A Detailed Look at the Most Common Flu Remedies

Arsenicum album

Key Mental Characteristics:  A person needing this remedy will almost always describe themselves as restless and uneasy.  If they are too young to speak – you will see that they toss and turn and have trouble being still – even though they are weak.  They will also tend to be anxious and may even talk about being fearful they will die.  The restlessness and anxiety are often worse after midnight. They don’t want to be left alone, and feel better if you stay with them.

Key Physical Characteristics:  A person needing Arsenicum album will often complain of being very weak – that every movement exhausts them.  In fact, as they begin to feel poorly, there is frequently a rapid sinking of energy. They have a strong inclination to lie down.  Their limbs feel heavy and they will frequently look pale and sickly.

Someone requiring this remedy will be chilly– often with coldness felt over the entire body, and it is very hard to warm themselves up. They don’t like cold air or cold applications of any kind and can often be found huddling near a heat source.

During fever there is much thirst– particularly for small sips of water taken at frequent intervals. Fevers can be intense with a feeling of internal and external heat – yet despite the heat – the patient prefers to be covered.

If a sore throat is present – the pain will most often be of a burningnature and better from warm drinks(this is a good example of a ‘characteristic’, or peculiar symptom).   Any pains experienced anywhere are typically burning as well.

If a cough develops it will typically be a short, dry, sometimes hacking cough caused by a tickling sensation in the throat and worse after midnight. The nose may be congested and runningat the same time. This discharge is wateryand can cause burning in the nostrils.


Key Mental Characteristics:  A person needing the homeopathic remedy Bryonia will tend to be irritablewhen sick – with a desire to be left alone.  They prefer to be quiet mentally and physically.

Key Physical Characteristics:  A person needing this remedy is particularly noteworthy for being worse from motionof any kind… no matter the symptom – motion makes them feel worse.  They feel much better when they are able to keep perfectly still.  They also tend to feel much better when lying on the painful side or part as they are better from pressure.

Bryonia patients are known for dryness of the lips and mouth and for being thirstier than normal when sick.  They tend to seek large quantities of cold fluids.

With flu-like symptoms, Bryonia patients often experience chilliness and heat alternately. Chills are often accompanied by shivering.  The fever stage is typically dry (without sweat) with burning heat.

If there is a cough, it is usuallydry, hard, racking, with scanty expectoration and accompanied by a splitting headache – made worse by the coughing.

If a headache is part of the picture – it’s often felt in the front of the head and the pain feels as though the head is under great pressure.   With this headache, there is a great desire to lie perfectly still.   If a cough is present, each spasm of cough may make you feel as though the head is going to burst from the pain.  You may see a Bryonia patient holding their head or chest when coughing

In general a person who will benefit from Bryonia will be worse in the evening, from warmth, while drawing a breath (stitching pain), while coughing, from exertion of the body or on moving the eye or affected parts. They feel better while lying down, especially on the painful side; when quiet, and from cold things, cold food, etc.

Eupatorium perf

Key Physical Characteristics:  This homeopathic remedy is one to consider when you find you have intense aching in the limbs and back as if the bones were broken, often with stiffness and general soreness when rising to walk.

With flu-like symptoms, there is often a chill at between 7:00AM and 9:00AM preceded by a thirst for cold water.   The characteristic deep aching(felt as if in the bones) also typically precedes the chill.  There can be nausea and vomiting between the chilly and fever stages with this remedy. The chill itself will often come with much shivering.

Another characteristic of someone with the flu needing the remedyEupatorium perf is that there is typically deep soreness of the eyeballs.


Key Mental Characteristics:  A person needing the homeopathic remedy Gelsemium can “look” mentally a bit like Bryonia and even a bit like Nux vomica.  They desire to be left alone and quiet, are often irritableand prefer not to speak. Mentally – they feel very dull– in fact, thinking may take extra effort.

Key Physical Characteristics:  A person needing this remedy often feels utterly weak, exhausted and drowsy during their illness.  Everything about a Gelsemium patient feels heavy to them – particularly their eyelids and their extremities.  They may also complain of feeling sore as if bruised all over.  Someone needing Gelsemium tends to dread motion – not because of pain, like Bryonia, but because they feel so weak.

Gelsemium patients are in most cases thirstlessor if they are thirsty – they drink very little. Another peculiar characteristic – their tongue may tremble when they stick it out.

With flu-like symptoms, Gelsemium patients often experience their fever without thirst and want to lie still and rest or sleep.  During the fever is a time when they feel particularly dull and drowsy.  There are often characteristic chillswhich run up and down the back.

If a headache is part of the picture – it’s often felt in the back of the head and may extend to the forehead. There may also be a sensation of heaviness of the head.  The eyes may also feel sore as if bruised.  Oddly, the headache as well as dullness of the head may improve with profuse urination.

Mercurius solubus

Key Physical Characteristics:  Many of the leading characteristics of this remedy are found centered around the mouth. The mouth is generally quite moist with salivation that is soapy or stringy, yet the patient has intense thirst. (Rarelydoes one give Mercurius if the tongue is dry.) What’s more, the odor from the mouthis often very offensive; one can often smell it from across the room.

With flu-like symptoms, Mercurius solubilis patients often experience a peculiar type of chill. It is not a shaking chill, but simply “creeping chilliness.”  Often this “creeping chilliness” is felt as one of the first symptoms.   These patients also tend to sweat profusely during their illness – and the sweat can have an offensive odorand at times feel almost oily.  They tend to sweat more at night and with even slight exertion, with an aggravation of the flu-like symptoms during the sweating stage.

Symptoms of the nose may include considerable acrid discharge and sneezing. The discharge may at times be thick and green– and may have a strong odor. Also it’s common to have mucus trickle down into the throat, causing hawking and scraping and soreness of the throat.  Hoarseness may also occur. If there is any ear pain, it is typically right sided and worse at night.

In summary, a person who will benefit from Mercurius solubilis feels worse at night in the warmth of the bed, while sweating, and while lying on right side. They will typically generate some kind of disagreeable odor – from the mouth or sweat. And any discharges are likely to be greenish, and even excoriate the skin.

Nux vomica

Key Mental Characteristics:  A person with flu symptoms needing this remedy will be very irritable,inclined to get excited or angry, demanding and impatient.  They will also tend to be over-sensitive(to drafts, noises, odors, conversation, being questioned, etc.) and easily offended.  Sullen and surly are two more words to describe them during their illness.

Key Physical Characteristics:  Someone requiring this remedy will invariably be chilly–  even chillier than normal for them.  They don’t like fresh air and they don’t like drafts.  They are even chilly during the fever – and very uncomfortable being uncovered in any way.  The chill begins in the back, limbs or whole body and is not better by warmth. There is often pain in the small of the back and sacrum with the chill

If there is a cough it is most often dry, racking, hacking, hollow, violent, and in fits…. with little or no expectoration. It can be an exhausting cough. It is also typically worse in the morning in bedon waking. The nose may be stopped and runnyat the same time – with a clear watery discharge.

In general a patient who will benefit from Nux vomica will be better from warmth or hot things, worse from cold and drafts, and wanting to suffer alone, in peace!

Rhus tox

Key Mental Characteristics:  The most apparent mental symptom of a person needing Rhus tox is a general restlessness, felt particularly at night.

Key Physical Characteristics:  This homeopathic remedy is one to consider when you find a family member with flu-like symptoms that include much muscle stiffness and pain with an irresistible desire to move, or change positionoften, followed by great relief for a short time. This situation is usually worse at night.  After resting for a time, or on getting up from sleep, when first moving about, a painful stiffnessis felt which wears off from continued motion; the patient is generally worse when beginning to move, but relief is experienced from continued motion.

With flu-like symptoms, Rhus tox patients are often chilly. If a headache is part of the picture – the pain is often felt in the back of the head, and again is better from moving or walking.

In summary, a person who will benefit from Rhus tox feels worse in general from cold and cold, damp airin particular and from getting wet. They are also worse from rest, and as such symptoms are typically experienced more at night and on waking. They feel better from continued motion, warmth, and dry air or weather.

Start by matching your symptoms with the remedy picture that fits best. Take a 200c potency of the remedy repeatedly, roughly every 4 hours for a few doses. If better, continue with the remedy until you are 90% well. If not better, try again to choose a remedy that fits the picture of sick person’s symptoms.

Influenzinum is a homeopathic ‘nosode’ made out of this year’s strain of the flu virus. To take steps to preventthe flu, take it monthly during the winter plus an extra dose if exposed to someone with the flu. Vitamin D, Vitamin C and NAC are also excellent ways to prevent – and fight – a cold or flu this season.

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Lisa Samet, Naturopath
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Outremont (Québec) Canada
H2V 2H6

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