The wintry weather has begun to arrive. It’s time to make sure the season does not turn into a misery with the colds and flu that often plague us this time of year. A few homeopathic remedies can help!

For an ounce of prevention, when winter starts, try a few preventative measures such as taking a high dose of Vitamin C, adding garlic to your meals (or taking a supplement if you still want to keep your family and friends around you), or even taking Echinacea (Purple Cone Flower) to help build up your immunity. Remember that stress can seriously deplete your reserves of Vitamin C and therefore cause your immune system to become more vulnerable. Learn to handle anxiety in healthy ways and for sure get enough sleep so that your system will be strong enough to cast off any germs that daily life will toss your way. Wash your hands frequently and don’t touch your eyes, ears and mouth without washing first.

If you do catch a cold, consider a few homeopathic remedies that may push the cold through your system without letting it lead to anything more serious. Conventional medicine has yet to find a cure for the common cold. So far, the only recourse consists of drugs and cough drops that merely mask or alleviate the symptoms. A cold will usually disappear after one to two weeks, yet it still has the potential to develop into a much more dangerous condition such as bronchitis or pneumonia (even when the symptoms are alleviated with medications). A homoeopathic remedy can help the symptoms and the cold resolve themselves much more quickly, and such a remedy will not interfere with the taking of other medications such as paracetamol for pain relief.

The basis of the homoeopathic philosophy is “like cures like” and it is important that the remedy is chosen by first identifying the possible cause of the cold. However, if the cause cannot be accurately indicated, there are three common remedies that can be used at the beginning stages of most colds.

Once the symptoms initially appear, it is important to take Aconitum napellus (Monks Hood) with an initial dose at 30c potency. Afterwards, this can be taken at 6c every hour for six doses. Symptoms indicating that this remedy is required appear very suddenly and are caused by exposure to cold, wet and windy weather. The patient will have a red sore throat and will usually be feverish. They will also be extremely restless and worried. The larynx can be sensitive to the touch and there will often be an accompanying loud dry cough.

After this course of Aconitum, it is important to take Belladonna (Deadly Nightshade) with an initial dose of 30c, thereafter at 6c potency four times a day. With this remedy, the patient may feel very hot but will not sweat. Often, there is a headache accompanied by an earache plus dryness and hoarseness of the throat. There will often be a distressing cough that seems to tear at the lungs, and there will also be great thirst.

If after two days of taking Belladonna there has not been any improvement, a third remedy Calcarea carbonica (calcium carbonate) should be started at 30c potency, one dose twice a day. After this, take 6c three times daily until improvement is noted. At this point, the remedy should be discontinued. Calc Carb symptoms are worse for exertion and cold/wet weather. There is a chronic catarrh, often with a smelly discharge that is yellow in color. The patient will feel very cold and will often sweat from the scalp. If symptoms persist after taking these homoeopathic remedies, it is extremely important to seek professional medical help.