Colds and Flu

It’s that time of year, once again. The days begin to get shorter.  We start spending less time with sunshine and fresh air. The kids head back to school and bring home an array of different colds and respiratory ailments.  Pharmacies, physicians, and hospitals, push us to get the flu shot, despite it’s lack of effectiveness most years and it’s potential for serious side-effects.

A strong immune system is the best defense we have.  There are ways to naturally boost that system and stay healthy.  At the very least, shorten the length of time an illness hangs around if we do fall sick.

Being a homeopath, I reach for the remedies, but I also incorporate other immune strengtheners.

Lifestyle:  Eat healthy, get plenty of sleep, exercise and find a way that works for you to reduce stress.  Drink plenty of water.  Include a good multivitamin/mineral supplement in your daily routine.

Vitamin D:  It’s been studied that most Americans are deficient in Vitamin D.  It’s also been proven that Vitamin D can both help ward off sicknesses like the flu and help you recover from the flu.

Vitamin C:  Start taking it now!  Double up the dose if you get the flu.

Essential Oils:  I generally pull out our essential oils once a cold sets in (aside from diffusing them nearly all year long).  At home we use Thieves from Young Living for colds and illness more than any other oil.  I will us it in the diffuser to kill germs in the air.  For application, we will rub a couple of drops on the bottom of our feet and cover with socks.  If you do this, you need to be sure to let your feet get nice and warm (enough to sweat out the toxins that the oils will help draw out).  It can substantially assist in shortening the length of a cold.  For respiratory illness we will diffuse Rosemary or RC.

Homeopathy:  During the 1918 flu (of which is claimed H1N1 was derived) there were Homeopathic hospitals in the US as well as conventional hospitals.  Homeopathic hospitals saw only a 1% mortality rate for the treatment of the flu.  The conventional hospitals, 30%.   I’ve seen what Homeopathy can do when it comes to the flu (and colds).  It works.

Homeopathy For Prevention

Oscillococcinum: Can be taken for the prevention of the flu or at the very first sign of getting sick.

Influenzinum: Most Homeopathic pharmacies and some local health food stores carry this remedy. It is the best remedy I’ve found to prevent the flu.  Washington Homeopathics is where I order ours.

Aconite: This is one of our favorite remedies. It should be taken at the first sign of a flu. It works when the onset is very sudden and should be taken within the first few hours of feeling sick, even if no clear symptoms are present.

Ferrum Phos: This remedy can be thought of as a back up for Aconite. If you miss taking Aconite within the first few hours of feeling ill, go to Ferrum Phos.

When you know you have the flu (or a cold)

Arsenicum: There may be a fever with great chilliness. Profuse and acrid discharge may present from the nose and/or eyes. There may be some thirst but for small, frequent sips. A person who needs this remedy will be worse from getting cold and will feel better with warmth (unless there is a headache present). There may also be irritability and anxiousness.

Baptisia: Someone who needs this remedy will have a sudden onset of symptoms. There is generally a high fever with profuse sweating. The body may feel sore and bruised either all over or in small spots around the body. A person who requires this remedy may look dull and flushed and there is usually a great thirst. Vomiting and diarrhea may be present but not always.

Bryonia: This flu will present itself with a slow onset of symptoms. A person who fits this remedy will be very hot and very dry, which may cause a great thirst for cold water in large quantities but at infrequent intervals. The body will ache all over. There may be a painful cough that causes a headache. Someone who needs this remedy will not want to move and the headache or body aches will feel better with pressure. In general this remedy will present for someone who wants to be left alone and wants to lay completely still.

Eupatorium Perfoliatum: The fever for this remedy will present with the person shivering, who may have chills running up their back. The body will ache so badly that the person feels as if their bones are broken. There may be a bursting headache, so bad that even the eyeballs feel sore. There is a thirst for cold drinks and a desire to lay as still as possible.

Gelsemium: This is the number one flu remedy. The onset of this flu is slow. Fever will present with heat that alternates with chills. There is usually no sweating with this fever and chills may run up and down the spine. Body will ache all over. Muscles may feel very heavy and weak, even the eye lids will feel heavy. There is generally no thirst. The three key words for this remedy are “droopy”, “drowsy” and “dull”.

Mercurius Solubilis: The fever for this remedy will present with a ‘creeping chilliness’. There may be acrid, smelly, yellow/green mucus discharge from the nose. There may be an intense thirst and a constant hunger. A person who needs this remedy will feel worse from temperature changes and feels better with a constant temperature and lots of rest.

Nux Vomica: Someone who requires this remedy will have a fever with chilliness and may get the shivers after drinking. The limbs and back will ache. There may be a stuffy, stopped up nose that is worse at night. There is a thirst for hot drinks, such as tea. A person needing this remedy will feel better with cold and worse with warmth. This remedy is also indicated when there is a great irritability.

Pyrogen: This fever will present with creeping chills and a ‘thumping heart’. It may also present with a rapid heart rate if the fever is low. There will be severe pain in the limbs and back. The pain may feel as if the person has been beaten and bruised. There is usually a headache present and no thirst. Someone who requires this remedy will be very restless, both with the aching body and the chills.

Rhus Tox: The fever for this remedy will present with chilliness. The pain will be centered more around the joints and bones. There may be a red discoloration at the tip of the tongue and there is a general thirst. The person who needs this remedy will feel better with gentle motion and warmth and may be very restless.

After a cold or flu

China: This remedy is for those who have a difficult time recovering from the flu. There is a great physical weakness and may be a lot of sweating.

Kali Phos: Depression (mild) after the flu.

Gelsemium: This remedy is indicated if the weakness and heaviness will not go away after the flu.

Influenzinum: This remedy is for someone who has never felt well since having the flu. There is a feeling that the person has never recovered.

If you do decide to get a flu shot this year, and you have a reaction, there are remedies that will aid in the recovery.  The main remedy being Thuja. If it is life threatening, go to the closest emergency room.

If you choose Homeopathy, always consult a Certified Classical Homeopath if you are uncertain which remedy is best for you.

Be well and stay healthy!


B and W Leaf

Spring Allergies

Spring allergy season is upon us but we do not need to let the sneezing, itchy eyes or runny nose get us down.  Homeopathy is an effective way to care for your allergies without the side effects of over the counter or prescription allergy medications.  Listed below are some of the most effective remedies for this allergy season.

Allium Cepa: This remedy is made from the red onion.  If you think about how your body reacts when you chop an onion you will see what symptoms this remedy can calm.  It is wonderful for allergies that produce extremely watery eyes and a runny nose.  The discharge from your nose may burn and cause redness on your upper lip.  Nose may seem to “run like a faucet” as the discharge is so watery and profuse.  It is especially effective for those who are allergic to flowers and pollen.  Symptoms may feel worse in a warm room and later in the day.  Relief may come from being in the open air.

Arsenicum Album: This remedy is used when the right side of the nose is stuffed up or running.  discharge from nose is watery and may burn your upper lip, causing redness.  Nose may be running but at the same time completely stuffed up.

Euphrasia: This remedy cares for eyes that burn and water profusely.  Eyes are very irritated and may be sensitive to light.  Watery discharge from nose may also be present.

Kali Bi: This remedy is wonderful for allergies where the root of the nose is sore.  Discharge is very thick, stringy and yellow.  Post nasal drip may be present.  You may feel the need to clear your throat often because of thick mucus of the post nasal drip. Sinus infections that result from allergies of this kind can also be helped by this remedy.

Nat Mur: This remedy is good for allergies when the discharge from the nose looks like the white of an egg.  Allergies may come on with much sneezing.  Watery eyes may also be present.  Those who need this remedy generally feel worse in the open air or out in the wind.

Nux Vomica: This remedy includes pronounced sneezing.  Allergies are worse in the morning when first getting out of bed.  Nose is stuffed up all night long and runs during the day.

Pulsatilla: This remedy is good for allergies that produce a yellowish-green discharge from the nose.  Sneezing is usually present.  Allergies feel worse when in a warm, stuffy room and in the evening.  Nose may run and be completely stuffed up at the same time.  Itchy eyes may also be present.

Sabadilla: This remedy is called for when sneezing is the predominant symptom.  If you sneeze 5 – 10 times in a row before relief then this is the remedy to take.  Tickling inside the nose is usually present along with very thin nasal discharge.

Enjoy the Spring!

Sore Throat

Winter is coming to an end, or so we hope, but colds and sore throats still linger.  Here are a few remedies to consider when that sore throat comes around.

Argentum Nitricum: This remedy is for splinter-like pain in the throat.  There may be hoarseness and/or loss of voice.

Baptisia: This sore throat will present with a dusky red inflammation that is remarkably pain-free.  It may be accompanied by stupor and/or mental confusion.

Baryta Carb: This is the remedy to think of when there is chronic inflammation of the tonsils.  There may be huge swelling that occludes the throat.  The cervical glands may be hard and swollen.  There will be difficulty in swallowing liquids and saliva.

Baryta Muriatica: As with Baryta Carb, this remedy is indicated when there is enlarged tonsils and cervical glands.  With this remedy however, the cervical glands may not be as hard and the swelling will be worse on the right side.  The pain will also be worse on the right side.  In addition there could be a lump sensation in the throat that prevents swallowing.  Throat pain is generally better by drinking cold drinks.

Belladonna: This remedy is used when there is acute suppurative tonsillitis that is worse on the right side.  The pain is worse from breathing.  There is generally no thirst.

Bromium: This remedy is indicated when there is left-sided tonsillitis with large stony-hard glands.

Cistus: Sore throats needing this remedy will include a burning pain in the throat that is worse during inhalation.  The throat will feel extremely dry and will there will be some temporary relief from drinking liquids and/or swallowing.

Hepar Sulph: This sore throat will present with stitching or splinter-like pain.  Tonsils may be swollen.  The sore throat itself may be the only symptom.

Lachesis: This remedy is indicated when there is left-sided throat pain or tonsillitis.  The pain is worse from swallowing liquids, especially warm drinks.  Sometimes cold drinks may give temporary relief.  The pain is better when swallowing solid food.  Upon swallowing the throat pain radiates to the ears.  There may also be present a choking sensation on swallowing.  The inside of the throat may have a deep red/purple color.

Mercurius: This sore throat will present itself with intense burning pain with a constant desire to swallow.  Swallowing, however, makes the pain worse.  The throat pain may even feel worse when the neck is touched externally.  The inside of the throat may exhibit typical strep throat color with redness and white spots around the tonsils.

Phytolacca: This remedy is indicated when there is marked pain and the throat is dark red in color.  The pain is usually worse on the right side and from warm drinks.  Cold drinks may help the pain temporarily.  This sore throat is also generally accompanied by a stiff neck.

Ear Infections

Ear infections have become something of an epidemic among young people these days.  Rarely do you hear of a child who hasn’t had one at some point or another.  Many deal with it on a recurring basis, which tends to lead to multiple rounds of antibiotics, tubes and antibiotic-resistant infections.  We have been relatively lucky in our household in that our kids have only had one or two ear infections during childhood.  Never have they had to take antibiotics.  If caught soon enough (within the first 24 hours) most ear infections can be cleared naturally.  Listed below are the Homeopathic remedies most used for ear infections along with a few other natural remedies.

Belladonna: This remedy is for an infection that comes on quickly with a fever.  The pain is usually worse at night and centers in the right ear.  The heat from the fever radiates from the forehead.  Hands and feet, despite the fever, may be cold.  There is usually irritability, restlessness and lethargy along with little or no thirst.

Aconite: This remedy is indicated when the infection comes on after being out in a cold wind.  The infection comes on quickly and may include a fever with intense sweating.  The pain is worse around midnight and the child may show signs of fear and anxiety.  The child will be thirsty.

Chamomilla: An ear infection needing this remedy will include intense pain.  The child may scream in pain.  There will be restlessness and irritability in that the child doesn’t know what he/she wants.  He/she may ask for a drink of water then will refuse it or at one point want to be carried but then decides he/she wants to be left alone.  One cheek may be red while the other is pale.  A normally content child may become angry due to the pain.   The pain is usually worse in the right ear.

Merc Sol: This remedy is indicated when there is a discharge coming from the ear.  There is usually a distinct alteration between fever and chills.  During times of fever there will be extreme sweating, which may be offensive in smell and is usually worse at night.  There is generally a great thirst.  This remedy is also good for chronic ear infections.

Pulsatilla: An ear infection indicating this remedy generally occurs in the left ear.  There may be yellow-green mucus running from the nose.  Children requiring this remedy usually become very clingy and whiny.  They want to be carried and cuddled.  There will be little appetite or thirst.

Hydrogen Peroxide: Food grade hydrogen peroxide is recommended.  Put a few drops into the ear.  Lay still for at least 10 minutes or until the “crackling” stops.  This will kill any bacteria and/or viruses that are inside the ear.

Garlic Oil: Most health food stores sell a garlic oil specially made for ear infections.  Follow the directions on the bottle.

Silver: Silver is an ant-bacterial and an anti-viral.  Take a few drops orally 3 – 6 times per day.

If the ear infection lasts for more than 48 hours with no improvement call your physician.  In most cases, if the infection is caught soon enough, the infection will clear within this time-frame.

A Case of the Blues

Many of us have had days where it feels as if a dark cloud is following us around and if you live in Northern Michigan this may be as much literal as figurative.  We have many more cloudy days than sunny this time of year.  That alone can be enough to occasionally drag us down.  Homeopathy is a safe and effective way to deal with bouts of acute depression.  It can safely help to lift us out of those occasional funks.  Following are a few remedies to consider.  If you suffer from chronic depression and/or have thoughts of suicide it is important for you to consult your physician and/or a professional Homeopath.

Aurum Met: This remedy is for those who suffer from depression after a business failure or personal loss.  There may be feelings of guilt, betrayal and/or worthlessness.  Everything seems sad and dark, as if a black cloud covers everything.

Causticum: This remedy is used for those who feel depressed after the loss of a friend or family member.  There is a feeling of overall negativity and gloominess.  The glass is half empty.  Also present may be a feeling of anxious foreboding and/or a tendency to cry easily over small things.

Gelsemium: This remedy is indicated for someone who is paralyzed with grief/depression.  There is a dull, drowsy and sluggish feeling both mentally and physically.  Someone who could benefit from this remedy may find it difficult to cry or may be “all cried out” and exhausted.  This is also a remedy for someone who becomes acutely depressed after being sick, especially with the flu.

Ignatia: This remedy is for acute depression that can come on due to a shocking or sudden loss of a friend or family member.  A person who could benefit from this remedy will attempt to hide the depression from others by taking deep breaths, sighing often and/or “swallowing” their grief.  There may be a lump sensation in the throat.

Kali Phos: This acute depression presents with nervous exhaustion.  The exhaustion may be present due to over-excitement, mental strain or after an acute illness such as the flu.  The lack of concentration is so great that work becomes impossible.  Confidence may dwindle because of this.

Lachesis: This remedy is indicated when the acute depression comes on due to suppressed emotions, especially suppressed jealousy, or during an emotional and physically stressful transition period.  Those needing lachesis almost always feel better when they fully express their feelings.  The sadness may be worse first thing in the morning and improve during the day.

Nat. Mur: This “silent depression” may come on after a loss, disappointment or betrayal.  Those who could be helped by this remedy hide their sadness, depression, resentment and/or bitterness from others.  Crying may be prevalent but those who benefit from this remedy do not want any consolation and will get irritated with anyone who tries to comfort them.

Nat Sulph: This acute depression comes on after a head injury.  A feeling of melancholy may be present and the person just wants to be left alone.  (As with all serious conditions, always consult a physician or go to the emergency room for all serious head injuries)

Pulsatilla: This remedy is indicated when there is a great feeling of loneliness.  Those that may be helped by this remedy will cry easily, especially when talking to someone about what is upsetting them.  A good cry is something that improves the sadness, as does consolation and sympathy from others.  This remedy is also wonderful for those who feel sadness and depression before the onset of menses.

Sepia: This remedy presents with a “worn out” feeling.  There is sadness with great irritability.  Crying helps to lift the sadness as long as crying is done while alone.  There is also a great indifference to everything.  Things that formerly provided pleasure are now looked at indifferently, including partners, children, work and hobbies.  This is for someone who stops caring about everything that once made them happy.

Zinc: This remedy is indicated when the acute depression is accompanied by nervous exhaustion, usually from mental strain and/or a long stressful period.  There is a loss of concentration and a desire not to talk to anyone.  The lack of concentration may be so great that the person may forget what they were going to say in the middle of a sentence.

In addition to the above remedies it’s good to remember that acute cases of the blues will pass.  Be easy on yourself and allow yourself go through it.  Tomorrow is a new day and we hope, especially here in Northern Michigan, that it will be a brighter & sunnier day than today.

If your depression does not lift in a few days, you have chronic depression, or have suicidal thoughts it is important to consult your physician and/or a professional Homeopath.  The above remedies are suggested for acute bouts of depression only and do not substitute for a diagnosis.  If you require a diagnosis visit your physician.