The summer weather is well and truly over in my part of the world. Out side my window right now, the wind is howling, the rain is hammering on my skylight, and it's looking very grey indeed. My blog has suffered some neglect in the last couple of weeks. It's been a
busy time in our household with visitors and building work going on. And in with those visitors came a virus. Thankfully, it didn't attack me. Or at least if it did, it was dealt with. But a virus in the house there was, nonetheless. So I thought I'd do a little piece about some remedies that might help with colds and flu.
Firstly, it's important to mention that the best defense against colds and flu is natural immunity. Filling up on good nutritious food, taking time to relax and de-stress, getting a good amount of exercise, and getting out into nature wherever possible, should be the first line of defense. And don't forget to sleep. It's so important for rejuvenating the body.
I've only had real, proper, full blown flu once in my life. It was New Year 1997 and I couldn't get out of bed for a week. I had to crawl to the bathroom, I could keep very little down, and by the time I was well enough to go to a doctor, the worst had passed. It was the sickest I've ever been in my life and I frankly never want to get that sick ever again. Back in those days, I had no idea what good nutrition was. I was 21, invincible and frankly very unhealthy. My lifestyle truly warranted getting very sick. But much like anyone else, these days I tend to get one cold a year, usually in March as the winter starts to fade, and strangely these days, I'm grateful for it to show me that I need an immune boost and that my body is doing an excellent job.
So let's have a look at some remedies that can help:
Sudden on set of a cold
If you find that your cold just appears out of no where. Reach for Aconite. These types of colds typically come on after exposure to a dry, chilly wind. There may be a severe headache. Typically described as full or heavy and centred at the left temple, and throbbing
in nature. The eyes may be dry and sore, and cheeks are flushed. A red and dry throat may also be a symptom. And a sensation as if something is stuck in the throat. When thinking of Aconite for a cold, think: sudden, dry, red, sore, and full throbbing headache.
Cold with weakness and trembling
If your cold leaves you feeling weak at the knees, and not in a good way. With trembling sensations in the legs and overall tiredness, reach for Gelsemium. You may feel apathetic, and lethargic and want nothing more than to just lie quietly and undisturbed. If after recovery from flu, the tiredness lingers on, Gelsemium can help with that also. If headache is present with this cold or flu, it's usually described as a very tight elastic band around the head. As opposed to Aconite, the Gelsemium patient may experience shivers and chills, with the inability to relax, leading to sleep deprivation.
A simple cold with dripping and sore nose
If you find that you're feeling pretty much ok, but your nose is dripping and sore, reach for Allium cepa. There maybe watery eyes also. The top lip might be sore and red, with a lot of sneezing. A tickly, sore throat can also be an issue, with some hoarseness of the voice.
The early tell tale signs of a cold
Everyone has their own tell tale signs of a cold. Mine is a tingling in the back of my nose. That's the time to reach for Ferrum Phos. Take as a tissue salt (6x) 3 times per day and it should either stop the cold in its tracks, or allow another symptom picture to present itself for evaluation.
Worst feeling flu you've ever had
If you're feeling just terrible and it's the worst flu you've ever experienced. Reach for Eupatorium Perfoliatum. In this case there is pain in the bones as if they were breaking. Aching back and neck muscles. Severe fever and a raw feeling in the pit of the throat. There is a desire for cold water even though you feel every cold. This type of flu might come on after a period of partying, and the person is feeling very run down.
Cold and flu with frantic dashes to the bathroom
If you find you're rushing to the toilet a lot with burning diarrhoea then reach for the Arsenicum album. The skin is feeling raw. There is overwhelming restlessness to the point
of anxiety. Worse at night. Terrible over sensitivity. These people tend to worry about their health at the best of times, but when ill their worry is many times worse, to the point they think they might die.
This can be particularly nasty where there is vomiting and diarrhoea at the same time. In this case reach for the Nux Vomica. These people generally tend to over do it anyway, on a daily basis. So the remedy is suited to their characteristics as a person. There is spasming in the intestine and stomach. They are nervous and excitable. Ambitious and power hungry people. This type of flu may come on after overindulgence. Especially after the holiday period.
Homeopathic Prophylaxis for Influenza
There is in fact a wonderful remedy available as a prevention to catching the flu called Influenzinum. It's a homeopathic preparation of the flu vaccine that is manufactured each year. It's suggested to take it once per week during flu season and more often if you work in an office or are often in an environment where you may be exposed to lots of germs. (The Tube, Subway, Shopping Mall/Centre etc) Also, at the first sign of flu, take 2-3 times per day and stop once relief is felt. You can get the latest preparation in the UK from Helios. Or a quick Google search in your area should bring up a pharmacy near you that prepares it.
These are just some of the remedies that may help if the dreaded lurgy hits.
There is also another more philosophical perspective to these kinds of illness. Especially when you have a bad cold where you can still go on, but you feel pretty terrible. This can be a sign that it's time to take a break. Relax and let the body do its job. Lay on the sofa, cuddle up under a heavy quilt and allow yourself to get better.
If you find you suffer colds on a regular basis, there may be something deeper that needs addressing. This is where homeopathy can really help. Often a susceptibility to illness can be triggered by other underlying issues that require addressing. A trained Homeopath can help to address these issues with a carefully selected remedy.
BUT! Please remember, a cold or flu should last no more than 2 weeks. If your symptoms persist longer than 2-3 weeks, you must seek advice from your doctor as something more serious could be happening. Homeopathy can however, still be used along side any conventional treatments.
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