If you're searching for a natural cold remedy, homeopathic cold remedies may provide a safe, inexpensive way to treat your cold symptoms.
The cooling temperatures are moving everyone inside—and in contact with the more than 200 viruses that cause the common cold. Colds are the number one reason for missed days at work, and for parents the winter season can feel like one big runny nose.
Most adults and children will have more colds each year than any other type of illness. The micro-organisms responsible typically cause mild symptoms—sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion—that last anywhere from seven to 10 days. General care guidelines include fluids, rest, and humidity, but Canadians also spend millions of dollars each year on over-the-counter cold medications, which do nothing to cure the cold or shorten its duration.
Decongestants and cough suppressants offer temporary relief from symptoms but these products have many unpleasant side effects, and in young children have been shown to be potentially dangerous. Homeopathy offers a safer and inexpensive way to treat colds and other acute conditions in people of all ages.
What is homeopathy?
Homeopathy is a system of medicine that is over 200 years old. It uses substances from the natural world, called remedies, to stimulate the body to heal itself. Homeopathic remedies are considered nontoxic because they are prepared through a standardized process of dilution and succession (shaking or rapping of the remedy) which removes any potential hazards from the original material
The number of times a remedy has undergone this process refers to its potency, designated by a number and letter; for example 30C. Every remedy has been homeopathically proven to produce the same symptoms in a healthy person that the remedy will cure in an unhealthy person. “Like cures like” is one of the basic principles of homeopathy.
Another important aspect of homeopathic medicine is its unique approach to treatment. There is no one-remedy-fits-all. Each person presents with his or her own physical, mental, and emotional symptoms, and a homeopathic physician will look at the totality of those symptoms when selecting a remedy. Most acute conditions can be safely managed at home with homeopathic remedies, though a professional should be consulted for serious or chronic problems.
Homeopathic cold remedies
To be effective, a remedy needs to be matched (as best it can) to the observed or felt changes in the body and mind. Finding the right remedy can appear daunting at first, and companies have responded by providing packaged cold and flu medicines. These preparations are a mixture of two or more carefully selected remedies in low potency or mother tinctures.
Homeopathic cold medicines are labelled with a specific symptom (for example, coughing) or set of symptoms (sneezing, congestion, runny nose) and are easy ways to relieve minor complaints. When taken as directed, these medicines cause no known side effects. Homeopathic cold preparations are available for children under age six. These are licensed by Health Canada (look for a DIN-HM number) and found to be safe and effective.
While these products offer convenience, it is worth getting to know some of the specific remedies indicated for cold-related illness. By choosing a single remedy that is based on your own symptom profile, you may achieve better results. Some remedies to consider include:
|Sudden onset, especially after dry, cold weather.
Feelings of fearfulness, restlessness. Early stage croup.
|Watery, burning eyes and intense sneezing.
Acrid nasal discharge, worse when exposed to warmth and at night.
|Chilly. Burning pains. Anxious and restless.
Tickling cough, worse at night.
|Sudden onset. Red and radiating dry heat.
Feelings of confusion. Inflammation of eyes and ears.
|Early stage. Gradual onset. Vague symptoms.
Congestive headache, better with cold.
|Late stage. Thick yellow/green stringy discharge.
Post-nasal drip. Loss of smell.
|Late stage. Thick yellow/green discharge.
Stuffed up at night. Feelings of weepiness, clinginess in children.
Keep dosage to a minimum
Homeopathic remedies can be found in most health food stores in a potency considered effective for acute conditions and safe for people of all ages. High potencies are available elsewhere but it is best to use these under the guidance of a homeopathic physician.
When deciding how much of a remedy to take, it is wise to consider the other important principle of homeopathy—minimum dose. A single dose is often enough to cause a healing effect. Start with only one remedy, taken under the tongue, and avoid food or drink for 15 minutes. Monitor your symptoms and give the remedy time to set in.
How often a dose is repeated depends on the severity of the symptoms; the more severe, the more often it is given. The general idea is to take as little of the medicine as possible and yet enough to trigger a healing response in the body. Two to three doses should be sufficient if the right remedy has been chosen.
Not just for colds
When used correctly, homeopathic remedies can relieve not only uncomfortable cold symptoms, but also treat some of the complications associated with the common cold, such as acute ear complaints and lower respiratory infections.
While we may not be able to get away from the viruses, homeopathy provides a holistic approach to health and a natural medicine that is inexpensive, free of side effects, and offers gentle healing for the entire family.
|Homeopathy at home
The key to effective results when using homeopathic medicine is to pay close attention to the symptoms and to ask the person who is feeling unwell the right questions. For instance:
Take note of any peculiar symptoms such as food cravings or unusual emotional states.
For more tips on using homeopathic remedies at home, visit the National Center for Homeopathy at homeopathic.org/articles-brochures, where you can find useful information specific to homeopathy for children as well as for women during pregnancy.
To find a homeopath in your area, visit the Canadian Society of Homeopaths at