Managing Colds with Homeopathy
The common cold is a viral infection caused by one of over 100 different viruses. It will vary in it’s symptoms and their severity according to the suseptability of the individual. Symptoms include runny or blocked nose, blocked sinuses, fever, sore throat and congestion in the chest causing a cough. The first three days can produce chills and muscle aches reminiscent of influenza, and after about three days a bacterial infection often sets in causing discharges to change from clear to yellow/green. The recovery period from a cold can be anything up to about fourteen days.
There are various self help measures that we can take to shorten the duration of a cold. Rest is really important. Many people feel we should just keep on going through a cold, but resting in the early stages is likely to shorten the duration of the illness overall. Keeping liquid intake high will help to hydrate the body as fluid is lost through the mucus production, and will help flush the toxins created by the virus/bacteria out of the body quickly. Stick to an easily digestible diet, avoiding very rich, heavy food. Fresh garlic, onions, cayenne pepper and watercress are all helpful in fighting a cold. Vitamin C supplements also help to reduce the severity and length of a cold.
There are many different remedies for colds, and I have included the ones that are in the Helios kit, all of which should be readily available from local shops.
Most often you will find that no one remedy covers every single symptom you are presented with, OR the patient has some of the symptoms of the remedy but not all of them. In this case, pick the remedy that has the most similarities, or if you really can’t choose between two that appear to fit – alternate them.
Top Cold Remedies
Aconite - This cold will come on suddenly, often after exposure to dry, cold wind. It may come on at night and should be taken at the very first signs of a cold, as it can often stop it developing into a full blown cold.
Symptoms include sneezing or tingling in the nose, burning sore throat, restlessness, fever with thirst for cold drinks. Symptoms tend to be worse at night and in stuffy rooms.
Arsenicum - This cold often starts with frequent painful sneezing and a thin watery discharge. The lips get sore, and the patient feels chilly. There may be an intense tickle or pain in the nose in a particular spot. Patients needing this remedy like to drink small sips of water and warm drinks when ill. They will be very restless and feel worse from cold air and after eating.
Belladonna - The belladonna cold starts very suddenly with a high fever. The skin will feel hot and dry and be vibrant red. The eyes often look slightly glassy and sparkly with this fever. There may be a throbbing headache, and the nose willbe red, sore and swollen. There may be a tickly, dry cough which is worse at night, and the patient is usually very thirsty. There may be photophobia, and the patient feels better for a light sheet covering, despite the heat of the fever.
Bryonia - This remedy is needed by the ‘bear with a sore head’ type of patient. They are irritable and don’t want to move at all!! They will start a cold with copious sneezing, and it will develop into the chest with a painful cough that makes them hold their chest. Thier eyes are often red and watery, their lips and mouth dry, and they are very thirsty. Sneezing may aternate with coughing and they may have fluent watery/greenish mucus from the nose.
Phosphorus - Symptoms start in the chest and throat. There may be streaks of blood in mucus from the nose. Throat will be sore and voice hoarse, the soreness may feel like it extends down into the chest. The nose will alternately be blocked and runny, or the blockage may move from one side to the other. If there is a fever it will creep up slowly. They feel worse from a change in temperature. There may also be a dull headache. There may be a feeling of tightness or heaviness in the chest.
Gelsemium - This remedy is for colds that appear like flu. Patient feels achey, tired, heavy limbs. There may be trembling, shivering and a feeling of weakness. The nose becomes sore from thin discharge, and the eyes feel heavy. There may be a dull headache at the back of the head and a tickly dry cough. With fever the patient will appear flushed – a dark heavy red colour. They tend to be thirstless.
Hepar sulph - This cold will start with lots of sneezing followed by a watery discharge from the nose. This will develop to a thick green/yellow discharge. The ears are often affected with a splintering pain. The patient will be irritable, chilly and sensitive to draughts. There may be a productive cough which is triggered by dry cold air, which also triggers the sneezing.
Natrum Mur - This remedy has sneezing which is worst in the mornings. There will be a clear egg white type discharge from the nose which becomes sore. They may also develop cold sores around the mouth and nose. The eyes may water from coughing, and the nose may drip an acrid thin discharge. They may lose the sense of taste and smell. They often want to be left alone in peace.
Nux Vom - This patient will have violent sneezing fits especially in the morning. They become irritable and critical and they feel very cold and can’t get warm. The nose will alternate between blocked at night and running in the day, or blocked outside and runny inside, or blocked on alternate sides. They can have a dry mouth and feel better for hot drinks.
Mercury - This remedy is needed when the patient has thick green/yellow mucous. They will be sweaty and have smelly breath, with excess saliva. The nose becomes sore from acrid discharge and they can be sneezy. They usually describe that everything tastes wrong due to a metallic taste in the mouth.
Pulsatilla - These patients feel very sorry for themselves. They want sympathy and don’t like to be left alone. They have a thick green/yellow discharge from the nose with a loss of smell and taste. Lips can be chapped and peeling. They are markedly better for fresh air – want windows open and hate stuffy rooms. Their cough will often be dry at night and loose in the morning. They may need to sit up to cough. They are nearly always thirstless and can’t work out what they might want to eat.
Sulpher - Patients tend to have fluent, burning nasal discharge turning to a dirty yellow as cold progresses. Nasal congestion tends to be worse outside and better indoors. They may get cold sores around the nose and sore crusts inside the nose.