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.