JH Clarke, Catarrh, Colds, and Grippe; section on “Grippe”

JH Clarke

Catarrh, Colds, and Grippe (1899)

Grippe or influenza

Grippe or influenza – Treatment

This is the section of Clarke’s text dealing with “Grippe,” or Influenza. Note the publication date of 1899; this is likely principally in reference to the “Russian ‘flu” pandemic that shortly preceded its publication, which in contemporary retrospective analysis most likely represented the emergence of the then-novel betacoronavirus now known as the endemic betacoronavirus OC43, rather than an Influenza virus.

The treatment of influenza is as various as its forms. The best preventive is to keep well-fed, well-clothed; to avoid chilling, wetting, and exhaustion in any form, especially over-fatigue, or going too long without food. Many remedies have been recommended as prophylactics, especially Ammoniated Quinine (WT – see my note below re Quinine/China) and Eucalyptus. The odour of which last was at one time universally prevalent in every public place. (WT – the “homeopathic” utilization of Eucalyptus here also derives directly from its recommendation in “crude” dose in conventional practice) I do not advise the use of either. In my experience the best preventive is arsenicum. Six pilules of Arsenicum in the No. 3 strength should be taken three times a day when the epidemic is about.

What about going to bed? In severe cases this question needs no answer—the patient simply cannot stay up. But in a number of others the patient has strength enough to keep going on—-is he to do it? Wherever there is a doubt it should be decided in favour of bed. It is true many persons have fought through an attack without seeming to take harm from it; but wherever there is any delicacy of constitution, or where an internal organ has become inflamed, delay in going to bed is attended with great danger. Every case must be decided on its own merits.

The routine practice should be: Rest in bed, with hot bottles to feet if they are cold; light nourishment, as gruel, beef-tea, mutton broth or chicken tea, or milk diluted with boiling water, every two three hours. This should be kept up till the fever goes, and the tongue becomes clean, and the appetite returns. As soon as the patient can eat, he should have all the nourishment he can be got to take.

With regard to baths, the caution given in an earlier chapter must be emphasized here. Complete baths are to be avoided, and blanket baths only are to be allowed. That is to say, the patient is to be rolled in a blanket, and sponged with hot water in detachments, each part being dried with a hot towel before another is washed. A complete bath should not be indulged in till recovery is complete; many a relapse has been occasioned by neglect of this rule.

Grippe or influenza – Medicines

I have already mentioned that Arsenicum is the best prophylactic medicine I know. The nearest to a specific for the disease is Baptisia. It has all the symptoms described above in the classical type; the general aching and soreness, heavy head, besotted appearance, loaded tongue, sore throat, and fever,—- and if no other remedy is clearly indicated in preference, I should give Bapt. Every hour. It is effective in all attenuations. I prefer the 30th; but others have used the tincture with success, and all dilutions between. For general practice one or two drop doses of the 3x is perhaps the best.

Among other medicines may be named the following, with their leading indications :—

Aconitum napellus – Sharp fever; dry skin; great restlessness; depression; anguish; sense of impending death. No . 3, one or two drops or six pilules every hour.

Belladonna – Intense throbbing headache, highly flushed face, tendency to delirium; thirst, sore throat. Facial neuralgia and earache, especially right side. No. 3, every hour.

Bryonia alba – Where the least movement of any kind aggravates the symptoms. No . 3, every hour.

Rhus toxicodendron – The opposite of Bry. The patient cannot keep still; has to move about to relieve the otherwise intolerable pains. Where the attack has been provoked by getting wet. No. 3, every hour.

Gelsemium sempervirens – Where paralytic symptoms predominate, especially of the lower limbs. Intense headache; strong full pulse; giddiness. No. 3, every hour.

Phytolacca decandra – Specific when the throat is inflamed and spotty, the glands externally being hard and tender. No., 3 internally every hour, and a gargle of the tincture—-ten drops to a teacupful of water. The gargle may be used every four hours.

China officinalis – When the the headache is accompanied by giddiness and noises in the ears. In one case of this kind I relieved a patient—-who was driven to the verge of madness by this symptom—-in a few minutes with China 30, and no other medicine was required.

In the the CHRONIC EFFECTS OF INFLUENZA AND RESULTING DEBILITY careful constitutional treatment is required, and each case must be treated by itself. There are, however, a few remedies which may be usefully mentioned here.

(WT note – Quinine in conventional pharmacologic dose was widely recommended, without basis for or evidence of efficacy, for treatment of the “Russian ‘flu” of 1889-1895; its use in potency was adopted by homeopaths of the era largely on the basis of “homeopathic” adoption of this conventional practice)

Natrium salicylicum – No., 3 every two or four hours, has relieved many cases in which symptoms of vertigo, with noise in the the head, have remained after influenza. Patients to whom I have given it have so frequently praised its “tonic” effect that I have given it (and with great success) where the debility has been the leading symptom, and no head symptoms have been complained of.

(WT note – this is the sodium salt of Salicylic acid, Aspirin, which was newly introduced in conventional medical practice in 1897, shortly before this text’s publication; the only “proving” records are toxicologic reports of rather massive, toxic doses, as it was often used in that era; apart from the toxicologic symptom of vertigo, it has been used in potency principally on the indications of conventional pharmaceutical application.)

Sulphur, Arsenicum, and Natrum mur. Will be frequently required, according to indications already given. In the profound prostration, with loss of flesh, which often follows. Kali Iodatum 30, every four hours, has proved a very efficient remedy in my experience. Finally, where there is great chilliness, debility that compels the patient to lie down, sinking sensation and general prostration, Psorinum 30, three or four times a day, will give great relief.