Sneezing, sore throat, runny nose… we all know the first signs of a cold, probably the most common illness known.
Colds and flu are infectious illnesses caused by viruses. There are many types and they vary from year to year.
The symptoms of common cold are the body’s way of responding to a viral infection of the upper respiratory tract. Through sneezing, nasal discharge, coughing and fever, the body expels and “burns out” the infecting viruses. Thus, these symptoms reveal the body’s efforts to re-establish health, and they should not be suppressed unless truly necessary. Homeopathic treatment can be used to improve the resistance to infection. Well selected remedies will speed up the healing process and reduce the development of catarrh, sinusitis and bronchitis.
Conventional medicines, such as nasal sprays, cough suppressants and fever suppressants may offer temporary relief from the symptoms of a cold, but they do so by hindering the body’s own defences. Nasal sprays and cold capsules slow down mucous production and therefore inhibit healing since mucous serves to cleanse the tissues of the virus and to protect them from further infection. Cough medicines block the body’s cough reflex, which can be problematic because coughing helps to clear breathing passages. Fever also is an important defence the body has against infection, and aspirin or paracetamol interferes with this protective response. Instead of relying on these suppressive medications, why not use homeopathy to help the body’s efforts to heal.
Sleep: Sleeping is incredibly important for the body to rebuild, restore, and keep the immune system healthy. Sleep at least 7-8 hours every night.
Eat light: Don’t overload your digestive system with heavy foods that not only give you stomach issues, but take a very long time to digest. Overeating is the culprit for many of us feeling lethargic and worn out an hour or two after meals, be sure you’re not burdening your digestive system with eating too much, too fast, with too many combinations. A healthy digestive system and gut is a healthy immune system! Make sure that you eat plenty of green vegetables – they are a good source of antioxidants, including vitamins C and E, beta-carotene. And don’t forget: garlic, onions, honey, coconut oil and oregano/oregano oil -they all contain beneficial properties like anti-microbials, anti-fungals, and anti-bacterial.
Spices: Foods that are nutrient dense and may help fight inflammation and bacteria include: honey, raw garlic, coconut oil, blueberries, turmeric, cinnamon, ginger, mustard, green tea, cranberries, and chilli peppers/cayenne.
Drink water: Drinking water can often go overlooked when the seasons become cooler as we are sweating less naturally, we are not as hot, and we are not eating as many seasonally fresh juicy fruit (with high water content), yet our bodies require it just as much.
Exercise: Get moving daily, even if it’s for a walk around your neighbourhood or a good sweat session at the gym. Keeping your body moving will keep your immune system healthy amongst other things! Not to mention sweating through our skin, which is one of our largest detoxification organs, is beneficial.
Homeopathy for the Common Cold – Early Stages
Acon: Very first signs of a cold. Sudden chill. Shivering. Sudden onset of symptoms. Frequent sneezing. Nasal mucous membranes are dry. Watery eyes, especially after exposure to dry, cold wind.
Allium cepa: Profusely running (watery and acrid – as when peeling onions) nose, causing very sore, raw nostrils and upper lip. Burning, smarting and watery eyes.
Dulcamara: Stiff neck and pain in the throat, back and limbs. Eyes and nose streaming. Sneezing. Brought on by being chilled when hot, or drenched in cold, wet weather.
Euphrasia: Eyes red and sore from burning discharge. Profuse sneezing. Profuse watery nasal discharge.
Natrum muriaticum: Cold starts with sneezing. Watery discharge from eyes and nose. Nasal discharge is thin and watery. Suitable for the introverted person.
Nux vomica: Sudden intense chill with shivering. Unable to get warm. Patient is irritable. Nose is dry and stuffed up.
Homeopathy for the Common Cold – Later Stages
As a rule we tend to follow our own patterns in the way that a cold develops. Occasionally a particular type of infection will impose its own pattern on the patient. From the homeopathic point of view this does not matter – you choose the homeopathic remedy by matching the main symptoms of the patient and the remedy. Often there is a tendency of the watery discharge of the early cold to become secondarily infected. Thick, yellow or green catarrh develops at this point, and can be difficult to dislodge. The infection may spread to the chest, throat or ears.
Gelsemium: ‘Flu-like’ cold. Heavy head, tired heavy eyes. Backache with shivers up and down. Arms and legs ache. Sore nose. Wants to lie down and sleep.
Hydrastis: Stringy, yellow, nasal discharge, sticky and difficult to shift. Post-nasal drip.
Kali bichromicum: Thick, sticky, yellow or green nasal discharge. May be bloodstained, difficult to blow out. Thick, sticky crusts in nose.
Kali iodatum: Pain over the eyes. Stinging, watery nasal discharge. Violent sneezing. Smarting, watering eyes.
Mercury solublis: Thick, yellow, burning nasal discharge. Nostrils may be raw and ulcerated. Profuse sweating or chilled and shivering even in a hot room. Offensive breath.
Pulsatilla: Thick, greenish-yellow catarrh. Stuffy nose at night and indoors. Generally better in fresh air.
Influenza is the name given to a very large number of viral infections. It can occur all year round, but it’s particularly common in the cold winter months. It is often found that one or two specific homeopathic remedies for the majority of cases in any particular outbreak. The symptoms vary with each type of viral infection. Usually they divide into those that affect the nose, throat and chest and those that affect the stomach and the bowels. Both groups have general complaints of headaches, muscular aches & pains and fevers. Some viruses can cause bleeding, such as nose bleeds, altered periods, or bruising of the skin.
Homeopathy for the Flu – First Signs and Early Stages
Acon: At the first signs of fever. Red, dry skin. Very thirsty for cold drinks. Anxious & agitated. Sudden chill, shivering. Violent and sudden onset of symptoms.
Arsenicum album: Streaming eyes and nose. Chilliness and very great prostration. Restless & anxious.
Baptisia: Very rapid prostration. High fever. Gastric symptoms. Stupor. Looks drugged, with dull red face. Patient complains of feeling “all in bits”.
Belladonna: Sudden, very high fever. Very red face. Throbbing headache, may be delirious. The eyes are glassy and the pupils are dilated. Hates noise and bright light. May sweat, but usually hot and dry skin.
Ferrum phosphoricum: Gradual onset of mild fever. Sweaty skin, pallor and flushing face. May have nosebleeds, earache and painful tracheitis and cough, often going down into chest.
Nux vomica: Sudden intense chill with shivering. Unable to get warm. Patient irritable. Nose dry and stuffed up.
Homeopathy for the Flu – Later Stages
Bryonia: Sweating. Lies very still as every movement intensifies headache, aches & pains. Very dry mouth and throat. Very thirsty for large drinks of cold water.
Eupatorium perfoliatum: Back is sore, stiff and aching. Pain in the eyeballs. Muscles and bone pain. Thirsty for cold drinks.
Gelsemium: Red face and throbbing headache. Tired and drowsy. Shivers up and down the spine. Aches in back, joints and limbs. Not thirsty. Wants to lie down and sleep.
Rhus toxicodendron: Aches, pains, and stiffness, helped by movement. Sweating in bed, shivering if uncovered. Cold areas of body in spite of fever. Very thirsty for cold drinks. Cold sores in and around mouth (herpes simplex).
Please note: This article is for educational purposes only and not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider. First aid situations may require medical or hospital care. Do not use this article as a means to diagnose a health condition. Speak to your doctor if you think that your condition may be serious, before discontinuing any medication that has been prescribed for you, or before starting any new treatment.