At the first signs of a cold, do you grab every herb or vitamin that you can get your hands on? The next time you start to feel under the weather, consider also trying homeopathy. This gentle form of healing can be extremely effective at knocking out cold symptoms. Homeopathic medicines are free of side effects and interactions, so you can combine remedies with other natural products such as vitamin C and echinacea.
"Homeopathy sees symptoms of disease as a positive outward sign that the body is trying to heal itself. Therefore, it holds that the symptoms should not be suppressed," says C. Norman Shealy, MD, PhD, founder of the American Holistic Medicine Association and author of The Healing Remedies Sourcebook. "Remedies are used that will help stimulate and support the healing process."
For colds, Shealy recommends using one of the following homeopathic remedies. Pick the one that best matches your symptoms. Use a 30c potency every 30 minutes at first, and then spread out the intervals to every 8-12 hours, says Shealy.
Aconite is ideal for the early stages of infections and inflammations, such as sore throats, coughs, ear and eye problems, and when skin becomes hot, dry, and burning. Personality-wise, aconite tends to work well for those who avoid company when ill. Also, when restlessness and fear accompany an illness or complaint, resulting in palpitations, panic attacks, and agoraphobia, think aconite
Bryonia is a good remedy for anyone who feels like a bear with a sore head. Other symptoms that point to Bryonia use: acute complaints with slow onset that are painful with movement, and colds accompanied by dryness (e.g., feeling thirsty with a dry throat).
Belladonna is the remedy of choice for colds accompanied by a high fever and great thirst. Other symptoms that indicate Belladonna is the right remedy for you: restless, excitable behavior; wild imagination (even hallucinations and nightmares); throbbing headache; earache, especially on the right side of the head; hot, dry face and bright red tongue; and symptoms that improve in warmth and worsen when cool.
Mercurius is for those people whose colds begin with a sore throat and swollen glands.
Gelsemium can be helpful for treating flu-like symptoms such as weakness and achiness.
Allium is for cold sufferers with streaming nose and eyes where discharge makes the nose red and raw.
Pulsatilla excels at relieving colds characterized by a runny nose with thick yellow or green mucus.
Natrum muriaticum (Nat. mur. for short) is indicated for colds with a crop of cold sores, as well as sneezing and watery eyes.