As the colder months are upon us, it's time to think about supporting our immune systems to an even greater extent.
With the daylight hours decreasing, our bodies typically have less exposure to natural sunlight, which means that vitamin D levels can decrease significantly, contributing, in part, to greater susceptibility to various viruses that are common in the colder months.
Staying healthy during these months might take a bit more thought and effort, but it doesn't have to be overly complicated. Here are some tips and suggestions that I have used within my own family:
Tip #1 - General recommendations:
Any list of recommendations that one can seek out on the internet regarding immune support, typically will include things such as taking regular doses of Vitamin C, Zinc, and Vitamin D, as well as many other supplements such as Quercetin, Elderberry extract, Echinacea, garlic, etc. I personally also always have Oil of Oregano capsules, as well as Goat's Milk Colostrum capsules on hand during this season.
Avoiding excess sugar and processed foods, maintaining a healthy diet, as well as keeping stress levels low and getting sufficient sleep are also imperative. Trying to get outside into the fresh air and sunshine, when weather permits, is also beneficial to overall health at any time of the year.
Tip #2 - Homeoprophylaxis
Homeoprophylaxis is a word that simply refers to using a special homeopathic remedy, called a nosode, to try to stimulate the body and increase vitality in order to support the immune system. One such remedy that is found in many local pharmacies is called "Oscillococcinum". This remedy is mostly used for supporting influenza symptoms when one is already sick, however some homeopaths have found that it can be somewhat effective in exercising the immune system prior to infection as well, thus hopefully fulfilling the susceptibility for illness.
More commonly used within the homeopathic community is a remedy called "Influenzinum". There are many versions of influenzinum available from various homeopathic pharmacies. Please feel free to contact me via the contact form on my website for links to the companies that I recommend. Typically, one would take one dose of a 30 C potency once/month during cold/flu season, or more often if exposed. The remedies are inexpensive and last throughout the season. This remedy does not treat or prevent illness, but stimulates the body's own healing mechanism. I intend to post more information regarding this topic in a later blog post.
"We must look to homeopathy for our protection as well as for our cure". Dr. James Tyler Kent, MD
Tip #3 - Homeopathic Remedies
Although this seems like it is a repeat of tip #2, there are many homeopathic remedies, in addition to those nosodes listed above, that are well- indicated for supporting an individual who becomes ill with a cold or flu or current virus. However, one of the best ways in which homeopathy can support one's immune system is with regular, constitutional, classical homeopathic consultations from a qualified practitioner. Constitutional homeopathy addresses the whole person and is very effective in exercising the immune system over time.
For acute use during this season, a few remedies that have been used in historic influenza epidemics include: Gelsemium, Eupatorium, Bryonia, Belladonna, Aconite, Arsenicum album, as well as many others. I highly recommend to my own clients that they purchase a homeopathic acute care kit, and a home- care first-aid/acute care homeopathic book to help with home prescribing. Hahnemann Labs (link) is the pharmacy that I use most often with the cases in my practice, and has acute and First- aid kits for home use available. Amazon also carries some first aid and acute kits, as well as the book "The Complete Homeopathy Handbook, by Miranda Castro", which is an excellent book for home use. Acute and First Aid cases can be easily treated in the home without the need for a consultation with a homeopath if one has the right tools and resources. It is important to remember that homeopathy stimulates the body's own healing mechanism and is not used to treat or prevent specific illnesses. Feel free to contact me for more information via the contact form on my website.
Tip #4 - Herbal formulas
There are various herbal formulas that can support the immune system during an acute viral infection. I recommend purchasing herbal formulas from a reputable company, rather than simply searching Amazon for ideas. Herb Pharm (link) is an excellent company which also sells pediatric formulas, such as their "Kids Immune Avenger", which is certified organic and alcohol-free. If you take daily prescription medications, it is important to check with your doctor, pharmacist or Herbal PDR before taking any herbal formulas. Homeopathy doesn't interact with pharmaceutical medications, but herbal remedies can, in some cases.
Tip #5 - Biochemic Tissue Salts and Gemmotherapy
Tissue salts (also referred to as "cell salts") are within the sphere of homeopathy, but are not prepared pharmaceutically in the same manner that an actual homeopathic remedy is prepared. They are excellent for home use due to their mild action and ease in administering, and are wonderful for use in children as well. For use in acute cases, Ferrum phosphoricum, Natrum sulph, and Kali mur are especially effective. There are also excellent, beginning level books about Tissue salts available at book stores and Amazon that would help with home treatment.
Gemmotherapy utilizes the buds and stem cells of plants to support a variety of issues and can be helpful in supporting acute ailments as well. Some common gemmos used to support the immune system during colds/flus are Carpinus betulus, Quercus pedunculata, and Ribes nigrum. A very basic, yet effective home care book for acute ailments using Gemmotherapy is called "Gemmotherapy for Everyone: An Introduction to Acute Care", by Lauren Hubble. Gemmotherapy can be fairly complex to administer when dealing with chronic conditions (as can homeopathy), but for acute care, this book seems to be helpful.
There is much more that could be said about acute care, but hopefully these tips will be of use as we navigate this season!
Don't hesitate to reach out to me for more information, as needed. I am also available for acute care cases. For anyone who is not currently a patient, an acute case can be longer than usual. See website for info.
Copyright, Holistic Harmony Natural Health Counseling, LLC, Teresa Glick, ND, CHom