Wednesday, 3 February 2010

The Common Cold

Woman sneezingColds as you know are quite common! But they can be very uncomfortable and make it impossible to function normally for a few days. For some people, they turn nasty and travel downwards causing a sore throat and in vulnerable people, what began as a cold ends in a chest-infection.

A cold has a cleansing effect. It is when the immune system kicks into action throwing off bacteria, bugs, and viruses. It often happens when the seasons are changing. Summer to autumn, autumn to winter, winter to spring etc. So many people get a cold twice yearly, most usually in the spring or autumn. When this is the case, it can be likened to a preparation, the laying of a foundation the immunity needs to start defending itself against more serious illness. For this reason, the cold should be supported not suppressed. And handled naturally so that the immune system gets the boost it is looking for.

It is true that some colds, especially if experienced frequently, may not indicate heightened immunity but instead a lowered immunity from stress, poor nutrition, and becoming quite simply 'run down'. If you are getting them frequently, you need to look at your lifestyle alongside your overall health to solve the recurring problem. This might involve consulting an alternative medicine therapist for example including homeopaths.

So what can you do to beat it? Here are some tips for how to handle a cold.

* If your cold has come on from catching cold or becoming chilled from either being outside in cold weather with insufficient clothing or being exposed to a dry, cold wind or if the cold comes on suddenly out of the blue. Try the homeopathic remedy of Aconite 30c. This very often will stop it mid-track. In this situation, it is important to warm the whole body to get rid of the chill, and keep warm. It really is true that sometimes a 'hot toddy' does the trick -  a bit of brandy or whisky with hot water and a slice of lemon and a spoon of honey. Go to a warm bed and you may wake up the next day feeling alright.

* Beware, all Paracetomol-containing products and Aspirin too. My advice is NOT to take these. What happens here is that the Paracetomol does help to dry up symptoms of congestion and make you more comfortable. But it also suppresses your body's natural response-mechanism . The body produces mucus and makes you feel incapable of anything but rest - for a reason. The mucus builds up in order to surround and absorb bacteria, and it becomes so congested so that you have to blow your nose, spit up mucus and phlegm thus ridding the body of  the germs. If you dry up the mucus, then your body will have no protection (you will literally have disarmed it) and the bacteria can establish themselves more completely in your system. You will find that suppressing your head-cold will lead to sore throats, coughs, chest infections and a build up of mucus lower down your body. It moves from your head downwards.

* Instead, take things designed to help support your immune system in what it is doing.

Take Vitamin C - 1000mg once or twice a day. (Beware, juicing citrus fruits in order to get Vitamin C as they tend to cause acidity and will increase your mucus congestion)
Take Vitamin C and Zinc lozenges.
Drink plenty of water.
Take the herb Echinacea. This has natural anti-viral properties and fights infection. Echinacea is safe for children- you can buy specifically tailored children's Echinacea in the shops, which tend to be preserved with Glycerine as opposed to alochol and so taste less strong.
Another remedy for children is Sambucol (Elderberry Extract) . It is flavoured nicely and works very well.
You may also want to try Bee Propolis. A very strong substance that will fight infection. It comes in a liquid tincture or in a handy mouth spray. (The liquid does taste foul but you can add a little fruit juice to temper the taste)
Eat plenty of raw garlic. But if you cannot stand the smell - take a capsule or tablet instead.

Woman inhaling from a bowlFill a bowl with hot steaming water, add some drops of Pine or Euclayptus Essential Oil to the bowl. Place your head over the water and inhale, and cover it with a towel. This will help to clear the airways. (Note that some essential oils may interfere or antidote homeopathic remedies. So do not do this at the same time as ingesting  remedies)

Honeycomb with Ginger and Lemon Half
Try making up the following tea: Fill your teapot with boiling water. Grate some fresh ginger into it, add some slices of lemon, add 2-3 tablespoons of honey (MANUKA honey is the best). Drink regularly throughout the day.

* What homeopathic remedies can you try?

1. Nat-mur 30c. Take this remedy if the cold is accompanied by a cold sore. If your sinuses flare up with the cold and you have a bad headache. If you are very thirsty and worried about your health, weepy and fed -up. Take if the cold comes on at the beginning of your period. You will have clear,watery mucus and sneezing.

2. Try Allium Cepa 30c if your nose is running constantly like a tap and the end of your nose gets red and sore from blowing your nose. Your eyes may be watering and your head will have a stuffed feeling and you won't be able to concentrate.

Homeopathic remedies are very effective but there are many common-cold remedies. If you have tried Aconite, Nat-mur and Allium Cepa without success - you may need to ask  homeopath to decide for you and prescribe.

If you follow these guidelines, it would be unusual for you not to recover. In cases like this, you need extra support from a practitioner to prevent anti-biotic use and a more prolonged episode of being sick.
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