by Laurie Wheeler
We all know about the common cold and we’ve all had one. But interestingly, thevcommon cold is really not very common at all. That is, no two colds are exactly alike. They can start out stuffed or runny, sneezing or wheezy or all of these during the cycle of the cold. That’s why even with all the scientific and medical advances we’ve had over the past century, no one has discovered “a cure for the common cold”.
Classical homeopathic treatment is very patient-specific, just as no two people are alike, no two colds are alike. Treatment is individualized by the cold sufferer and remedy selection is based on his/her symptoms; unlike over the counter cold medications. At best, they are designed as a “one size fits all” only to lessen the severity until the cold goes away without changing the system as a “whole”.
Often when treating colds with homeopathy, two or three individual remedies (given at separate times) will be required to completely clear the cold. One remedy will be given at the onset or during the early stages and as the symptoms change, a second picture may follow. Treating colds homeopathically is easy and a number of effective remedies are available at most health food stores. In order to select the correct remedy, one must observe the cold sufferer’s symptoms and match them (as close as possible) to a remedy picture. So, what kind of symptoms are you looking for? Here’s a brief checklist that will help you know what to observe and determine which remedy is right for you.
1. What is your most distressing symptom? Runny nose, tearing eyes, sneezing, etc…
2. Did your cold come on suddenly or was it more gradual?
3. Are you thirsty? What do you desire to drink and what makes it feel better or
4. Do you have a fever or are you chilled?
5. Do you feel better outside or inside?
6. Are you fatigued or restless?
7. Is there mucus discharge and if so what does it look like? (watery, copious, thick,
8. Is there pain anywhere?
9. What is your mood? (irritable, prefer company or alone, fearful, sad)
Once you have answered this information then it is time to determine which homeopathic remedy would be most appropriate and how much you should take. Generally, several pellets under the tongue of a 30c potency will do. Many remedies can be purchased for less than $7.00 each, can be used many times, and will last for years if stored safely. Take one dose and wait to see your reaction. Do not take more when improvement begins. The job of a homeopathic remedy is to activate the immune system and thus a healing response so more is not necessarily better. Once improvement has begun, do not repeat the remedy unless symptoms start to reappear. Give your body a chance to rally on its own (at least 1-2 hours). If after two doses there is no improvement, you probably have the wrong remedy. Go over the symptoms and look for a closer match.
It is important to note that in order for healing to occur the symptoms must fit the remedy picture. If the match isn’t right there will no change, so try again. Sometimes a second remedy is necessary and generally the easiest way to determine this is by observing the change that occurs. A remedy that is given for a cold in which the patient has a good deal of sneezing accompanied with a copious flow of thin, clear mucus will be of little help if the discharge changes to the later stages where it becomes green, thick and ropey. Now you will need to start the process again of finding another remedy that matches the picture change.
The following is a list of remedies and their symptom pictures:
Aconite – the cold comes on suddenly, usually from exposure to dry, cold wind. Comes on with a great deal of sneezing. Patient is suddenly very chilly although his/ her face could be very hot. Shallow, dry cough, tickle in throat with a sense of restlessness and/or fearful. They are worse at night or in open air.
Allium Cepa – The nose is runny and tearing eyes (think of peeling an onion from which it is made). Clear mucus runs from the nose and burns the skin around the nostrils. A red crust may form under the nose and upper lip may also be irritated. Throat may tickle. Possible dry cough, worse in warm rooms, better in open air. (useful in allergy season).
Belladonna – comes on suddenly and is usually accompanied by a fever. Face is flushed, hot and dry to touch. The cold will start with a fever and bright red sore throat, worse on the right side. Patient may have a throbbing headache; worse for motion and a dry cough (also good for migraines).
Bryonia – This is a very irritable patient and wants to be left alone (a bear). His/her nose is stopped up but there is no mucus, maybe a small amount of water discharge. Dry cough, dry lips, and constipation usually accompany this cold. Everything is dry. They will be thirsty for large amounts of cold drinks but cough is worse for drinking. Cough is hard and may be accompanies by a bursting headache. Patient is light and noise sensitive; worse in warm rooms and with any movement.
Ferrum Phosphoricum – This is particularly helpful in the beginning stages of a cold that is accompanied with a slight fever. It is the kind of cold that you just feel coming on. Patient will be mentally alert, not sluggish. They’ll just feel “off” for a day or two before the cold really hits.
Gelsemium – This cold is slow to materialize. Patient will feel dizzy, sluggish and weak for a few days before the cold actually begins. The patient can have a dull headache and heaviness in his head, eyes and limbs accompanied by sneezing and watery discharge that irritates the nose. There may be a fever but no thirst. He wants only to sit and rest. Dull, dizzy and dreary is how I explain this feeling.
Kali Bichromium – Usually used to clear out the last stage of a cold, the mucus of this stage will be green, thick, ropey and stringy in appearance. It may be so thick it is difficult to blow the nose. The mucus may be offensive to smell. A post-nasal drip as well as sinus pain may be present (good for sinus colds).
Natrum Muriaticum – the cold begins as fits of sneezing with a loss of senses of smell and taste. Nasal discharge that is somewhere between being watery and the consistency of egg white. There is a post-nasal drip and often cold sores or fever blisters will develop. This patient becomes irritable when fussed over.
Nux Vomica – Great for colds that come on gradually and are slow to leave. Patients become ill and chilly. They can’t get warmed up and actually feel cold inside and under the covers. Their noses run all day long but at night become stopped up. Their throat may be sore. They are very irritable and cannot be pleased no matter what you do for them.
Pulsatilla – Look for this remedy to come at the end of a cold. Discharges are yellow to green. The mucus will have a fluffy or creamy quality to it. It’s thick and the patient has no sense of taste or smell. The nose if stuffed at night or in a warm room but flows when outside. The patient must have fresh air (or a fan on) even though they feel chilly. Symptoms are worse toward the evening. These patients want to be taken care of and become weepy or whine for attention. They want to be held and coddled. Take note, that you possibly will need more than one remedy during the stages of a cold as it changes or develops. If you have difficulty finding a solution you should consult a homeopathic practitioner.
Laurie D. Wheeler, DiHom, CCH, DipGem, C.Ht., is a practitioner and wellness counselor certified in Homeopathy and Past Life and Between Lives Soul Regression. She has been in the healing arts for 25+ years and works both by phone and in-person. Laurie was the creator and host of a live radio program “Journey into Wellness” and founder of a non-profit holistic clinic for veterans in Maine. Laurie can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or office phone (505) 772-0970.