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Homeopathy for Cold and Flu Season

By Chris Jensen, October 12, 2010  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Chris Jensen
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 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 to 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. The regular use of a neti pot is also a great way to keep our nasal mucosa clean and moisturized.
  • Exercise regularly. Not only can regular exercise lower stress, but research indicates that exercise can stimulate the immune system and promotes healthy sleep.




Meghan Crockett says ...
I do not need clinical trials to know that homeopathic remedies do work. I have a herniated disk in my low back that is pinching the nerves in my left leg. I have tried several pain medications & steroids. They made me feel worse. They caused me extra pain in my joints & sent me on an emotional roller coaster. For the past month, I have been using herbal pain & anti inflammatory tinctures. I have had significant pain reduction without all the awful side effects! I also drink herbal teas when I get sick, and they reduce the time I am sick & the symptoms! Thanks for the article!
10/20/2010 9:14:38 AM CDT
Nick McLogic says ...
I would like to point out to the other readers of this article that holistic and homeopathic remedies are not the same thing at ALL. Many of the most successful medicines available are based on known herbal remedies. This is NOT homeopathy. Homeopathy is taking a substance that CAUSES the symptom you wish to treat (like poison ivy used to treat itchy skin). The problem lies in the physics. Homeopathy claims that by shaking the solution in 10 parts water 10 times in each of the three dimensions (up down. left right. back forth) that the water remembers the properties of the substance and then decides to counteract the substance's symptoms. That is pure mumbo jumbo magic. That is NOT how physics works.
10/20/2010 3:38:15 PM CDT
Amy says ...
I would like to ask a question to all of those who do not beleive in homeopathic remedies. What do you think the cave men and the Indians and other cultures beore us did when they were sick? They made use of what they had, such as herbs and other medicinal plants. I can assure you that Hiawath didn't cure his cold symptoms by walking into his tee-pee and grabbing a botle of Sudafed!!
10/19/2010 6:34:35 PM CDT
Laura says ...
@Stephen Daniels. I have used homeopathic medicines for many years, and certainly prefer them to many (though not all) of the allopathic medicines that have more side effects than their main intent. That, of course, as you point out so scathingly, is "anecdotal evidence" which any "true scientist" only sneers at. So, I thought to myself, why not google "Clinical trials homeopathy" and see what comes up? 252,000 hits is what. Some, obviously, consider homeopathy to be strictly a placebo effect (and what, I ask you, exactly, is *wrong* with a placebo effect?). The Lancet, however, (you may be aware of the Lancet -- the premier British medical journal) published a study which showed that of 88 clinical trials, 44 showed stronger results for homeopathy. That's half, my friend, and assuming you are not as willfully ignorant about statistics as you are about homeopathy, that is beyond statistically significant. Now, if you wish to remain unconvinced by the *scientific* evidence out there, that is certainly your privilege. Your mind a[[ears to be made up and contrary information need not apply. Wouldn't dream of trying to change it. Show us the same courtesy and everyone is happy.
10/18/2010 8:35:06 AM CDT
Lisa Mowry says ...
A 3 step program for natural cold and flu prevention which has worked great for me the last couple of years: 1)Regular chiropractic adjustments 2)Vitamin D3 5,000 i.u. 3)Probiotics 10 billion i.u.
10/17/2010 8:46:12 PM CDT
Beth says ...
My daughter was formally dx'd with H1N1 last year (as was 2/3 of her entire school) while I was pregnant no less. I gave her Oscilliococcinum at onset(first time we ever tried it)...she was fever free in 24 hours and completley symptom free in 72 hours. After that experience, I swear by it. Either the osci helped or the H1N1 was a complete joke of a flu. She recovered days faster than her classmates who were prescribed tamiflu.
10/17/2010 9:03:52 PM CDT
Stephen Daniels says ...
As expected, not a single link to a clinical trial. Though one commentator seemed thrilled that their mild case if the flu vanished after three days. Perhaps you had a cold? As for the person who suggested using it to treat bronchitis and pneumonia in children, what an irresponsible and downright dangerous recommendation. If you have symptoms of such an illness, you must seek real medical attention immediately.
10/16/2010 1:55:21 AM CDT
Bill Geissert says ...
Your advice about homeopathic remedies seems to be based on misconceptions about the immune system. The immune system responds to an infection after it occurs, and is responsible for the symptoms of flu and cold. The virus is shed most heavily in the period before the immune system responds and symptoms develop. If the Flu were a benign illness, spreading this pablum would be just silly. But the flu kills people, including young healthy people. There is one way to bolster the immune system to prevent influenza infection: a flu shot. It is irresponsible to omit this from any advice on preventing the Flu. bear in mind that every infected person will expose others to a potentially fatal illness. We all have a responsibility to avoid becoming public health hazards. Get a flu shot. And please include vaccination in your advice for flu season.
10/16/2010 12:21:57 AM CDT
Isabelle says ...
I love this article great information. No flu shot for me, no matter how cheap the price is now.
10/15/2010 5:13:06 AM CDT
KimA says ...
I have to wonder why the individuals who posted anti-homeopathic comments on the Whole Foods website are visiting the website in the first place...they're probably against organic food,too! I happen to use homeopathic remedies for various purposes. A few years ago I had a mild case of the flu, and took oscilli. It was gone within 3 days. The other remedies I've used worked as well. People are entitled to their beliefs, true, but before venting their spleen, they should do their research first.
10/14/2010 6:36:07 PM CDT
Shasta says ...
Homeopathy is based on false principles, not science or evidence. It doesn't work, and shame on Whole Foods for pushing it instead of REAL medicine. Go to a doctor when you're sick, don't buy sugar pill placebos. Perhaps Whole Foods should be offering flu shots instead of this junk.
10/14/2010 11:20:26 AM CDT
Andrea says ...
I've used some homeopathic medicine in the past for my colds and flu in the past and they worked incredibly well. I think it's great that Whole Foods is presenting an alternative to conventional medicine.
10/14/2010 3:37:38 AM CDT
lana says ...
10/13/2010 8:51:59 PM CDT
SuperBird says ...
Disappointing that whole foods endorses homeopathic medicine, which is useless beyond the placebo effect.
10/13/2010 9:22:21 PM CDT
Melly says ...
I am glad that you covered homeopathic medicines. Many are not aware that they exist. I only found out about them when i went alternative. I use them and they are truly more effective than pharma medicines prescribed by MDs. They don't have the pharma side effects. I always have them in stock so i can use them immediately if symptoms manifest. Boiron's Acidil is superb and so with their Sinusalia and Quietude. Thanks for the article.
10/13/2010 10:28:25 PM CDT
Eve says ...
To those complaining that homeopathy isn't based in science, please do your homework! Homeopathy, in fact, is based in very empirical science and there are quite a few double blind studies that show its efficacy, and other "real" scientific research into homeopathic effects. Check out www.homeopathic.com for a start to educate yourself. Then buy some Oscillo and wait until you start to get a flu and take a dose and see what happens. Or take some Apis right after you get a bee sting and count the MINUTES until the pain and swelling subside. I commend Whole Foods for selling and educating about homeopathy. Arrogance is often based on ignorance, so I suggest that you critics pull your head out of the sand and get yourselves educated on the subject.
10/13/2010 8:27:22 PM CDT
Helene says ...
Very well written explanation of homeopathy. I have been a patient of a homeopathic specialist for over 10 years. Homeopathy is basically an aid to the self-healing abilities of the body, and it certainly is not nonsense.
10/13/2010 7:15:06 PM CDT
Patti says ...
I have used Homeopathic medicines for the last 10 years . I highly recommend them. They have been around for a long time-longer than antibiotics and treat symptoms of illnesses wonderfully. I use them preventively every flu season and have not had the flu in over 10 years. Last year, as a health care provider in a busy Emergency department, I was exposed directly to Influenza over 200 times and I did not catch the flu.
10/13/2010 6:40:40 PM CDT
Stephen Daniels says ...
Absolutely stonished that Whole Foods Market is giving publicity to this load of absolute nonsense. Please show some respect to your customers by highlighting the lack of evidence of the efficacy of this bogus 'treatment'. If you have science-based evidence, such as properly conducted clinical trials, please provide the links to these (good luck finding any by the way).
10/13/2010 7:37:46 AM CDT
Mandy - Natural-Remedies.com says ...
Your article hit the spot! Great stuff, we have actually developed a great product called FluTerminus which helps you during the flu season. You can actually develop it yourself, as it is an all-natural product of course.It contain 100% natural ingredients from plants, including Aconitum, Arnica, Belladonna, Bryonia Alba, Eupatorium, Gelsemium, and Lobelia. The results are superb, as this is based on a European herbal combination that relieves pain and reduces coughs caused by the flu. Highly recommended, search about it on natural-remedies.com to read more about the effects of these ingredients.
10/13/2010 7:10:43 AM CDT
Jeff says ...
Great article... I totally agree that short term, the neti pot is a great preventive and relief provider. On a longer term, one should consider lifestyle changes for improved respiratory health. I read a great article here: http://www.healthandyoga.com/html/neti/affect_health.asp that one should seriously consider
10/13/2010 5:35:56 AM CDT
Nick McLogic says ...
I really have to complain about your continuing coverage of homeopathic remedies. They have no evidence that is not anecdotal, and the ideas that the inventor used to concoct homeopathy actually are physically impossible. Please stop.
10/12/2010 5:04:32 PM CDT
Bill says ...
Gee, a guy who manufactures homeopathic "medicine" says they're excellent. How can immune building be measured? Has any homeopathic remedy ever been shown to provide any benefit? I'm really disappointed in Whole Foods for selling these sugar pills, and promoting this nonsense.
10/12/2010 10:04:36 AM CDT
nondescript says ...
I came across your homeopathic "medicine" display in my local Whole Foods and my respect for your company fell through the floor. Homeopathy is literally a placebo. There's nothing in it. They are products that have been diluted to the point that the chance actually having a single molecule of the claimed "remedy" in the pill is remote. You're selling overpriced sugar pills and you should be fined for false advertising.
12/16/2010 2:30:24 PM CST
Carol Ann Rouse Gallegos says ...
Cure for Viruses, Hep-C, Epstein Barr Virus, Fevers & Flu Viruses are a microscopic parasites that live in your blood, the viruses leach the nutrients out of your protein molecule causing anemia. Your protein molecule is the viruses food source. Your skin eyes and hair are made of these protein molecules. Sometimes blood born viruses are carried by biting insects like mosquitoes and fleas or even razors and toothbrushes. . I had 4 kinds of Acute Epstein Barr Virus and Hepatitis-C. I went through (chemotherapy) the Pegasys treatments twice (once for the 24 week program and then for the 48 week program) without any positive effect. . Epstein Barr Virus is known to cause many types of cancer. There are 69 different types of EBV and maybe just as many types of cancer. . So for my next experiment, I took a very small pinch, sublingually (however much Boric Acid powder sticks to the very tip of your finger print, under your tongue) of Boric Acid powder, once a day, for six weeks. . My viral load was 9.8 million titers before the Boric Acid, and my viral load went down to 0 titers. And 6 months after the Boric Acid treatments, my viral load is still 0 titers. It’s a medical miracle and a sustained response. . "Boric Acid Powder" (naturally occurring in almost all fruit) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boric_Acid
08/07/2011 3:42:15 PM CDT