SLEEP, STEAM, SURRENDER
And let me have your strange, rare, peculiar symptoms!
I have just had the flu. It might have been the infamous Aussie flu, not sure, but I am certain it was an intense bout of influenza. Symptoms consisted of the usual severe head pain, chills and inability to feel warm, wobbly legs and arms, bit of delirium (was actually quite nice to be in an altered state), terribly congested sinuses and this alternated with chest pain and coughing, with an odd strange, rare and peculiar symptom (tingling arms when I started thinking about job list).
Strange, rare, peculiar symptom is a Homeopathic term for symptoms that are, as described, peculiar or not necessarily part of the general picture. A couple of examples of this for the remedy Phosphorus might be “cold knees at night” or “lack of vital heat, but heat aggravates” or “headaches every seven days.” So these are the symptoms you get and think “well that’s weird or pretty strange!”
I recovered well and with the help of remedies and home cures concocted in my little cottage kitchen. Hopefully my immune system is now stronger. I believe with acute illnesses there is an opportunity to make a developmental step forwards. I have often seen a child come through measles or croup and then take a developmental step, either they start walking, imaginary play begins, suddenly they start sleeping all night but there is a definite sudden move forwards. The same with flu if you are able to stop and listen to the body and the higher self.
Just a note that homeopathic treatment helps the body heal itself rather than suppress or control symptoms. It acts at an energetic level, therefore it has a wide effect shifting mental, emotional, and physical symptoms, so you might not necessarily be cured immediately but the duration and severity of symptoms will be lessened.
I m going to list further down all the things I did to make it better and I am going to ask anyone who has had or is still suffering from the flu to pop some symptoms in the comments box below and also add any home remedies that helped. I am interested to see if there is a remedy or combination remedy that I can make up that might generally help (this is called a Genus Epidemicus in Homeopathy). If you are in the category of having had flu virus and now have a lingering cough, please head your comment ‘LINGERING COUGH’. It would also be interesting to hear any ‘strange, rare and peculiar symptoms!
During the first few days of being ill, I was typically (Capricorn sun and moon, tough on myself where work and even creativity are concerned) fretting about getting well quickly so I could get back to work. This is, of course, a modern day scourge, pressure from all angles of life (mostly financial for many people) can cause stress and make it difficult to really give in, surrender and deeply rest. Yes SURRENDER!
To surrender, in a spiritual context (and lets apply this to the flu as well) means that you give up your own will and subject your thoughts and ideas to the will and teachings of a higher power. It took me four days to surrender fully and then I began to enjoy gazing from my bed out of the window or journeying into half dreams. It was a time of letting go and processing and integrating the previous year. Once I had surrendered and stopped with the need to DO things, I remembered that is fine and dandy to do NOTHING.
This might be easy for some of you but I know most of my friends and probably a huge percentage of the female population struggle with this doing NOTHING thing (in fact it has been know to cause panic attacks). Once this had been achieved, I began to get well, I also had some rather wonderful ideas for life floating into my mind from the higher power or higher self (however you relate to it). In fact, by the time I was more recovered it felt like I had a new brain (good developmental step forwards!)
One thing that really moved me while I was ill was the kindness of friends who checked in regularly to make sure I was ok, brought me food and supplies, casseroles and broth, elderberry syrup, posted runner beans through the letterbox, either in person or on the doorstep and sent love…which I definitely felt through the ether! So gratitude to those dear ones! As a health practitioner it hasn’t been easy to admit I am not infallible or superwoman!
This period of winter is not a time to start new drastic diets or do dramatic raw cleanses, it’s too hard on the body. These pressures that we impose on ourselves can cause physical and emotional stress and lower the immune function. It’s all about being gentle and hibernating as much as possible. SLEEP a lot! Go to bed early and DREAM. Do some gentle exercise, Yin yoga, Tai chi, gentle walks in winter sunshine, that kind of thing. Take some preventative measures like extra vitamin C, Echinacea, Homeobotanical Immune support, eat extra vegetables, take care of yourself, nourish yourself. It’s all about SELF CARE this year! Was I doing all these things? NO! Physician go heal thyself springs to mind! Am I doing them now? YES!
A FEW HOME CURES – these are a few things that helped me but do feel free to comment on your own home/cottage cures.
ELDERBERRY SYRUP – several times throughout the day.
ELDERBERRY DECOCTION with cloves, peppermint leaves and ginger root. (you can get dried elderberries from Starchild in Glastonbury)
HOT HERB WATER with a teaspoon of cumin seeds and a few fresh Basil leaves (this clears the sinuses, tastes comforting and is surprisingly sweet) several times a day.
STEAM, STEAM, STEAM! Steaming with either Eucalyptus, pine, thyme or Olbas oil every few hours during the acute phase of head/congestion pain while pressing the acupressure points for sinuses.
GARLIC I have a dear friend who recommends putting a clove of garlic in your bra, she swears by it, I didn’t try it yet because I don’t eat garlic and I don’t wear a bra.
HONEY, LEMON AND GINGER – I personally don’t use honey because it is high in FODMAPS (see www.theibsnetwork.org for explanation) but for those of you who tolerate it, hot water with the above is very soothing.
WHISKEY – I developed a craving for whiskey (don’t normally drink it) during this flu and grateful to the lovely friend who got some to me, it helped tremendously!
LAUGH AND RELAX. Laughter releases endorphins that promote happiness and reduce the uncomfortable symptoms of a cold. Research has shown that a cheerful, optimistic outlook strengthens immunity. I watched a whole series of Sex in the city snuggled up on the sofa (this was achieved after I managed to surrender!) and discovered the chill out factor in box set episodes back to back! Other recommendations welcome!
In traditional Chinese medicine this is the best time of year to support the lungs (in Ayurvedic terms I believe we are in the Kapha season which is heavy and damp). Best way to do this is to drum over your chest area with your fists (obviously not too super hard). This can move any stagnation and increase circulation. I like to make sounds or sing a mantra while I do it.
A FEW HOMEOPATHIC REMEDIES FOR FLU
Oscillococcinum: a great remedy to have on hand in your first aid kit. As soon as you start feeling run down or have other flu-like symptoms, such as headache, body aches, chills and fever, take Oscillococcinum. I took two doses of this right at the beginning.
Aconite: works well in early stages of a illness, especially within the first 12 hours of showing cold and flu symptoms, colds with a sudden onset and symptoms after exposure to cold wind/weather, dry cough and flushed face.
Bryonia: common flu remedy, ideal for those with body aches and pains, excessive thirst, desire to remain still and aggravated by the slightest movement
Gelsemium: lack of thirst, flu like symptoms with overall weakness, shivering and heaviness of limbs, trembling, exhaustion with lethargy and droopy eyes. This is a particular favourite of mine this year for flu, it is working well in a lot of cases.
Allium Cepa: great for colds with excessive burning acrid discharge of the nose, nose “runs like a tap”, profuse flow of bland tears, constant sneezing, think ‘peeling onions’.
Kali Bichromicum: helps to clear out the last of cold symptoms, sinus headaches, crusting inside the nose, sticky-stringy nasal secretion, constant clearing of the throat, blocked sinuses.
Arsenicum: chilly & anxious with diarrhea and vomiting. Helpful for the gastric flu. Anxiety about health.
Nux Vomica: another great remedy for a gastric flu, increased diarrhea and vomitting and an all over toxic feeling. The patient is often chilly and impatient.
Merc. Vivus: cold symptoms with increased saliva and a painful need to swallow. They often are very hypersensitive to temperature changes.
Hepar Sulph: this individual is cold all over and worse from uncovering. They are extremely irritable and don’t like to be touched, esp. near the head (think of a screaming child who doesn’t want the doctor anywhere near their ears). It is helpful for an extreme sore throat with sharp pains that effect the ears.
This is also a favourite remedy, want to know why? It’s because when I started studying Homeopathic medicine I knew I was not very academic, in fact at school I was a ‘slow learner’! (So I developed other areas of strength while I was sitting at the desk day dreaming and wondering why I couldn’t learn the timetables off by heart!) I was a bit worried about remembering the latin names of plants or animals. Then I came across this remedy and lo and behold, I could easily remember it, in fact, it’s quite fun to say, it has a wonderful poetic resonance to the words. I realised that if you have a passion for something truly then the mind easily remembers that subject. The symptoms it can help with are intense aching limbs and back, almost the feeling as if the bones were broken. The patient dare not move for pain. The skin feels sore, there is a bursting headache, shivering and chills which begin at 7 to 9 am. Eyeballs are sore and there may be vomiting of bile.
Last but not least for individuals who want a more prophylaxis/preventative option Influenzinum is beneficial. One popular protocol is to take one dose once a week for 4 weeks.
Every year a new batch of this remedy is made and it contains the three most recent strains of the flu virus.
For chronic complaints and other health concerns it is helpful to seek a qualified Homeopathic Practitioner.
May you all remain healthy and hearty and if you travel through the flu may you appear the other side with a fresh perspective for the year ahead!
Much love Lizzie.