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Blood infection or sepsis is a serious infection that is one of the leading causes of hospital readmissions and death in the world. Sepsis commonly occurs when an infection spreads from a localized area to the bloodstream and thereby to the other body parts. Bacterial infections are the most common cause of sepsis; however, viruses, fungi and other microbes can also cause sepsis. Sepsis may affect anybody but the elderly and people suffering from chronic conditions are more at risk.

If not treated on time, sepsis can lead to a weakened heart and low blood pressure levels and ultimately progress to septic shock. A septic shock causes the failure of some of the major organs in the body like the liver, lungs and kidneys.

It is difficult to diagnose sepsis in the early stages, as most early signs of sepsis are similar to those of other diseases. A rapid heart rate and breathing, fever, rashes, chills, disorientation and confusion are some of the common symptoms of sepsis. 

There are no specific medications for the treatment of sepsis. Treatment aims at providing antibiotics and fluids to avoid a drop in blood pressure, prevent organs damage and stop the infection from spreading. People with progressed infections are treated using surgical methods or kidney dialysis to remove the infection from the body. Homeopathic treatment of sepsis is done with remedies such as digitalis purpurea, abies nigra, arsenicum album, phosphorus, pyrogenium, carbo vegetabilis, lachesis mutus, belladona and baptisia tinctoria. When taken under the guidance of a qualified doctor, these remedies help to reduce the symptoms of sepsis including rapid heart rate, fever, chills and a feeling of confusion. 

  1. Homeopathic medicines for blood infection (sepsis)
  2. Dietary and lifestyle changes for a blood infection (sepsis) patient as per homeopathy
  3. How effective are homeopathic medicines and treatments for blood infection (sepsis)
  4. Side effects and risks of homeopathic medicine and treatments for blood infection (sepsis)
  5. Takeaway
  • Digitalis Purpurea
    Common Name:
    Foxglove
    Symptoms: Digitalis Purpurea is primarily used to treat conditions that affect the heart. It stimulates the heart muscle function and provides strength to the heart. In case of blood infections foxglove helps regularise pulse rate, improves respiration and prevents heart collapse. It is also beneficial in other symptoms including:
    • Difficulty in breathing, the patient feels as if their lungs are compacted and have an intense urge to breathe deeply
    • Weakness in chest
    • A tired heart with a feeble pulse that escalates rapidly with the least amount of activity
    • Intense palpitations (racing or pounding) of the heart, the person feels as if their heart will stop beating
    • Heart failure after a fever
    • Cardiac dropsy (swelling of the heart’s soft tissues due to water accumulation)
    • Cyanosis (bluish colour of the skin due to low oxygen levels)

Symptoms become worse after post meals and when the person is sitting upright. Symptoms improve when the person spends some time in open air.

  • Abies Nigra
    Common Name:
    Black spruce
    Symptoms: Abies Nigra is best suited for older people who tend to have gastrointestinal issues, especially after consuming coffee and tea. This remedy helps treat sepsis by reducing the rapid heart rate. It also helps reduce other symptoms such as:
    • A slow or fast heart rate with a cutting pain sensation in the heart (Read more: Slow heart rate causes)
    • Difficulty breathing, which worsens when the patient lies down
    • Restlessness at night
    • A painful sensation in the chest (Read more: Chest pain treatment)
    • Fever with an alternating hot and cold phase
    • Incomplete expansion of the chest while breathing
    • A compressed feeling in lungs
    • Fever accompanied by stomach pain

Symptoms aggravate whenever the patient eats something.

  • Belladonna
    Common Name:
    Deadly nightshade
    Symptoms: Deadly nightshade is mostly given as a preventive remedy and is best suited for people with a flushed, red and hot face; restless sleep; mental excitement; and delirium. It helps treat sepsis by reducing the symptoms of high fever, rapid heart rate and facial redness. This remedy also helps reduce the following symptoms:
    • Twitching of the facial muscles with intense and discontinuous pain
    • High fever with lack of thirst and an icy cold sensation in feet
    • Convulsive movements of facial muscles
    • A bluish-red colouration of the face
    • Moaning while breathing
    • Pain in the left hip while coughing
    • Pain in the voice box with a high-pitched voice
    • Pain in the stomach due to whooping cough

Symptoms become worse in the afternoon, on lying down and in the presence of a draught. The person finds temporary relief when they sit in a semi-erect position.

  • Lachesis Mutus
    Common Name:
    Bushmaster
    Symptoms: Lachesis Mutus works well for people who have confused thoughts and experience delirium. In septic patients, this remedy aids in the management of fever, and helps reduce embolism (a blood clot in the artery) and bleeding caused due to septic shock. Lachesis mutus also helps reduce other symptoms such as:
    • Restlessness 
    • Inability to sense time
    • Swelling and puffiness on the face with a purple discolouration
    • Intermittent fevers
    • Fever with chills

Symptoms become worse on lying down on the left side, after sleeping or on closing eyes, taking a warm bath and drinking hot drinks. They become better after the application of warmth on the body.

  • Arsenicum Album
    Common Name:
    Arsenious acid
    Symptoms: This remedy helps treat sepsis by reducing the symptoms of restlessness, weakness and fevers with chills. It also benefits other symptoms such as:
    • Weakness and irritability
    • Tiredness after performing even small activities
    • Intermittent fevers
    • Icy coldness in the body
    • Urticaria (hives) with a burning sensation in the body
    • Uneasiness, twitching and trembling in the arms and legs
    • Disturbed sleeping patterns
    • Cyanosis
    • Rapid pulse rate in the morning

Symptoms become worse from feeling cold at midnight, in wet weather, and on consuming cold food and cold drinks. Complaints reduce in the presence of heat, keeping one's head at an elevated level and after lying on the right side.

  • Carbo Vegetabilis
    Common Name:
    Vegetable charcoal
    Symptoms: This remedy suits those who have not achieved complete recovery from a previous illness; they faint easily and need fresh air. In sepsis patients, it helps reduce the symptoms of acute respiratory disease syndrome (ARDS) and respiratory insufficiency. Other symptoms that can be relieved by this remedy are:
    • Occasional coughing spells where the patient keeps on coughing for a long time and experiences a burning sensation in their chest
    • Hoarseness that becomes worse after talking and in the evenings
    • Blue-coloured skin due to asthma
    • Wheezing
    • Fever with chills and increased thirst
    • Bleeding in lungs
    • Fever with excess sweating
    • A burning sensation in different parts of the body
    • Cold and blue ecchymosed (discoloured due to bleeding underneath) skin

Symptoms become worse in the presence of open and cool air, in the night and evening time, after consuming fatty foods like butter or drinking milk and coffee. Symptoms improve when the patient fans themselves or are exposed to cold weather.

  • Baptisia Tinctoria
    Common Name:
    Wild indigo
    Symptoms: This remedy is best used to reduce muscle soreness. In sepsis patients, it helps reduce symptoms such as hot skin and ARDS. Wild indigo is also effective against the following symptoms:
    • Difficulty in breathing due to a compressed feeling in lungs
    • Fever with chills, rheumatic pains and a generalised soreness in the body; the chills usually occur at about 11 a.m.
    • Skin ulcers and a burning sensation in the skin
    • Mental confusion

Symptoms become worse in humid and hot weather, in the presence of fog and on staying indoors.

  • Pyrogenium
    Common Name:
    Artificial sepsin
    Symptoms: Pyrogenium is an excellent antiseptic and is hence one of the best homeopathic remedies for sepsis. It can help reduce the symptoms such as fever and restlessness associated with sepsis, and also prevents heart failure in sepsis patients. This remedy is also effective against the following symptoms:
    • Sudden rise in temperature and chills, especially in the back 
    • Numbness in feet and hands
    • Fever with profuse sweating without a fall in the temperature
    • Discoloured skin due to inflammation
    • Soreness in the body that becomes better after moving
    • Unpleasant discharges (including sweat, breath and menses)

Symptoms become better on moving about.

  • Phosphorus
    Common Name:
    Phosphorus
    Symptoms: Phosphorus is the best remedy for people who are sensitive to sounds, odours, touch and light. It helps reduce pneumonia and bleeding associated with sepsis. This remedy also benefits the following symptoms:
    • Fevers with chills in the evening and profuse sweating
    • Numbness in the arms and hands and a cold sensation in the knees at night
    • Sudden weakness in the joints
    • Aggravating heart palpitations while lying on the left side
    • Ulcers with bleeding

Symptoms aggravate with changing weather, due to mental and physical exertion, lying on the left side in the evening and when the patient consumes warm foods and drinks. All complaints get better when the patient lies down on their right side, eats cold food or spends time in cold environment.

Some dietary and lifestyle factors can alter the therapeutic activities of homeopathic remedies and thus slow down or prevent healing. Therefore, Sir Hahnemann, the father of homeopathy, has recommended that a set of guidelines be followed in case of acute and chronic conditions to achieve complete therapeutic benefit from homeoapthic medicine. Here are some of the important points from those guidelines:

Do’s:

  • In the case of acute blood infections, wear linen clothes during the summer season and adjust the room temperature as per your comfort.
  • In the case of chronic blood infections, follow an active lifestyle pattern, live in hygienic conditions and eat healthy food.

Don’ts: 

  • In the case of acute blood infections, do not get over-excited or exert your mind overly.
  • In the case of chronic blood infections, do not stay in hot and damp places.
  • Do not consume herbal teas, foods and drinks that are prepared from or contain medicinal herbs. Avoid punches, coffee and spicy foods.
  • Try controlling your anger.

Homeopathic medicines promote the immunity of the body to fight against infections and reduce the numbers of the infectious agent in the patient's body. There is not much evidence to prove the efficiency of homeopathic medicines in the treatment of sepsis. However, a double-blind, randomised, placebo-controlled trial published in the year 2005 does indicate that these medicines do have some therapeutic benefits for septicemia patients.

For the study, 70 patients with severe sepsis were divided into two groups. Thirty-five patients received placebo and 35 patients received homeopathic remedies in a 200c potency at time intervals of 12 hours. The survival rate was recorded after 30 and 180 days of the treatment. On the 30th day, the survival rate was higher in the homeopathic remedy group by four patients. After 180 days, the survival rate was significantly higher in the homeopathic group. No adverse effects were observed during the study. The study concluded that homeopathic remedies could be an effective therapeutic option for people admitted to the intensive care unit with severe sepsis as they provide long-term benefit to the patients.

Homeopathic remedies usually do not have any side effects as they are created and prescribed in minute doses. However, these medicines should never be taken without the prescription of a qualified and registered homeopathic doctor. A doctor considers both the physical and mental aspects of the patient's personality along with the disease symptoms before choosing the right remedy and dosage for them. Hence, not every homeopathic remedy suits every person equally.

Blood infections can be fatal and difficult to diagnose in the early stages. Homeopathic remedies can provide relief from the symptoms of sepsis. They also help improve overall health and enhance the patient's immune system so it can kick out the infection on its own. Unlike conventional treatment methods, homeopathic remedies do not have many side effects. Therefore, homeopathic remedies can be used as an effective add-on therapy for treating sepsis and other health conditions.

References

  1. National Institute of General Medical Sciences. Sepsis. Bethesda, MD; [Internet]
  2. Oscar E. Boericke. Repertory. Médi-T; [lnternet]
  3. Beatriz Cesar, Ana Paula R. Abud, Carolina C. de Oliveira, Francolino Cardoso, Raffaello Popa Di Bernardi et al. Treatment with at Homeopathic Complex Medication Modulates Mononuclear Bone Marrow Cell Differentiation. Volume 2011, Article ID 212459, 10 pages
  4. Frass M, Linkesch M, Banyai S, Resch G, Dielacher C et al. Adjunctive homeopathic treatment in patients with severe sepsis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in an intensive care unit. 2005 Apr;94(2):75-80. PMID: 15892486
  5. Hahnemann Samuel. ORGANON OF MEDICINE. Médi-T; [Internet]
  6. M Frass, M Linkesch, S Banyai et al. Adjunctive homeopathic treatment in patients with severe sepsis: a randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial in an intensive care unit. (2005) 94, 75–80

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