Now I am one of the first in line when it comes to believing that sometimes we just need to be sick for a bit. The occasional flu or cold which allows the body to let go and the mind and spirit to rest is natural and can be a truly healing and immune strengthening passage. But sometimes, and hopefully it is only sometimes, we feel we may be “coming down with something” and know that there is no way that the opening will be there for it to be a restful or empowering experience.
At times like this, when we know that to get sick will mean that we have to keep on while sick and thus deplete ourselves, it may be best to consider warding off the cold or flu before it takes hold. Likewise, if you are building your way back from chronic illness, childbirth, recent loss, or a long period of overwork it is unlikely that a cold or flu will have the same immune strengthening effects in you that it would in a very strong and vital woman. Now may simply not be the time for one of those colds or flu that, properly tended to, can leave one feeling better than ever afterwards.
There are several homeopathic remedies that can be called upon as allies in times like this. Preventing a cold or flu with homeopathics does not mean suppressing it, or forcing the body’s expression of it to not speak out via symptoms and thus to weaken your overall system by pushing all that snot and so on that your body would like to push out deeper inward. Nor does it mean stimulating the body so that it exceeds its normal abilities and, in a matter of speaking, whizzes right through that cold or flu in a hyped up and later on burnt out state.
With homeopathic preventatives it is as if the body’s tendency to create the symptoms of a disease is somehow satisfied on an elemental level and the need to have those disease symptoms in response to exposure to the virus or bacteria simply no longer exists. Prevention from specific diseases in homeopathy has a time-honored and successful history, flu and colds being some of many diseases including cancer, malaria, distemper, tuberculosis, and plague that are also specifically addressed.
There are two ways that you might consider using homeopathy as an ally in cold and flu prevention. You may want to take an “in the moment” approach and work with more generalized remedies as your allies. For many women this is enough and works quite well. Another approach, if you are certain in advance that you will be preventing colds and flu for the season, is to work with remedies that have been made specifically as preventatives for this year’s colds and flu.
In this more specific approach the same nosodes (disease tissue) that are used to make the flu vaccines are prepared homeopathically. This remedy changes each year and can be purchased over the counter at most health food stores beginning in early autumn, or ordered online through a homeopathic pharmacy.
The directions are on the package and the remedy is taken periodically throughout the winter season. While this path has not proven to be an ally for me I have witnessed it’s very successful use by many women and have learned to count it as a safe and effective preventative.
There are several possibilities in our materia medica for a more generalized approach to cold and flu prevention. You may have to experiment a bit; there is usually one which is going to obviously work better than any other for you. Once you know it consider keeping you ally with you at all times. Quick action is the key to prevention.
Feeling something coming on and then having to wait some hours before you can call on your ally is not a path to prevention. It will not harm you to take the remedy and then to realize that you didn’t need it. It will not work if you wait too long, watching to see if you really are getting sick or not. By the time symptoms are well defined it is often too late for prevention, the cold or flu has incarnated and must run its course.
For prevention, take the remedy at the first glimmer that maybe, just maybe, you are coming down with something. This may be a generalized feeling of being off or achy. It may be at the very glimmer of a sore throat, nausea, a tickle in the nose. Do not wait until you have finished reading that paragraph, drinking the tea, or so on, take the remedy now.
Flu and Cold Prevention Remedies:
ACONITE – (aconitum napellus) My personal ally. Take 2-3 pellets in a 12c potency immediately upon the first sense that maybe, just maybe, you are feeling off. Repeat as needed up to every fifteen minutes or longer for as many as a total of eight doses.
A.G.E. – (arsenicum iodatum/gelsemium/eupatorium) This is a combination of three homeopathic remedies. Best used in a 30c potency take 2-3 pellets of each remedy, one right after the other, and every twelve hours for three days.
ANAS BARB – (anas barbariae) Most widely available in a 200c potency, use this potency once every twelve hours for up to three days. This can also be used once a month as a preventative.
OSCILLOCOCCINUM- Widely available in health food and drug stores, this is marketed by only one company and comes with instructions. You will be told to take entire vials of the pellets, taking 2-3 pellets at one time is quite sufficient. Buying it once and using it this way should give you enough remedy for many years.
Tips for using homeopathic remedies: Put nothing in your mouth ten minutes before or after taking the remedy. Do your best to avoid strong camphor and eucalyptus as they may antidote the remedy.
Ellen Lanham Dart, D.H.M.
[These remedies can usually be found at a health food store, or mail ordered through the pharmacy Homeopathy Overnight 1-800-ARNICA-3.]