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

Trisha W. says …

Thank you for sharing this post. I did not realize that the FDA regulated these types of medicines.

Chevelle S. says …

I have yet to give homeopathic treatments a try, even though I have often thought of doing so. I know many friends who swear by natural treatments for their ailments, from the common cold to fibromyalgia. Sometimes I wonder if it is all in our minds. If we "will" ourselves to think that one form of treatment will work better over another. I see a lot of comments heavily in the direction of either homeopathic vs. western medicine & I suppose much like any thing else in life, it's a personal pereference & what works for one person may not work for another. That said, I may try some natural remedies for an inury I recently sustained & see if I can tell an honest difference. Thanks for doing these podcasts, either way :)

Valerie Taylor Mabrey says …

think you should always check with a real doctor that knows you history.

Tina M says …

Thank you for the info. The most important thing you can do to keep from getting sick is to wash your hands

Kim Pollock says …

Great information. I have always been interested in homeopathy. I want to start doing this for my family. I hate that my kids have been given so many antiobiotics.

Angela Michels says …

These are great tips with Flu season just around the corner! I never thought to look for homeopathic medicines for my son's allergies!

Angela Fitch says …

Thanks for the pod cast and the information!

kristen says …

Eat right, stay hydrated and exercise... seems like a good idea any time of the year!

Samantha A. says …

Love learning more on homeopathic stuff. Thanks for the info!

Anastasia B says …

We don't even bother with drugs anymore, homeopathy has worked really well for us every winter and all year long! We take something at the onset of symptoms and it usually doesn't even take hold. We also take a lot of herbal remedies and garlic with honey when we know we will be exposed to lots of people.

Maureen says …

I was unaware of the fact that patheos was = to suffering.

lyndsey says …

this was really fascinating! i am always interested in learning more about homeopathic things. thanks!

Linda says …

It's interesting that although homeopathic treatments have no active ingredients, it somehow makes things better! I'm all for it!

Melissa O. says …

Wow, I am not overly surprised by all of the ignorant comments to this post. I have used homeopathic treatments for many things for my children and I. I was skeptical at first, imagining that these might be placebo. But I have had amazing results with many of these treatments. That's not to say I use no doctor or prescription chemicals because I do. I do not however, run to the doctor for every little thing and take dangerous and harmful medicines for every ailment. You can all go pump yourselfs full of man-made chemicals and toxins. I guess you would rather put your health in the hands of a human being rather than the perfection of God and nature. You people are so co-dependent it makes me laugh.

meredith says …

i love all the suggestions. Since there isnt a real "cure" for the common cold, its great to find things that help with symptoms that are natural and may help keep immune system up to fight them off

Mandy Kauffman says …

I haven't tried many homeopathic treatments for the common cold, for example. I'd consider trying it for preventative measures, but if I get a cold or flu, I'd need to make sure I get back on my feet ASAP!! :)

Kelly C. says …

Very interesting and informative, thanks!

Happi Shopr says …

we take extra vitamin c and get plenty of rest

firm thighs and butt says …

Hi, Your every point is appreciate able. Though I am following <a href="http://www.firmthighsandbutt.com/dukandietplan" rel="nofollow">the dukan diet plan</a>, I feel it very much. Thanks

elizabeth s. says …

I didn't know that nuts, seeds and broccoli contributed to a healthier immune system. Thanks for the tips!

Kate says …

I swear by using Saline nose spray as soon as I start to feel sick. Also swear by washing my hands before I eat.

Amanda J. says …

I'm excited to see this article on Homeopathy! It's a new topic for me and I've done a lot of reading recently. Slowly but surely building up my remedy chest!

leticia s says …

I eat loads of garlic

loni says …

Eat Right, get plenty of sleep and exercise!

DanV says …

I try to stay healthy by eating well with fruits and veggies

Erica C. says …

I take vitamin C and eat lots of fruits and veggies to help out my immune system.

krystal says …

I take lots of Vitamin C

daniel healey says …

Why the bug hubbub over this type of treatment.

bonnie says …

I drink a lot of fresh vegetable and fruit juices during cold and flu season to help ward off infection.

brian e. says …

Our family drinks fresh squeezed fruit juices each morning, orange juice among them, laced with copious amounts of freshly crushed garlic to give our immune system a boost.

Sarah L says …

One thing that works for me is making sure I get enough sleep and drinking plenty of water.

heather c says …

For colds, I use salt lamps at night. If I start feeling symptoms, I use the netipot.

hannah says …

This was incredibly informative. Great post.

Alisha L. says …

Thank you for the easy to listen to, easy to understand information on Homeopathy.

angie says …

I had no idea that the FDA regulated these treatments. That surprises me. I am glad that they are mostly side-effect free!

Sadie says …

Thanks for all of the information

Dana Beeman says …

I liked reading more about homeopathy and it's history. I didn't really know that much before. Dana Beeman: danabeeman(at)gmail(dot)com

Tamra says …

Thanks for the tips - I've caught a bit of a bug this week, and I'll definitely be trying some of these today. I've tried a few over the counter medicines that haven't helped much at all.

Jeremy says …

Haven't much tried an homeopathic remedies yet~! Interesting information, though!

Stacy says …

The onion example really helped to explain homeopathy to me. Thanks.

Christina P. says …

Thanks for the explanation of Homeopathic medicine.

Christina P. says …

I usually avoid cold by dressing warm and eating lots of fruits and vegetables.

Katie says …

I know homeopathy sounds crazy, but if you don't use the remedies correctly they will not work. I started using it about a year ago and have been healed from lactose intolerance, soy intolerance, sensitivity to radiation (cell phones, laptops, etc.), strep throat (without antibiotics), bronchitis (without antibiotics), migraines, etc. I've started a blog documenting how I use homeopathy and my honest experiences on what works and what doesn't. http://www.livingcrunchy.com/category/homeopathy/

Angle says …

Cold is a familiar disease.Every one could suffer from this.This is a very interesting and informative post. thank you for sharing.

pritiga says …

Most of the comments against this saying this is fake is probably by allopathy doctors who have no idea what is going on in tne body.."Talk to your doctor about this and that"- We have to go talk to them about diseases and they look and keep typing in a computer. They are so worried that people might resort to alternative medicine. So what if homeopathy is like a placebo - allopathic medicines can have serious side effects starting from dizziness to death. And ocourse they are also made of chemicals. Check how many people on the internet have complained about common cold, flu, sinus, migraine, abdomen pain..If you "real" doctors have no clue about all this and can only operate based on ultrasound, MRI results..you are all FAKE. You have no time to discuss with patients about symptoms at all..We can go and check and get these medicines directly and try them..unlike your HMO and stupid appointments that take us months together to get rid of a stomach ache.

Isra says …

Im a big believer in homeopathic treatments, we take 1 T of apple cider vinegar when our throats are sore, works great!

Oliver G says …

I can't believe that Whole Foods would spread such dangerous misinformation. Homeopathy has been disproved by science countless times and there is no evidence to support it. It is only a placebo effect. Placebo effects make people feel better but they don't cure them. They distract from the underlying problem and prevent people from getting much needed treatment. HOMEPPATHY IS A DANGEROUS FRAUD!

Garrett says …

I can't believe people are talking about this stuff like it is real. You are buying water in a vial or compressed starch in a pill. This means you are literally buying a placebo when you buy this stuff. Did you stop to think why it doesn't react with any other medications, herbs, or foods? There is nothing to it. It is empty wasted money/space. Another common remark I'm seeing amongst the comments is "I believe in this stuff". This is totally absurd. Medicine does not require belief. While the mind is powerful and a positive attitude can increase the outcome (why placebos can have an effect), there is still solid biology behind every real medication. Nothing in homeopathy is a proven science. It is pure and utter garbage. You may as well just eat a spoon full of sugar and convince yourself that it is medicine. At least that would be cheaper. Hey, it isn't my money. Enjoy throwing yours away on something that is less than snake oil. At least in an emergency situation you could burn snake oil for heat. I guess you could drink homeopathic medicine for hydration. ::shakes head at the ignorance::

Heidemarie Kremer says …

Which homeopathic remedies do you have for headache (post bronchitits) and general body ache?

Nikki - Community Moderator says …

@HEIDEMARIE - Our exact products will differ between stores. Check with your local store directly to see what options they have in stock.

Pages