The Homeopathic Approach:
My Kid’s Got the Sniffles! Now What?
By Susy Parker Goins
It’s been a long day. You’re ready to take a break. One look at your child, though, and you see the signs of a dreaded winter cold.
What can homeopathy do for your child? A lot.
Homeopathy: No fake-outs
First, understand that homeopathy is not about suppressing symptoms. Homeopathic remedies are not antihistamines that fake out the body into believing it’s healthy. Homeopathic remedies nudge the body’s immune system toward healing rapidly and gently.
If you recognize signs of illness early enough, homeopathy can nip it in the bud, helping you to avoid a long and severe illness altogether. (Of course, if you’re anything like me, you refuse to admit you’re ill until you are flat on your back, with oogy disposable tissues scattered all over.)
Observe and select
Take some time to observe your child’s symptoms. Remember, you are the one who knows what’s “normal” for your child. What is his overall demeanor? What color is his phlegm? Is he sneezing? Coughing? What makes it worse? What helps?
A patient seldom manifests every symptom listed for a particular remedy, so decide which symptoms are most bothersome to your child and choose the remedy that fits closest to the symptom picture.
Once you have chosen the correct remedy, expect the symptoms to be aggravated and then relieved. Recommended dosages for a child would be 3 pellets of 30C potency every two hours for 6 hours or until the symptoms are relieved.
Cold and flu recommendations
At the first signs of cold or flu, try these remedies.
Aconite napellus is the remedy for the first signs of a cold due to exposure to cold drafts. Your child is restless and thirsty, especially for cold drinks. You can alternate with Bryonia at the first signs of a cold. Symptoms are improved by open air and by being carried. Symptoms are made worse by warm rooms or lying on affected sides.
Belladonna is excellent for sudden onset symptoms and fevers in children. Does your child suffer from violent or congested headaches? Does he have an aversion to loud noise, movement, light or water?
Bryonia Alba is better for symptoms with a slow onset. Your child may be thirsty for great amounts of water. He sneezes a lot and his eyes are red and watery. His nasal discharge is watery, but his lips and mouth are dry. Symptoms are made worse by any kind of movement. Your child may feel faint on rising, be irritable and want to be left alone.
Ferrum phosphoricum works best for tiredness and vague symptoms of the beginning of an illness or cold with a slight fever. There is no other indication for other remedies. If not treated, this cold typically develops into a left-sided earache.
After the first 24 hours, try these remedies.
Allium cepa is red onion. The symptoms reflect the effect of red onion: watery, red and burning eyes and clear, irritating nasal discharge. Open air and cool rooms help; warm rooms and evening aggravate symptoms.
Eupatorium perfoliatum is good for bone and muscle aches as well as head colds with a cough (which can be relieved by getting on the hands and knees). The hoarseness and cough are aggravated by cold air. Other symptoms include fever, morning chills and aching in the long bones of the legs and arms.
Euphrasia is effective for colds with eye irritation, including watery eyes and nose discharge with thin, bland secretions that burn. The discharge is worse at night and while lying down. The cough is worse by day and better when lying down.
Gelsemium helps when there is a heavy, sluggish feeling in the limbs and lids, along with fatigue and wooziness. Symptoms show a slow onset. Chills may run up and down spine. There is often a headache in the back part of the head and seldom any thirst. There can be much sneezing with a feeling of dryness in nose despite abrasive discharge.
Nux vomica works best for symptoms resulting from excess in food or drink or not enough sleep. There is frequent sneezing upon waking. The nose runs during the day or in a warm room but is stopped up at night. Your child may be extremely chilly, unable to get warm and shudder after drinking fluids or after the least movement. Symptoms are improved by being outdoors.
These remedies help for the later stages of a cold.
Arsenicum album is effective for fear and anxiety. These colds feature red nose and eyes, low energy and a nose that feels stopped up but still runs. There is much sneezing. Heat helps, as well as elevating the head or drinking warm drinks. Cold things, wet weather and times past midnight aggravate symptoms.
For Kali bichromicum to be worthwhile, your child must be very emotional. His nasal discharge is thick, purulent, stringy and hard to expel. It has a tendency to invade sinuses and is usually yellow. Your child’s nose is crusty, and there may be some pressure at root of nose. Symptoms are worse between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Pulsatilla is best for a whiny or clingy child in the later stages of a cold. Nasal discharge is yellow or greenish, bland or creamy. There may be peeling and chapped lips, hot cheeks and no thirst. Symptoms are worse at night and in warm rooms. Symptoms improve when outdoors.
Even more remedies are useful for winter colds:
Chamomilla is great for teething infants but can also benefit a child who has one cheek red and hot and other cold and pale. There can be chills and thirst. Your child is in a very irritable temper and feels better when carried.
Hepar sulfuricum works for colds brought on by exposure to cold, dry weather that affects the nose, ears, throat and chest. The cold often spreads from the throat to the ears and the pain extends to the ears on swallowing. Discharge is watery at first, then becomes thick and offensive. Symptoms are made worse from the least little draft. Your child demands to be well wrapped up.
Mercurius solubilis hahnemanni works for colds that start with a creeping chilliness. Other symptoms include violent sneezing, runny nose, a pale, flabby, indented tongue, a foul taste in the mouth and bad breath. Nasal discharge is corrosive and greenish-yellow. There is profuse sweating that doesn't help and your child is very thirsty. Symptoms are worse at night,
Natrum muriaticum handles colds that begin with much sneezing. The nose is stopped up with a loss of taste and smell. If there is a cough, it may develop stitches in the chest. Your child is annoyed by sympathy.
The remedies listed above are among the most common remedies that you can find in your friendly neighborhood grocery store with a health food section.
If it’s the flu, try this!
There is a homeopathic product called oscilloccinum, which is anas barbariae 200C. It comes highly recommended for the treatment of flu symptoms.
An excellent regime to follow before and during flu season (October through April) is to take 6X to 30C potencies of arsenicum iodide, gelsemium sempervirens and eupatorium perfoliatum every two weeks, potentially helping you avoid the flu. These remedies can be taken separately or in a combination remedy.
Which is the right remedy?
With homeopathy, there are a lot of remedies to choose from for all sorts of symptoms. How can you tell the remedy you think is correct actually is? The easiest way is to observe your child. Taking a few extra minutes to differentiate between a yellow discharge and a green or any of the other conditions will help you be more effective at “home”opathy.
If you see no change in your child’s symptoms, check the symptoms again and try another remedy.
If your child’s mental clarity or sense of well-being improves, then you have chosen well. It is likely that while the sense of well-being improves, the symptom will actually worsen. That’s perfectly normal -- not convenient, but normal. If needed, dispense more of the remedy when its effects wear off. Then, a slow and steady improvement will put your child on the road to recovery.
An informal student of natural health for years, NFO Bookshelf and Natural Beauty Editor Susy Goins received her certificate in homeopathy from the American College of Health Sciences. The self-proclaimed out-of-the-mainstream mama of three is a writer, belly dancer, actress, costumer and cook and will soon be celebrating 20 years of marriage to her husband.