2002-03-09 / Columnists

Health and Harmony

By Dr. Nancy Gahles

Health and Harmony:
Managing Influenza-Like Viral Syndromes

The viruses during the winter months seem to come in cycles.  Their expression and duration changes with each new appearance.  The doctor traditionally says,"It's a virus.  There's nothing we can do about it."  Patients call me to ask about proposed treatment alternatives, particularly the one that is most recently on television in the early morning spots.  It goes like this: SYMPTOMS OF FLU
FEVER, CHILLS, BODY ACHES AND PAINS OSCILLOCOCCINUM the #1 flu medicine in France, is becoming increasingly popular in the United States.  This Homeopathic medicine has been shown in clinical studies to decrease the duration and intensity of flu symptoms.  (Go to www.Boiron.com).

The following research studies do, indeed, show good results in the effectiveness of this remedy.  As with all treatments, you must first consult with your doctor before starting on any self-treatment.  When using a homeopathic remedy it's a good idea to consult with a qualified Certified Classical Homeopath.  Go to www.homeopathic.org.

Harvard Medical School advocates the use of Complementary and Alternative Medicine.  The term currently used is CAM.  CAM recognizes the need for all qualified professions to work together combining our specific skills for the greater good of the patient.  The homeopathic approach to health care has been presented at the last two conferences at Harvard on Complementary and Alternative Medicine, by David Riley, M.D., a world renowned homeopath and Editor In Chief of Alternative Therapies In Health and Medicine, a peer reviewed journal, well worth a look at.  Go to www.alternative-therapies.com.

Here are two clinical studies on the effectiveness of this remedy:
"More than 200 organisms are known to cause infection of the upper respiratory tract, although the precise mechanism of transmission has yet to be determined.  These viral infections usually resolve within 5-10 days but can still cause sufficient influenza-like symptoms (headache, muscle pain, fever, cough, etc.) to impair patient's functional status and well-being.

Two studies with nearly identical parameters and outcome measures evaluated the potential effectiveness of a homeopathic preparation(Anas Barbriae Hepatis and Cordis Extractum HPUS 200K) vs. placebo.  The more recent study (Papp et al., 1998) included 372 patients who had presented in the previous 24 hours with muscle pain, headache, and at least one of the following symptoms: shivering, thoracic or periarticular pain, spinal pain, cough, irritation of nasal mucosa, or general feeling of illness.

Patients received either the homeopathic remedy or placebo for 10 days and recorded temperature, symptoms, and use of medication.  Clinicians gathered data at baseline, after 48 hours, and after 7-10 days of treatment.

RESULTS:  17.4% of patients in the homeopathic group showed no symptoms after day two of treatment, compared with only 6.6% in the placebo group; this distinction still noticeable after day five of treatment (73.7% of homeopathic patients, 67.7% of placebo patients).

These findings compare favorably to the second study, (Ferley et al., 1989) which also evaluated the effectiveness of Anas Barbriae in managing influenza-type syndromes in a similar population (237- patient test group, 241-patient placebo group).  In this earlier study, 17.1% of the homeopathic group recovered within 48 hours compared with only 10.3% of the placebo group."

(Papp R, Schuback G, Beck E, et al.  Oscillococcinum in patients with influenza-like syndromes: a placebo controlled double-blind evaluation.  British Homeopathic Journal, April 1998:87, pp69-76).

For reprints of these articles, you may E-mail: www.moss@stockton-press.co.uk.

(Ferley JP, Zmirou D, D'Adhemar D., et al.  A controlled evaluation of a homeopathic preparation in the treatment of influenza-like syndromes.  British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, 1989:27, pp. 329-335.) This study was published in the Chiropractic Research Review, November 1999.

For questions or comments on this topic, you may e-mail me at Ngahles@aol.com.

May the Blessings Be!

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