Yesterday my neck was aching and I had a mild headache. Today my throat is dry, bordering on sore. In all likelihood I am fighting off a virus. Here is what I do when these warning signs hit:
1. I scale back on activities and sleep as much as possible. I was impressed a few years ago when we had a Korean university student boarding with us, because whenever she had cold symptoms she immediately went to bed and slept for hours and hours. She usually only needed one day off school, then she was fully recovered. How many of us try to ignore these initial symptoms, bravely going to work and soldiering on through the day? Did you know that you are the most highly contagious during the first 48 hours of a virus? So yesterday I skipped church, went back to bed and didn’t do much at all. Today is following in a similar pattern. I return to bed whenever I am tired, otherwise I am doing low key activities (like writing this).
2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I drink liters of water when I am ill. I vary that with ginger tea. Ginger tea is a potent anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antibacterial. Purchase fresh ginger root, grate or finely cut about 1 tsp or more per cup of tea, boil in a covered pot for 10 minutes, strain and enjoy. A small amount of unpasteurized honey can be added to sweeten. Avoid ginger if you are on blood thinners such as Heparin or Warfarin.
3. Vitamin D, vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin A – I will take these in varying amounts, depending on what my current use is for them. They all help support the immune system. I have found taking vitamin D regularly has really cut the frequency of upper respiratory infections. Use discretion in dosing and length of time for these – especially when dealing with babies and young children. Consult a health care professional for further advice.
4. Herbal tinctures. I personally alternate these depending on what I have available in the house. Again, I am being a little vague here, since I think that specific herbs and dosing should be based on your health history, what other medications you are taking etc. So educate yourself, or seek out advice!
5. Homeopathy – a very safe form of treatment. I will occasionally use an indicated remedy for my symptoms. If you are interested in using homeopathy for your family there are good books you can pick up that will give you the indications for the appropriate remedy.
6. Lymphatic massage and drainage. If you go to our SANP FB page, there is a great little video on how to do lymphatic drainage. Very useful for helping the body get rid of waste products and encouraging the flow of white blood cells to combat the infection.
7. I stay off sugar. Very, very important. Up to 50% of our white blood cells are destroyed for up to 6 hours after consuming a teaspoon of sugar. Kind of like helping the enemy rather than defeating it. This also means no orange or other types of juice when sick.
What I don’t use when I am sick:
1. Essential oils – surprising, I know. Many of my patients use these, I don’t because I have homeopathic remedies in the house which I can’t expose to scents. I also have allergies and lots of my patients do as well. Essential oils can be quite effective, however. Essential oils are safest used diluted and on skin or inhaled, but not taken orally. You must dilute because they can burn skin, or cause allergic reactions. Be careful as well with inhalation, there was a case recently of a daycare where essential oils had been put in a diffuser and several people became ill. I hear my patients talk about Thieves oil working well for them.
2. Cold and Flu products from the drugstore. Yuck. I have never used these. Full of chemicals and they do not aid my body in getting better, they just give my liver and kidneys more work to detox.
Keep these five remedies on hand since they last a lifetime, and can be used to treat anyone, regardless of age, disease condition or other medications. The only contraindication is an anaphylatic type reaction to lactose, since this is the base of these tiny pellets. A person with the usual milder dairy intolerance will not be adversely affected. Use a 6x or a 30 ch potency. If no improvement is noticed in the first two days, a different remedy may need to be used. If the symptoms change, choose a different remedy. If the person is much worse or much better, stop the remedy. To begin with, give one pellet under the tongue , apart from food or drink, a few times a day. As improvement occurs, give it twice a day, then once a day etc. Use a non-mint toothpaste and avoid coffee. Store the homeopathic remedies away from strong smelling perfumes, cleaners etc. I have written the keynote, (guiding symptom), of the remedy right after the name, so that you can quickly scan the list when looking for the right remedy. Remember that finding the correct homeopathic remedy is not based on the common symptoms of influenza – fatigue, fever, sore throat, headache, achy body, cough, but on what unusual feature one or more of these symptoms has for the person, something that isn’t as common or an exaggeration of a certain symptom.
1. Gelsemium 6x or 30 ch ( profound apathy and fatigue)
– this was the main homeopathic remedy
used in the influenza epidemic of 1918
– weak, tired and aches throughout
– great torpor and apathy, drooping of
– paroxysms of sneezing with burning
– constantly chilly and wants heat
– cough is hard and painful
- – fever less severe than aconite
2. Bryonia 6x or 30 ch (worse with any movement)
– just wants to be alone and still,
worse with movement
– painful dry cough
– headache and pains
which are better from pressure
– very irritable and thirsty
for cold drinks
3 . Eupatorium Perfoliatum (Eupatorium) 6x or 30 ch (think bone pain)
– used almost exclusively
in the early stages of flu
– much soreness and
aching of whole body
(a keynote is that it feels
like bones are broken)
– runny nose with thirst
– throat and upper chest are
very sore, high fever
– hoarseness and cough
which hurts chest
– drinking causes vomiting
4. Aconitum Napellus (Aconite) 6x or 30 ch (from a chill )
– used in the early stage
of a cold or flu
caused by cold wind or chill
– great restlessness and anxiety
(may even feel that they will die)
– high fever and chilly
5. Baptisa 6x or 30 ch (think diarrhea)
– influenza symptoms with
putrid diarrhea, stuperous
If there are life-threatening symptoms such as great difficulty breathing, or the person is very old, very young, or has an additional serious medical condition, seek professional medical help immediately. Dr. Wendy Presant-Jahn, ND, CFMP – November 2013