Swine Flu, 2009

As mentioned previously, we ran a study in Portland this past February, testing the homeopathic treatment of individuals suffering from influenza. As part of the patient inclusion method, we developed a tool that, based on patient response to a clinical questionnaire, accurately predicted those that would be expected to respond to the genus epidemicus remedy we had chosen.  Those who passed the questionnaire, as well as fit the influenza clinical inclusion criteria, were eligible to be treated with the remedy.  Those who did not pass were not included in the study; though in actual clinical practice they would be treated with a different remedy.


Furthermore, we needed to know if the patients we were treating actually were suffering from influenza, or whether it was some other illness. As it turned out, less than 20% of the people showed a positive influenza lab test. This is extremely interesting for me, as it clearly demonstrates for the first time in homeopathy, the concept of convergent evolution; different species of microbes evolving towards common fitness peaks, affecting similar individuals, and therefore expressing similar symptoms. For example, we were able to show, for the first time in homeopathic world, that RSV and influenza infected individuals were expressing similar symptomatic pictures at a given location and time period.  This is an interesting phenomenon just in terms of clinical medicine, but is especially interesting in light of the connection to homeopathy, the genus epidemicus concept, and evolutionary biology.   This is not the right place for a long discourse on evolutionary biology or population genetics, but suffice it to say that homeopathy has an important place within understanding of this larger scientific framework.  What I want to focus on here is what we found and how it relates to Swine Flu.


Nux vomica


The remedy for the genus epidemicus for 2008-2009 was and still is, Nux vomica.  The reason few homeopaths came up with this remedy is because most patients did not exhibit any of the key notes or common features of Nux vomica.  As a result, it was not given, by and large, and the flu ran unabated. Luckily it was a mild season, up until now.


Clinically, what we noted from the patients that we were treating was the incredible chills, which dominated the symptomatology, as well as the body aches. The respiratory symptoms, though present, were not a major part of the story, as can be noted by the questionnaire that we developed.  In a general sense, it was also notable that some of the people we treated were severely ill, much more so than is typical for influenza.


In comparison, here is what I saw in the first patient I have treated, who came back from Mexico City early in the epidemic with a horrible respiratory tract infection. He had the same exact symptoms that qualified people via the questionnaire. Therefore he fit the genus epidemicus remedy picture for Nux vomica. Second, and unusual to the previous cases, he had a fever of 106ºF. Third, also different, was an intense, severe cough and chest symptoms that were reminiscent of a pneumonia he had suffered as a teenager. He was sick, at this level of severity, for over a week before he took Nux vomica, which helped resolve the intense cough and fever within 12 hours.


With stories such as this, there is a hypothesis that I would like to offer, perhaps for the first time in homeopathy’s history.  I believe that we are still dealing with Nux vomica as the genus epidemicus. I also believe that when the virus shifted, integrating portions of the swine and bird flu, it also modified the symptomatology. What I am seeing is the same Nux vomica symptoms as before, but with the addition of the respiratory tract symptoms and the high fever as prominent aspects of the illness.  In fact, we are seeing a genetic change leading to a change in phenomic expression of the influenza virus.  The novel aspect of our hypothesis is the flexibility it predicts for a changing symptomatic picture within a single epidemic, and thus a single genus epidemicus remedy.


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