Homeopathy for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS)

 Dr. Manish Bhatia

What is SARS?

SARS stands for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The illness is an acute respiratory infection of unknown cause. The main symptoms of SARS are high fever (> 38 degrees Celsius), dry cough, and shortness of breath or breathing difficulties. Changes in chest x-rays indicative of pneumonia also occur. SARS may be associated with other symptoms, including headache, muscular stiffness, and loss of appetite, malaise, confusion, rash and diarrhea. Death occurs in some cases due to respiratory failure.

What is the cause of SARS?

A new form of virus is being implicated in the recent outbreak of atypical pneumonia. The current studies show that the virus is either a paramyxovirus or a coronavirus-like virus.

Homeopathy Treatment of SARS

Considering the limitation of conventional medicine in treatment of viral disorders and the lack of any effective treatment for SARS patients in the conventional medicine, it is necessary that other alternative systems be used to combat this condition. Homeopathy with its vast range of medicines (>3000) can prove to be very effective against this atypical pneumonia. In this spirit an analytical study has been made for the relative effectiveness of Homeopathy medicines in this condition.

The information about the recent outbreak of SARS has been closely studied and the signs and symptoms have been analyzed to find out the group of remedies that can prove most effective against this form of pneumonia. The medicines for each stage are given in the order of importance. The details of this analysis are as follows:

Prophylaxis – The medicine that can prove to be a prophylactic in this pneumonia isChelidonium majus. This medicine can be taken by people working closely with SARS patients like doctors, nurses, relatives and colleagues of known patients.

First Stage – The medicines that can help most of the SARS cases in the initial phase are Aconitum napellusArsenic album, and Belladona. Of these, Aconite will prove most important in aborting the disease when given at the onset of flu-like symptoms. This medicine should be given as soon as one experiences flu-like symptoms.

Second Stage – When the symptoms of pneumonia are well apparent, then the medicines that can prove to be of maximum value in current outbreak are Natrum sulphuricumPhosphorusChelidonium, and Bryonia alba.

Third Stage – If the patient is terminally ill with threatened respiratory failure, the medicines that can help to save many lives are Crotalus horridusLachesisAilanthus glandulosa, and Muriatic acid.

Dosage and Repetition – Considering the severity and rapidity of illness lower potencies (6c, 12c, 30c) are recommended. The medicines should be repeated at short intervals (1/2 to 2 hrs)

Patient Management

Patients should be placed in an isolation unit. Strict respiratory and
mucusol barrier nursing is recommended. It is very important that suspected cases are separated from other patients and placed in their own hospital room.

Health care workers and visitors should wear efficient filter masks, goggles, aprons, head covers, and gloves when in close contact with the patient.

———————————————————————–

Note – The Homeopathy medicines mentioned in this article have been worked out with theoretical assessment of current information on SARS. Most of these medicines have known action in cases of pneumonia but the author does not guarantee a cure. Homeopathy medicines when taken in low potencies for short duration of time are usually harmless. Still, it is recommended that you consult your physician/homeopath before taking any medicine.

 

References –

Homeopathy Repertory – Kent
Homeopathy Repertory – Boenninghausen
Homeopathy Therapeutics – Ward
Homeopathy Repertory & Materia Medica – Boericke
Homeopathy Repertory – Phatak
Hpathy.com
US Centre for Disease Control and Prevention
World Health Organisation

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

(SARS) / Atypical Pneumonia

— Dr. Manish Bhatia

————– Kim Kalina —————————————–

I am a homeopath in NJ (USA) who recently recovered from probable SARS. I can’t honestly agree with most of the remedies you have listed in your write-up; they simply do not address the core issue of SARS – the inability to breathe. It took me multiple doses of Carb-V 10M to recover over a period of 2 weeks, but I wouldn’t have made it through without it. Having experienced it I can honestly say that the remedies, as a group, that will be curative are severe (life-threatening) asthma remedies. I also suspect ailments from vaccination remedies, as I believe this came from a mutated form of a live-virus Corona vaccine for animals (Asia is one of the few areas where they use live virus Corona vaccines – they are killed vaccines here, and live-virus vaccines are known to “jump” to other hosts and mutate). Aconite and Ars, possibly Phos may be helpful, but remedies like Carb-V and Spongia, Thuja, etc are the remedies I found most helpful and fit the pattern of this disease. I will be writing up an article about my experience for Homeopathy Today, but I hope you find this info helpful now for others who may be afflicted. Sincerely,Kim Kalina, CCH, RSHom (NA)

————- Dr. kamal ——————————————

Greetings from a homeopath from your neighboring country for hosting an excellent website on homeopathy. I have gone through your article on SARS. It’s nice. But I cannot make it out how have you reached to Chelidonium M as the prophylaxis of SARS! Do the symptoms of SARS, at least at the 1st stage of infection, correspond to Chelid’s picture? Could you throw some light on your selection of SARS’ prophylaxis?

Warm regards.

Dr Kamal.

———— Dr. B’s Reply —————————————–

Thanks Kim, kamal, and everyone else for all those replies, inputs, objections, and suggestions. First of all I would like to point to two useful threads related to this subject.

Homeopathyhome Discussion Forums – This one has two very useful posts by Simone and Shirley

Hpathy Discussion Forums – This one has contributions from Geir

Many people have asked about the choice of Chelidonium as a prophylactic, so I will elaborate on this one first. When we select a prophylatic for a condition, the selected remedy should –

— cover the signs and symptoms of current illness.

— should have known therapeutic efficacy in the said condition.

— should be deep acting enough to create an artificial state powerful enough to work as prophylatic.

— should cover the mental state/social state at that time.

Now, while there are many medicines that can cover the common symptoms of SARS, there are not many which cover all the four criteria. For eg., Aconite covers the symptoms in the initial stages very well, but it is not deep acting enough to work as a prophylactic. The factor which tilted the scale in favour of chelidonium is that I found it to be the only medicine covering the social mental state at present. The state is that of Fear, and specifically Fear of Pneumonia. Chelidonium is the only medicine to have this (fear of pneumonia – Kent, Phatak). Since it covers all other common symptoms too, it was my natural choice as a prophylactic. In other stages also you will notice that the medicines which are coming up high have lot of ‘fear’ in general. Aconite, Arsenic, Natrum sulph, Phosphorus are all fearful remedies, with lot of anxiety, fear of disease etc.

—>> I must add a note here that the medicines were not selected on the basis of fear but on the basis of signs and symptoms of existing cases. It was only appreciated later that the remedies have something more in common – the element of fear and anxiety. Even chelidonium came up in the list by the virtue of its covering the physical symptoms. Only later it was picked up as a prophylactic because of the specific fear it covers.<<—

I still believe Aconite will hold the key in first stage, Natrum-sulph in second, and Crotalus in third. I will add Chelidonium in the second stage too. The medicines for third stage will be required by only 10-15% of all SARS cases as only this much percent of cases do not show spontaneous improvement by 7th day and start progressing towards respiratory failure.

Many homeopaths have raised the issue of general vaccine damage, or vaccine causing mutation. One thing I would like to share is that though scientists have isolated coronavirus and paramyxovirus from SARS patients, they have not confirmed them as causative as yet. Many of these viruses are found in our naso-pharynx in health too and scientists are still probing the hypothesis that this new form of disease has flared up due to a chance co-habitation of two viruses. It means that it is possible that disease has taken its current form due to simultaneous infection by two viruses. So, I still have my reservations regarding vaccine theory. But as kim has suggested the effect of live-vaccines, it may be possible that such use of vaccine may have originally resulted in this simultaneous infection.

I invite further comments on this.

Dr. Manish Bhatia

———— Dr. kamal ——————————————

Dear Dr B,

Thanks for your prompt response. I have gone through that, and here are my observations (this is a fair discussion, I think):

1. Remedy selection based on social/mental aspects are granted as the most appropriate approach, and that is commendable. However, the peculiar rubric with single remedy (fear of pneumonia) is questionable. This symptom is found only in Allen, and no confirmation has ever been reported by any other authority so far. (I searched it in Encyclopaedia Homeopathica software).

2. During the outbreak of any deadly disease, people are scared about the supposedly “deadliness” of the disease, merely by its name. As such, to capture the mental state, rubrics like “Fear of disease”, “Fear of Infection”, “Fear of death”, etc. seem to be more appropriate. Consideration of the singular rubric with only one remedy to consider the mental state of people during an epidemic may not be a sound approach.

3. Pathogenesis of Chelidonium encompass, among others, the characteristic “biliousness”; even in Pneumonia – bilious vomiting is the concomitant of the chest affection (Clarke). Do SARS patients represent such hepatic disorder? I am not sure.

Considering the high fever, dry cough, breathing difficulty, myalgia/ muscular stiffness, headache, etc. Bryonia seems to me more as the prophylaxis for SARS.

Kindest regards.

Dr Kamal.

 

———— Dr. B’s Reply —————————————

Thanks again Dr. Kamal. Sometime after putting up the second part on this article, I added a small note to that discussion that all the medicines listed in the article were primarily selected on the basis of physical signs and symptoms. From the group of remedies so selected, Chelidonium was picked up because it not only covers the symptoms very well (high fever, dry cough, respiratory embarrassment and difficulty, muscular weakness, confusion of mind, bodyache, nausea, vomiting etc) but also had this specific fear of pneumonia. For the other medicines it was noted after the initial analysis that they all had a very strong streak of fear (of disease, of infection, of death), hence confirming their utility in the current scenario.

I do agree that this symptom is not given at too many places and there are hardly any known cases of its use but if Kent and Allen have mentioned it, there must have been some data for it. Also Phatak’s repertory contains only clinically verified symptoms and medicines. It also lists this symptom. So, if I have to begin my work, I would prefer to start with Chelidonium. If it fails, then I would move to other remedies.

Regarding the biliousness. Yes Sars patients, in later stage, do manifest gastric disorder like nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. I have not been able to confirm the nature of vomiting though. Also, I think ‘absence of a symptom’ can not be a criterion to rule out a medicine, if other criteria fit in properly. No patient can give ALL the symptoms of any given medicine.

Lastly, I would like to say that what I have written is my personal analysis, based on my understanding of the current symptoms, my knowledge of materia medica and repertory, and my clinical experience. I do not claim to be absolutely right with this analysis. My effort is just to make the homeopathic community think further into this. Your ideas about the prophylactic and indicated remedies may differ. We can not say who is right and who is wrong until we get to test our analysis in the field. But at least, we can get everyone’s opinion on this.

I invite further comments on this.

Dr. Manish Bhatia

————- Dr. kamal —————————————–

Dear Dr B,

Thanks again for your explanation. Here is my response:

You wrote: “So, if I have to begin my work, I would prefer to start with Chelidonium. If it fails, then I would move to other remedies.” Well, you’d get chance to switch to another remedy as prophylaxis – but if the 1st remedy was of little value as prophylaxis, people would contract the infection already, and belief in the prophylactic power of homeopathic medicine would be lessened severely.

Again, you wrote: “Also, I think ‘absence of a symptom’ can not be a criteria to rule out a medicine, if other criteria’s fit in properly. No patient can give ALL the symptoms of any given medicine.” You are absolutely right. I would like to supplement your version with what Kent said in his Philosophy: “After working in an epidemic for a few weeks, you will find perhaps that half-a-dozen remedies are daily indicated and one of these in a larger number of cases than any other. This one remedy seems to be the best suited to the general nature of the sickness. Now you will find that for prophylaxis there is required a less degree of similitude than is necessary for curing. A remedy will not have to be so similar to prevent disease as to cure it, and these remedies in daily use will enable you to prevent a large number of people from becoming sick. We must look to Homoeopathy for our protection as well as for our cure.” Probably, this is the core idea, very much in line with what Hahnemann did with Belladonna for scarlet fever prevention.

Now, the question remains: has Chelidonium been used with success for actually SARS affected patients so far? In fact, if we imagine the sick image of the patients afflicted with the severity of SARS (with respect to the respiratory problems) – does it call for Chelidonium instantly on one’s mind? Clarke has put only two symptoms of relevance, viz: “1.Short breath and tight chest. 2.Nightly attacks of asthma with sense of constriction in region of diaphragm.” All other symptoms are up to trachea, or at diaphragm, and not really severe anything. And Phatak: “Bilious pneumonia. Respiratory symptoms with liver symptoms.” (also other symptoms as of Clarke).

I think, what I really want to point out – has been nicely stated by Kent: “Right-sided pneumonia complicated with liver troubles or jaundice. This remedy seems to act throughout the system but almost always along with it the liver is involved and it is suitable for what the old people and the doctors called biliousness. The patient is generally bilious, has nausea and vomiting.”

I do not (rather never) intend to say, at least on the controversial topic like homeopathic prophylaxis, that someone is wrong! But our mission is the same: cure people, and save them in case of epidemics, as Kent uttered. May be, within couple of days (or weeks), we would be able to come up with the most effective SARS remedy – pointing towards its capability of being the prophylaxis.

All the best for you.

Dr Kamal.

———— Dr. B’s Reply ————————————–

Thanks again Dr. kamal. I do understand that it is necessary that the prophylaxis that we administer should be able to prevent the disease or some beliefs will get shaken. But the big question is how do we know beforehand that a remedy will work? We can only judge the action of a medicine after administration. When Kent wrote those words, they had the opportunity to work on such epidemics. These days how many homeopaths will get a chance to work on a known SARS case? How many have worked ‘in field’ in this outbreak? I doubt many! So Kent’s words can only be applied if we test a probable group of remedies in field. This whole exercise has been to work out that probable group. But unless and until we get to work on large number of cases in the field, it will not be possible for anyone to make definite judgments regarding the prophylaxis issue.

Regarding Chelidonium and severity of respiratory problems. Firstly, Clark is just one author and it does not list all the symptoms. Have a look at Allen’s encyclopedia. There are hundreds of symptoms indicating the severity of respiratory oppression. Having said that I must say that although the current illness is termed as ‘Severe Acute Respiratory Disorder’, but not all cases become ‘serious’ or have ‘acute’ respiratory difficulty. Actually, only 15-20% go that way. The current illness can range from symptoms of acute flu to severe pneumonia and respiratory failure. With most people it remains on the lighter side. So what do we give more focus to while choosing a prophylaxis – ‘flu-like’ symptoms which are found in all cases or ‘severe dyspnoea’ which is found in much smaller percentage of cases and that also in later stages? We give more focus to symptoms at the start or the symptoms at the end? I had these questions in mind in the beginning too and chelidonium appealed to me as it covers symptoms of both the stages equally well. Anyway, I am not dogmatic about chelidonium. I do agree that some other medicine (aconite, sulphur, tuberculinum, spongia, carbo veg, bryonia etc have been suggested by others) may work out to be a better choice. I have just presented my own analysis.

I invite further comments on this.

Dr. Manish Bhatia

————- Kim Kalina —————————————–

Dr. Bhatia,

I am very interested in why you keep thinking that people with SARS exhibit gastric symptoms – I have spoken to the clinicians at the CDC about the numerous suspected probable cases and they do not see these symptoms you describe. I have not encountered that at all either. Please advise on where that info is coming from.

To add my most recent discovery, after I suffered a brief relapse this past week I discovered that the remedy for the relapsing state of SARS is Bryonia, which in fact makes a lot of sense since it is the premier remedy of the Typhoid Miasm. This illness, in my estimation, definitely fits Sankaran’s picture of Typhoid miasm – “the “subacute” miasm between the acute and the psoric miasms. Typhoid has a prolonged prodrome with a feeling of malaise, days before the temperature rises significantly. Typhoid has both the acute features as well as slowness. It is an intense struggle in which there is an acute threat from outside – the response is not just instinctive but has the component of a struggle. The feeling is that of a critical situation, which if properly handled for a critical period, will end in total recovery.” I also wish to share that I am not a person who has ever taken a 10M of any remedy, but I find that in this illness it has taken multiple doses of very high potencies to eradicate. I would guess, therefore, that that need for very high potencies is part of the disease itself, since it is not common to me. I hope that this info is helpful to anyone attempting treatment of SARS.
Kim Kalina, CCH, RSHom (NA)
USA

 

———— Dr. B’s Reply —————————————

Hi Kim,

I have nowhere written that all cases of SARS show gastric symptoms. When I replied to Dr. Kamal’s query regarding this, all I said was yes in later stages SARS patients do show gastric symptoms like nausea and diarrhea. This information has not come from my brain. The source of this information has been the net. Nearly every site which lists the symptoms of SARS in detail, list loss of appetite, malaise, nausea, diarrhea, and gastrointestinal disorder among the signs and symptoms. Even WHO site lists these. I have not dreamt this information. And you wont see these symptoms in suspected probable cases (your words) as they are known to occur in later stages. There has not been any confirmed case of SARS here in India as yet. Even when we get one, I do not think I will get to treat such a case (if it is prediagnosed) because of all the political ho-hala and scare of epidemic. So my information remains indirect but well-confirmed from more than one source.

Regarding your own case. Again the diagnosis was never confirmed in your case. I have seen numerous cases of influenza with marked weakness and dyspnoea, often needing carbo veg. I do not say that you did not get SARS but I cant say ‘you did get’ either. That would be presumptuous. Bryonia of course can play a useful role. It did come up in the initial analysis and is listed among the second stage remedy group. I will leave the interpretation of your analysis about Typhoid miasm open for others. Nearly every homeopath has his/her own different understanding of the theory of miasms, so I would refrain from making such a general analysis myself. But I would like to hear from others too regarding their understanding of the miasm behind this illness.

I invite further comments on this.

Dr. Manish Bhatia

More emails…so the discussion continues!

————- Kim Kalina ——————————————

Dr. Bhatia,
Your response seems to indicate that you read something into my comments that was not accurate – I did not think you got the info “out of the air” as you put it – but I have spoken directly with the CDC on a number of occasions and they have told me that the numerous cases they suspect of having SARS do not have GI symptoms – that infact those are not symptoms of SARS but likely the result of a secondary infection. That is why I asked what I did…

As for the reason I used the term “probable suspected cases” – that is what ALL suspected cases of SARS are referred to as, since there is not yet any test to confirm or deny anyone’s case as definitively having SARS. All cases are probable suspected cases if they have the symptoms and the travel history – I have both which is why mine was a “probable suspected” case. Hope this clarifies the issue for you.
Kim Kalina, USA

————– Dr. Kamal ——————————————

Thanks! Here is my further comments:

1. Yes, indeed, all the SARS patients may not assume the “severe” condition as the definition generalizes, and the symptomatology in general resembles much like “flu-like” symptoms. I think, the only exception is the characteristic respiratory difficulty in SARS, which is not really characteristic of flu.

2. Which symptoms (start or end) to consider for a remedy to be prophylaxis? Good question. I am not sure whether I have a straight answer, but here is an example: for Dengue – most of the homeopaths prefer Eupat perf as the prophylaxis; some of course in favor of Rhus tox or Influenzinum. Here, all the remedies chosen for the Classical Dengue syndrome – not for Hemorrhagic one. I think, it is all right, because very few cases assume hemorrhagic symptoms – at a later stage of the disease.

3. For flu-like symptoms, by virtue of the symptomatology, I think Bryonia, Gelsemium, Influenzinum, Oscillococcinum, etc. score much higher than Chelidonium.

4. Of course, Clarke is not the only authority to be mentioned. But, on going through the abundance of symptoms for the polychrests in Allen’s Encyclopaedia or Hering’s Guiding Symptoms – it is extremely difficult (if not impossible) to visualize the genius or essence of a remedy thereof. Would anybody think of any other remedy, necessary in any case, after going through the 120 pages of Sulphur in Allen or 80 pages of Lachesis in Hering?

5. Let’s look at the original pure source of pathogenesis of Chelidonium and Bryonia in Materia Medica Pura of Hahnemann. Which one has more pronounced action on the chest and lungs along with other flu-like symptoms? Of course, I am not suggesting here Bryonia to be the prophylaxis of SARS. I am putting some food for thought.

Kindest regards.

Dr Kamal.

—————— Paula Kriwoy ————————————-

Hello Dr. Bhatia,

I am a Homeopath in Canada and my husband is a Paramedic in Toronto.

I found your site last week and have been reading the discussion of SARS following your article.Thankyou for your good research on the remedies to look at in various stages. I appreciate your scolarly work , and I appreciate your patience and professionalism in responding to those in the discussion.

Because of my close connection to the health care professionals in Toronto I may soon have a chance to interview recovered SARS patients. When I do have individual symptom pictures from these people, I will forward them on to you. You might consider asking others to do the same if your group would be willing to act as a processing center for the genus epidemicus.

warm regards,
Paula Kriwoy McDonough
DIHom.

———— Dr. B’s Reply —————————————–

Hi Kim,

I just made those comments to tell the source of my information. Don’t take them otherwise or personally. I have no way to chose between your source of information and my source of information. They are both secondary to me. May be when Paula is able to provide individual symptom pictures of SARS cases, the air will clear. Initially, there was some doubt about the cause of SARS but now every update seems to say, it is due to corona virus. Every ‘suspected probable case‘ is being subjected to identification of this virus and if the virus is not found, the case is declared not to be of SARS. Atleast this is the procedure here in India. Also, I read yesterday that scientists have already started work on creating vaccine for this particular virus. Why would they pour millions of dollar in this work if they are not yet sure if the cause is coronavirus or not? Also, I have not denied your case as being one of SARS. I have just said I have no way to know for sure!

Dr. kamal,

I do agree that the characteristic difference between influenza and SARS is the difficulty in breathing. But I have not come across any statistics which can tell how many of ‘mild’ cases of SARS suffer from difficulty in breathing. Do you have any such information? Anyone else out there?? The example of Dengue that you have given does suggest that the symptoms of initial stages have been used previously for finding the genus epidemicus or prophylactic. But still, this is a question to ponder upon.

Regarding your remedy suggestions. I am quite open to them. I ran an analysis on the information that I could gather and presented to peers for thought. I am not defending chelidonium. I have already stated that some other medicine may prove more useful. But we can ascertain that only when we get to test our remedies in field. When and If I get to work in the field, I would prefer to start with chelidonium, you can start with bryonia or gels. My aim also was to give ‘food for thought’ to everyone and now all I am doing is transmitting the views and discussions to everyone as more ‘food for thought’. I welcome every bit of information and suggestions, even if contrary to my own views. Ah! that reminds me of something. Two days back I received an anonymous email suggesting the remedy for SARS as Calcarea Hypophosphoricum 1M for 7 days! Now this one is new for me!! More food for thought 😉

I just mentioned Allen’s Encyclopedia because you mentioned that u can find ONLY TWO symptoms. I just wanted to give you more numbers! You can find more verified symptoms in many other works like Tyler, kent, Farrington, Chaudhary, Phatak etc.

Paula,

We really look forward to receiving this information through you. Thanks.

I invite further comments on this.

Dr. Manish Bhatia

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