It seems very likely humans have struggled with the common cold since the earliest days of life on earth. And colds always seem to come with a set of symptoms that may include:
Runny or stuffy nose
Itchy or sore throat
Slight body aches or a mild headache
The discharge from the nose may become thicker and yellow or green as a common cold runs its course. What makes a cold different from other infections is that with a cold one generally doesn't have a high fever. You're also unlikely to experience significant fatigue from a common cold.
The good news is that homeopathy can help shorten the intensity and duration of a cold. Here are some great remedies to consider:
Aconite: Patients needing Aconite will experience the sudden onset of a cold after exposure to cold air. There may be little discharge from the nose (common) or a profuse, hot, watery discharge. A headache may be present. The patient is typically restless, a bit anxious, and generally better in open air. They are also thirsty. The throat may also be involved with burning and stinging pains. This remedy is often quite helpful if taken immediately at the first sign of a cold.
Allium cepa: Anyone who has ever chopped an onion knows the cold symptoms that match this homeopathic remedy… fluent discharge from the nose and eyes. The discharge from the nose is acrid/burning and the tears from the eyes are profuse and bland. There can be a headache, particularly in the forehead, and there is often frequent sneezing. The patient is often quite thirsty and feels worse in the evening and in a warm room, better in the open air.
Arsenicum album: The patient that responds well to this homeopathic remedy often has a stuffed nose with a watery discharge at the same time, or a stopped-up nose can alternate with one that runs like a faucet. The discharge can make the upper lip red and the nose burn (also seen in Allium cepa as well). Those needing the remedy can have frequent sneezing with some hoarseness. Arsenicum patients are chilly patients, and like Nux vomica, patients hover by the radiator or fire. They may suffer from a sore throat and experience burning pains in the throat, paradoxically made better by warmth. They are also frequently anxious and a bit restless.
Mercurius sol: A family member needing this homeopathic remedy often complains of a kind of creeping chilliness at the onset of a cold. They often have much sneezing and a fluent corrosive discharge from the nose—a discharge that can be green in color and taste a bit sweet or metallic. The frontal sinuses may be particularly sore. A patient needing Mercurius vivus will often have offensive breath as well as offensive night sweats. They are generally worse at night and often feel poorly in a warm room but cannot stand being chilled. They are often thirsty for cold drinks despite having a very moist mouth.
Nux vomica: Patients needing this homeopathic remedy may find that their nose is stuffed and dry, particularly at night and when outdoors, and discharges freely during the day (particularly in the AM) and when indoors. The forehead may feel heavy and sore. There may also be a lot of sneezing. There can be a feeling of rawness and soreness in the throat. Patients needing this remedy are most often chilly and oversensitive and have become irritable and touchy with the cold.
Pulsatilla: Family members needing this homeopathic remedy may experience a loss of smell and taste with a thick yellow discharge from the nose and throat and feel much better in the open air. The discharge from the nose is bland. Folks needing this remedy will often experience great stuffiness at night and in a warm room with a fluent discharge in the open air and in the morning. There can be a dry cough at night that gets better on sitting up, worse again on lying down. The patient often becomes thirstless with the cold. It's a remedy most called for if the patient has become weepy and clingy.
Colds can be challenging to treat homeopathically because many of the symptoms one observes are common from one patient to another. The key lies in identifying the symptoms that are unique (and intense) to your family member during their cold. Look for what has changed since the onset of the cold. A change in their emotional state is often a helpful clue.
Remember... The essential element to choosing the correct/helpful remedy is ALWAYS the same. One must match the characteristic symptoms of the patient to a remedy capable of producing similar characteristic symptoms to have success. If you choose a remedy with characteristics most similar to the characteristic symptoms of the patient, you will have a happy outcome every time. If you don't, one will either feel no effect, or an effect that is mild at best.
Dose with either a 30C or 200C potency to start by placing one pellet under the tongue or one pellet in water, stirring vigorously and taking teaspoon doses as needed. Always cease dosing when relief begins and only redose if symptoms again worsen. As with any medical condition, consult with your physician if you have any concerns about the severity of your illness as it may first require medical diagnosis and/or intervention and monitoring.
About Dr. Lisa Samet:
Dr. Lisa Samet N.D. provides Washington Homeopathic Products with a regular column on using homeopathy for the family. She's a naturopathic physician who specializes in homeopathic medicine and she's a partner with Dr. Andre Saine N.D. Dr. Samet graduated from the Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in 1998 and has been practicing in Montreal since then. She was born and raised in New York.
Dr. Samet has chosen to focus on homeopathy because in her experience it is the deepest healing modality available in that it does not just soothe or palliate symptoms but can actually stimulate the body to start to heal itself. Dr. Samet sees patients in her Montreal office as well as long distance using Skype. Learn more here: Dr. Lisa Samet. You can follow her on Facebook as well.