As I type this, I’m battling my first cold of the season. It’s annoying, but not nearly the knock-me-off my sails type illnesses of the past. Over the past few days, I’ve changed homeopathic remedies for my cold depending on the symptoms. Homeopathy is a powerful way to treat common colds and flus without harmful side effects. Basically what would have lingered for weeks before my knowledge of homeopathy disappears in a matter of days. It’s also, as I said, much weaker of a cold, given the remedies affect to bolster my body’s immune system.
Now, two professional homeopaths Lora Roberts of 360 Homeopathy and Kelly Callahan of Concentric Healing will share their ideas on cold and flu season. *This post is for informational purposes only, and DOES NOT constitute medical treatment*
Homeopathy for all seasons: Colds, the flu and you!
by: Lora Roberts, 360 Homeopathy
With the cold air already sneaking up on us and winter approaching, now is the perfect time to have some homeopathic remedies on hand to help with fall and winter ailments. I have thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful fall weather in the midwest this year. As much as I like to procrastinate and enjoy these beautiful days, I also know planning for optimal health for the winter is needed. They say if you don’t plan, you plan to fail so let’s be proactive!
First a little background is helpful–What is Homeopathy? Homeopathy is a natural therapeutic method of medical treatment that is based on the philosophy that a substance which causes symptoms in a healthy person can also remove symptoms in a sick person as long as the substance is highly diluted. The Homeopathic remedy stimulates the body’s natural healing process. Homeopathic remedies are traditionally made of plant, animal, or mineral elements rather than synthetic forms. Homeopathic remedies are the only other health products along with conventional drugs that are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Homeopathy views illness as effecting the entire individual (mind-body- spirit) and treats the whole person rather than just the symptoms, disease or specific body parts.
The treatment helps the body heal itself rather than suppress or control symptoms. Homeopathy acts at an energetic level, therefore it has a broad effect: shifting mental, emotional , and physical symptoms.When situations arise and self treatment is appropriate here are some remedy suggestions for the flu and cold season. Colds and flu are generally considered acute illnesses and are self limiting which means they will eventually resolve themselves in time without intervention. To distinguish the difference, colds are generally accompanied by a runny nose and mild fever and flus usually present with respiratory illness with high fever, chills, muscle aches and prostration.These remedies can be purchased in a 6c or 30c potency and can be found at many local natural health stores and pharmacies. When dosing in these acute situations, the remedy can be repeated 3-4 times a day for a duration of 7-10 days and reducing the amount as the symptoms improve.
Oscillococcinum: a great remedy to have on hand in your first aid kit. As soon as you start feeling run down or have other flu-like symptoms, such as headache, body aches, chills and fever, take Oscillococcinum. I say this is the lazy man’s remedy for someone who doesn’t want to do a lot of thinking about their illness and just take something to make the pain go away.
Aconite: works great in early stages of a illness, especially within the first 12 hours of showing cold and flu symptoms, colds with a sudden onset and symptoms after exposure to cold wind/weather, dry cough and flushed face.
Bryonia: common flu remedy, ideal for those with body aches and pains, excessive thirst, desire to remain still and aggravated by the slightest movement
Gelsemium: lack of thirst, flu like symptoms with overall weakness, shivering and heaviness of limbs, exhaustion with lethargy and droopy eyes. FYI- this was the #1 remedy used during the 1918 flu pandemic
Allium Cepa: great for colds with excessive burning acrid discharge of the nose, nose “runs like a faucet”, profuse flow of bland tears, constant sneezing
Kali Bichromicum: helps to clear out the last of cold symptoms, sinus headaches, crusting inside the nose, sticky-stringy nasal secretion, constant clearing of the throat, blocked sinuses.
Arsenicum: chilly & anxious with diarrhea and vomiting. Helpful for the gastric flu.
Nux Vomica: another great remedy for a gastric flu, increased diarrhea and vomitting and an all over toxic feeling. The patient is often chilly and impatient.
Merc. Vivus: cold symptoms with increased saliva and a painful need to swallow. They often are very hypersensitive to temperature changes.
Hepar Sulph: this individual is cold all over and worse from uncovering. They are extremely irritable and don’t like to be touched, esp. near the head (think of a screaming child who doesn’t want the doctor anywhere near their ears). It is helpful for an extreme sore throat with sharp pains that effect the ears.
Last but not least for individuals who want a more prophylaxis/preventative option Influenzinum is beneficial. One popular protocol is to take one dose once a week for 4 week in ascending potency moving from 30C up to 10M. Every year a new batch of this remedy is made and it contains the three most recent strains of the flu virus. Many homeopathic pharmacies also offer a combination Influenzinum that offers a remedy made from the flu strain of multiple years.
Homeopathic care is cost effective, has been used successfully for over 200 years and promotes gentle healing. For chronic complaints and other health concerns it is helpful to seek a qualified Homeopathic Practitioner. The homeopathic process is both simple and noninvasive.
Cheers to health! Remember even when illness strikes our body is expressing health and giving us messages. Listen and treat appropriately!
Thanks so much Lora! Now, here’s Kelly’s take on cold and flu season…
Homeopathy for Sniffles and Sneezes
by: Kelly Callahan of Concentric Healing
Last week, This American Life, a popular documentary style radio program on NPR, did a show on Tylenol, and the shocking risks on taking this seemingly benign pain killer and fever reducer. The only surprise was that it was actually on a national radio station that is often unfailingly on the side of conventional medicine.
You have to ask yourself- is this what I want in my medicine cabinet? How do I want to respond to my child’s seasonal illnesses?
If any part of your answer is- I want to use natural, safe medicines, that will not only help reduce suffering but actually be a benefit to the immune system… well, look no further!
Whether it’s those first runny noses or the full-on flu, homeopathic remedies are that safe, natural medicine.
Homeopathy has been used for over 200 years and has a proven track record of efficacy for not only seasonal illnesses, but the big epidemics in the history books (at least in this country) like yellow fever, diphtheria, cholera, and more. Using single substances from nature (plants, minerals, etc…) the remedies deliver a highly diluted, energetically potentized dose that interfaces with the child’s own energy, and gives it the boost it needs to complete the healing it is already trying to do. For a great tutorial on how homeopathy works, check out: http://homeopathyplus.com.au/category/tutorials/ These Aussies do a great job of breaking down homeopathy.
But back to alternatives for your medicine cabinet. Here are a few remedies that are must-haves, bringing your child(ren) relief, and peace of mind for parents everywhere who are looking for a way out of the pharma-matrix.
This might be the one remedy I would take to a deserted island (but man, I would fight tooth and nail if I could only bring one!!). Aconite is the perfect remedy for fall and winter, because it helps the vital force (chi in Chinese medicine… your essential energy that regulates balance in your body) reconcile from fright, shock, and exposure. If the body can’t rebalance after exposure to a cold dry wind, or a fright that comes as a shocking surprise, then a fever and/or cough may come about as a result.
For example, let’s say you go on a hike and up at the top, the wind is going strong, even though the sun is shining. Later that night, you hear a dry barking cough and go to check up on your little one. Sure enough, he has a high dry fever, bright red cheeks, and raspy seal-barking cough that sounds like croup coming on. A few doses of Aconite 30c or a 200c if you have it, should help ease the fever and may resolve the condition altogether.
You can use Aconite for just the barky croupy cough, as long as there is no discharge present yet (goopy nose, congestion in the lungs). It is also a go-to for the first twinges of a sore throat that feels tight and dry.
Hepar sulphuricum is one of those strange mineral combinations unique to homeopathic medicines. I love this remedy, and it follows Aconite well for when the fever might drop, but the cough advances and there’s congestion in the chest. This is definitely a second-stage remedy, where the condition has advanced to producing mucous.
The cough will still sound croupy- dry and barking. The patient often has a *very* sore throat, so painful to swallow, and warm drinks are the only thing that makes it better. There is an oversensitivity to pain- the ear, the throat, or even conjunctivitis of the eye. The pain in the throat is like a fishbone sticking in it, and it may radiate up to the ear.
Mentally and emotionally, the child is so sensitive to their pain and intolerant of discomfort they become grouchy and irritable.
Belladonna is a well-known and often used remedy for children and fevers. The key indications for the remedy are: pulsation, congestion, inflammation.
Belladonna conditions tend to come on quick. As in, your kid came home from school, he was fine and then by dinner, he’s red (inflammation) in the face with a raging fever. There may be delirium with the fever and glassy eyes. A throbbing, right sided headache might be present as well. Any motion, light, or noise makes the symptoms worse.
The suddenness, redness and inflammation that are characteristic of Belladonna may come with any symptoms picture- like a sore throat, a headache (without the fever), ear infection. There may also be a barking cough. But like Aconite, this is more of a first stage remedy, when things come on quick, but before everything settles into mucous and discharge (goopy yellow snot, that kind of thing).
The difference between Aconite and Belladonna? With Belladonna there’s an element of intensity and violence- it comes on fast, and the child may rage or strike out. The redness and pulsation are marked. With Aconite there is more a state of fear, and a desire for protection. The fever is high and dry, but without the intense inflammation of Belladonna.
Arsenicum is a great remedy for colds and certain indications of flu. The mental state is strong, and important to prescribing- that of anxiety for health and deep insecurity. The anxiety can be for one’s own health, or that of another. I wrote about this remedy in my first post about going back to school, and how the child who might need Arsenicum will have a strong need for order and cleanliness, and what we consider to be ‘OCD’ symptoms.
Physical symptoms include extreme chilliness, with an inability to get warm. The patient is huddled in blankets by the woodstove or heater and *still* can’t get warm. They want company and in a weird twist, want to sip cold, or cool water (rather than a hot beverage). Their pains are burning- in the stomach for example, and any discharges are also burning- leaving the skin raw and red in its wake. There might be diarrhea and vomiting. The head may feel like it is burning and a cold pack will make it feel better, all the while, the patient still feels chilly! Symptoms are always worse between midnight and 2 am (think coughing).
You can start with Arsenicum if the initial symptoms are violent, consistent sneezing and a persistent chill. A few doses of this remedy in a 30c potency may help thwart a nasty bout of illness!
All of these remedies are available where homeopathics are sold. Follow the dosing instructions on the bottle. In general, if you have not seen a shift by the fourth dose, then the remedy is not a good match. Likewise, if you see major improvement, hold off on giving additional doses unless the symptoms return or progress stalls.
An important note about fevers. Many parents find themselves tethered the thermometer when their child has a fever, and religiously monitor the condition degree by degree. The key? Watch the child, not the numbers. A fever is an appropriate response on behalf of the immune system to activate antibodies and kill off bacteria. By keeping a child well hydrated and using appropriate homeopathic remedies, you can enable this vital healing response. If you see your child become listless and in great pain, disordered breathing or pulse rate, then you can help cool the body gently with cool (not cold) cloths on the hands the feet. Cooling the body too quickly can be a shock to the system. Make sure she stays hydrated.
If you have a homeopath, contact him or her to help you monitor and choose appropriate remedies. Look up natural supports for fevers *ahead of time* so that you aren’t panicking when the time comes and find yourself reverting to the Tylenol. Consider switching to a care provider that is knowledgeable and supportive of a less invasive approach.
These four remedies- aconite, hepar sulph, belladonna, and aresenicum- when used for the conditions indicated, may bring great relief and help cut the duration of illness and potentially reduce secondary infections. There are many, many homeopathic remedies and if you find that one of these doesn’t give the results you’re looking for, another remedy is indicated. I frequently blog about remedies for acute home use at my blog- www.concentrichealing.blogspot.com. The National Center for Homeopathy is also a fantastic resource for the home prescriber.
It can be scary to see our vibrant little ones under the weather, and as a mother, I can think of no greater peace of mind than knowing *exactly* what I am allowing into my child’s body. With homeopathy, I have no fear of recalls, toxic side effects, or overdosing. Like exercising a muscle, when the immune system ‘gets a workout’ by overcoming an acute illness, it comes out the other end stronger and more resilient. Let’s support, not suppress.
That’s a boatload of information. Thanks for Kelly and Lora for contributing to this blog. Homeopathy has changed my life and my family’s wellbeing. I hope you learn more about it. Remedies can be found at health food stores, Vitamin World, Mariano’s and Whole Foods. This post is not sponsored, and is intended for informational and education purposes only.
To a healthy cold and flu season ahead,
sharing @ food renegade