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  • Writer's pictureRuth Hull

Homeopathy for head colds and snotty noses - Part 1, The Onset of a Cold or Flu

Isn't it weird how after last month's blog on viral infections my whole family ends up sick? Over the past few weeks our home has been a hotbed of germs, snotty noses, coughs, moans and groans. And worst of all...my husband had "man-flu"!


So, just in case your home is anything like mine, I thought I would share with you a few remedies commonly used for mild respiratory infections, as well as some general immune-boosting tips.


Natural remedies for the onset of a cold or flu
Natural treatments can help stimulate your body's immune system without suppressing symptoms.


This is actually quite a big topic so I’m going to do it over three separate blogs.


This month we'll explore homeopathy for the onset of a cold or flu and how to strengthen your immunity and hopefully shorten the duration of the cold; next month we’ll look at what to do for sore throats, sneezing, runny noses and all those horrible things associated with a head cold; and in the following month I’ll go into more detail on fever remedies and full-blown, body-aching flu. If you haven’t yet subscribed, do so now to ensure you don’t miss out on the follow-up blogs.


However, before I go any further, please note that the following remedies are for mild respiratory infections only and DO NOT replace proper medical care. If the infection is severe then please see a qualified homoeopath or seek medical help.


Please also be aware that the aim of natural treatments is not to stop a cold from developing or suppress symptoms. Instead, it is to gently enhance the body’s own healing mechanisms and encourage the body to heal itself. Therefore, you will still get your cold, but hopefully with these remedies it will be short-lived and you will not go on to develop a chronic cough or other problems.


How to treat the onset of a cold or flu


We often know when we’re getting sick. We’re more tired than usual, a bit more grumpy than usual (gulp!) and sometimes have a sore throat. Nothing to worry about but just not our usual selves. This is the best time to start boosting your immune system, especially if anyone else in your house already has a cold.


Homeopathy for the onset of a cold or flu


At this stage, start taking Anas Barbariae (also called Oscillococcinum). Alternate this remedy with either Aconite, Ferrum Phos or Gelsemium, depending on which suits you most:


  • Aconite – Aconite is usually the best remedy for a person who falls ill after being exposed to cold air. For example, if you were out in a cold wind, sitting under a cold air-conditioner or had worked up a sweat exercising and then cooled down rapidly. Importantly, you will be feeling restless and anxious.

  • Ferrum Phos – The most noticeable thing about a person needing Ferrum Phos is that there really isn’t anything noticeable! That does sound odd, doesn’t it? If you’re feeling “blah”, think you’re coming down with something and yet don’t have any real guiding symptoms then you may be needing Ferrum Phos. Generally your symptoms will progress slowly. You won’t be anxious or restless like you would if you needed Aconite, but you'll be feeling sluggish, weak and tired. Maybe a bit pale with flushed cheeks.

  • Gelsemium – Gelsemium is often used for ‘full-blown’ flu but can also be used at the beginning stages when you have a dull headache, feel achy, weak and very drowsy and the flu is taking forever to get going.


In terms of potency and frequency, I suggest you take a 30CH potency and follow the directions given by the manufacturer.


These are a few basic homeopathic remedies for a simple common cold. My next few blogs will be sharing remedies for fevers and sore throats so make sure you’ve subscribed.


Tissue salts you can use at the onset of a cold or flu


If you don’t have any of the above homeopathic remedies handy, then pop down to your local pharmacy and see if they have the tissue salt Ferrum Phos. Similar to the homoeopathic Ferrum Phos, it is an excellent remedy for the first stage of a respiratory infection. You will need to take it frequently and again, follow the directions given by the manufacturer.


Home remedies to boost your immune system at the onset of a cold or flu


Lemon, honey, ginger and garlic…most of us have these in our kitchen cupboards but tend to forget about them when we’re sick. However, they are nature’s answer to infection so use them!


Many years ago I worked with an elderly woman who seemed to never get sick. One day she told me her secret was having a teaspoon of raw honey every morning. Raw untreated honey is antibacterial and, interestingly, never goes off. It is a lovely treatment for sore throats, especially for little children who may sometimes refuse all other remedies. However it is not recommended for diabetics. If you’re not diabetic, then simply take half to one teaspoon of raw untreated honey and hold it in the back of your throat for a few seconds before swallowing. Do this a couple of times a day.


Eat more garlic when you’re coming down with something and, if you’re feeling brave, try to eat it raw. Before eating your garlic, crush it lightly (I usually use the flat side of a knife and give the garlic clove a good whack). Take a couple of cloves over the day either in food or swallow them as you would a pill (again…only for the brave…or desperate).


You can also make herbal teas to boost your immune system. I grow rosemary, sage and thyme in my garden and to make a tea all I do is take a good handful (about ¼ cup full) of fresh herbs, chop them up and steep them in hot water for 15-20 minutes. To extract the medicinal qualities you do need to steep them for this long. Sometimes the tea doesn’t taste too great and then I add ginger, lemon and honey for flavour.


I think I’ve given you enough ideas for now. In my next blog I’ll share some remedies to help you cope with a “full-blown” head cold. Have a great day!

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