The Top 10 Homeopathic Remedies for the Flu


This year’s flu season is well under way, with the H1N1 flu – the strain responsible for the 2009 worldwide pandemic – showing up in many states.
Although there are different strains of flu, the response to the flu virus is fairly consistent – the main symptoms of the H1N1 flu virus are fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. In some cases, these symptoms are accompanied by vomiting and diarrhea.

The most commonly used homeopathic remedy for the flu is Gelsemium – this remedy was useful in fighting the “Spanish flu” epidemic of 1918, which affected over 20 percent of the world’s population and is a forerunner of the flu strains that exist today. During the 1918 epidemic, the death rate was 30% or higher for those treated conventionally, while homeopaths cured an incredible 98% of their cases!

The main keynotes of Gelsemium are “dizzy, drowsy and dull”. The person feels sleepy and exhausted. Any exertion – even thinking – seems too much effort. They feel chilly and achy, with chills going up and down the back, accompanied by a dull, heavy headache. They can experience delirious episodes, especially during sleep and high fever, and they have no thirst, in spite of the fever.

When ‘bone-breaking’ aches and pains are the strongest symptom, Eupatorium Perforatum can bring relief. Unlike Gelsemium, this remedy has great thirst, especially in the morning, even though they are chilly. The whole body is painful – joints, head, neck and shoulders, even the eyeballs.

If the aches and pains are more in the muscles than the bones, and the slightest movement aggravates the pains, so that the person wants to just lie still and be left alone, Bryonia is the indicated remedy. The Bryonia flu comes on slowly and lingers.  There is a dry soreness of the throat and a dry cough that causes soreness in the abdomen.

While people needing these first three remedies want to lie still, be quiet and sleep, two other useful remedies for the flu have the main keynote of restlessness.
Arsenicum Album has a lot of fear and anxiety, especially about their health – they have thoughts of death and fear they will never recover. They are very chilly and weak, and they feel much worse at night. Arsenicum is also indicated where there are gastric symptoms – diarrhea, cramping, and nausea.

The restlessness of Rhus Toxicodendron is more physical, caused by an inability to get comfortable in bed; every position is painful and sore. There is also a redness and soreness of the throat. They feel better from warmth – a heating pad helps the joint pains and warm drinks soothe the throat.

Nux Vomica is the remedy where the focus is on digestive symptoms – vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, etc. The keynote for Nux Vomica is “excess” and, besides its affinity for the flu, it is also useful for cases of “overdoing it”. This could be an excess of partying — rich food, alcohol, excitement – or working – mental stress, anxiety, late hours. The Nux Vomica individual is very chilly, even with the fever they want to be covered up, and they can be very irritable, even angry.

Ipecacuanha is another remedy that has an affinity for nausea and vomiting, but in the flu it also has respiratory complaints – lots of mucous and wheezing – and head and back pains.
Other respiratory remedies are Sanguinaria – characterized by a neck ache, high fever and raw trachea – and Phosphorous, which is characterized by a raging thirst for cold drinks, tickling cough, burning sensations, and a tendency for all colds to settle in the chest.

Homeopathy treats every case and every person individually – there is no one-size-fits-all remedy for the flu and it is often the seemingly trivial symptoms that can lead to the right remedy. The more uncharacteristic the symptom is – for example, an easy-going person who suddenly becomes angry and impatient during the flu (Nux Vomica!) – the more helpful it will be in finding the remedy. If the flu is in the very early stages and there really are no individualizing symptoms, a dose of the tissue salt Ferrum Phos 6X can often head it off.

A consultation with a professional homeopath is recommended for anyone who has never been well since a bout of flu – homeopathic constitutional treatment can help, even in long-standing, chronic cases.

The simplest flu prevention method is hand washing – use regular (not antibacterial) soap, lather well and scrub for about 20 seconds (2 rounds of the Happy Birthday song!) and rinse under running water for about 10 seconds (one Happy Birthday song). And Vitamin D supplementation has been shown to be an effective natural preventative for the flu, especially for those with limited access to sunlight.

These remedies and guidelines are a general introduction, and you can read more about the remedies listed above in one of the many Homeopathic Materia Medica books available at Whole Health Now Books or online at