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!

Heidi

B and W Leaf

Whooping Cough Support

Here in Michigan, we have recently been experiencing a rise in cases of Pertussis or Whooping Cough, with a current total of 37 confirmed cases, mostly in school-aged children. When it comes to the spread of an illness such as whooping-cough, tensions can run high for parents. Many times, it turns into the blame game between vaccinated and unvaccinated families. (The cases here are close to 50/50 between vaccinated and unvaccinated (or not up to date on the vaccine), although that number fluctuates as new cases come forth. Many states have seen outbreaks where a majority of the children were vaccinated.) In my research of whooping-cough, it’s evident that most of the fear surrounding this illness comes from the fact that modern medicine is limited in its means to treat it and therefore relies almost solely on a vaccine and antibiotics. When those fail, fear ensues.

While whooping-cough can be alarming in babies, it doesn’t have to be a scary event when you know how to care for yourself and your family. Whether you are vaccinated or not vaccinated against this ailment, there are effective ways to lessen whooping-cough symptoms and to shorten the length of the illness should you or your family come down with it.

Below is a list of the most effective Homeopathic remedies and other valuable therapies to use should a case of whooping-cough affect you or someone you know. When choosing a Homeopathic remedy, choose the one that most closely matches as many of the symptoms as possible. If you are uncertain which remedy to use, contact a Certified Homeopathic Practitioner.

Drocera: This is the first remedy to consider in cases of whooping-cough. The coughing fits can be lengthy and severe, making it difficult to catch ones breath. The cough is generally worse after midnight and worse upon lying down. The cough may cause vomiting and can be painful. There may be a tickling or dryness in the throat, which can cause fits of coughing. The cough is generally not productive and the coughing fits can get worse in trying to reach the phlegm. This cough may cause nose bleeds.

Antimonium Tartaricum: This remedy is indicated when breathing and coughing is accompanied by loud rattling in the chest due to the mucus. While coughing it will sound as if there is an overwhelming amount of mucus but none will be produced from the cough. In addition, if this remedy is indicated, there will mostly likely be a great weakness and sleepiness present. It may seem as if the person needing this remedy is too weak to cough up the mucus.

Bryonia: This cough will be dry, hard and very painful. There may be a feeling that you must hold your chest in order to cough hard enough to get the phlegm to move up. The cough becomes worse during any movement and can be worse from eating and upon entering a warm room. The person who needs this remedy may continually want to be left alone and to lie perfectly still.

Causticum: This cough will get deeper and deeper as it persists to try to reach the mucus. The cough will be worse from cold drinks but will be better with bending over/forward. The cough may be hard and racking, with a raw feeling in the chest.

Coccus Cacti: This remedy is indicated when the cough produces a thick, clear, ropy mucus. Many times, because of this mucus, the cough with end in vomiting. The mucus may come out of the nose, as well as the chest. Drinking a cold glass of water or breathing in cold air may temporarily relieve the cough and the tickling that may be present in the throat. This cough is generally worse in a warm room.

Cuprum Metallicum: The cough that would indicate this remedy is very similar to the cough of Drocera except in this remedy you will see cramping of muscles, clenched fists and/or convulsions associated with the cough. There may be sudden coughing attacks that lead to near-suffocation. There may be blueness in the face, fingers or toes. The cough is generally worse in the middle of the night (around 3am) and if emotions run high (such as the child getting upset).

Ipecacuanha: This remedy is used mainly for children in situations of cough and is indicated when there is persistent nausea present that is not relieved by vomiting that follows the cough. This remedy should also be considered if the child becomes very stiff and rigid with the cough. The cough may rattle and can be worse when entering a warm room.

Spongia: The cough that will benefit from this remedy will be dry, tickling, constricting and painful (both in the chest and in the throat). The cough may be worse from talking and swallowing and can be characterized as a cough that sounds like a seal barking. It is generally worse before midnight and with cold drinks and may be temporarily alleviated by eating.

In addition to Homeopathy, there are other things you can do to lessen the symptoms and shorten the length of the illness.

Vitamin C: One of the most important things you can do is up your daily intake of vitamin C. Dosage depends on size/age. If you are unsure, contact your medical provider. Always consult your provider before administering vitamins to infants or young children.

Thyme Essential Oil: Put a few drops into a warm bath, diffuser or humidifier. The Thyme can help kill bacteria and the warm steam, in combination, can help loosen mucus and give relief from the cough. Other effective oils include: Eucalyptus, Rosemary, R.C., Marjoram and Pine.

Chest or Back Massage: You can mix a couple of drops of one of the oils listed above to a little olive oil for a chest or back massage.

Herbal and/or Ginger Tea: Unless your cough is one that is worse when you drink something warm, a nice warm glass of tea can be a relief. Choose your favorite and add fresh ginger for an immune boost and for help to excrete toxins (ginger can help you to “sweat it out”). Sweeten with honey if desired. Mullein is also a nice addition to your herbal tea. It is a natural expectorant and in many times, can be found right in your back yard.

Thieves Oil: This is an oil blend available at Young Living and it’s one of our favorites. When sick (with any cold, virus or bacterial infection) rub Thieves oils directly on the bottoms of both feet about an hour before bed. Put on a pair of very warm socks (double up if necessary, you want your feet to sweat while you sleep). Your body will absorb the oils and then when your feet begin to sweat during the night you will excrete some of the toxins that have built up during the illness. This has always worked wonders for our family in lessening the symptoms and shortening the length of almost every illness.

Light, Easy Meals: Soups and broths are the best. If your cough is worse from drinking or eating warm foods/liquids try a variety of juices. It is important to stay away from dairy as it can increase the amount of mucus.

Rest, Rest, Rest: While sleep will be interrupted with coughing, it is important to rest as much as possible when you can. Prop yourself or your child up with a few pillows if lying down aggravates the cough.

While whooping-cough can put anyone in an undesirable situation, there are things you can do to help you and your family during this bout of illness.

Mullein

Mullein

**We do not diagnose or treat disease. The information provided herein is for educational purposes only.  If you require a diagnosis or if your situation is emergent and life-threatening, please consult a licensed medical doctor.

Head Lice

There are over 6 million lice infestations each year in the United States.  This year in Northern Michigan it’s nearly an epidemic.  The schools around the area have been battling it since the school year started and, unfortunately, that means many families are too.

Luckily there are some steps you can take to protect yourself and your family naturally and without harmful pesticides.

Prevention:  If you hear that lice has been detected in your child’s school or if you work in a close environment, such as a nursing home, there are natural ways to protect yourself against an infestation.

  • Tea Tree Oil:  Fill a small spray bottle with distilled water.  Add 10 – 30 drops (depending on the size of the bottle) of Tea Tree oil to the bottle.  Every morning before you send your child to school or head to work spray hair with the water/oil mix.  Also spray behind the ears and along the neckline as lice are attracted to those areas of the head because of the warmth.  Shake the bottle well before each use.  (I use a 4 oz amber glass sprayer filled with the distilled water and 10 drops of oil)
  • Other Oils:  Keep other oils on hand if needed. While Tea Tree is the most effective against deterring and killing lice there are other oils that work too.   I have one daughter that cannot stand the smell the Tea Tree oil.  For her I will occasionally give her a reprieve and use one of the following instead:  Lavender, Rosemary, Geranium or Peppermint.
  • Shampoo/Conditioner:  Use a shampoo that contains one or more of the essential oils listed above.  For example, Avalon Organics makes a wonderful peppermint shampoo and conditioner.  This is what we use in our house.  You can also buy a fragrance-free shampoo and add 10 – 20 drops of essential oil to the bottle and shake well.
  • Get the comb.  A must have is a special lice comb.  Be sure to get one with metal teeth, not plastic.  Not only will the metal hold up better but it also does a better job of combing out the lice, nymphs and nits should any appear.

Treatment:  If you end up finding lice on yourself or on your child, first and foremost, don’t panic.  It happens and it can be dealt with.  There are many over-the-counter products that can be used but many contain pesticides that can be dangerous for you and your family.  You don’t need pesticides to treat a lice infestation.  It can be treated just as well naturally.  In addition, we are now seeing lice that are becoming pesticide-resistant because of the overuse of some of these products. 

  1. Olive Oil and Tea Tree:  Mix together 1/4 cup olive oil and 15 – 20 drops Tea Tree oil.  Starting with a dry head of hair and one small section of hair at a time, beginning at the root, start applying the olive oil.  Use a lice comb to brush through the hair.  Make sure the olive oil mixture covers all the hair, from root to tip.  Keep working in sections until the whole head and all hair is covered.  Look for lice, nymphs and nits as you go.  Be sure and wipe them free of the comb as you find them.  Tie hair up (if long) and put on a shower cap or wrap head in plastic wrap.  Let the oil sit for at least two hours or overnight.   After at least two hours, shampoo and condition using a shampoo like what is listed above.  Comb through hair again with the lice comb.
  2. Laundry:  Wash all bed linens, clothes, hats, scarves, coats and towels in hot water that have been used or worn by the infested person.  Run through a high-heat dry cycle in the dryer.
  3. Vacuum:  Vacuum all the carpets, couches, pillows, car seats and anything else that cannot be washed.  It is not necessary to use an insecticidal spray.  Vacuuming is sufficient.  If you’d feel better using a spray, see #5.
  4. Homeopathy:  There are Homeopathic remedies that can help support the above lice treatments.  Staphysagria is the main remedy for lice.  Using a low potency (6C, 12C or 30C), take the remedy 3 times a day for 7 days.  Nux Vomica is another remedy I’ve seen used with success in those  with lice and it can be taken the same as Staphysagria.  The most important thing to remember with Homeopathy is to match the remedy with the person.  Lice is a parasite and parasites tend to move toward the weaker immune systems.  Pick a remedy that will constitutionally strengthen the immune system for the person infected.  Consult a professional Homeopath if you need assistance in doing this.
  5. Tea Tree Spray:  Using the distilled water and essential oil spray listed above, spray hair every morning before heading out for the day and every evening before bed to help prevent reinfestation and to kill any lice that may have been missed during the olive oil treatment.  I also use this spray on car seats, couches and pillows.  Since lice and nymphs can only live off of a human host for 24-48 hours I don’t know that it does much for the lice problem but it certainly makes everything smell fresh and is definitely better than using an insecticidal spray.
  6. Olive Oil and Tea Tree again:  Lice eggs or nits, hatch within 7 – 10 days and are the easiest things to miss when combing through the hair.  Because of this, it is important to repeat the olive oil and tea tree treatment after 7 – 10 days.
  7. Comb, Comb, Comb:  Hair should be combed, using the lice comb, every day.  My daughter came home with lice about 2 months ago and even though we stopped the infestation in its tracts, using the above methods, I still comb through her hair every day after school.  When it comes to lice, you can never be too careful and the combing just takes a few minutes.

The above protocol has proven very effective for my family and for others I have consulted.  While lice is no fun, it is manageable and can be taken care of quickly and naturally!

 

Bug Bites

[tweetmeme] If you’ve been outside anytime recently it’s more than likely you’ve been nabbed by a mosquito or another critter looking for a munch.  The itch, the sting and the welts can be part of summer.  Below are a few remedies to keep on hand for just about any type of bug bite or sting.

Ledum – This remedy is a remedy used mainly for puncture wounds, which makes it wonderful for stings and bug bites.  It’s a great remedy for spider bites, especially if there is swelling and/or inflammation.  It is also recommended for bites that become infected and are suppurating and can be helpful for mosquito bites and bee stings.  It is especially helpful for those who have an extreme reaction to mosquito bites, including great itching and swelling.

Apis – This homeopathic remedy is made from the honey bee, therefore it is the first remedy to think of if you are stung by a bee, yellow jacket or wasp.  It will lessen the pain and reduce the swelling/redness almost immediately.  It can be taken orally in pellet form and can be applied topically in a cream.  It is also extremely helpful for those that are allergic to bees.  The sting/bite itself will generally be puffy, tender, red and may burn.  Cold applications help alleviate the pain with this remedy/sting.

Silicea – This remedy can help to extract a stinger if it is lodged in the skin.

Aconite – This remedy can be used if a person becomes fearful and panicked after being stung.  If this is the case, this remedy should be used immediately after the sting.  Once the person has calmed down another remedy, more specific to the sting itself, can be used.

Hypericum – This is one of the first remedies to consider if a sting/bite occurs in a nerve-rich area of the body, such as a fingertip.  Shooting nerve pain will come from the location of the sting if this remedy is indicated.  Numbness and tingling may also be present.

Select the remedy that best matches your symptoms.  A potency of 6C, 6X, 30C or 30X can be used.  The number of times a dose should be taken depends on the severity of the sting.  The more severe the reaction to the bite/sting the more frequently a dose can be taken.  Discontinue taking the remedy once improvement occurs.  If there is no improvement after a reasonable amount of time you should select a different remedy.  If you are uncertain which remedy to use contact a Certified Homeopath for assistance.  If a severe allergic reaction occurs from a sting or bite, seek emergency medical attention.

To help keep the bugs off you in the first place, without using those chemical-ridden bug sprays, you can take a small 2 – 4 ounce glass spray bottle, mix 5 – 10 drops of Lavender essential oil, 5 – 10 drops of Eucalyptus essential oil and fill the remainder of the bottle up with distilled water.  Shake vigorously until well mixed.  Spray on your skin when going outside.  Not only will it keep the bugs off of you but it smells wonderful!  If ticks are a problem in your area add a little Rose Geranium essential oil to the mix.

We do not diagnose or treat disease/conditions.  The information provided herein is for educational purposes only.  If you require a diagnoses please consult a licensed medical doctor.