Historically, way before Edward Jenner created the smallpox vaccination with attenuated cowpox, various cultures had performed a form of inoculation called variolation in which a small amount of infectious material was put under the skin and which prevented serious consequences of the disease. This was performed mainly in the Middle East but did spread to Europe, even amongst the Royalty of England. The use of the homeopathic remedy Variolinum showed that it helped prevent people getting the disease and also prevented fatalities in those that did acquire smallpox. To quote from P Sankaran:
In the same number of the "Recorder" Dr. Martin Deschere says: "I have never seen variola to occur in individuals to whom I had given the 3rd of Vaccininum or Variolinum, even if they had been in close proximity to small-pox. I have taken it myself when treating small-pox. I have given it to my children, who had been actually exposed to small-pox." He has found this treatment to be a perfect prophylaxis.
This observation is not made with the view to giving a statistical verification of malandrinum but rather to raise the question "Is a Hahnemannian physician and member of this association justified in the routine use of malandrinum. Variolinum or Vaccinium as a prophylaxis to small pox or as an antidote to vaccination. I have done so, may do so again. Is it justifiable? Would you do it?
Z. T. Miller: - If you give small-pox virus you get small-pox; and we have a right to take variolinum as being a better prophylaxis than the inoculation method.
A distinction needs to be made between the words prophylaxis and prevention as it pertains to homeopathic treatment. Any serious constitutional homeopathic work by definition is preventative as well as curative as a more regulated immune system is going to work more effectively. In regards to prophylaxis, what is being discussed is the possibility of giving a homeopathically potentized remedy before any signs of a specific disease has become manifest. If it is possible to have a remedy work prophylactically, how does this work and how does one choose the correct remedy.
To answer the first part of the question, we can assume that all homeopaths agree that before any symptoms develop for any condition a change in the vital force has taken place for a period of time before manifest symptoms. This is the case in chronic disease and in acute disease, even in virulent acute infections. The causative agent in an infectious condition ??? bacteria or virus ??? only exists in terrrain suitable for it to work. This we know. However, even before the bacteria takes effect, the vibrational terrain has to be conducive. Every bacteria and virus behaves according to its own DNA nature and for a multitude of reasons, some of us, some of the time collide with this terrain. It may be the Flu, childrens???s diseases, the Common Cold, Meningitis, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis etc. In some conditions the external terrain is very important, for example, in getting Tuberculosis or Hepatitis, whilst in others, virtually everyone can potentially be affected irrespective of their situation, for example, the flu or other widespread epidemics like the Plague. However, it can be said that every disease only exists in situations suitable to it and even epidemics like the flu and the Plague exist due to both accepted biological factors of infectious dynamics as well as deeper cultural and social imbalances. For example, in looking at the flu, it is not too much to state that the emotion of fear is a key component of the disease. Perhaps the 1918 flu pandemic was due as much to the energetic ???vitalistic??? trauma of the 1st world war as to the specifics of widespread contagion due to troop movements throughout the world. How can we explain otherwise how outbreaks of the flu occurred fairly simultaneously in many different parts of the world. Surely there has to be an energetic consciousness to this. The fact that so much of the world was affected by the war, that a world-wide consciousness had been affected, meant that everyone was potentially susceptible. However, we also know that even in the most violent epidemics, not everyone gets sick. However, who does get sick is not always predictable ??? in the 1918 pandemic, it was often healthy people who were more afflicted, at least in western countries ??? and not always consistent with homeopathic philosophy in that those with stronger immune systems will inevitably be better off.
The apparent dichotomy of individual and collective consciousness is something that homeopaths have been debating since homeopathy was created by Hahnemann. Whilst the majority of our focus is given to that of the uniqueness of each individual, with each treatment adapted to this individuality, we also have always considered treating epidemics as something different, and in which the external dynamics ??? geographical terrain, bacteria, virus, collective shock etc takes precedence over individuality. It can be explained virtually as a mathematical formula. The stronger the external dynamic (force, terrain), the less significant the internal terrain (individual susceptability, miasm, constitution). In some situation, we are all susceptible in similar ways as we share the same basic genetic pattern. We are the same. This is why it is possible to find 1-3 genus epidemicus remedies for particular conditions.
Finding which remedies for such conditions can be easy and also can be hard. We know that Camphor, Veratrum album and Cuprum fitted the vast majority of Cholera cases. We know that Arnica works so well at the beginning stages of most injuries, that Aconite and Gelsemium work in most acute cases of shock. However, how do we find which remedy addresses a particular disease epidemic. As already mentioned, Variolinum, a nosode, was proven effective against smallpox so the question of using the specific nosode of a particular disease needs examining. Can a homeopathic nosode induce an antibody response, similar to a vaccination? The answer is not clear and hasn???t been proven, but perhaps it can, but perhaps it only works on the vitalistic area creating a vital immunity but with the same effect.
It would perhaps make sense to use the nosode of a particular disease as part but not the only form of prophylaxis against a disease. For example, the evidence that a nosode of malaria can prevent malaria is mixed. An article in LINKS magazine in 1994 spoke of case in which a person got malaria inspite of taking malaria nosode. However, there are practitioners in Africa that recommend this as part of broader approach to preventing malaria. The use of the nosode of a disease has shown some efficasy historically and perhaps can be used again in the face of a possible violent flu outbreak.
It is difficult to know what the risks of a new flu pandemic are. As homeopaths, our reaction is often to dismiss these fears as projections of a fear based medicine and being manipulated by media, government and the medical profession for their own agendas. However, if we take the case of the planet right now, there are many symptoms that indicate that such a thing could take place. The fear itself is not only a delusion perhaps on a cultural level, but already a symptom of the energetic change in planetary consciouness. Since the turn of the century, with the fear of Y2K, we???ve had 9/11, other terrorist attacks, the war in Afghanistan and Iraq, many hurricanes, and other natural disasters as well as outbreaks of infectious diseases which have caused much concern. All of these factors seem to indicate that something is happening on the dynamic plane, and that we should take heed of this.
If we were to look for a prophylactic treatment for a possible avian flu epidemic, what would we use? It would make sense to first attempt to get a nosode made of the avian flu. Given that it would be a different virus than the normal flu, one which humans would have no genetic immunity to, then a regular flu nosode would not be effective. For example, it seems that Ocylococcinum is effective in both preventing and treating regular flu outbreaks. Made from the liver and intestines of a duck, it has properties that connect it to most flu variations we get. We know how difficult it is to find the exact viral match for each year???s flu outbreak. Most years, the flu vaccination is not that effective for that reason. Ocylococcinum seems to infer some general immunity prophylactically and helps mitigate more serious symptoms of the flu.
Why is a nosode more useful than a conventional remedy or genus epidemicus? If we are to think prophylactically, then the advantage of the nosode is that it matches the exact energy of the disease. Similar to a nosode being used on never been well since basis, it fits the precise dynamics of the disease. As mentioned, clinical experience with nosodes such as Variolinum, Malandrinum, Medorrhinum, Tuberculinum, Staphyloccinum, Streptococcinum etc has shown its affinity to both the specifics of the infectious disease, it???s chronic consequences and broader miasmatic pattern and inheritance.
However, one can also look for a complementary specific remedy and genus epidemicus to treat the flu, even the avian flu. We know from clinical experience that in ordinary influenza, the two most significant remedies initially are Gelsemium and Eupatorium perfoliatum. If we see an outbreak of the flu and a patient feels they are coming down with it, but symptoms are not clear, one can still be justified in giving Gelsemium and also Ocylococcinum, even alternating them if necessary. It may be that one or the other may be sufficient, but it is difficult to know. If we have knowledge of a different remedy that fits a more genus epidemicus theme of the outbreak, then that remedy can be used instead. Gelsemium, however, fits most of the physical symptoms of common flu as well as the concomitant dynamic of fear, which seems to be such a corollary in the flu picture.
However, each disease also has stages of evolution of the disease and so we need to identify remedies for each stage. Looking at the 1918 flu pandemic, we saw a distinct picture of a disease with a very sudden onset, with violent symptoms developing quickly, from high fever to extreme debility and weakness and then to serious lung symptoms, involving increasing hemorrhage with pneumonia. Given that avian flu is a different type of virus than common flu and that the vast majority of people would have little genetic immunity (hence its seriousness), then a remedy like Oscillococcinum may well be ineffective. A nosode can only work when it fits quite precisely the viral cause of the disease. Exceptions to this may be in the use of nosodes Psorinum and Tuberculinum, which tend to work on the underlying chronic miasmatic dynamics. Therefore, a nosode from the avian flu would be most effective. However, getting this remedy is another matter and also brings up issues of safety for such a potentially virulent virus. There is evidence that the 1918 Spanish Flu virus is quite similar to the H5N1 avian virus and therefore a nosode from that virus may be somewhat effective.
However, given the severity of this flu virus, it does not seem enough to only give a nosode as a prophlylactic but one should look at one or more remedies as well. The first remedy to consider would be Aconite, given the suddeness of the symptom outbreak and violence of the symptoms. Also, Aconite???s affinity for states of fear and shock are well known. Other remedies to consider can be based on which symptoms or stages are predominating. The following suggestions of remedies and stages are a first attempt to look at the practicalities of treating an avian flu. For a detailed review of the 1918 flu pandemic and the remedies used, it is recommended that readers review the book, The Homeopathic Treatment of Influenza by Sandra Perko. This is an excellent book on the history of the flu pandemic and homeopathic remedies that were used at that time. However, analyzing which remedies would be most effective is not easy to find the correct remedy for the various symptoms, even using this book. Also, if homeopathy is to be used by the general public, especially in the face of inadequate public health measures, including the dubious effectiveness of antivirals and lack of effective vaccine, then a simple and clear homeopathic option should be available.
Avian flu nosode/Spanish flu nosode 30c/200c
Other known genus epidemicus
1st stage of symptoms when high fever predominates. (order according to heat intensity)
Aconite 1m ??? Intense heat, thirst, fear, anguish, restlessness
Belladonna 1m ??? Intense heat, thirst or no thirst, burning, dryness, wildness, red face, delirium
Bryonia 1m ??? Heat, with dryness, delirium, stupor, intense thirst, averse people, wants to be still.
Hyoscyamus 1m ??? Intense heat, restlessness, delirium, picking at bedclothes, paranoia
Arsenicum album 1m ??? heat, chill, restlessness extreme, fear, anxiety
Rhus tox ??? 1m ??? heat, chill, < uncovering, blue face, shaking, busy restlessness, less fear.
1st stage with fever but body aching predominates.
Gelsemium 200c ??? Aching of body < back, chills up and down back, heaviness, drowsiness, no thirst, trembling, fear. (compare with Eup perf, Baptisia)
Eupertorium perfoliatum ??? Intense aching all over, as if in bones, often in back, chill violent, shaking, vomiting, bitter, of bile, more thirst
Baptisia 200c ??? Aching, heaviness, prostration, bed feels too hard, a low weak state, drowsy, languid (compare with Arnica, Gels, Mur ac, Op, Rhus tox)
Bryonia 200c ??? Aching, sore < motion. Want to keep still. Fever, delirium, says wants to go home (compare with Rhus tox, Arnica, Baptisia)
Rhus tox 200c ??? Aching with restlessness, fever with chill. (compare Arsenicum, Arnica
Arnica 200 ??? Aching, sore, bruised feeling, averse to touch, being approached,, bed feels too hard, tosses and turns, drowsiness, thirst in chill, (compare with Baptisia, Pyrogen)
2nd stage ??? When weakness, exhaustion and depletion predominate (Check rubric for typhoid)
3rd stage when lung symptoms predominate, including hemorrhage and pneumonia
(beginning in rough order of severity, based on images of pneumonia in the 1918 flu epidemic)
Crotalus horridus ??? desperate state, with hemorrhage of lungs and other parts of body.
Lachesis ??? similar to Crotalus
Phosphorus 200c ??? Intense, hacking, tickling cough, hemorrhage, of lungs, from nose. Either lobe affected,
Antitomonium tart ??? Rattling cough and respiration, much mucous in lung, only little hemorrhage, as if drowning.
Laurocerasus ??? Very weak, depleted, hemorrhage from lungs, cyanosis (blueness of face and body)
Carbo Vegetabalis ??? exhaustion, coldness, cold perspiration, low states, cyanosis, rattling of mucus, burning in lungs.
Veratrum viride ??? cyanosis, some hemorrhage, congestion in lungs, early stage of pneumonia.
Arsenicum album ??? Weakness, restlesssness, coldness, anxiety, anguish
Belladonna ??? Sudden onset, high fever, hemorrhage of lungs and nose, burning of skin, dryness etc.
Aconite ??? Sudden onset, high fever, extreme thirst, restlessness, fear, congestion.
Tuberculinum ??? to complement other remedies.
Opium ??? Cyanosis, unconsciousness, low death like states
4th stage when recovery is slow or when chronic problems develop.
(In the 1918 flu, there was widespread encephalitis lethargica (sleeping sickness) and also conditions such as Guillain-Barre Syndrome)
Sarcolacticum acidum (also consider all other acid remedies)
This is not meant to be a complete list but to give an idea of some of the main remedies indicated.