It’s that time of year again. Cold season is upon us. It is thought that more than 200 viruses cause a common cold by infecting the upper respiratory tract.
That is why when the weather gets cooler, people bundle up or stay indoors for fear of catching a cold that spreads through the air from coughing, sneezing, or coming in contact with a contaminated person or object.
I get it. I mean nobody wants to get infected with a cold. Just ask my friend David. It seems like every time I see the guy he is barraged by a myriad of cold symptoms. He gets a cold at least 10 times or more every year. First he feels congested with a stuffed and runny nose. Then he’ll start hacking up a storm with a sore throat and an irritating cough. He also tends to experience mild fevers, painful headaches, less energy than usual, and lack of an appetite.
You see, in general, everyone is constantly bombarded with viruses all the time; however, many people only get a cold once or twice each year. David’s frequent colds are a sign of a weak immune system.
On the other hand, I never seem to get sick. Want to know my secret?
Homeopathy for Cough and Colds
Most colds only last three to 10 days—and the best remedy is simply staying hydrated and getting much needed rest. Yet most people like David panic helplessly and head for their trusted and familiar over-the-counter decongestants or cough suppressants. Others will surprisingly take antibiotics to try to fight a cold. It is shocking, since viruses cause colds, and antibiotics will only treat bacterial infections. But still, a survey published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that doctors were prescribing 44% of common cold patients with antibiotics.
Meanwhile, your common cold symptoms are actually your immune system attempting to flush the virus from your body. The drugs that suppress your symptoms can actually delay your recovery, or cause your cold to return.
Luckily, I don’t go anywhere without my natural treatment for colds and coughs: my homeopathic remedies. If I do start to feel an irritation in my throat, I just take a homeopathic cough syrup. In fact, evidence also supports homeopathy for colds and coughs. For instance there was a study published in the journal Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine earlier this year. The researchers found that homeopathic syrup could completely resolve a cough after the first week in over 50% of the 85 patients who participated in the 28-day study.
For the study, 46 participants received homeopathic syrup for 10 days; 39 people also received the homeopathic syrup for 10 days and an antibiotic treatment for seven days. The syrup contained a variety of homeopathic remedies for colds and coughs, including anemone pulsatilla with a dilution of 6 CH, bryonia dioica 3 CH, rumex crispus 6 CH, ipecacuanha 3 CH, spongia tosta 3 CH, sticta pulmonaria 3 CH, myocarde 6 CH, antimonium tartaricum 6 CH, drosera MT, and coccus cacti 3 CH.
The following are 10 of the top homeopathic remedies I use for colds and coughs:
1. Bryonia Dioica (White Bryony)
Bryonia is often used for a dry, hard, and irritating cough. Patients usually use this if they have an itching pain in the throat or chest that worsens at night. Movement will also make the symptoms worse. Other symptoms with coughs that require bryonia include splitting headaches, and a dry cough accompanied by faintness, vertigo, and nausea.
2. Antimonium Tartaricum (Tartar Emetic)
Antimonium tartaricum is often used for loose coughs—the patient may even feel like they are suffocating. The patient also alternates between coughing and shortness of breath. Other common symptoms associated with an individual who requires antimonium tartaricum include nausea, vomiting mucus, weakness, drowsiness, hoarseness, and the desire to be left alone.
3. Aconitum Napellus (Monkshood)
Aconitum napellus is often used for colds and dry, irritating coughs that come on suddenly. The person also experiences extreme anxiety to the point of fearing death. Symptoms will get better from warmth, fresh air, and movement; however, symptoms worsen from warm rooms, exposure to pollen or tobacco smoke, in the evening and at night, and during cold, windy, or hot weather.
4. Pulsatilla (Wind Flower)
Pulsatilla is also an effective remedy for colds and coughs. The patient may cough up thick, yellow-green (but non-irritating) mucus. Other symptoms that require pulsatilla include a white-coated tongue, sneezing, nosebleeds, and a loss of smell, taste, and appetite. The person will experience a loose cough in the morning and a dry cough at night. The person will feel better from open air, but worse in the morning, at night, and in heat.
5. Arsenicum Album (Arsenic Trioxide)
Arsenicum album is used for coughs with a burning pain that improves with sips from warm drinks. Other symptoms include restlessness, anxiety, fatigue, a dull throbbing headache with light sensitivity, chilliness, and nervousness. The person will also fear death and serious illnesses. The person’s symptoms will improve from warm drinks and a warm room, but they worsen from open air and cold.
6. Hepar Sulphuris Calcareum (Calcium Sulfide)
Hepar sulphuris is used for a rattling and barking cough that starts after exposure to cold and dry air. Other symptoms include yellowish mucus, constant hoarseness, and wheezing. The person’s symptoms will worsen from lying down, walking, and drafts; however, symptoms get better from rising up and bending the head backwards, a hot compress, and damp air.
7. Causticum (Potassium Hydrate)
Causticum is another great remedy for dry, deep, and hollow coughs. The person will feel as if they can’t cough deep enough to raise mucus. Other symptoms include hoarseness, burning pains, a sore chest, and tightness. Symptoms get better from damp weather and sips of cold water; however, symptoms worsen from drafts, cold air, stooping, talking, lying, sneezing, and bending the head forward.
8. Rumex Crispus (Yellow Dock)
Rumex crispus is often prescribed for a dry cough when a person lies down. The person will feel a tickling sensation in the throat that often leads to a cough. They will also experience long episodes of a dry, hacking, and fatiguing cough. The person will get better from warm air and during the daytime; however, things will worsen from cough after eating, talking, touching the throat, deep breathing, and lying down.
9. Drosera (sundew)
Drosera is a homeopathic remedy used for a dry, deep, barking, hollow, and spasmodic cough that may also produce gagging. The person’s coughing episodes will often last two to three hours. They will also experience vomiting, suffocative attacks, nosebleeds, cold sweats, hoarseness, and holding their sides during coughing bouts. The cough will worsen from lying down, being alone, and while drinking, singing, laughing, and talking. The patient may also be very paranoid and suspicious.
Phosphorus is typically used for a dry, hard, tickling cough that worsens from cold air, laughing or talking, and when lying on the left side. Other symptoms include clear or thick and yellow mucus, and a burning sensation in the chest that feels better from cold drinks. The person will experience difficulty breathing, and they must sit up when they cough. The symptoms will improve from warmth and short sleep, but symptoms also worsen at night, and while eating and reading.
Other Natural Treatment for Colds and Coughs
Other homeopathic remedies for colds include nux vomica, ferrum phosphoricum, natrum muriaticum, gelsemium, mercurius solubilis or vivus, allium cepa, euphrasia, belladonna, and dulcamara.
Other homeopathic remedies specifically for coughs includes spongia tosta, coccus cacti, kali bichromium, silicea, sticta pulmonaria, ammoniacum, lycopodium, senega, ambra grisea, corallium rubrum, hyoscyamus, ignatia, ipecacuanha, and sulphur.
Homeopathic remedies aren’t the only natural treatment for coughs and colds. Effective ways to boost your immune system and fight colds include a variety of supplements such as probiotics, astragalus, oregano oil, elderberry, garlic, ginger, thymus extract, shiitake mushroom extract, Echinacea, South African geranium (pelargonium sidoides), American ginseng, lomatium dissectum, zinc lozenges, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin A plus carotenes, vitamin D, vitamin E, folic acid, vitamin B6, vitamin B12, iron, and selenium.
Natural remedies also useful for coughs include bromelain, colloidal silver, ivy leaf, cherry bark, marshmallow, plantain, pleurisy root, horehound, licorice root, N-acetylcysteine (NAC), and mullein.
Homemade chicken bone broth will help improve digestion and immunity as well. It is also a good idea drink plenty of fluids, but particularly water and unsweetened herbal teas such as peppermint, licorice, or chamomile tea. It is wise to avoid sugar, dairy products, and alcohol when you are sick.
Overall, some relaxation and rest will effectively help enhance your immune system.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Murray, M., et al., The Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine (New York: Atria Paperback, 2012), 169-182, 435-441.
Hershoff, A., Homeopathic Remedies: A Quick and Easy Guide to Common Disorders and Their Homeopathic Treatments, (New York: Penguin Putnam Inc., 1999), 128-129, 134-137.
Balch, J., et al., Prescription for Natural Cures: A Self-Care Guide for Treating Health Problems with Natural Remedies Including Diet, Nutrition, Supplements, and Other Holistic Methods, (Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2004), 171-175, 181-185.
Nyquist, A.C., et al., “Antibiotic prescribing for children with colds, upper respiratory tract infections, and bronchitis,” JAMA, 1998; 279(11): 875-877.
Zanasi, A., et al., “Does additional antimicrobial treatment have a better effect on URTI cough resolution than homeopathic symptomatic therapy alone? A real-life preliminary observational study in a pediatric population,” Multidisciplinary Respiratory Medicine, 2015; 10(1): doi: 10.1186/s40248-015-0022-3.
Locke, A., Encyclopedia of Homeopathy: The Definitive Home Reference Guide to Homeopathic Remedies and Treatments for Common Ailments (New York: DK Publishing, Inc., 2000), 224-225, 228-229.
Pringle, C.R., et al., “Common Cold (Upper Respiratory Infection; Coryza),” Merck Manual Profession Version web site; http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/infectious-diseases/respiratory-viruses/common-cold, last accessed October 9, 2015.