Combating Colds & Flu with Homeopathy

At this time of year doctors medical rooms and indeed my clinic fill up with people looking to combat the symptoms of cold and flu.  Sore throats, blocked sinuses and general flu like symptoms become more and more prevalent as the temperature outside drops.

Each individual that comes to see me in clinic has their own symptoms that make their cold or flu both similar and different to another’s, so each of them leave with a selection of remedies that best ‘fit’ the ailments they are presenting with.

Let’s take a look at some of the people I’ve seen this week and how I’ve been able to help them.

Jess brought her young daughter to see me early on in the week, she already has some Homeopathic remedies at home and when she noticed her daughter had started to drop in energy, she gave her some Aconite, Chamomilla and Belladonna a classic combination of remedies given at the first signs of colds/flu.  Her daughters symptoms had progressed however and she now had a very snotty nose and was clingy and needing her mum’s attention.  Her symptoms were generally much worse when she was indoors, where her nose would block up, but going outside improved the symptoms and her mood lifted slightly.  These are typical symptoms of the remedy Pulsatilla, which I gave her Mum to add to the remedy mix she was already giving her daughter 4 times a day.

Jean contacted me for her ‘usual mix’ of remedies on Tuesday.  Jean had previously had a nasty reaction to the flu vaccine and has sought an alternative from me for the last 4 years.  Each year Jean collects a combination of remedies from me, which she takes twice a week for the winter season.  This selection of remedies and herbal support, containing well known remedies such as Echinacea and less well known ones such as Ferrum Phos which boost the immune system and the respiratory system making the likelihood of catching a cold or the flu much less likely.

A very run down Daniel visited me on Thursday with a persistent cough and what we refer to as a post nasal drip!  He felt really grotty, with aching muscles, poor sleep from coughing as soon as he lay down and a lack of appetite as his throat was sore and he couldn’t really taste anything because of the post nasal drip.  Daniel’s symptoms were typical of many peoples at this time of year and he required a combination of remedies to help move his symptoms along and to start to feel better.  I made up a combination of remedies for him, which included Hepar Sulph for his cough and phlegm and a combination called CCA, which helps to support the respiratory system and general chesty symptoms. The combination also included Gelsemium, which has the remedy picture we associate with the aching feeling Daniel spoke of and some herbal tinctures to support his immune system.

Getting lots of fluids inside you at this time of year is also important to help stave off winter bugs.

I recommend warm water with a slice of lemon and fresh ginger, with perhaps some organic raw honey and a few drops of Echinacea tincture, drunk regularly throughout the day.  This mix helps keep fluid intake up and gives the body tools to keep the bugs at bay and supports the immune system to work at its optimum.

A good quality multivitamin aimed at supporting the immune system is worth considering. I particularly like Immunovite for its belts and braces approach to supporting the whole immune system. Many of my patients stock up on my own Immune Support at this time of year. A blend of Homeopathic remedies and herbs known to support the body’s defence system.

As always, if you’d like some support with the winter bugs that are looming or would like to arrange an appointment with me, just use the contact me form.

Are vitamin supplements really worth the money and effort?

We are frequently told and encouraged to ensure we get the nutrients and vitamins we eat from the foods we eat, but with so many packaged and processed foods on the supermarket shelves, many of us rely on easy access meals and snacks to fit in with our busy lives and lack of time to prepare meals from scratch. 

The nutrients in these processed foods are often lacking or impossible for our bodies to breakdown and absorb.  In addition to this, our stressful and busy lives also deplete our bodies of vital nutrients.

So, with many of us reaching for supplements to help boost our vitamin and mineral intake, which are the main ones we need to ensure we are consuming daily?

Vitamin C

Immune Support and antioxidant

We all know vitamin C supports the immune system and many of us reach for a vitamin C supplement when we feel a cold coming on, but this vitamin is also an antioxidant, which means it hoovers up toxic chemicals in the body called free radicals.  Our bodies produce these toxins naturally, so we are always in need of vitamin C to support our cells.

Vitamin D

For bone and brain health

Here in not so sunny Britain, we struggle to absorb enough vitamin D from the sun, our main source of this vitamin, so it’s vital we look to ingest this vitamin in a supplement.  Our bodies need vitamin D to help fight bugs, strengthen bones and teeth and it’s also needed to help with healthy brain function.  Ideally, we need to take this vitamin in the evening, as if we take it in the morning, our bodies won’t look to produce it naturally from the sunshine.

Vitamin B Complex

For a whole host of things!

This group of vitamins work as a group to help energise, stabilise blood sugar levels, support metabolism and detoxify the body.  If you’re stressed and tired your body will be using these vitamins at quite a pace, so it’s important to keep levels high.  Vegans often lack B12, one of the six B vitamins, so it’s worth taking this complex if you don’t consume animal products.

Zinc

The great healer

As well as being a good antioxidant for the body, Zinc also helps white blood cells fight infection and heal the body when there are any cuts or bruises.  So, if you take a long time to heal, it may be worth upping your daily dose of Zinc.  Low levels of Zinc can also lead to poor blood sugar control.

Magnesium

Stress, stress and more stress

Magnesium is the main supplement to help us relax muscles, which results in our ability to relax our bodies and minds.  When we are stressed, our bodies lose more magnesium as it is excreted in our urine, causing a vicious cycle – our magnesium levels go down – we feel more stressed – we lose more magnesium in our urine. Bear in mind that the heart, blood vessels and organs such as the uterus are all muscles, so a lack of magnesium can lead to high blood pressure and painful periods if the blood vessels are unable to relax.  Magnesium can also improve sleep, so taking a supplement in the evening or having a magnesium salt bath will help aid sleep and improve the mineral levels.

Is it OK to just pick up a cheap supplement in the supermarket?

In a word, no! 

If you study the label of the cheaper supplements found in supermarkets and some high street stores, you will see that the amount of actual vitamin and mineral in the pills is minimal, most of the ingredients are fillers and chemicals.  I always suggest to people that they buy the best vitamin supplement they can afford, to ensure they are taking the recommended daily allowance for each vitamin, rather than just taking a tablet which is mainly chalk!  You won’t need to take the supplement, for ever, so it’s worth investing in your health now, rather than trying to treat a health issue later.

Sophie x

3 Things you can do to improve your hay fever symptoms this year

I’ve been amazed by how early people’s hay fever symptoms have started this year, but  perhaps with the lack of winter and the resulting early blossoming of many trees and flowers, that’s a bit naïve of
me! 

The expectation is that this year, we will see pollen levels many times higher than has been recorded
for decades.  Not good news if every spring you expect to be affected by these pesky pollens for 3, 4 or 6 months of the year.

Thankfully,there are a few things you can do to help support your body and lessen the symptoms affecting your eyes, nose and throat.

Just three things can help to alleviate your symptoms, a few vitamins supplements, changes to what you eat and keeping a few Homeopathic remedies or a tincture to hand.

First, consider removing or reducing Histamine forming foods in your diet:

Histamine is produced by the body as a local immune response, and very often we hear of people being given an anti-histamine to reduce the reaction to an allergic response.

Histamine in its natural form is found throughout the body, such as the brain where it plays a role in the sleep wake process and in the stomach.  It is this second area of the body that we can look to support by adjusting our diets to remove Histamine forming foods, thereby lessening the allergic response by allowing your body to focus on removing the allergens from pollen rather than the histamine foods in your stomach.

So, if you look to remove the following foods from your diet, you may notice an improvement in your symptoms:

Alcohol, particularly red wine and champagne. But also white wine and beer.

Smoked and processed meats such as salami, ham and bacon

Certain vegetables: tomato, spinach, avocado,mushrooms and canned vegetables as well as commercially prepared salads

Certain fruits: strawberries, bananas, papayas, kiwi, pineapple, mango, tangerines, grapefruits, prunes,
pears, raspberries

Red wine vinegar, balsamic vinegar, Soy sauce, Mustard, Ketchup

Cheese

Bread and confectionery made with yeast

Peanuts, cashews, walnuts

Chocolate/cocoa, Coffee, black tea

Ok, so maybe giving up wine for 6 months isn’t likely, what supplements can you add to your daily diet to help…

Wholefood Cherry  rich in vitamins and minerals, in particular vitamin C important for supporting the immune and respiratory system.

Selenium once available from soil, where it is now mostly depleted, Selenium treats inflammation in the body and improves respiratory conditions such as asthma

Vitamin B12  as well as boosting energy levels and mood, B12 also helps to balance the hormone levels
in the body, which can be affected by increased histamine.

Vitamin D3 is another vitamin which supports the body’s immune response which can be  compromised by allergies.

 

And finally some remedies…..

Nat Mur the symptoms of this remedy are of watery discharges from the eyes and nose with lots of sneezing. There may also be a loss of smell and a tickly cough.

Arsenicum, a remedy for symptoms that are burning, usually the eyes and the skin around the nose. 
Symptoms often leave the person feeling restless and exhausted.

Euphrasia also has burning, prickly eyes, with lots of sneezing.  People generally feel worse indoors

Nux Vomica sufferers are very light sensitive, they have blocked noses and itchy inner ears.  This is also a good remedy for migraine type headaches.

My most asked for remedy is my hay fever tincture,
which combines a number of remedies and herbs that are known to support the
respiratory system and reduce hay fever symptoms, drop me an email if you’d
like to learn more.