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Common cold is one of the most common contagious diseases in India and across the world. Every year, billions of cases of common cold are recorded and treated. It can be caused by various types of viruses, however, rhinoviruses infections are the most common cause of common cold. Being a contagious disease, common cold can easily spread through the air, by direct contact with an infected person or from a contaminated surface where the virus is present.

The most common symptoms of common cold are:

Symptoms develop as quickly as 2-3 days from the time of contact with the virus. The condition often lingers for around 2 weeks and causes great discomfort. Home remedies and over-the-counter allopathic medicines are the most common treatment methods for common cold, which often result in complete relief. 

Homeopathy also has a very large number of medications for treating common cold. These remedies are prescribed on the basis of the symptoms and the tendency of the person towards certain conditions (also called miasms). Remedies like aconitum napellus, bryonia, belladonna and nux vomica are most commonly prescribed for the treatment of common cold.

  1. Homeopathic medicines for common cold
  2. Dietary and lifestyle changes for a common cold patient as per homeopathy
  3. How effective are homeopathic medicines and treatments for common cold
  4. Side effects and risks of homeopathic medicine and treatments for common cold
  5. Takeaway
  • Aconitum Napellus
    Common Name:
    Monkshood
    Symptoms: Aconitum napellus is often prescribed in case of acute viral infections that show up as a fever. It helps relieve the following symptoms:
    • Burning sensations in the body due to fever
    • Headache
    • Dryness and pain in throat
    • Hoarseness
    • Dry cough

Individuals who benefit from aconitum napellus often feel better in open air and their condition worsens during the evenings and nights and in cold weather. 

  • Allium Cepa
    Common Name:
    Red onion
    Symptoms: Common symptoms where allium cepa is prescribed are:
    • Watery discharge from the nose
    • Headaches that mostly affect the forehead area
    • Hoarseness 
    • Coughing and sneezing
    • Fatigue

Symptoms worsen during the evening and with warmth and are relieved in open air and cold surroundings.

  • Arsenicum Album
    Common Name:
    Arsenious acid
    Symptoms: Signs that indicate a need for arsenicum album are:
    • Headache, which gets better with cold applications
    • Dry and swollen throat
    • Watery discharge from the nose
    • Blocked nose
    • Cough that gets worse at night
    • High fever

Cold and wet weather worsens the patient's condition, while application of heat improves the symptoms. 

  • Belladonna
    Common Name:
    Deadly nightshade
    Symptoms: Belladonna helps treat the following symptoms:
    • Sudden onset of fever
    • Sore and dry throat
    • Headache
    • Ear pain
    • Dry cough with little mucus

All complaints aggravate during noon and the person feels better while sitting in a semi-erect position. 

  • Bryonia Alba
    Common Name:
    Wild hops
    Symptoms: Bryonia alba is a widely prescribed medication for pain in any part of the body. Individuals who benefit from this remedy are irritable and usually of a dark complexion. The following symptoms can be treated using bryonia alba: 
    • Dry and painful cough
    • Headache
    • Dry and chapped lips (Read more: Home remedies for chapped lips)
    • Excessive thirst due to dry mouth and throat
    • Tough mucus, which is difficult to expectorate. The symptom worsens in warm weather
    • Stiffness in neck and limbs
    • Fever 

Warm conditions result in deterioration of symptoms, whereas cold weather and cold things help in relieving the symptoms.

  • Dulcamara
    Common Name:
    Bitter sweet
    Symptoms: Dulcamara is often prescribed for conditions that occur during the end of the summer season. It is an effective remedy for profuse mucous secretion and dry nose. Other symptoms that this remedy can help with are:
    • Headaches due to cold weather
    • Secretion of thick and yellow mucus in nose
    • Dry and blocked nose
    • Pain in the ear
    • Sore throat
    • Throwing up white mucus
    • Dry cough with excessive mucus secretion
    • Sweaty palms
    • Fever with chills 

Symptoms worsen in cold weather, especially during night. The individual responds well to external warmth.

  • Euphrasia Officinalis
    Common Name: Eyebright
    Symptoms: Symptoms that can be treated with euphrasia officinalis are:
    • Extreme headache
    • Violent and profuse cough
    • Throwing up sticky mucus
    • Coughing more often during the day
    • Fever with sweating at night
    • Chills

The individual often complains about worsening of symptoms during evenings and when exposed to warm winds. Caffeine consumption eases the congestion.

  • Ferrum Phosphoricum
    Common Name: Phosphate of iron
    Symptoms: Ferrum Phosphoricum is prescribed in chest conditions including bronchitis. The visible symptoms that indicate a need for this remedy are:
    • Mild to extreme headache
    • Burning eyes
    • Ear pain
    • Vomiting with traces of food and blood
    • Aversion to milk and meat
    • Congestion and difficulty in breathing
    • Dry and hard cough that is often painful
    • The person feels feverish during high noon, at around 1 o’clock
    • Night sweats

Symptoms worsen during the night and early evenings. Cold applications provide temporary relief.

  • Gelsemium Sempervirens
    Common Name:
    Yellow jasmine
    Symptoms: Yellow jasmine is prescribed to those who experience dizziness and fatigue with muscle pain. Other symptoms that it helps relieve are:
    • Mental dullness with lethargy
    • Headache; the person feels a heaviness in their head on lying down
    • Extreme drowsiness
    • Watery discharge from the nose along with cough
    • Dry nose
    • Sore throat with pain on swallowing
    • Pain radiating from the throat to the ear on swallowing
    • Muscular cramps
    • Heaviness in the chest with shortness of breath

Symptoms worsen during the morning and in damp weather and are relieved in open air. 

  • Hepar Sulphur
    Common Name:
    Hahnemann’s calcium sulphide
    Symptoms: Hepar Sulphur is well suited to blondes with weak muscles. It is often prescribed in conditions of excessive mucus secretion. The dominant symptoms for this remedy are:
    • Headache with sweating
    • Painful red eyes
    • Sore and runny nose
    • Cough with thick mucus 
    • Difficulty swallowing food
    • Sore throat with pain extending to ears
    • Excessive horseness and profuse cough when exposed to cold and dry winds
    • Chills on going out in open air
    • Night sweats

Symptoms tend to get worse in cold and dry weather and get relieved in warm weather. 

  • Kalium Bichromicum
    Common Name:
    Bichromate of potash
    Symptoms: This remedy affects the mucous membranes (the inner lining of mouth, nose and throat). Symptoms that can be relieved with kalium bichromicum include:
    • Headache, especially in the forehead area above eyes 
    • Sharp pain in the left ear
    • Watery discharge from nose
    • Nasal congestion
    • Secretion of thick, yellowish-green mucus from nose
    • Sore throat
    • Hoarse voice with difficulty breathing during the evening

Symptoms intensify during the morning and with rising temperatures; however, application of heat relieves some of the symptoms.

  • Natrium Muriaticum
    Common Name:
    Chloride of sodium
    Symptoms: Natrium muriaticum is often prescribed to those who have a tendency to catch cold often. Common symptoms shown by such people are:
    • Excruciating headache in early morning
    • Heaviness and burning sensation in eyes
    • Watery discharge from nose
    • Blocked nose and difficulty breathing
    • Fever in the morning with weakness and chills
    • Dizziness during the noon

The symptoms get severe during the morning and with exertion. Cold weather and open-air help in curbing the symptoms. 

  • Nux Vomica
    Common Name:
    Poison nut
    Symptoms: Nux vomica works well in thin, active individuals. Common symptoms where nux vomica is prescribed are:
    • Headache, mostly above the eyes, with irritability to noise, light and odour
    • Blocked nose during the night making it difficult to breathe
    • Sore throat
    • Tearing pain in the chest on coughing
    • Dry and clinging cough
    • Chilly sensation with fever

Symptoms worsen during the mornings and in dry and cold weather and are relieved with rest, in the evenings and in damp, wet weather

  • Pulsatilla Pratensis
    Common Name:
    Wind flower
    Symptoms: Pulsatilla pratensis suits sensitive individuals who cry readily while talking. It is an effective remedy for conditions affecting the mucous membranes. Common symptoms that can be treated with wind flower are:
    • Headache on exertion
    • Difficulty hearing, the person feels as if they have something stuffed in their ear (Read more: Blocked ear causes)
    • Burning eyes with inflammation of the eyelids
    • Blockage of right nostril
    • Secretion of yellowish mucus from nose, especially during the morning
    • Dry cough during the evening and night
    • Shortness of breath
    • Mild fever with a chilly sensation during early evening hours

Warm application or warm weather results in worsening of the condition. On the other hand, cold applications and cold weather help improve the symptoms.

More often than not, people catch common cold due to negligence. Poor living conditions lead to poor health and spread of diseases. Small steps towards a healthier lifestyle can make a big difference in avoiding these ailments.

Your doctor may ask you to consider the following do's and don'ts while you are taking homeopathic medicines:

Do’s: 

  • Homeopathic medicines are basically highly diluted natural substances. Their action easily gets affected by several dietary and lifestyle factors. So, make sure to follow your doctor's advice and never skip and appointment.
  • Keep your surroundings clean and maintain personal hygiene to prevent viral growth.
  • Wear loose and comfortable clothes 

Don’ts: 

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine as they hamper the working of homeopathic medication.
  • Salty and sour food should be avoided as they result in an ineffective course of treatment.
  • Spicy foods or any other strong flavours should also be avoided for the medication to work properly and effectively.

As common cold is a mild self-limiting disease, most people don't need antibiotics for this condition. However, cases of prolonged fever or increasing symptoms require consultation with a physician. Conventionally, a doctor will give you medicines to manage the symptoms of cold since there is still no apt medication for the condition. The prescribed remedies only suppress the symptoms. 

Homeopathy has a number of different medications for several of the symptoms of common cold. These medicines don't work on suppressing the symptoms but stimulate the patient's immune system to release substances that fight and uproot the infection. 

Additionally, a homeopathic doctor prescribes these remedies after extensive examination, keeping in mind the symptoms and the physical and mental appearance of the individual. In other words, every remedy is tailored to a patient's need and may or may not show similar effects when another person takes it. There is some scientific evidence that homeopathic remedies are effective against common cold.

In a single-blind study, 485 people suffering from common cold were either given aspirin or a complex homeopathic preparation consisting of aconitum, bryonia, phosphorus and two other substances for a certain period of time. Both the groups experienced equal relief from the symptoms, indicating that homeopathic remedies are as effective as conventional medicines.

In a randomized double-blind study, a group of people were either given a placebo or a mixture of vincetoxicum and sulfur intravenously, two times a week as prophylaxis for cold and flu. Though the remedy did not reduce the frequency of the disease, it sure did help manage the symptoms in those who acquired the disease. The placebo group had more severe symptoms.

Homeopathic remedies are obtained entirely from natural substances, which are highly diluted before administration. This dilution nullifies the side effects of these substances while at the same time keeping their therapeutic effects. As a result, side effects of homeopathic medicines are rare, if any.

Although allopathy is effective, it is unsafe for children and pregnant women. Homeopathic medicines can be given to children. However, make sure to consult a qualified homeopathic doctor before taking any remedy. Do not take any remedy on your own.

Common cold is a viral infection that affects billions of people every year. It is usually a mild, self-limiting disease, though, it can present with severe symptoms in some cases. There is no medicine for common cold and conventional treatment relies on symptomatic management. Homeopathic medicines for common cold focus on improving the immunity of the patient so it can fight with the cold virus on its own. Unlike allopathic medicines, homeopathic remedies don't have side effects. There are several homeopathic remedies for common cold. Though, it is best not to take these medicines on your own as not every medicine works the same for everyone. Talk to your doctor to know what suits you well.

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References

  1. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. [Internet] US National Library of Medicine; Common Cold
  2. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Common cold
  3. G. Michael Allan, Bruce Arroll. Prevention and treatment of the common cold: making sense of the evidence. 2014 Feb 18; 186(3): 190–199. PMID: 24468694
  4. British Homeopathic Association. What is homeopathy?. London; [Internet]
  5. William Boericke. Homoeopathic Materia Medica. Kessinger Publishing: Médi-T 1999, Volume 1
  6. Wenda Brewster O’Reilly. Organon of the Medical art by Wenda Brewster O’Reilly . B jain; New Delhi
  7. Rabe A, Weiser M, and Klein P. Effectiveness and tolerability of a homoeopathic remedy compared with conventional therapy for mild viral infections. Int J Clin Pract. 2004 Sep;58(9):827-32. PMID: 15529515.
  8. Bellavite Paolo, et al. Immunology and Homeopathy. 4. Clinical Studies—Part 1. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2006 Sep; 3(3): 293–301. PMID: 16951713.
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