CAROL ANNE RAYSON
DCHM(Hons.), HD(RHom.), RHN, Certified CEASE Therapist

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ARTICLE 1: HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENT OF THE COMMON COLD & SEASONAL INFLUENZA
Researched & Written by Carol Anne Rayson, DCHM (Hons),HD (RHom.), RHN,CLASSICAL HOMEOPATH, Certified CEASE Therapist
"Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home."- Edith Sitwell

During the Winter months is also the prime time of year when the Common Cold & Seasonal Influenza debilitates the greatest number of people living in temperate latitudes, such as in Ontario. This is especially so in the New Year, following the hustle-bustle, over-indulgences and other stressors so common during the Holiday Season. Fortunately, this is also a time when carefully selected Homeopathic Remedies can provide safe, effective and natural support for those wishing to avoid the additives in and the suppressive nature of, many of the popular OTC cough and cold medicines, or wishing to avoid the increasing controversy surrounding flu shots.COLD.png


Because the common cold and seasonal influenza share many common Symptoms & Modalities, they are often difficult to differentiate. Both are acute viral infections of the upper respiratory tract, (URTI), which are seasonal, occurring mainly in the colder months in temperate climates.  Although not medically categorized as such back then, both the common cold and seasonal influenza have challenged human health since ancient times, with recorded references dating back to Hippocrates.

Homeopathy has been used effectively for over 200 years, worldwide, in the treatment of many chronic and acute diseases, and  also has documented success in effectively treating colds and influenza. Treatment for influenza may be based on Genus Epidemicus Remedies: one specific Homeopathic Remedy or a very small group of specific Homeopathic Remedies which match the Totality of Symptoms experienced by the majority of patients in an epidemic or pandemic disease. For example, in the Spanish Influenza Pandemic of 1918, no matter where in the world the attending Homeopath happened to be, Gelesmium was the primary Genus Epidemicus, with  Rhus Toxicodendron, Bryonia, Eupatorium perfoliatum, Baptisma and Pyrogenium, being the other Remedies which were successfully used during that pandemic. Colds and influenza Symptoms & Modalities can also differ drastically from person to person, even when each is exposed to the very same virus, even within the same Family.

Therefore, the Homeopathic Remedy for treatment of either the common cold or flu in these cases, should be selected based upon the Leading Characteristic Symptoms and Modalities, (that which makes Symptoms better or worse), as expressed by each individual. Thus the Simillimum, (the remedy that most exactly reproduces the symptoms of the disease), may also differ from family member to family member during the same disease.

 THE COMMON COLD

The most commonly implicated viruses in the Common Cold are Rhinoviruses 10-40%,Coronaviruses 20% Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) 10%. In total there are over 200 serologically different viral types which can cause colds and which enter the body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, or mouth, after exposure.

Symptoms of the common cold are usually milder and shorter-lived than influenza and are usually evident within 2-4 days of exposure to an infected person or to contaminated objects. Symptoms may begin with a sore throat which includes a cough plus a runny nose or nasal congestion, all symptoms which are usually self-limiting, lasting on average a total of up to 7 days. In some cases, a mild fever may also be present but that is more common in children. The average adult may suffer 2-4 common colds per season, a few more may be experienced by school-aged children but those with a healthy immune system usually recover quickly, many without any treatment at all. If cold symptoms do not seem to be improving after a week, you may have a secondary bacterial infection. Additionally, symptoms for allergic rhinitis (hay fever) or a sinus infection can be mistaken for a cold. Please check with your Health Care Provider, Naturopath or Homeopath if your cold symptoms have not improved or cleared up within 7 days of onset, despite adequate home care.

SEASONAL INFLUENZA

Historically, influenza, the elusive and ever-changing virus, is always present, in some form, somewhere in the world, at any given time. While some more virulent strains have swept through populations during epidemics and pandemics, causing great suffering and sometimes death, the majority of most influenza viruses are relatively benign and can be treated Homeopathically.

There are many subtypes of influenza which affects humans, swine, horses and fowl and which cross species and which have been studied intensively, tracked and categorized, since 1950.

Influenza is caused by three main types of the Orthomyxo virus which researchers have labeled as types A, B & C. Additionally, these strains are sub-typed by their ratio of two glycoproteins, namely Hemagglutinin (H) and Neuraminidase (N). Thus Influenza A(H3N2) and Influenza A(H1N1) are two subtypes of Influenza A, experienced in Ontario over the past few years. Type A influenzas are thought to be the most problematic, depending upon the virus subtype and can be found in humans, fowl, horses and swine. Type B influenzas are thought to be far less problematic and very little is known about Type Cs.

Seasonal Influenza spreads between humans when infected people cough or sneeze, and then we breathe in the virus or touch something with the virus on it. Seasonal influenzas may share some of the same symptoms as the common cold, including a sore throat, cough, runny nose and congestion. However, influenza symptoms are usually more severe and can include a sudden onset, high fever and chills, fatigue, plus aches and pains throughout the muscles and the back. Additionally, some may suffer gastro-intestinal distress, including diarrhea, vomiting or nausea. While the common cold usually lasts only up to7 days, or a little longer, the fatigue and cough from influenza can drag on for a few weeks, or even longer. Much depends on the immune system and Constitutional strength of the individual and the particular strain of influenza involved. Those who are nutritionally weak, and/or overworked & stressed, or with history of repeated Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, often suffer the longest with the most complications. Those with already compromised immune systems, the very young and the very old, are at the most risk of secondary complications which could involve bacterial infections of the ears, sinuses and lungs, including pneumonia.  Additionally, giving aspirin to some children while they are infected with an influenza virus can result in a very serious complication called Reye’s syndrome. This syndrome involves edema of the brain and liver dysfunction both of which in some cases can prove fatal. Aspirin should not be given to children with infections, without Professional medical advice. As with stubborn colds, prolonged, secondary or unusual influenza symptoms or ongoing high fevers, should also not be ignored, please seek Professional advice.

HOMEOPATHIC TREATMENTS

 Image.jpgInfluenza can also be treated Prophylactically with Homeopathy, although it extremely difficult to determine the exact Prophylactic Homeopathic Remedy before the first seasonal influenza cases begin to appear in the Homeopath’s clinic. Once that happens however, several of the same Remedies will be used more frequently by Homeopaths throughout the Province. INFLUENZINUM is a homeopathically-prepared and potentised Nosode which is derived from the influenza virus, which can also be used as a Preventative, however, for it to be effective it MUST be prepared from the CURRENT influenza virus. OSCILLCOCCINUM, a Homeopathic Remedy prepared from essences of duck liver & heart, can also  useful as a flu preventative IN THE FIRST 48 HOURS, when used in the same manner as INFLUENZINIUM.

There are over a hundred other Homeopathic Remedies which, when selected according to sound Homeopathic Principles, can be effective in the treatment of colds, coughs, sore throats, nasal congestion and seasonal influenza. Below, I have listed 18 more of the most frequently used, together with their Keynote Symptoms and Modalities, as they relate to colds, coughs, congestion, sore throats and seasonal influenza.

Remember, the best defense against colds and seasonal influenza is a strong immune system which is supported through a whole foods diet, pure drinking water, targeted supplements, appropriate exercise, enough rest and sound sleep, plus ongoing Homeopathic Constitutional care. When in doubt about the selection and of Homeopathic Remedies for home treatment of Acute conditions such as the common cold, or seasonal influenza, or to purchase Remedies and Potencies which are not available OTC, please consult with your Professional Classical Homeopath.

ACONITE - Sudden onset after chill from cold winds. Nervous restlessness, anxiety & fear, especially at midnight, Sudden high fevers. Burning face with chills. Skin hot and dry. Great thirst. Worse warm room, night & evening, sitting up, breathing out. Better in open air and from a warm sweat.

ALLIUM CEPA - Begins after exposure to cold and damp. Frequent, violent sneezing. Acrid nasal discharge which burns & corrodes nose and upper lip. Profuse, bland, watery eyes. Worse in warm room, in afternoon and evening, when lying down, rest aggravates. Better in cool room, open air.

ANTIMONIUM TARTARICUM- Rattling cough, rattling respiration, difficulty hawking up phlegm, great drowsiness during fever. Worse at night, sleepless, morning, from any warmth, warm rooms, warm blankets, warm bed. Better cool rooms, hawking up phlegm, sitting upright, by belching.

ARSENICUM ALBUM - Great prostration. Great mental and physical restlessness.  Burning pains in affected parts.  Intense thirst during fever but for small sips. Worsecold drinks or cold of any kind, 10p.m.-3a.m., especially at midnight, alone. Better company, warmth, warm drinks, local heat on affected parts.

BELLADONNA  - Sudden, violent onset, throbbing headache, redness of face, sore throat, dilated pupils. Fever peaks at 9pm & 8a.m. Worse drafts, light, least noise, least jarring, motion, lying down, 3p.m. & 3a.m., lying on affected part. Better bending head backwards, sitting semi-erect, rest in bed.

BRYONIA - Marked irritability, wants to be left alone. Dry cough, dry mucous membranes. Tough mucous, must sit up to expectorate. Worse least motion, touch, early morning, dry heat, company, warm rooms. Better pressure, heat and lying on painful parts, cool open air, drawing up knees. Alone.

DROSERA - Vertigo, nausea, dry, irritating, hawking cough, hoarse, raw throat, nosebleeds, thirstless. Worse lying down, on drinking, when talking, singing or laughing, evening, second half of night, midnight, warmth, warm bed, warm drinks.  Better from pressure, in open air.

EUPATORIUM PERFOLIATUM  - Pains felt in the bones, wants to move but no relief, vomits bile at end of chill. Worse cold air, motion, coughing, smell or sight of food.  7-9a.m, third or seventh day, lying on affected part. Better vomiting bile, sweating, conversation. Lying on face, getting on hands on knees.

GELSEMIUM  - Slow onset, extreme muscle weakness & trembling. Body aches all over, apathy, dread, vertigo, dim vision, drooping eyelids, chills shooting up & down back. Worse shock, surprise, hot room, direct sunlight, 10a.m. Better open air, afternoon, urination, continued movement.

HEPAR SULPHURIS   - Thick, yellow ropey nasal discharge. Hypersensitive emotionally, angry, hypersensitive to pain, touch & cold air, extremely chilly. Worse morning, winter evenings, drafts, cold air, cold food & drink, light touch, lying on affected part. Better warmth, warm, wet weather, after a meal.

KALI BICHROMICUM- Ropey, stringy, yellow mucous, sometimes jelly like, from nose & throat, pains in small spots appear and disappear. Sore throat, cough. Worse touch, cold air. 2a.m.-5a.m., after waking from sleep, stooping. Better warmth, warm bed, movement, firm pressure, leaning forward.
 
MERCURIUS   - Excessive salivation, great thirst for cold drinks. Profuse hot sweats, fever, alternating heat and chills, swollen sore throat, difficulty swallowing. Anxious, restless. Worse Night, sweating, lying on right side, extremes of temperature-heat & cold. Better moderate temperatures. Resting.

NUX VOMICA - Aches & pains all over. Cranky & critical. Very chilly, nose runs all day then stops at night. Worse early morning, uncovering, cold air, coffee & stimulants, noise, odours, light, mental exertion. Better Naps, hot drinks, milk, wrapping head. Strong pressure, damp wet weather, massage.

PULSATILLA - Begins with head cold. Thick, yellow, creamy mucous. Weepy, pitiful & demanding. Nose congested indoors, drips outdoors. Worse Warmth, stuffy closed rooms, hot food, twilight, night. Better consolation, cool, circulating air, open air, cold food & drinks, uncovering, gentle motion.

PYROGENIUM - Pains in back & limbs, bursting headache. Rapid pulse, fever with chilliness & urging to urinate. Muscle aches, offensive sweat, gastric issues, sleeplessness, restlessness, sneezing, sore throat. Worse damp and motion, drafts. Better heat, hot bath, continuing motion, lying on right side.

RHUS TOXICODENDRON  - Gradual onset. Constant physical restlessness. Aching discomfort, stiffness, pain on first movement relieved by continued movement, Chilly. Worse during sleep, during rest, cold, wet weather. Better warmth, warm drinks, motion, change of position, rubbing, stretching

RUMEX  - Violent, fatiguing, dry cough, causing expulsion of urine & stitching pain in left lung, tickling in throat pit with soreness & rawness. Worse night & evening, inhaling cool air, going from warm to cold & vice versa, lying on left side. Better covering mouth, wrapping head & throat, lying on right side.

SPONGIA  - Characteristic dry cough like a saw through a board, dryness of mucous membranes. Anxiety, difficulty breathing. Worse dry, cold wind, warm room. Exertion, motion, stooping, talking, night & before midnight, after sleep. Better after eating warm food & drink. Lying with head low.