Many of our patients are familiar with Echinacea. It’s an herb that stimulates the immune system. Taken at the first sign of a flu-like illness, it can help you fight it off. Sometimes you won’t even get the illness, it just goes away. Otherwise it should be easier for your body to defend itself if you take Echinacea. We carry it in the office, along with written instructions on how to take it. For an adult, take ½ dropperful every 4 to 6 hours during the acute phase of a viral illness.
If you are developing the symptoms of a cold, with sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, etc., the first thing you should reach for is Astragalus. Taking ½ dropperful frequently, especially on the first day of symptoms, can really help you to feel better and get over the cold faster. For colds it works much better than Echinacea.
Goldenseal (its Latin name is Hydrastis) is another herb that helps the immune system with certain kinds of infections. It is often useful when there is a thick discharge, such as from the nose or chest, especially if the discharge is yellow, green, or bloody. It tastes bad, but it works well! We also carry it, as do health food stores. For an adult, take ½ dropperful 3 or 4 times a day at first, tapering off as you improve. (Do not take goldenseal if you are pregnant.)
We sometimes also recommend colloidal silver for its anti-infective properties. It can help with various bacterial, yeast, and fungal infections.
Vitamins and especially anti-oxidants can be a big help in defending against acute illnesses. Your body needs a lot more of them when you are sick. (As an example, vitamin C will cause gas, bloating, and diarrhea if you take too much of it. When you’re well you may get these symptoms from 3000 mg. per day, but when you have an acute head-cold or flu you might take twice as much without getting any of these symptoms.) Increase vitamin C and other anti-oxidants when a cold or virus or other illness starts to give you symptoms.
If you’re receiving homeopathic treatment for something else (constitutional treatment or treatment for a chronic problem) we try to manage acute illnesses without giving another homeopathic remedy, so as not to disrupt the ongoing treatment. There are many other things we can do to help. But if your system is straining to overcome an illness it may be time to prescribe another remedy, or perhaps another dose of a remedy which had helped you previously, if the effect of it has worn off.
Please call if you need advice or help in managing any illness you develop during this winter season!