Staying well during the cold season with Homeopathy

‘Tis the season for coughs and colds again – or isn’t it?!

This is the season where we want to look after ourselves and our loved ones more than ever. The shorter days are a good reason to huddle up warmly at home and enjoy a good cup of herbal tea and some well-earned rest whilst rain and storm are raging outside. We are somewhat lucky now, because nobody wants us to carry that cough of ours on public transport or to the workplace! As a result, it has become much more acceptable nowadays for us to stay (and work) at home until we are better. This is for the benefit of everybody else, of course, but isn’t it also better for us? The way I look at it is, that more people will give their body some much needed time to rest. Hence, they will recover more quickly or potentially not even fall ill in the first place. We are hopefully learning to be kinder to ourselves in the process. As a result, our society might just become a little more resilient and healthier in the long run. Too optimistic? Well, it is not impossible, is it?

There is a sense that people are looking more inwards these days, wanting to pull on their own strengths to promote their family’s wellbeing. What a good idea! There is a myriad of resources on our bookshelves and online on how to do that with nutrition, herbs, etc. I know best about homeopathy, so I want to give you an overview of some remedies that might help you or your little ones to nip that cold in the bud or to get through an illness more quickly by avoiding the dreaded complications. Prevention is best, of course, but life is busy in the capital and elsewhere and sometimes we don’t see any other way than pushing through and that can get us into trouble:

Which homeopathic remedies for acute coughs and colds are most suitable for you?

Homeopathic remedies for early stages of a cold:

  1. Aconite: very fearful and restless, symptoms come on suddenly in the middle of the night, with chilliness followed by a high fever, esp. after having been out in the cold wind or after a shock, dry hard barking cough, earache, thirsty for cold drinks, worse in a warm room
  2. Belladonna: can seem confused or delirious from a high fever, from getting a cold or wet head or from overheating, earache, burning or throbbing pains, sweating, red hot face with dryness, eyes are wide and staring, red strawberry tongue, sore throat, dry hacking cough from tickling in throat, worse 3pm to midnight, cold hands and feet, no or little thirst or craving lemonade, better in a warm room
  3. Ferrum Phos: affectionate but bossy, early stages of inflammation with slow onset, flopped out, sweaty and thirsty, flushed face alternating with paleness without fever, worse at night and 4 to 6am, worse for cold drinks
  4. Rhus tox: gradual onset without a high temperature, sneezing and coughing coming on from cold wet weather, redness of throat with painful swallowing, chilly, red tip of tongue, stiff and achy, restless sleep, sweating, herpetic eruptions, better for a warm bath and stretching, great thirst for cold water or cold milk, worse from evening to midnight and from uncovering

Homeopathic remedies for all stages of coughs and colds:

  • Bryonia: irritable and just wants to be left alone, slow onset of a dry cough from irritation in throat, headache with the fever, worse from moving around and in a warm room, infrequent thirst for large amounts of water, holds chest or head when coughing, feel worst at 3am and 9pm
  • Ars-alb: want company because of their fearfulness, watery burning discharge from the nose, sneezing, very chilly, thirsty for little sips of warm drinks, burning pains, diarrhoea and vomiting, weakness with restlessness
  • Gelsemium: falls ill from nervous anticipation, e.g. before exams, or after bad news, weakness develops slowly, heavy droopy eyelids, sneezing, sore throat, splitting headaches which are better for urination, diarrhoea, chills running up and down the spine, fever without sweat or thirst, worse for damp mild weather
  • Lachesis: talkative and jealous, left sided pain, throat pain, stringy nasal discharge, painful sinuses, worse after sleep, worse from overheating, better for open air and cold drinks
  • Chamomilla: restless and angry, redness on one cheek (teething?), sharp ear pain worse for warmth, children want to be carried around constantly, demand things and then throw them away, green diarrhoea, hot and thirsty, worse 9pm to midnight
  • Phosphorus: fears being alone especially after dark, lingering dry tickling coughs, hoarseness, chilly, feel better for eating and cold drinks, burning diarrhoea, prone to nosebleeds, sweaty, fidgety, worse for going from warm into cold air, worse for change of weather & thunderstorms, better after a short nap
  • Drosera: violent cramping cough with retching, hoarse voice, coughs are worse on lying down in bed and at night, better for walking outside in fresh air

Further homeopathic remedies for well-established coughs and colds:

  1. Pulsatilla: clingy and weepy, green-yellow bland discharges, no sneezing, ear feels stuffed and is red and swollen, dry mouth but no thirst, changeable symptoms, wants fresh air, better for cold food and drink, worse morning and evening and in warm rooms
  2. Hepar sulph: very irritable, stitching pain in throat or ear, hoarse cough, loose and choking phlegm, worse for drinking cold water, dislikes drafts and cold air, better for wrapping up, often follows Aconite
  3. Merc-sol/-viv: hurried and restless, every small change upsets them, mostly right-sided earache extends to face and teeth, painful swollen tonsils, pressing headache, stiff and achy, worse at night from heat of bed, sweaty, lots of saliva, thick and smelly nasal discharges, indented tongue (showing teeth marks), extreme thirst, no appetite
  4. Ant-tart: rattling in chest with nothing coughed up, with the mucus stuck in the throat, breathless, better when sitting up, white coated tongue, lots of sweating, exhaustion

Any of the above…???

A word on how to use the above indications: a person doesn’t need to have all the symptoms stated above for the remedy to work, but the general “picture” needs to fit. More often than not, one cold just looks like another, i.e. any of the above sounds like a plausible option. Hence, it is not as easy as you thought it would be, there is a sense of urgency, you are probably sleep deprived from caring for a sick family member and not thinking straight. So, what to do now? If you can, focus on the emotional pointers: what happened just before they fell ill and/or how has their behaviour changed along with the symptoms? That will mostly likely lead you to the best choice of remedy at this stage. And if you can’t get that, well, then find the best match based on the 3 most striking symptoms and take it from there (remember the “3-legged-stool” analogy). There isn’t always just one remedy needed in an acute illness, some people may need a sequence of two or three remedies. Adapt the remedy, once the symptoms change and you are clear about what they need next.


Last word:

This post is intended for informational purposes only. Remember that there is no right way to deal with symptoms. Everyone is different and good health doesn’t mean the same for everyone. Especially if well indicated remedies don’t have the desired efffect, do ask yourself: Is this really an acute illness I can deal with myself or are these symptoms part of an on-going repeated pattern (e.g. recurring ear infections)? For chronic illness you should consult a professional homeopath who has completed an accredited course. Please consult with your health practitioner before making decisions that affect your health, especially if you suffer from any medical condition or have symptoms that may require medical treatment.

Homeopathy resources and remedy kits:
Misha Norland’s “Get Well Soon: A Guide to Homeopathic First Aid”, In-Light, UK, 2010  

Miranda Castro’s “The Complete Homeopathy Handbook”, St. Martin’s Press, New York, USA, 1990  

Remedy Kits:

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