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|Posted: Mon Jan 02, 2006 8:22 pm Post subject: Homeopathic Medicine and the Flu
|Homeopathic Medicine and the Flu
by Dana Ullman, MPH
Almost every day, we read and hear disturbing reports about the coming
?bird flu.? Doctors, the media, and drug companies have been equally
effective in instilling fear into the minds of the public. They have
added fuel to the fear by warning the public that there are inadequate
supplies of flu vaccine.
The problem is that, according to an October 1, 2005 article in the
British medical journal, The Lancet, a systematic review of all previous
studies that have tested flu vaccines has shown that they are NOT
effective in preventing influenza ? not even in the vulnerable elderly
. It is appalling that the media and the medical community have failed
to disclose that the ?prevention? strategy they are promoting does not,
in fact, seem to work.
An important study in February 26, 2005 edition of The Lancet analyzed
every published study ? in several major languages ? and failed to find
a single investigation that showed any flu vaccine had led to a
reduction in deaths or serious complications.
Rick Bright of the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) analyzed 7,000
blood samples of flu viruses collected from people in various countries.
Bright found that all of these individuals had developed resistance to
Tamiflu and other similar antiviral drugs, rendering them useless.
It should also be noted that there is no evidence that Tamiflu would
even be effective in treating the ?bird flu.? Tamiflu primarily seems
useful in reducing ?Influenza A? virus ? for around one day. What is
even worse is that the media?s fear-mongering may lead many people to
take Tamiflu for even minor flu symptoms, a process that will inevitably
increase the chances of creating more drug-resistant flu viruses. So why
has the Bush administration proposed stockpiling more than $1 billion
worth of Tamiflu?
Perhaps it should come as no surprise to learn that Donald Rumsfeld,
Bush?s Secretary of Defense, is a former Board Chairman of Gilead
Sciences, the company that developed Tamiflu.
The New York Times reports that Rumsfeld still holds significant shares
of stock in Gilead. Because of this, Rumsfeld has recused himself from
decisions involving the flu vaccine issue.
Still, it is hard to imagine how this minor action on Rumsfeld?s part
will reduce the conflict of interest ? an ethical problem that appears
rampant in this administration.
= The Homeopathic Alternative =
In spite of the ominous warnings and media hoopla, homeopaths and their
patients are not afraid of the flu ? neither this year?s avian flu nor
any flu from years past. In Europe, where smallpox and diphtheria
outbreaks have claimed the lives of millions, homeopathy remains a
leading ?alternative? therapy (England?s Royal Family has used
homeopathic treatment as their primary medical care since the 1830s). In
1871-2, after 98 percent of the British population between the ages of 2
and 50 were vaccinated against smallpox, the country experienced the
worst smallpox outbreak in its history, with 45,000 deaths.
The premise behind homeopathy is that symptoms represent defenses of the
Rather than use drugs that inhibit or suppress symptoms, homeopaths use
very small ?nano-doses? of medicinal agents prescribed based on their
The theory is that, whatever symptoms a substance causes in overdose, it
will elicit a healing response when given in specially prepared nano-doses.
The logic of the homeopathic approach is that, because symptoms are
adaptations and defenses of the body to infection and/or stress, it
makes sense to mimic the body?s wisdom rather than suppress it.
Homeopaths have proven treatments for the flu.
I have purposefully used the word ?proven? because there have been three
double-blind, placebo-controlled trials using a homeopathic medicine
called ?Oscillococcinum? to treat people with the flu or with
What is important to know about this research is that separate
researchers conducted each of the clinical studies, and a treatment is
only considered ?proven? when at least three independent studies verify
The trick to getting the best results with Oscillococcinum is to use it
within 48 hours of onset of the flu. After this time, a more
individually chosen remedy based on the sick person?s specific symptoms
is necessary. (Using a homeopathic self-care book or going to a homeopath
One of the reasons that Oscillococcinum is so effective is because it is
made from the heart and liver of a duck.
Biologists have found that the vast majority of ducks carry flu viruses
in their digestive tracts and epidemiologists have determined that ducks
are one of the prime carriers of the flu from one part of the world to
another. It seems that homeopathic doses of the duck?s antibodies to
these flu viruses provide a therapeutic benefit.
Oscillococcinum was first used in 1925.
Other homeopathic medicines were so effective
during the 1918 flu epidemic that
only 1-2% of patients admitted to homeopathic hospitals died, while the
death rate from influenza in conventional medical hospitals was
Along with other individually chosen homeopathic medicines,
Oscillococcinum may provide a safe and often effective treatment for
people with the flu.
Dana Ullman, MPH, has authored nine books on homeopathic medicine and
has served in teaching or advisory capacity to alternative medicine
institutes at Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Arizona. His
website (homeopathic.com) is a rich source of information and research.
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