Once again, cold and flu season is upon us! In this guide you will find homeopathic remedies, cell salts, supplements, herbs, and essential oils which can help ease discomfort and maybe even shorten the length of a bad cold or flu!
*Disclaimer: I am not a licensed medical doctor. This information is for educational purposes only. It is important to be in touch with your medical doctor when you are ill and when considering starting any new healthcare modality, including natural remedies.
I find that it is important to try to get on top of symptoms as early as possible for maximum benefit, however starting at any time will ease symptoms. If you are a mom, you are all too familiar with that feeling of dread when you are caring for family who have the flu and then feeling that first symptom come on yourself and knowing you will soon be down for the count, too. Not necessarily…if you act quick!! You may even be able to prevent the whole family from going down if you get to the first person, pronto!
Wait! Can I prevent a cold or a flu?
Before we talk about what to take for the flu or a cold, let’s talk about prevention! Many people who are well-versed in natural remedies will take the following in flu/cold season:
- Influenzinum 30c once per week, or once per month (depends on level of possible exposure)
- Elderberry Syrup or Elderberry Gummies, a few times per week
- Vitamin C, daily
- An immune supporting essential oil, a few times per week
- A good multivitamin, green juice, or a very balanced diet
Despite the best of intentions in supporting the immune system and preventing colds or a flu, sometimes life gets crazy, we get worn down, and our susceptibility goes up. Keep reading to find out what can be done if symptoms arise.
How to use this guide
Below you will find lists of natural remedies for colds and the flu. But how do you take them? When it comes to supplements and herbs, you can simply follow the package instructions and take them on a regular basis until symptoms have disappeared. For essential oils, I suggest applying a drop or two on pulse points a few times per day. Some say that essential oils counteract homeopathic remedies (especially oils with eucalyptus, menthol, or peppermint) but I have not found this to be the case in my own home. But I do often use essential oils at a different time of day from when I take homeopathic remedies. For cell salts, you can take 5 pellets every couple of hours. And for homeopathic remedies, you can also follow package instructions, but it is better if you follow these guidelines:
- Choose the acute homeopathic remedy (below) that best matches your current symptoms.
- Choose a 30c potency of that remedy (if you only have 200c on hand you can start with that and just take it less frequently/less doses).
- Take 2 doses, about 30 minutes apart and then wait an hour or two and observe what happens with symptoms.
- Check the list and description of remedies again to see which remedy matches the symptoms you have now. It may be the same remedy, or the symptoms may have evolved and now you need a different remedy.
- Repeat step 3.
- In addition to taking the acute remedy that best matches your symptoms you could also take Influenzinum 30c or 200c (in the case of the flu) or Oscillococcinum (in the case of a cold or a flu) on a regular basis. I would suggest 3-4 doses per day until symptoms are alleviated.
Eupatorium perf: Extreme aching deep in the bones; back and legs are especially sore and feel like they will break; weakness; restlessness; eyeballs feel sore; hoarseness; cough with sore chest; loose cough; thirsty;
may have red, watery, irritated eyes; frequent sneezing, and clear nasal discharge
Gelsemium: symptoms may accompany emotional upset; great exhaustion, weariness; dizzy and drowsy; trembling; muscle weakness; head feels heavy; feels like a band is around the head; sneezing – discharge may burn; no thirst; vertigo
Nux Vomica: irritable; sensitive to noise and odors; does not want to be touched; symptoms may have come on from overwork, over-exertion, alcohol or drug use; achy; chilly when covers or clothes are moved, but hot otherwise; headache over eyes which is better with pressure; congestion, especially at night; burning discharge from nose, throat may hurt with rough scraped feeling; may be vomiting.
Baptisia: Rapid onset of symptoms; looks confused, delirious; inability to think; muscle soreness; skin feels tight across forehead; averse to solid foods; offensive secretions/discharges.
Bryonia: feels better lying still, worse with movement; doesn’t want to be disturbed; thirsty for cold water; aches in limbs, back, head, eyes; dryness of mucous membranes; dry stools; weakness; tearing pains; very irritable; bursting frontal headache; feels worse in a hot room but likes heat applied to pains; prefers pressure and cool air
Rhus tox: symptoms come on after exposure to wet, damp conditions; aching in all limbs; feels worse upon initial movement but better for continued movement; restlessness, keeps moving; sensitive scalp, frontal headache; tongue may have a red tip; vertigo and heaviness; swollen face and glands; cough late at night until morning; dry, tickling sensation in chest; sore joints; thirsty and chilly; alternates heat and chill; aching in bones.
Belladonna: redness, inflammation, heat; warm trunk, cold hands and feet; may be sweating on body but have a dry head; neck and chest are pulsating; eyes may be red with pupils dilated; may appear delirious; high fever; sensitive to light and noise (for a very high fever, consider 200c potency and also consult with your medical doctor)
Ferrum phos: general cold or flu symptoms of a mild or moderate severity; low grade fever; may also have earache and/or nosebleeds
Allium cepa: spasmodic sneezing; runny nose with an irritating, watery discharge; eyes may burn
Aconite: symptoms after exposure to cold conditions; sudden onset of symptoms; hot burning face; high fever with dryness; restlessness, fear (could express fear of dying), and agony; sudden onset of croup
Arsenicum album: restlessness, moving from bed to bed; weakness; thirst for warm drinks; anxiety; could have fear of medicine; nausea; burning pains; The nose often feels stopped up, and the person may sneeze repeatedly.
Hepar sulph: alternating dry and loose cough; pain in throat as if there’s a stick; sensitive to pain; irritable; perspiration
Phosphoricum acidum: consider this remedy for apathy/exhaustion if Gelsemium doesn’t work.
Pulsatilla: symptoms from getting wet/wet feet; shivers up and down spine; non-irritating yellow nasal discharge with a dry nose at night; congestion in back of nose and throat; not thirsty; prefers open air; may be clingy/want company
Consider combining one of the above homeopathic remedies with one of the following (these are also good to start with while you are working on getting one of the above remedies on hand):
Oscillococcinum: general cold and flu remedy
Cold Calm: general cold combo remedy
Influenzinum 30c or 200c: general flu remedy
Supplements and Herbs
Elderberry Syrup or Elderberry Gummies: Sambucus brand has clinical data which shows it shortens the lifespan of a cold or flu. Word of caution: Elderberry has been linked to some risks. Don’t exceed the package instructions (I personally tend to take less than the recommended amount).
Olive Leaf Extract or Oil of Oregano: These herbs have anti-viral activity. Follow package instructions (or use less than recommended dose).
Zinc: Zinc can support the immune system and can be especially useful when fighting a virus. But it is important to take precautions. Too much zinc over a long period of time can reduce copper levels too much. Intranasal zinc has been linked to a severe side effect (irreversible loss of the sense of smell) and should not be used. Oral Zinc (capsules, tablets, or gummies) can cause nausea, so give with food. Some forms of zinc are more absorbable than others. I like to use zinc picolinate.
Vitamin C: Vitamin C, being water soluble, can be taken at a dose “up to bowel tolerance”. What does this mean? You can take any amount up to the level that causes loose stools.
Echinacea: Can stimulate immune system. A word of caution: may not be good for auto-immune conditions.
Garlic and Ginger: These can be taken in capsule form or as whole or juiced garlic and ginger. A tea can be made out of ginger.
Choose from one or two of the many essential oils which may help during a cold or flu. If congested breathing is an issue, try eucalyptus or one of the respiratory combos below. Otherwise, alternate whatever you have on hand. If you can’t decide which one to use or don’t have many on hand, just opt for one of the immune supporting combos.
Immune Supporting Combos: Germ Fighter, Immune Aid, On Guard by DoTerra
Respiratory combo: Breathe by DoTerra, Respir Aid
Thyme, Eucalyptus, Cinnamon Bark, Sweet Orange, Oregano, Tea Tree/Melaleuca, Bergamot, Peppermint
Take natrum sulph, ferrum phos, and kali mur every hour until fever subsides.
Take kali mur for limb pains.
Toward the end of symptoms take kali phos and calc phos to strengthen constitution.