Sunday, October 12, 2014

Fall 2014, the Ferrum phos Flu

the Ferrum phosphoricum flu, Vancouver Washington, September October 2014

Vancouver has had mild rain storms in the last week with cloud breaks offering really nice sky views. At the same time, there has been a mild flu going around.  A ferrum phos flu.

With all the talk about Ebola in the news these last two weeks, I have been wondering one thing: what are the exact symptoms of Ebola?  How does the person feel?  The Liberian man in Texas described his first symptom as a sharp headache.  A couple of days later, I got a sharp headache. Other symptoms followed (not symptoms of Ebola, just symptoms of a flu). Since I had been studying possible Ebola flu remedies, I decided to try one I had picked as a possible remedy. Here are the symptoms which developed over the course of 4 days...

Fever: I knew I was not feeling well when I was putting on a thick sweater at the office.  Normally, a summer sweater would do in air conditioning on a 75 degree day.  Although the sweater felt nice, I didn't feel overly chilled, and definitely never got shakes. Throughout the flu, I actually felt warmer than normal, which was nice because I'm usually a little cold, especially in air conditioning. the warmth stayed near the surface of the skin, rather than feeling hot on the inside and cold at the extremities as is the case in other flus. So this was not a Gelsemium flu, Belladonna flu or Arsenicum flu.

Headache: quickly following the short lived chill I got a sharp headache. I knew what the Ebola victim meant by "sharp".The pain started in my right nostril/sinus and went up to my right forehead as if a spear or knife went straight up through those places.  The maxillary sinuses were very tender to air going in, especially on the R side.  Again, the pain could be described as sharp.  It also felt like a pressing pain on the forehead and at one point, both temples hurt and felt congested, almost throbbing, but not quite.  In addition, the headache started actually in the occiput on the Right side.  I normally have pain in that area, so at first, I did not know it was a sign of the flu. It felt good to press on the base off the occiput and also it felt as if I needed a chiropractic adjustment. The headache remained throughout the flu and in fact, was the last symptom to leave.

Nausea: nausea quickly developed with lack of appetite. Although at work, I didn't eat hardly anything the entire day.  At first, I thought it was just stress related stomach problems because I was buying a used car for my daughter that week.  But with the temperature and sinus symptoms, I was getting the picture that it was a flu.  The nausea was part lack of appetite, part dizziness, and part light headedness.  Every time the homeopathic I finally took wore off, the nausea and lightheadedness came back.  The one thing I did have an appetite for was ice.  I wanted ice cold water, and chewing on ice made my stomach feel better, more settled.

Eyes: When the headache started, photophobia came on as well.  I had to squint while outdoors so as not to make the headache worse.  By the third day, my eyes felt burning and as if there was sand in the lids.  I thought I might be getting conjunctivitis.

what was absent: with this flu there was absolutely no joint pain.  In fact, usually I have a little stiffness and joint pain.  I actually felt fairly comfortable throughout this flu, except for the crick in my neck around C1/C2.  I did drink less coffee, but the garden was producing oodles of cherry tomatoes and I ate plenty of those.  (As we all know, nightshades can cause joint pain). So whether or not a change in diet had any affect on joint pain is unknown.  Either way, this was definitely not a Eupatorium or an Arnica flu.

So what did I take?

I had insomnia as is normal during a flu and during the night I got up and took Sanginaria.  As I've mentioned in earlier posts, a Sanguinaria flu starts with a pain in the neck and trapezius on the Right side going up to the right forehead and eye. It did nothing for my symptoms. Later I took Ipecac due to the nausea because I had to go to work. At this point, I was still not sure if my symptoms were due to stress or a flu. The nausea did not get worse, but I had absolutely no appetite and felt that if I ate, the nausea would worsen.  Neither of these remedies stopped the headache, dizziness, or fever (and by fever, I really mean a warmth throughout the skin).  I took Causticum later due to it's connection with a feeling of a crick in the neck during a flu. Nothing.

Then I happened upon a remedy that I was investigating due to Ebola.  Ferrum phosphoricum.  It is iron phosphate. The iron remedies, especially ferrum phosphoricum, are used to treat iron deficiency anemia.  We know that people with iron deficiency crave ice.  That is what made me think of a ferrum phos.

Ferrum phos matches these symptoms in the repertory:

EYE--Photophobia, headache during
EYE--Photophobia, fever during
EYE-Pain, burning
EYE-Discoloration, red
EYE-Pain, sand, as if from

VERTIGO-Nausea, with

HEAD-Pain, accompanied by fever
HEAD-Pain, occiput, sore
HEAD-Pain, occiput extending to forehead
HEAD-Pain, sides, right
HEAD-Pain, eye, above

FEVER-without chill

STOMACH-cold drinks ameliorate

I had looked at this remedy due to it's possible accompanying symptoms of hemorrhages from any orifice (coughing up blood (hemoptysis), bloody stools, bleeding from the gums, nosebleeds).  Also it is listed as a remedy for the beginnings of contagions. Obviously I did not have these symptoms.  But I took the remedy.

I started to feel better. The pain in the nostrils subsided.  The headache lessened.  I had taken a 200c dose because I wanted quick results. A couple of hours later I didn't feel as well as I wanted to.  I wanted to take another dose but knew it was inadviseable to take another high dose.  I had some ferrum phosphoricum cell salts (6x) so I took that. Pain in the nose subsided the sinuses started to drain even though they had not really felt congested.  It felt as it does at the end of a cold when mucous is the last sign of residual illness.  I found a 30c dose and that was the next dosage I took when the headache worsened again hours later. All symptoms abated without any new symptoms arising.

I had to take more 30c doses, about 2-3 doses per day for 3 days before the symptoms completely subsided.   Taking the remedy helped me feel good enough for a few hours to go about what I had to do--purchase a car for my daughter, cook, eat, type up chart notes, etc.

But was this only my experience?  Was it isolated or was this flu going around? On the first day that I had a headache, a friend also had a headache. When I asked him to describe the headache it matched mine--on the Right side, in the nose and sinus and going up behind and above the Right eye.  He also had a sore throat.  I gave him a dose of ferrum phos 30c and asked him to get back to me.  4 hours later, he texted that he felt much better.  About 24 hours later, he wanted another dose. He took that and felt better again.

In addition, two other people had similar flu symptoms that week.  Their only complaints were nausea, lack of appetite, headache and slight vertigo.

It would be interesting for homeopaths to collect more detailed information about Ebola symptoms to see if ferrum phos could be of use, especially in the early stages.  Perhaps Ebola is getting out of hand due to a ferrum phos flu going around simultaneously with Ebola.  Either way, if you have any of the above symptoms in the next few weeks and try ferrum phos, let me know how it works.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The China Flu hits the West Coast

China flu.  I'm not talking about H1N1, H7N9 or any other bird flu. I'm talking about homeopathic China, or Cinchona officinalis.

Cinchona officinalis

China bark, quinine bark or Peruvian bark, as cinchona is sometimes called, was used for it's quinine content to make anti-malarial medication.  This was the first item from nature that gave the founder of homeopathy, Samuel Hahnemann, the idea that 'like cures like'.

Dr. Hahnemann noticed that although cinchona (China bark) cured malaria, when taken in large quantities it actually caused symptoms similar to malaria: headaches, nausea and vomiting, fevers, chills, etc. He then went on to study the toxic and therapeutic doses of many plants, minerals, and other items from nature. And today we have a myriad of homeopathic medicines to treat illness.

Most users of homeopathy only think of China in cases of debilitation especially after loss of fluid.  Perhaps this is because we don't experience malaria.  Although quinine derivatives and China bark are still used to treat fevers in the lesser developed world, those of us in the northerly latitudes do not have as much experience with malarial type fever.

But I do. Due to having had malaria a few times while living in Africa, I am acutely familiar with the symptoms of the China flu.  I can tell you it is especially bad while travelling (what illness isn't).  
The intense headache, chills, body aches, vomiting and diarrhea all come on quickly. So quickly that a doctor may think of Belladonna or Aconite.  However the difference between these and the China flu is that the China flu is any of these flus times 10. Think of the worst sickness you've had times 10.  Also, think of every flu symptom you've ever had--all at the same time.  That is malaria and that is the China flu.

The headache feels like it's in the sinuses, but then the pain extends back, or maybe it's in the occiput and extends forward, anyway eventually it's all over and bursting, pressing as if in a vice, maddening. At least this is the way it's described in the repertory, and it's all true. The repertory also says that everything except lying down aggravates the headache. Too true.

Then the chills. Other flus have chills, however if you start shaking uncontrollably, think of China.  Very similar to Bryonia, you just can't get warm.  But eventually all the other symptoms feel worse than the chills.  There is nausea and if not treated soon enough, vomiting.

Debility, one of the symptoms China is known for, is definitely part of this flu. Similar to Gelsemium. However Gelsemium flus come on more slowly. The China flu can come on within a few hours.

I only tried this remedy on a couple of people.  I had asked others to try it for the flu but I don't think anyone had it on hand. But plenty of people had flus that came on quickly, lasted a few days to a week, and felt awful.  So if anyone out there has a flu similar to what's described above, try China, and let me know how it works.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Bryonia hits the West Coast Jan-Feb 2014

We all know that the actual snow storm hit the East Coast, not the West in the last couple weeks.  However, the temperatures here have dropped to freezing briefly.  The weather is cold and dry. Although the dryness brings us bits of nice blue sky, if you have the Bryonia flu, the picture above shows what you feel like on the inside.

With a case of Bryonia, you just can't get warm.  Even when you put on a long sleeve shirt or get in bed, the usual amount of layers is not enough. Any draft is felt.  It's not quite the hot/cold fever/chill you get with Gelsemium and other flus.  You just feel cold.  And you don't feel it on your skin so much like you did in December with the Gelsemium flu. You feel it in your joints.

The joint pain can be described as a soreness throughout the body and from my experience, all the joints are painful.  Although the entire person may be cold, the joints might feel better with application of a cold pack rather than heat. But most of all, the pain is better from pressure or splinting.  What does this mean? If your neck hurts, although it may be sore to the touch, it feels better with the hand pressing on it, giving it support. Or when lying in bed, a sore back, neck or shoulder will actually feel better when laying on the side that is sore.

Part of the reason for this is that with Bryonia motion generally makes a part feel worse. For instance, if your lungs are feeling sore or you are generally feeling achy, stop breathing for a few seconds.  You will notice a reduction in pain because your chest is not moving.  This is one reason Bryonia is often used for pleurisy, an inflammation of the lining or sac between the lungs and chest wall.  Bryonia can also be used for lesser complaints such as coughing and bronchitis when splinting--or holding the chest while coughing--makes the pain decrease.  By the way, a bryonia cough will usually be dry.

Despite being better at rest--not moving--the entire body may be restless due to the pain, and the patient (or family member) with the bryonia flu will want to be still and wrapped up but will then be up and down or moving about, all the time irritable because they cannot feel completely at ease.

There have been a few people with nausea or even vomiting with this flu.  Generally liquids will go down better than solids and the patient will often thirst for large quantities of cold water.  This is because the mouth feels dry.  Dr. Will Taylor, homeopathic professor at the National College of Natural Medicine, always said "Bryonia, dry-onia".  The mucous membranes will be dry and this can result in thirst or even constipation.

In fact, dry-onia is what gave me the clue for the remedy for this flu.  I was laying on the couch wrapped in a blanket trying to be still and I kept needing to get up for a glass of water.  My mouth felt dry.  It was then that I connected the achy joints with the Bryonia flu picture.  Interestingly, I had experienced low back pain a day or so before I really started to feel sick. It had hit me suddenly in the produce section of the grocery store.  I was just standing when it hit.  It felt stitching and shooting as if my back would break, needing to be splinted--classic Bryonia.  As the days progressed, the pain has settled in the neck, always a trouble spot for me anyway, as an aching pain which is also a way for Bryonia to express itself.

I had started to become nauseous yesterday evening so I took 3 doses of Bryonia 30x at 2 hour intervals. By morning I felt better and went to work as usual with no problem. I do need to take more now for the neck pain which came back.  A higher dose such as 12c or 30c may have been longer lasting, but I did drink coffee today and it may have antidoted the doses I took. It is usually adviseable to start with a lower dose and if that works well, stick with it.  And don't drink coffee.

Also interesting to note, a Bryonia flu will bring on the most interesting dreams at night.  Bryonia is found under these rubrics:
DREAMS- unpleasant
SLEEP-Disturbed, dreams by
and many other dream rubrics.  I had interesting vivid dreams two nights in a row. The type of dreams that usually come from a fever delirium--the kind you only get when you're sick.  I asked other people who have been experiencing joint pain/cold/flu starting symptoms and they also said they had very weird vivid dreams last night.  So I think Bryonia is going around.

Write in with your experiences and let me know if Bryonia helped you.