As the resident homeopathic doctor and clinical nutritionist on one of Torontoâ??s most popular morning TV shows, I am frequently stopped on the street by concerned parents with questions about their children.
As the resident homeopathic doctor and clinical nutritionist on one of Toronto’s most popular morning TV shows, I am frequently stopped on the street by concerned parents with questions about their children.
Because the questions concerning colds and flu are often based on myths and old wives’ tales, I’d like to set the record straight. I’d also like to recommend a list of homeopathic remedies to help you and your family fight any germs that visit this year.
Myth: You can catch a cold or flu from exposure to the cold.
Truth: In the northern hemisphere, the incidence of colds and flu seems to increase during the colder winter months. But it’s not the cold that endangers your health. At this time of year, skin, eyes, and mucous membranes are compromised by the dryness of the air. As a result, viruses pass more easily through your first line of defence.
Myth: Antibiotics can help resolve a cold or flu.
Truth: Antibiotics do nothing to treat a cold or flu because they are viral, not bacterial. Instead antibiotics deplete your natural stores of good gut bacteria, which are crucial to healthy immunity.
Myth: Influenza is just a bad cold.
Truth: Colds and flu differ in severity, duration, and symptom expression and are caused by more than 200 different viruses.
Myth: Getting a flu vaccine is safe and effective and helps to build your child’s natural immunity.
Truth: Flu vaccines have potential side effects. Experiencing a relatively uncomplicated cold or flu will help strengthen your child’s natural immunity so that he or she will become a healthier adult. Besides, with so many different viruses spread globally each year, it is nearly impossible for any one vaccine to be effective against them all.
Myth: You get a cold or flu because you are unhealthy.
Truth: Even healthy people get sick. Healthy people don’t stay sick as long (especially when treated using homeopathy) and show fewer symptoms.
Homeopathic remedies offer natural, effective, and safe action against colds and flu. In fact, a meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials of homeopathic remedies reported in The Lancet in 1997 found that homeopathy is two-and-one-half times more effective than placebo. Compare that to the results of a study out of Pennsylvania State University reported in the journal Pediatrics in 2004 that showed a “reputable” cough syrup ingredient known as DXM (or dextromethorphan) actually performs less effectively than placebo.
There is nothing better than a health professional’s advice when you’re really ill, but for nagging, supposedly untreatable colds and flu, homeopathy beats a week of bed rest every time.
Homeopathic Remedies for Colds and Flu
Oscillococcinum: Take this remedy in the first 48 hours of onset of flu that is accompanied by a bursting headache and a painful cough. Oscillococcinum is the homeopathic equivalent of a “flu shot” and can also be taken as a prophylactic.
Aconitum: This remedy is best given when children experience a sudden onset of fever with chills. They have a rapid pulse and a flushed face.
Belladonna: Use this remedy when the patient has reddened tonsils, lips, and gums, as well
as a flushed face. Children have a sudden onset of high fever with a hot head and cold extremities. They are also very hot but not perspiring, have a strong pulse, and may see hallucinations.
Symptoms are often more pronounced on the right side of the body.
Bryonia: Administer this remedy when your child has a slow onset of fever that is characterized by body aches that are worse with motion. The patient will have a dry mouth and great thirst, especially for cold drinks. They tend to have a frontal headache and are very irritable.
Gelsemium: As one of the most common medicines for influenza, especially with lingering symptoms, this remedy is best indicated for those who suffer from great weakness of the body. A unique symptom includes a sense of relief after urination. Patients usually have a headache in the back of the head. They are chilly and often have general, body-wide aches.
My recommended dose for each of these remedies is three 12C or 30C pills under the tongue every one to four hours until symptoms disappear.