And, so it begins. The season of family, friends, food, festivities and, less desirably, the crud.
What follows is an account of one family suffering from the crud. I know this family well and often help them homeopathically through quick text exchanges. Knowing she has a good home kit of homeopathic remedies, I addressed her questions and their symptoms with common remedies.
Note: sitting down and taking the full case is definitely a better way to approach any situation, but this is how things go sometimes. She didn’t request a “full” acute consultation, she just wanted to address her symptoms as they popped up.
A friend called last week with her 1st grader suffering a nasty, yucky cough. She got over it pretty quickly, but she managed to share it with her little sisters. The littlest one wasn’t sleeping for a few nights and since little ones aren’t known for entertaining themselves quietly when they aren’t sleeping, her mom didn’t sleep either and she, too, succumbed to the crud.
In an ideal world, the right remedy will take care of the whole enchilada all at once. But, with colds and flus you often have to chase the symptoms. One remedy takes care of the first problem and then the symptoms change and move and are looking for attention elsewhere.
The mom texted with her symptoms: “What do I take for right sided nasal congestion that is also plugging my right ear? It’s a gross one. I tried to get on top of it before it fully took over and was unsuccessful.”
My answer: homeopathic Sanguinaria canadensis.
I knew from her oldest’s symptoms that an icky cough was part of this picture and Sanguinaria is a good cough remedy in general. It is highly indicated in a hacking cough, an irritable cough, a tickling cough and even whooping cough.
Sanguinaria also is noted for ear pain and ear discharges and excessive mucus and/or tickling in the larynx, trachea or throat. The lungs may be filled with gunk and the discharges may be stringy or have an odor
The headaches of Sanguinaria can be accompanied by nausea or have pain above the eyes and can be specifically associated with the right side. Gastric headaches, throbbing headaches and migraines can all be helped by homeopathic Sanguinaria.
The Sanguinaria did its thing and she was feeling better than she had been earlier in the day, but her ear was still troubling her. It turns out her ear was hurting more than she mentioned at first and said that earlier in the day she found relief from resting her ear on a heating pad*. This made me think of Belladonna, another right-sided remedy that is indicated in ear pain that is better from warmth. Not long after, she texted that the crackling was much improved.
* This is a very common occurrence, where what would be important symptoms are left off “the list” for one reason or another. Perhaps it is that another symptom is taking precedence or the symptom in question was worse and seemed to have disappeared and not worth mentioning, but then rears its head again.
The next morning, the ear pain was gone but the congestion had shifted to her left nostril. Arsenicum album or Apis popped into my head and she texted that she had the Arsenicum album near by and “it seemed to do the trick.”
I didn’t hear from her again and I just happened to text this afternoon to see how she was doing and she was not well. She now thought she had developed a sinus infection. In addition to that, her middle child was still sleeping poorly, coughing and “when she blows her nose it’s like she could blow it forever and never run out of snot.” Her daughter was also “fairly emotional” and “overly sensitive” about things that normally wouldn’t bother her.
This was the first I had heard about this daughter and suggested Pulsatilla. Pulsatilla is well known for sadness, weeping easily and changeable moods. Children who can benefit from Pulsatilla are often in need of comforting and feel better for consolation. Pulsatilla is also known for discharges of all kinds from all over the body: ears, eyes, lungs, nose and more. A non-irritating, bland, discharge which may be thick or slimy or yellowish/greenish. Pulsatilla is not the only remedy that is known for a copious discharge, but when you add in the over-sensitivity, then Pulsatilla makes a lot of sense. Very soon after, another text arrived saying her daughter was already sounding less cruddy and was “snotting and coughing” less than before.
As for the mom, she was suffering sinus pressure and a pretty bad headache. The mucus was no longer free flowing but it was sticking around causing the sinus pressure and the headache and causing pain at the base of her neck and down the shoulder blades.
Kali bich is one of the best remedies for headaches from sinus pressure and also for sinus infections. Again, in very short order, another text arrived saying she was “feeling so much better.” A few minutes after that she phoned from her car (she felt well enough to go out and do what she needed to do!) and said she could “feel the tension leaving her body.” Her face pain was gone, her shoulders were relaxing and her voice continued to lighten as the conversation continued.
Could all of the mom’s symptoms be addressed more cleanly straight off the bat? Perhaps. In hindsight, Kali bich may have been what she needed from the start, but as the symptoms presented themselves, it didn’t become clear until later. Homeopathy definitely isn’t an exact science and when the symptoms are being addressed in a piece-meal fashion via short, informal texts it’s easy to miss symptoms which could be more specifically targeted if more information had been available.
Regardless, homeopathy was able to keep this busy mom going, despite her many and varied symptoms and is a good example of how symptoms can be addressed and responded to when you have a stash of common remedies at your disposal.
At this point, the dad has not succumbed. He has been taking Cold Calm** as a preventative. So far, so good!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
** I have no affiliation with this company, I just like their product.
Remember way back when when we used to routinely exercise our immune system? We would be constantly bombarded by germs that if you weren’t strong enough would result in… [play the ‘duh duh duh’ music here] a cold!
There is/was a school of thought that getting and beating these types of attacks is/was good for your health — taking your immune system for a walk, so to speak.
My family routinely turned to Boiron’s Cold Calm for quick relief almost every time a little “somethin’ somethin’” seemed to be creeping in.
Cold Calm is a combination homeopathic remedy that can certainly save time and energy if the symptoms are just starting to present and are not quite clear enough to choose just one remedy. Or, when you are the person suffering and the inability to think clearly sets in.
Here are the homeopathic remedies included in Cold Calm with a little more information to understand what’s in it and how these individual remedies may help your symptoms.
Allium cepa is the red onion — you know, the thing that makes your eyes itch and burn and tear up and your nose follows streaming along soon after.
Apis mellifica is the honey bee — you know, the thing that stings you and you swell up… like your nose or your eyes if you have a cold.
Belladonna has a reputation as a “virus interrupter.” More specifically to coming down with a cold, Belladonna can be helpful with congestion or when suffering a headache as a result of stuffiness. It’s certainly helpful if any sore throat is involved.
Eupatorium perfoliatum, also known as “Bone-set” is an excellent fever remedy, specifically (wait for it…) when your bones ache, including your facial bones as a result of sinus pain.
Gelsemium sempervirens is one of the great homeopathic influenza remedies. This remedy is taught in the homeopathy schools as the 7 dwarfs remedy: for when someone is Droopy, Drowsy, Dumb, Dizzy, Drained — that’s only 5, but you get the idea. An excellent headache remedy.
Kali bich — for when it’s thick! The old homeopathy books call them “clinkers” — that’s a booger to you and me in modern parlance. Lumps of stuff in the nose or throat. Again, another excellent headache remedy if the symptoms fit.
Nux vomica — good for stuffy nose, but even better for sneezing. Nux vomica is also an excellent remedy for the tummy symptoms which can sometimes accompany a cold/flu. And, it’s really good for the short temper that can sneak in there when you’re feeling crummy.
Phytolacca decandra — swollen glands and sore throats, specifically the sore throats where the pains shoot from the throat into the ears on swallowing.
Pulsatilla — if there is a loss of taste and smell. Stuffy nose; a bad odor in the nose; mucusy, loose cough, bland watering eyes (not burning, that’s Apis mentioned above).
I have heard Cold Calm referred to as "magical" — now you know why. This little mixture covers just about everything one would need at the start of “a little somethin’ somethin’” coming on.
If Cold Calm isn’t quite cutting it for you and you need some further assistance with cold or flu symptoms, book an acute appointment and we’ll see what we can do to get you feeling better quicker.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash
Julia Coyte, CHom
I am passionate about homeopathy and I love sharing this passion. Having a working knowledge of homeopathy shouldn't be kept a secret. If people have the ability to help themselves, their children and their friends when they have minor ailments, life just gets better for everyone. That is the purpose behind Ruminating on Remedies.