Whole Story

The Official Whole Foods Market® Blog

Homeopathy for Cold and Flu Season

Homeopathic remedies have a long history of use worldwide, but can they really help at this time of year? And are they okay to use with immune-supportive formulas? Tune in to this encore interview for the answers and some expert recommendations. Dr. Christophe Merville is the Director of Education and Pharmacy Development for Boiron USA.

Homeopathy has a long history of use all over the world:
  • Homeopathy comes from the Greek words homeo meaning “similar” and pathos meaning “suffering.”  It was first used by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in 1796.
  • Homeopathic medicines are therapeutically active micro-doses of mineral, botanical, and biological substances.  Similar to other over-the-counter medicines, homeopathic medicines can treat acute health conditions such as allergies, coughs, colds and flu symptoms.
  • Homeopathic medicines are regulated as drugs by the FDA and are made according to the specifications of the Homeopathic Pharmacopoeia of the United States (HPUS), which lists approximately 1,280 medicines.
The homeopathic healing concept can be seen in every day examples and homeopathic medicines are available in a variety of forms:
  • If one chops several onions in a small kitchen, one will experience symptoms such as spasmodic sneezing, runny nose and itchy eyes.  All these symptoms will be improved by breathing fresh air.  A patient experiencing these same symptoms, including feeling better when breathing fresh air, whether caused by allergy or a cold, will be relieved by a homeopathic preparation of the onion also known as Allium cepa.  It is as if a very small amount of the onion helped the body to react better against symptoms of cold or allergy similar to those caused by the onion.
  • Sometimes more than one medicine is needed for treatment.  These combinations are available in a variety of dosage forms such as tablets, gels, creams, syrups, eye drops and suppositories.
Homeopathic remedies are best taken at the first sign of symptoms and can be used in conjunction with immune-building formulas:
  • The sooner cold and flu symptoms are treated with homeopathic remedies, the better chance there is for a quick recovery and minimum disruption of lifestyle.
  • Homeopathic medicines are among the safest choices for self-treatment and are generally free of side effects. They do not interact with conventional medicines or immune-building herbs or formulas.
  • Many supplements or vitamins take some time to show their effect, whereas homeopathic medicines work very quickly.
There are a few basic guidelines in addition to using homeopathy for staying healthy during cold and flu season:
  • Eat a healthy diet rich in vitamins C and E.  Foods containing these vitamins like nuts, seeds, citrus and broccoli are believed to help support the immune system.
  • Stay hydrated.  When you are feeling under the weather, drinking extra fluids prevents dehydration caused by cold and flu symptoms.
  • Exercise regularly.  Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise can stimulate the immune system and promotes healthy sleep.

Leave a reply

To provide feedback or ask a question about our company, a store or a product, please visit our Customer Service page.

For more information about posting comments to our blog, please see our Comment Posting Guidelines.

150 comments

Comments

heather stewart says …

used homeopathic teething drops with my daughter and loved them. Seemed to work way better than baby orajel and teething gels did.

Lynda Del says …

Great Podcast! Thanks for sharing!

Cheryl Free says …

Thanks for the great tips and explaining Homeopathy!

Candice says …

Interesting to see different points of view. I definitely do believe in eating healthy and getting plenty of rest in order to stay healthy and relieve stress.

Cathy D says …

Wow lots of mixed reviews and conflicting statements regarding Homeopathy!Personally, I think it's all nonsense and I haven't found enough substantial evidence to persuade me to actually try it on myself. However, if there are people out there who do find relief from their ailments using these techniques or medicines, even if it is just a placebo effect, then I say leave them to it!

steff says …

this is great for me to read - i sick with a cold for the first time in a year!

JulieK says …

Despite the fact that there seem to be some controversy on this podcast about the use / benefits of homeopathic remedies...I do believe that it's a good idea for things like the common cold and flu to use natural / homeopathic PREVENTATIVE methods to avoid getting sick in the first place. Our bodies are designed with an immune system that can be kept health and strong with various natural methods!

Pu Ye says …

I love whole foods, Thanks for the great tips and explaining Homeopathy

Valerie Taylor Mabrey says …

I drink orange juice and wash my hands often

Armada Volya says …

I've had great results with alternative medicine, with my own health and my cats. Good strong immune system can beat just about every health problem.

Jennifer Barr says …

very interesting to listen to.

Naomi Most says …

Truly important information. What if people knew they could make their own placebos at home? Then they wouldn't buy vials of water at Whole Foods. News flash: homeopathic treatments are side-effect free because they have NO ACTIVE INGREDIENTS. Sigh.

Shiloh K says …

Interesting, thanks for the knowledge!

Jessie C. says …

Love these podcasts, very useful information. I've never tried homeopathy, it is always interesting to learn other methods.

Dee says …

I've never really understood what homeopathy was so your explanation and podcast discussion really helped a lot. It sounds interesting and pretty effective.

Valerie Taylor Mabrey says …

I really like all this information on a pod cast. It is so easy to do. v

Erica C. says …

I'd love to give some homeopathic formulas to see how they work for me.

Christina Gould says …

I've never tried a homeopathy remedy. Maybe I will.

Teresha@ Marlie and Me says …

Thanks for this! I am testimony that homeopathic medicines work. I have never had a flu shot because I use the preventative measures outlined in this podcast.

Anne Loyd says …

I enjoyed this podcast and learned quite a bit about the options to help with allergies. I also learned that a combination of treatments may also be necessary. Thank you for sharing this podcast.

Shannon Egan says …

I never get sick during flu season! Not since I was a toddler. Maybe I'm just lucky but I keep warm so my immune system isn't effected and take vitamin C supplements.

Elena says …

I truly believe in natural, homeopatic medicine. It can be as powerful as pills.

Amber says …

I try to eat lots of fresh produce to combat the cold and flu.

anita b. says …

i totally believe in homeopathy remedies. i wish my parents started me young.i just discovered it at age 28. :(

Rachel says …

Thanks for the information. I've been trying to stay away from traditional medication.

Suzanne King says …

This is great information. I've learned new information. I've also heard zinc helps.

jeff a says …

ive never tried homeopathicremidies before but after reading all of this i will certainly look into it further--im not a big fan of traditional medication that is making companies rich and me poor..

All Natural Katie says …

I just started using homeopathic meds this year. I love Arnicare Gel. I was surprised that it works so well. My dad is in the medical field, so I grew up in a household of Big Pharma meds. I love discovering herbal remedies such as Oregano and Thyme tea to help relieve a cold.

Erin T says …

I make sure I take lots of vitamin C.

Colby says …

I noticed that this was filed under the category "Whole Body" by mistake; it should be under the "Whole 'lotta BS" category.

cavall de quer says …

Christy actually says it in so many words: there is no active ingredient in homeopathic remedies. This does not prevent homeopathic nostrums deriving from animal sources: pig embryos, duck heart, bird feathers and anything else which they imagine could help suffering humans - see the "provings" pages of homeopathic sites for lists. There may remain no molecule of these sad body parts in what humans ingest for their ills, - but it's too late for the sources to worry about that.

Mary says …

Thanks for doing these podcasts!

Mare S says …

very informative. I knew you should take Vitamin C to stave off colds and such, but not Vitamin E – must start eating foods rich in that as well.

Diana Russell says …

Such good information! I sent it to my Mom - I wish she would give these types of treatments a go!

Elizabeth Weiss says …

This is the first time I have ever listened to a pod cast. So informitive. Thanks!

daniel healey says …

I do not know much about this, is it true medicine?

Summer Davis says …

I had no idea that homeopathic drugs were regulated by the FDA! That doesn't make me think that they work any better, but it's interesting to know. I haven't used homeopathy on my family but I do use natural remedies when they get sick. My favorite is Elderberry, which we use in conjunction with peppermint tea sweetened lightly with honey.

Geri S says …

I didn't know that Homeopathic medicines are regulated as drugs by the FDA, see you can learn something everyday.

tubbytelly says …

I much prefer to go natural with remedies when I can. I like knowing that generations of people have used these natural methods with great result.

Avery Timm says …

Here is a quick guide to how homeopathy works... http://youtu.be/BWE1tH93G9U How do you define "therapeutically active"? Are there any large studies that are double blinded that show that homeopathy has any effect beyond the placebo effect? http://virou.gr/vvX1PZ Homeopathy is not regulated by the FDA any more than water or sugar pills would be. As long as there are no detectable active ingredients the FDA isn't involved. The scandal that people concerned about their health should be talking about is the fact that the FDA has given homeopathic products a pass when it comes to health claims. A product can say that it's homeopathic and it can make any claims it wants to and there is no need for it to defend those claims. They can put sugar pills in a bottle and claim they treat a headache without demonstrating that they work. Then they can put sugar pills in another bottle that are identical in every way that any lab in the world would be able to detect and they can say that it will treat an earache. Can you imagine buying a bottle of ibuprofen that says it has pills with 250mg of the active ingredient, but it's really sugar pills...that manufacturer would be shut down in a second. The danger of homeopathy is not that people waste money on something that claims to cure a headache. It's that people grow to depend on homeopathy, and when something serious comes along they default to depending on it, and since it doesn't work they can die... http://whatstheharm.net/homeopathy.html Whole Foods is contributing to this dangerous situation by selling and promoting homeopathy.

Kathy Rambousek says …

I agree with the comments about treating symptoms early w/homeopatic remedies. I love how I can feel good about my whole family being able to use these remedies without side effects and worries about interacting negatively with other medications.

Janice Cooper says …

I try and stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and juice.

Cynthia C says …

Really, I think the best thing you can do is avoid crowds as much as possible and wash your hands often.

Patricia N says …

Good suggestions I plan on trying for the upcoming cold and flu season.

Terri says …

We try to eat lots of fresh organic fruit and vegetables, drink at least 80 oz of filtered water a day and wash hands frequently. We rarely get colds or the flu.

Shar Donoho says …

Some good information for the upcoming cod and flu season.

Sammi says …

I don't know too much about homeopathy but it just makes sense to stick to natural remedies for something as minor as a cold - no reason for heavy pharms

Aubrey says …

I like this idea of trying something first at home with limited to no side effects as opposed to jumping right into conventional medicine! Def great info to keep in mind!

Anita b says …

I totally agree with the natural way it is def the way to go, homeopathy is how things have been done centuries we could prob prevent cancer using less toxic chemicals

Renea P says …

Great info, and all in a podcast..awesome!

Pages