Dr Charles Forsyth

Ecological Physician



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The following are options for trying to prevent influenzas &/or respiratory tract infections - in addition to the measures described in Infections Overview”:

Influenza Immunisation

The Department of Health recommends the influenza immunisation for:

  1. Those aged 65 and over

  2. Those suffering with underlying health problems that put them at risk of complications of ‘flu, eg:

  3. Chronic respiratory disease, including asthma

  4. Chronic heart, kidney or liver disease

  5. Diabetes mellitus requiring medication

  6. Immuno-suppression due to disease or treatment

  7. Those living in long stay residential care

  8. Those who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare may be at risk if the carer falls ill.

  9. Health & social care workers

  10. Poultry workers

Routine Specific Homeopathic Protection

Like all homeopathic medicines, the following preparations are very safe, and can be combined with conventional immunisations or drugs when required.


For those who would rather not have the conventional immunisation, a homeopathic potency of the current year's influenza vaccine (available each October) to which I add potencies of most influenza vaccines used since 1970 - so it covers a very wide range of influenza viruses.  To further increase the range of protection I also add potencies of respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) and adenovirus, which are common causes of respiratory tract infections.  I recommend it is taken every 3 to 4 weeks through the winter months, or longer if required.

I recommend homeopathic influenza protection for those who:

  1. Are particularly prone to influenza but do not want to have the conventional immunisation

  2. Fall into the above risk categories but do not want to have the conventional immunisation

  3. Fall into the above risk categories, but the conventional influenza immunisation:

  4. Is contra-indicated for medical reasons

  5. Has caused adverse reactions

  6. Has previously given inadequate protection

Respiratory Tract Infections

The remedy Bacillinum is often useful for reducing susceptibility to winter respiratory infections, eg. colds, sinusitis, middle ear infections, sore throats, laryngitis or chest infections. This can be taken alone or along with the influenza prevention.

Treat the Cause - Constitutional Homeopathy & Ecological Medicine

Properly addressing the causes of increased susceptibility to infection should be one’s primary aim, especially if these routine specific measures prove ineffective.


The main principles are to give your body the best opportunity to react appropriately and overcome the virus.  Anything that suppresses your normal healthy response to an invading virus will tip the balance in the virus's favour, while anything that assists your system to function more efficiently will tip the balance in your favour.  Remember that the symptoms you develop represent your system's response to infection.  Most bugs are very temperature sensitive - fever is of major importance in killing them - you should not suppress it unless absolutely necessary. In young children (under the age of 5) there can be a risk of febrile convulsions if the temperature rises very quickly - this is best managed by tepid sponging in a cool environment.  Mucus production, runny nose & eyes, sneezing, cough, loose frequent stools, increased urination and sweating are your body’s way of trying to rid itself of bugs or/and toxins - don't suppress them unless absolutely necessary. 

CONTACT YOUR DOCTOR or NHS Direct for assessment and advice if:

  1. You have a serious underlying illness.

  2. You are pregnant.

  3. Your sick child is under 1 year old.

  4. You or your child’s condition suddenly gets much worse.

  5. You or your child’s symptoms are severe or persistent.

  6. Your condition is still getting worse after 7 days (5 days for a child).

General Principles

  1. REST - the first thing is to rest and sleep as much as possible.  Reduce the demands placed on your system so that it has more energy to do what it needs to do. 

  2. WATER - drink plenty of clear fluids - don’t let yourself get dehydrated.  When you have a fever and more so if you are sweating and even more so if you have diarrhoea, you lose a lot of fluid that needs to be replaced.  You lose salts along with the fluid loss - so salt replacement is wise, such as Dioralyte or similar (containing sodium and potassium salts), preferably take some magnesium 300-500 mg daily  (eg. as magnesium citrate).  Excellent natural alternatives are thin vegetable juices, soups and broths as long as some regular salt (sodium chloride) is added and you continue to drink clear fluids.

  3. DIET - eat as little and often as you feel the need.  Avoid large meals, difficult to digest foods, those that do not suit you very well, or that you know you are or have been intolerant to - as these will put extra demands on your system.

  4. DRUGS

  5. Paracetamol, aspirin, ibuprofen, pseudoephedrine and the like suppress symptoms & your body's response - they do not help it work more efficiently - use only if necessary.

  6. Most of the time antivirals are of relatively limited benefit. 

  7. Antibiotics may be indicated if there is secondary bacterial infection or to try and prevent it in very compromised individuals. 

  8. If you use a steroid nasal spray, consider stopping it since steroids are immunosuppressive.  Systemic and inhaled steroids (for asthma) must not be stopped.

  9. ATTITUDE - try to have a positive relaxed and accepting attitude.  Don't try to fight or resist what your body is trying to do - notice and stay in touch with your feelings and sensations, go with the flow and attend to it's needs.

Homeopathic Treatment

There are really no routine, specific, reliable homeopathic remedies for influenza - homeopathy is about prescribing a remedy that exactly matches the symptom picture of the patient.  Far better results are likely if a single remedy is chosen based on the actual symptoms you are suffering from.  An experienced homeopath is more likely to choose the right remedy for you, but if you are not registered with a homeopath, try one from the following list that best fits your symptoms.

Dosage: use a 30c potency and take a dose (one pill) every hour or two, if the symptoms are fairly severe, or every 4 to 8 hours, if not so severe - for the first few doses, then gradually less often as the symptoms improve, taking a dose as required to maintain improvement until back to normal.  If there is no definite improvement within 12-24 hours it is unlikely to help by taking it for longer - so stop it and try something else.

Routine Remedies - either or both of the following are worth trying:

  1. AGE (Arsenicum iodatum + Gelsemium + Eupatorium perf.) 30c: a “specific” combination remedy which has traditionally been used for influenza prevention - use as soon as any symptoms develop or after contact.

  2. Anas barb 200c: a “specific” remedy - use as soon as any symptoms develop or after contact.

Individualised Remedies - the chosen remedy could be taken along with Anas barb. if desired.

  1. Aconite: sudden onset of symptoms; triggered by cold winds, cold dry weather or getting chilled (opposite of Gelsemium); fever with chillness, throbbing pulses, restlessness and anxiety; good in the first stages of cold or influenza.

  2. Belladonna: the number one remedy for sudden fevers; the patient is “burning up”, red and hot; eyes may be glassy with dilated pupils; thirsty for refreshing drinks; inflamed sore throat; throbbing headache, better for lying down; worse for touch, jarring or movement.

  3. Bryonia: a major keynote is: worse for any movement, which causes pain - so wants to be absolutely still and be left alone. Painful dry cough; pleurisy. Headache and pains: better from pressure; worse movement and cough (Eup-per.), noise. Irritable; thirsty for cold drinks (Phosphorus); white tongue.  Anxiety, dreams and/or delirium are about business; in delirium he “wants to go home”.

  4. Gelsemium: aching, heaviness, tiredness and weakness felt especially in muscles, limbs, eyelids and head. Drowsy, dull, apathetic, dizzy and trembling. Bursting headache, from neck, over head to eyes and forehead; relieved by copious urination.  “Chills and heats chase one another”.  Chills in back.  No thirst.  Colds and fevers of mild winters (opposite to Aconite).

  5. Eupatorium perfoliatum: intense aching in back, limbs and especially bones - which feel as if they are broken or dislocated.  Sore skin and muscles; bursting headache with nausea; sore chest with cough. Worse from movement - dare not move for pain (opposite of Pyrogen).  Shivering; chills in back (Gels., Pyrog.).  Chill begins 7 to 9 a.m.  Eyeballs sore (Bry., Gels.). 

  6. Nux vomica: extreme chilliness - shivery, cannot get warm, despite bed coverings and external warmth - despite a fever feels freezing inside. Aching limbs and gastric problems - nausea. Better from sleep, hot drinks, strong pressure and being left alone.  Chilliness from the slightest movement, slightest draught or exposure to open air, after drinking.

  7. Pyrogen: violent pulsations and intense restlessness.  Pulse very rapid; high temperature with slow pulse, or the reverse.  Chilliness no heat can warm (Nux, Gels.).  Creeping chills in back, with thumping heart.  Bursting headache, with intense restlessness.  Hard bed sensation: feels beaten, bruised (Arnica).  Better beginning to move (opposite to Rhus-t), has to keep on moving, rocking, wriggling, for momentary relief.

  8. Camphora: Icy coldness; is sensitive to cold yet doesn’t want covers on, and wants cold drinks.  Sudden state of collapse, anxiety, wants company.

  9. Baptisia: rapid onset, rapid deterioration, great prostration.  Face dull dusky red: appears drugged, besotted; high temperature; semi-comatose, drops asleep while answering questions.  “Gastric flu” : sudden attacks of violent diarrhoea and vomiting.  Pneumonia in ‘flu with this besotted appearance.  In the worst cases, mouth and throat are foul and discharges very offensive (Merc.).  Delusion that parts of body are dissociated, as if scattered about and can’t get himself together (Petrol., Pyrogen).

  10. Rhus toxicodendron: stiff, lame and bruised on first moving (opposite of Pyrogen), eases with movement, until he becomes weak and must rest, then restlessness and uneasiness drive him to move again - worse at rest and better for motion (opposite of Bryonia).  Triggered by cold damp weather; from cold damp when perspiring (Dulc.). Anxiety, fear; worse at night (Aconite).  Restlessness; intense fever; thirst; great prostration; severe aching in bones (Eup-per.).  Weeps without knowing why (Puls.).  An odd fear of being poisoned.

  11. Mercurius: profuse, very offensive sweating; very foul mouth (Bapt.); excessive salivation; offensiveness of everything; worse from sweating; or no relief from sweating.

Botanical Treatment

  1. Echinacea - follow the directions on the specific product bought.  There is little point in taking it for more than a few days if it is not helping.

  2. Propolis 600 mg three times a day.

Nutritional Treatment

The following suggested doses are for adults.  Consult your practitioner for advice concerning children’s doses.

  1. Vitamin C 1000 - 2000 mg every 4-6 hours, upto 10 grams a day.  If this induces loose bowels, reduce the amount taken each time.

  2. Zinc 15 mg (eg. as zinc citrate ) one two or three times a day, preferably between meals, for a few days, then reduce to one a day.

  3. Vitamin A 20,000 iu once or twice a day for a few days.  Pregnant women or those who might be or are planning to be pregnant should take beta carotene 60 mg daily instead of vitamin A.

  4. Vitamin D 4000 iu daily until better, then reduce dose to usual maintenance dose.  See information sheet “Vitamin D”.

  5. Vitamin B12 5000 mcg daily.


Influenza & Respiratory Tract Infections

  ECOLOGICAL MEDICINE:  Overview  Nutrition  Allergy  Microbes  Toxins  EMR

  Infection/ Dysbiosis:  Infections Overview  Influenza & RTI’s   Chronic Infections    Dysbiosis