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Colds are viral infections that take hold
when the body’s resistance is low because of fatigue, nutritional
deficiencies, or stress. Typical symptoms include: a stuffy or runny
nose, sneezing, watery eyes, moderate fever, achiness or lethargy,
and often sore throat or coughing. Homeopathic remedies can help
relieve these symptoms and encourage the body’s healing response.
For dosage information, please read the information at the end of
this section. See also “Using Homeopathy With Professional
Guidance” in What
Aconitum napellus: This remedy can
be indicated in the early stages of a cold, if symptoms are intense
and come on suddenly. Exposure to cold and wind, or a stressful or
traumatic experience may precipitate the illness. Symptoms include a
dry stuffy nose with a hot thin discharge, tension in the chest, a
scratchy throat, and choking cough. The person often feels thirsty,
chilly, anxious, and agitated.
Allium cepa: This remedy is often
indicated when a person has watery eyes that sting, a teasing cough,
much sneezing, and a runny nose with clear discharge that irritates
the nostrils and upper lip. The nose usually runs when the person is
indoors and stops in open air.
Arsenicum album: A person who has
frequent colds, sore throats, and chest problems—with burning pain
and feelings of weakness, restlessness, and anxiety—may benefit
from this remedy. The person’s head may feel hot while the rest of
the body is cold, and problems can be worse near midnight. The nose
often feels stopped up, and the person may sneeze repeatedly,
without relief. White, think, burning mucus may be produced.
Baryta carbonica: This remedy is
indicated for people who frequently catch colds from getting
chilled. A runny nose and swollen upper lip, swollen lymph nodes,
tonsils, and adenoids are typical symptoms. This remedy is often
helpful to children who are bashful and slow to develop.
Belladonna: Sudden onset of a
cold—with fever, flushed face, and restlessness—strongly
indicates this remedy. Symptoms may include a hot dry feeling in the
nose with watery discharge, and a nagging tickle in the throat. A
hard or nagging cough, bright red sore throat, and throbbing pain in
the head or ears are often seen. The person may be sensitive to
light and either drowsy or delirious with the fever.
Dulcamara: When a person comes down
with a cold after getting wet and chilled, or if colds come on when
the weather changes, this remedy should come to mind. A stopped-up
nose and face pain are likely. A person who needs Dulcamara
also tends to have allergies.
Euphrasia: Red, watery, irritated
eyes, frequent sneezing, and a mild, clear nasal discharge suggests
a need for this remedy. The person may cough from irritation and
from phlegm collecting in the throat. Symptoms can be worse at
night, and the person tends to feel better from eating and lying
Ferrum phosphoricum: This remedy
often stops a cold from developing if taken right away when symptoms
start. It is also helpful during colds that are more advanced, when
the person feels very weary, with a moderate fever, rosy cheeks,
sneezing, and a short hard cough.
Gelsemium: Lethargy and aching,
with headache and droopy eyes, often indicate this remedy. Fever and
chills run up and down the spine, and heat or pressure may be felt
in the face and nose. A person who needs Gelsemium often
trembles and is shaky, or feels extremely dull. This remedy is often
helpful for colds that come on in hot weather.
Kali bichromicum: This remedy is
usually indicated for later stages of a cold with thick, stringy
mucus that is difficult to clear from the nose and throat. The
person may experience pain at the root of the nose or hoarse
coughing with tenacious expectoration. The person often feels better
from resting and keeping warm.
Mercurius solubilis: A person who
needs this remedy is extremely sensitive to temperatures, and
experiences night sweats and drooling during sleep. Swollen lymph
nodes and bad breath are other indications. The person’s nose may
feel raw, and the tonsils or ears often become infected.
Natrum muriaticum: Colds with clear
nasal discharge like egg-white, sneezing (which is often worse in
the morning), headache, and a diminished sense of smell or taste may
respond to this remedy. The person may develop cold sores around the
mouth, and the lips can be chapped and cracked.
Nux vomica: Colds with a stuffy
head at night and runny nose in the daytime, rough throat, harsh
cough, and chilliness suggest a need for this remedy. A person who
needs Nux vomica is usually very irritable, impatient, and
sensitive to odors, sounds, and light.
Phosphorus: A person whose colds go
easily to the chest often responds to this remedy. One nostril may
be blocked while the other runs. Hoarseness, laryngitis, and
nosebleeds are other likely symptoms. The person often is thirsty
for cold drinks and feels better from massage. People who need this
remedy often feel weak, “spaced out,” and anxious or fearful
Pulsatilla: Colds producing thick,
bland, yellow or greenish mucus suggest a need for this remedy. The
nose feels stuffed indoors and runs in open air. The person feels
worse in warm or stuffy rooms, with improvement from going outdoors.
Congestion and fever often are worse in the evening. A person who
needs Pulsatilla wants a lot of attention and comforting when
ill, and children may be tearful.
Rhus toxicodendron: If a cold
begins with stiffness and body aches, especially during cool damp
weather or weather changes, and leads to nasal congestion or sore
throat, this remedy should come to mind. The person feels extremely
restless and often paces or fidget. Warmth and motion bring relief,
both physically and mentally.
Select the remedy that
most closely matches the symptoms. In conditions where
self-treatment is appropriate, unless otherwise directed by a
physician, a lower potency (6X, 6C, 12X, 12C, 30X, or 30C)
should be used. In addition, instructions for use are usually
printed on the label.
physicians suggest that remedies be used as follows: Take one
dose and wait for a response. If improvement is seen, continue
to wait and let the remedy work. If improvement lags
significantly or has clearly stopped, another dose may be
taken. The frequency of dosage varies with the condition and
the individual. Sometimes a dose may be required several times
an hour; other times a dose may be indicated several times a
day; and in some situations, one dose per day (or less) can be
If no response is seen
within a reasonable amount of time, select a different remedy.
For more information, including references, see What
is Homeopathy? and Understanding
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Online is for informational purposes only. It is based on
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individuals. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment
with prescription or over-the-counter medication is also
available. Consult your physician, nutritionally oriented
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problem and before using any supplements or before making
any changes in prescribed medications.
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