That each individual reacts to the infection according to the laws of his own being ;

2d. That his symptoms are the result of that reaction, and that they represent the body’s attempt to get well ;

3d. That the body reacts as a whole, each tissue doing its part, and that the totality of the symptoms represents a single effort and requires a single drug for a cure ;

4th. That the curative remedy is that one which stimulates a reaction in the body like the one the body already is attempting, in other words, causes symptoms like those already present ;

5th. That the curative reaction of the body is a positive effort, ie., the protective mechanism is stimulated, not depressed ; therefore, minute doses of the similar or curative drug must be used, because of the fact that small amounts of drugs stimulate while large amounts suppress.

Many remedies besides those mentioned correspond to individual cases. There is a curative remedy for every sick person and this remedy can be found by all physicians who can and will study drugs from the standpoint of similarity of action. In the practice of those who use the remedies in accord with the above indications there have been few or no deaths, although the general death rate has been appalling.

About the author

Guy Beckley Stearns

Guy Beckley Stearns MD (September 16, 1870 – 1947) was an American Physician Homeopath and the developer of autonomic reflex testing in the study of homeopathic preparations. He also was the founder of the Foundation for Homeopathic Research. Stearns conducted early research with very highly potentized remedies first with fruit flies and later with the Emanometer, a tuning device made by Dr. William E. Boyd of Glasgow, Scotland. He was Associate Professor of Materia Medica for the Department of Materia Medica, New York Homeopathic Medical College.


  • I have been looking for flu medicine for a very long time and tried maybe most of the medicines listed above but failed.One day I decided to try Spongia and since then I have no flu problems at all.
    I have no memory of why I decided to do just that, but I also helped other people heal.As we usually know, the virus enters the mouth and goes through the throat into the lungs.Spongia as we know it is an organic remedy for the lungs.

    • That’s great that you found your remedy.

      My son had weak lungs since birth and I gave him any number of remedies which brought improvement, but did not remove his lung weakness. Finally, after 13 years of worry, I began giving him Nat sulph for his respiratory issues, and now he is so strong and healthy. The cold northern winters go by with no problems. Even if he eats dairy, he still doesn’t get sick.

      So I encourage people to not give up. If you haven’t found the deeply curative remedy, don’t give up, try a different remedy or a different homeopath that will see you from a different point of view. Eventually you will find the remedy that resonates with you.

      Homeopathy works.

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