Do It Yourself: The Ten Best Remedies to Combat Fever During Cold and Flu season

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While I have posted in the past about homeopathic remedies for patients with colds and sore throats, I wanted today to consider patients with fevers. This is important information particularly for parents who have young children.  The following remedies are good to have on hand in the home (in 30C potency) for those times when the young child suddenly spikes a fever—usually in the middle of the night.

The parent who knows enough homeopathy to treat the simple things, earaches, sore throats, fevers and such, will rest more easily knowing that, in time of need, they stand ready to be of real help to their child.  Indeed, no group has better reason for studying the simple acute uses of homeopathic remedies than do parents who want the best, most effective and safest treatments possible for their little ones when they are ill.

As always, laypersons should consult with their medical professionals before giving any medicine to their child.

In general, fever can be said to have three features:  heat, cold and the sweat.  The sensation of cold usually begins with a feeling of exhaustion.  The patient may also feel pains in the back of the head or in the legs, and may stretch and yawn a good deal.  Coldness usually begins in the extremities and moves throughout the body.  Coldness may be extreme enough to cause chattering of the teeth.  The cold stage may last from just a few minutes to two or three hours.

The sensation of heat usually begins just as the chill ends.  The face flushes, the skin becomes hot, the pulse races.  Look for a dry tongue and mouth, much thirst, headache and restlessness.  The hot stage can last up to eight hours in an acute situation, in a constitutional situation, it can last much longer.

The sweating stage, when the fever “breaks,” ends the cycle.  The fever has burned out the toxins in the system and recovery begins, except in constitutional situations, in which the cycle may begin again.

You will find, however, that some fevers will have only hot stages, some only cold, and some will have no sweat involved at all.  And the balance of the stages will differ from person to person.

So, in selecting the right remedy, you are going to have to balance the three features of fever and place them once again within the context patient’s symptoms as a whole.

Consider the following remedies for treatment of patients with simple fevers:

ACONITE:  The Aconite patient first experiences a violent chill, followed quickly by heat, especially on the head and face.  Fevers associated with Aconite tend to have very little or no sweat.  The patient’s head is red, hot and dry.  Also:  listen for cough during fever.  The patient experiences shortness of breath.  Aconite is of great use in the first stage of fever, especially when the first symptom is chills that come on after exposure to a cold, dry wind.  The typical Aconite has violent thirst. Often a throbbing headache accompanies the fever, and the patient is worse from any motion.  And yet, patient is restless and wants to move about.  You may have great difficulty keeping the Aconite still and resting.  They want to get up, move about, pace the floor, especially during the night.

BELLADONNA—This is our other remedy, with Aconite, for high fevers that are quick in coming on.  Look for a light sense of chill with much heat during fever, or, less often, the opposite, with much chill and very little sensation of heat.  Some parts of the body are hot, while others are cold.  But it is a keynote that the patient’s face is flushed and bloated.  The patient’s skin, especially on his face, is red.  Look at the patient’s eyes as an indicator of the remedy:  his eyes are sparkling, pupils dilated.  Throbbing headache accompanies fever.  The patient cannot bear noise or light. The patient is sleepy and cannot sleep, or jumps and starts in the night, especially just on going to sleep. Unlike the Aconite, the Belladonna patient does not want to move about, but will usually want to rest in a cool, dark place.  The Belladonna patient will want to be left alone to rest.

FERRUM PHOSPHORICUM:  This is perhaps our most important remedy for patients with simple fevers, especially when the cause of the fever cannot be ascertained.  For fevers that appear suddenly in the middle of the night.  It is the keynote of this remedy is that there is no keynote.  There are no guiding symptoms.  There is simple a fever, for no apparent cause, with no guiding symptonms.  This is the general, acute fever remedy.  The fevers generally come on rather quickly, and without warning.  The patient is thirsty during the chill stage.  Look for swelling of the face, especially around the eyes.  Patient may have stomach upsets with fever, may vomit all food eaten before it is digested.  Any exertion flushes the face.  The patient is exhausted by the fever and tends to want to rest.

APIS:  It is keynote of this remedy type that the patient has chills at 4 p.m. (like Lycopodium).  The Apis patient is worse in a warm room.  He becomes chilly at the slightest motion, but this sensation is accompanied by great heat on hands and face.  Sweat alternates with dry skin. With high fever, patient may slip into unconsciousness and delirium (also true of Belladonna).  As fever is often accompanied by sore throat, the patient may be unable to talk.  The Apis patent’s tongue is cracked, ulcerated.  His mouth and throat are both very dry.  The Apis has great difficulty swallowing. He may be very thirsty for cold water, but may have difficulty swallowing it. Think of this remedy for fevers that come on suddenly and that are accompanied by constipation.  Or fevers in which constipation and  diarrhea alternate, when stool  contains mucous and/or blood.  This is an angry, exhausted patient.  He has not patience for others and wants to be allowed to rest.  He cannot bear light or noise (again, like Belladonna).

LYCOPODIUM:  It is keynote of the type that the patient’s fever begins at 4 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m.   The patient has a sensation of chill at the onset of fever.  The patient’s face is yellow.  His tongue is dry and black, or covered with thick mucus.  Fever is usually accompanied by sinus blockage and the patient must breath with the mouth open.  Look for fanning of the nostrils as patient tries to breathe.  Listen to the patient for an indication of the need for the remedy: the patient uses the wrong words when trying to express ideas.  Along with his fever, the patient has a constant sense of fullness in the stomach and abdomen.  He feels as if they will burst.  Fever accompanied by intestinal gas.  Obstinate constipation accompanies fever. The Lycopodium patient is fearful.  He does not want to be alone, and yet he does not want to be bothered.  The Lycopodium likes to hear the sounds of the house filled with people and activity, but does not want to have anyone too close to him.    The Lycopodium patient is irritable and demanding.  He feels he knows what is best for him and may direct his treatment.

ARSENICUM:  Is an excellent remedy to think of when the patient’s sensation of chill dominates.  Even when the fever is very high, the patient is cold—Arsenicum is the first remedy to think of when the patient exhibits internal chilliness with external heat—and seeks warmth (in warm blankets and bed, and, especially in warm drinks, which he sips a little at at time).  The Arsenicum patient also seeks to be taken care of and does not want to be left alone.  Usually, the illness begins with headache, and with yawning and stretching.  The patient will complain of a sense of general discomfort, often including nausea. During fever, the patient may have great fear, great anguish, and, especially, a fear of death.  The Arsenicum is given to great restlessness. This is another patient who you may have difficulty keeping still.  Even when they are in bed, they may thrash about.  This is a fussy patient, a demanding patient, a fearful patient.  The Arsenicum’s symptoms will tend to be at their worst from midnight until 2 a.m.

SULPHUR—Is the first remedy to consider when sweat and heat are the dominant symptoms.  Also, this is an excellent second remedy, one that may be used in fevers when the best-selected remedies have little or no effect.  A dose of Sulphur may be needed to help jumpstart the healing process.  Like Ferrum Phos, Sulphur is often used for patients with fevers of unknown origin.  It is especially called for in cases of chronic fevers.  The typical Sulphur patient is burning hot on the top of his head, with cold extremities.  His tongue is dry and brown.  The Sulphur patient is very thirsty, usually for cold or cool things.  He also tends to be hungry, especially for salty or greasy things, which he finds soothing.  The typical Sulphur patient sleeps during the day and is sleepless during the night.   Note that early morning diarrhea may drive patient out of bed. This is a keynote symptom of the remedy.  Also look for the patient to seem fairly strong during his illness, with brief spells of weakness.

BRYONIA:  Is an excellent remedy for fever, especially when is accompanies Flu.  The patient’s face is red and burning and swollen.  Chill predominates heat during fever. The patient’s lips are dry and cracked.  His tongue is coated with a thick, white fur.  He has the sensation of an oppressive headache, which troubles him more than the fever itself.  The headache pain is as if the head would split from the least slightest motion. The patient is worse in every way from motion.  He wants to be left alone to rest. He has a constant desire to sleep, with sleeplessness and tossing about.  Patient does not want to be moved or touched. This is one of our thirstiest patients.  And yet, because he does not want to move, he does not drink often, but drinks a great amount when thirsty. Constipation accompanies fever, with hard, dry stools.

GELSEMIUM:  An excellent remedy for simple fevers.  In the case of Gelsemium, the chill tends to come on in the evening and begins in the hands and feet.  When fever comes, the patient becomes anxious and is restless, although he is typically exhausted.  The fever may be accompanied by a sense of vertigo. Patient is sensitive to light and noise. Like Ferrum Phos, Gelsemium is a good general remedy for simple fevers.  When the patient is not very ill and the fever mild.  Especially when the fever is not too high, the patient is not very ill, but the illness lingers. As Gelsemium is one of our best remedies for those who suffer from chronic fatigue, consider this remedy first for fevers in those patients who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome.

MERCURIUS:  This is usually not the first remedy selected, because, in the early stages, the typical Mercurius patient may not be aware that he is sick.  He will not complain of any particular symptoms, but may simply feel very weak and want to go to bed.   Like Lycopodium, the Mercurius patient’s face typically is yellow.  His tongue is coated with yellow fur.  His breath smells very bad.  Look for ulcers on lips, gums and cheeks.  The patient experiences bitter, sour or sweetish taste in mouth.  Look for a great deal of saliva.  Look for a swollen tongue.  Tongue may be so swollen that it has teeth marks running along both sides. All symptoms are worse at night or during rainy weather.  Note that Mercurius is a remedy that may be needed when illness lingers or grows worse.


For more about the remedies that you should know about and have on hand this cold and flu season, take a look at Practical Homeopathy, a perfect home guide for new students of homeopathy.

Do-It-Yourself: Twelve Tried & True Homeopathic Remedies for Patients with Sore Throats

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In continuing to look at the remedies that you might want to have on hand for the upcoming cold and flu season, here are twelve tried-and-true remedies for patients with sore throats.  I based this list on the one in my book Practical Homeopathy.  Which causes me to ask:  if you steal from your own work, is it still plagiarism, or are you just being lazy?

As is always the case when using homeopathic remedies for the treatment of everyday emergencies in the home, choose the remedy whose actions best match the patient’s symptoms.  The remedy that best mirrors the symptoms associated with the patient’s unique experience of the sore throat will most swiftly and effectively work to aid the patient’s own immune system in the restoration of health.  I suggest that these remedies not be used in any potency above a 30C unless you are told otherwise by a medical professional.

First, two remedies for sore throats that come on after exposure to cold air:

ACONITE: Think of ACONITE first for a sore throat that comes on quickly, most especially if that sore throat begins after exposure to cold, dry wind.  Look for the throat to look red and swollen and for the patient to feel chilled, even during an accompanying fever.  Patient’s face will be bright red, hot to the touch and dry.

CHAMOMILLA:  This is the remedy for sore throats that come on after you go out into cold air while perspiring.  Singing and burning pains in the throat.  There is a sensation that you should be able to cough something up from the throat and then you will feel better.  Often the remedy for children’s sore throats, especially when the child is cross.

Now two remedies for sore throats that are often associated with tonsillitis.  (Although, note, they may be used for other cases of sore throat as well, so don’t limit their use in your thinking.)

BELLADONNA:  This is the best remedy to think of in cases in which the pain is associated with tonsillitis, but it may be useful in other sore throats as well.  The pain comes on quickly.  The tonsils and throat will be bright red.   The pain is burning in nature, and—look for this, it is a good indicator—the patient swallows constantly, even though it hurts for them to swallow.  They may have trouble swallowing food or water.  They want lemons or oranges.  Look for a fever to accompany the sore throat.  The patient wants to rest in a quiet cool place, often in a half sitting position.  In the same way, the patient may seem half asleep, half awake much of the time.

FERRUM PHOSPHORICUM:  The other remedy to think of in cases of tonsillitis.  Think of this remedy when the pain does not occur as suddenly as it does with BELLADONNA, but comes on slowly, and starts out rather mildly, usually in the middle of the night or just before bedtime.  Usually the symptoms will not reach the point of severity or drama as they do with BELLADONNA.  In fact, FERRUM PHOS  is often given for fevers and sore throats that are notable for their lack of specific symptoms.  They simply are there.  Sore throats where pain is accompanied by fever and hoarseness.  NOTE:  FERRUM is also a good remedy to have on had for people who lose their voices from overuse, especially from straining due to singing.  Think of this remedy if the patient feels better from drinking cold water.

Now some general sore throat remedies:

APIS:  Think of the general APIS picture and apply it to a sore throat.  In other words, think of a bee sting, how it feels and how the skin at the point of the sting looks and feels.  The sore throat is red and swollen; it feels stung and burning.  The pain is made worse by drinking warm things, and is better for drinking very cold things.  The throat is dry; the patient is thirsty.  The throat may look to be shiny as well as red.  In ACONITE, the throat looks swollen.  In APIS, it feels swollen as well.  Patient will say that the throat hurts whether or not they swallow.

PHOSPHORUS:  This is a great remedy patients who lose their voice from overuse; for what they used to call  “Preacher’s throat.”  Think of it in terms of the patient having given over too much of himself or herself, and now they are exhausted.  The patient loses his voice because he has nothing left to say.  This sore throat demands cold drinks, ice, and ice cream.  Patient may become nauseous as these things warm in the stomach but he still needs to have them for the sake of his throat pain.  The PHOSPHORUS patient wants to be made to laugh, even if that makes the throat hurt worse.  This sore throat may involve the ears as well and may hurt into the ears on swallowing. Look for the patient to experience tightness of chest and for the sore throat and cold to move down into the chest as well.  The PHOSPHORUS patient usually will experience discomfort in ears, throat and chest during illness, as opposed to symptoms in the sinuses.

RHUS TOXICODENDRON:  This is a great remedy for those patients who lose their voices often, due to overuse.  It is the best friend to all actors and singers whose voices are in doubt.  Consider this remedy first if the patient’s pain is worse on initial swallowing, but better from continued swallowing. This is the keynote symptom for RHUS TOX. The patient is made worse from cold in any form and is better from warm drinks.  The patient will, in general, feel better from warmth, especially the damp heat of a hot shower.

SULPHUR:  Think of this remedy as a general tonic for the throat.  It can be used for any situation in which the patient has a mild sore throat in which the pattern follows the general SUPHUR symptoms:  a hot, sweaty lazy patient.  The sore throat pain is better from cold drinks, worse from warmth in any form.  The pain is made better by salt and from eating salty things. The patient will want to eat potato chips–things that are both greasy and salty.   The pain in the throat is burning in character.

CAUSTICUM:  Think of this remedy for the hoarse and rough sore throat that is accompanied by a hoarse voice.  When the pain is always worse in the morning.  This is a very good remedy for obstinate cases, especially with pain in the chest as well as the throat, so this remedy often follows PHOSPHORUS well when that remedy fails to totally heal the condition.  CAUSTICUM is usually an emotionally-related remedy, for cases in which emotional upset is involved with the onset of pain.  The CAUSTICUM patient may lose his voice when shouting out about causes that excite him—as with PHOSPHORUS and RHUS TOX, overuse of the voice may be involved, but the CAUSTICUM speaks in anger before losing his voice.  NOTE:  In a flip-flop from the other remedies, the CAUSTICUM patient will actually feel better in cold, wet weather.

LACHESIS:  Everyone knows that LACHESIS is made from snake venom, and so it goes to follow that the throat, the most snake-like part of the body, will be most vulnerable to sore throat pain.  The pain is usually on the left side, or begins on left and moves right. (NOTE: if the pain begins on the right and moves left, choose between ARSENCUM and LYCOPODIUM.) Look for the left side of the throat to be more swollen or deep red/purple in color.  The sore throat pain is worse from swallowing any liquids, especially warm liquids, better from swallowing solid food.  The patient’s throat is overly sensitive to touch.  Nothing can cover the throat and no one can touch it.  The patient will be very protective of his or her throat.

Two remedies to think of when the sore throat is severe:

HEPAR SULPHURICUM:  Think of this remedy when the pain feels as if there were a stick caught in the throat.  As with ACONITE, the pain begins usually after the patient is exposed to cold air, although this may not be the case in all instances, so don’t rule this remedy out needlessly.  The sore throat will ache into the ears, especially on swallowing.  The sore throat pain is made better by drinking hot drinks.  This is a remedy to think of in cases of more severe sore throats when an infection is suspected.  NOTE:  the HEPAR SULPH patients will not want to be touched or bothered and may become quite irritable.

MERCURIUS:  Think of this remedy in cases of very severe sore throats in which some sort of infection is present.  Usually, when MECURIUS is called for, the ailment is not a simple sore throat, but is usually a case in which a cold has settled into the throat.  Therefore, MERCURIUS is not a remedy for a simple sore throat, or one that has just begun, but is instead to to be considered when a throat continues to be sore for a period of time.  Look for swollen glands under the jaw.  Look for a swollen tongue and for the patient’s mouth to have  a great deal of saliva in it.  The patient drools at night.  The patient’s pain is raw; the throat is constricted.  The patient’s throat will be visibly swollen. Tonsils will be swollen.

These aren’t the only remedies that can be used for patients with sore throats, of course, although they are among the most commonly used remedies.  For more information on these remedies and others, give a look at my book Practical Homeopathy, of, if you have young children in the home, consider Household Homeopathy.