It’s not called the “common” cold for nothing—at some point just about everyone gets one, and many people get more than one cold each year. Sometimes colds, which are the body’s way of dealing with viruses in our upper-respiratory tract, are only signs of our adjusting to changes in the weather. Some homeopaths feel rhe common cold is nature's way of telling us to * slow down and take it easy—an early warning sign that we’re depleting our defenses. In fact, many also hesitate to recommend medicine of any kind, even homeopathic medicine; because the condition is so benign, it’s better to just rest, blow our noses, drink fluids, and let our immune systems do their job.

However, sometimes cold symptoms can be severe enough to make us truly miserable, or may drag on for days and days. In some individuals, infants and young children, for example, or the elderly, and those who are immune deficient, colds can lead to more serious problems, such as secondary bacterial infections. In these people homeopathic medicines can help—not by suppressing sniffles, a runny nose, sneezes, a fever, sore throat, or cough—but by adding support to our body’s efforts to rid itself of the viral infection. Using allopathic drugs to suppress cold symptoms prolongs the illness and risks drug side-effects.

If the cold you are treating is accompanied by other symptoms, refer to other sections such as “Fever,** “Coughs,” and “Sore Throats."

General Homeopathic Home Care

  • Make sure you take time out to rest during a cold. This doesn't necessarily mean bed rest; but do take it easy so you don’t tax your reserves of energy, which could be better put to use fighting the cold.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to help keep mucus flowing and replace fluid lost through sweating. Hot, bland liquids may be particularly comforting and loosen phlegm.
  • Blow your nose rather than sniffling and swallowing mucus; cough up phlegm frequently. 'Ceach young children how to do this; in infants, use a small bulb syringe to evacuate mucus from the nose.
  • Avoid extreme heat, such as steam baths and saunas; and extreme cold as well.
  • Take 3 to 5 grams (3,000 to 5,000 milligrams) of vitamin C per day or more in divided doses (250 milligrams for children), which some studies show can lessen the severity and duration of symptoms.
  • Keep the air moist with a humidifier or vaporizer; or inhale steam from a bowl of hot water (make a hood by draping a towel over your head) to further loosen mucus and make breathing easier.
  • Eat a light diet of bland, well-cooked food. The correct way of stating the old adage from American folk medicine is “If you feed a cold, you will have to starve a fever.”

Homeopathic Remedies

There are a large number of homeopathic remedies useful for cold symptoms. The most commonly used are:

  • Aconite. Recommended only during the early stage of a cold, especially when the cold symptoms appear suddenly and violently after exposure to cold weather or wind; when there is a clear watery runny nose, and a lot of sneezing; there may be a red, hot, sore throat, fever, and coughing; and the person may be restless and anxious, but not delirious.
  • Belladonna. Also used in the earliest stage of a cold that has appeared suddenly after the person has become chilled, particularly when there is a high fever and a flushed face; the person may feel a pounding in the head and be restless, irritable, anxious, and delirious; there is a runny nose and often a dry sore throat and a cough that may be very painful.
  • Ferrum phosphoricum. This is also a useful medicine for the early signs of a cold, which may be only a vague sense of not feeling quite well; for colds that occur after exposure to dampness.
  • Arsenicum. For established colds in people who feel chilly, and who sneeze violently and frequently; their noses feel ticklish and irritated and produce a watery discharge that irritates and burns the upper lip; the dry, hacking cough may accompany the cold, which tends to spread to the chest. The person is thirsty for small sips of liquid, and experiences restless sleep, especially around midnight. (Arsenicum may prevent chest involvement.)
  • Allium сера. When the cold symptoms include an irritating watery nasal discharge, copious tearing of the eyes, which may also be red and burn, and strong sneezing spasms; the larynx may tickle and there may be a dry, painful cough; symptoms are worse indoors, with

warmth, and in the evening; better in the open air.

  • Euphrasia. Helpful if the nasal discharge is watery and bland, while tears are irritating.
  • Hepar sulphuricum. For colds that appear after exposure to cold weather; the nasal discharge starts out as watery and then turns thick and yellow, smells bad, and drips down the throat; the throat feels as if there is a splinter in it and there may be spasms of coughing; the person feels chilly, yet perspires, and is sensitive to drafts, which trigger sneezing.
  • Pulsatilla. Very useful for colds that have mainly nasal symptoms; mucus is thick, yellow or yellow-green, and non irritating; it may smell bad and usually alternates with a thinner discharge; the nose may run in fresh air and in the morning, and become stuffy indoors and at night.
  • Kali bichromicum. For ropy, thick nasal mucus.
  • Nux vomica. For nasal congestion that is worse at night in a person who feels generally chilly.

There are many other remedies that homeopaths find beneficial in treating people with colds; if none of the above symptom pictures match or symptoms are vague, you may want to study the “Glossary of Homeopathic Remedies” and compare the following remedies’ general characteristics: Natrum mur, Gelsemium, Bryonia, Phosphorus, Spongia, Sepia, and Sulphur.


Choose the remedy from the above list that most closely matches your symptoms. Administer following

the Rule of Three (page 55). If the remedy does not prove to be effective, repeat the same process with the next homeopathic remedy that most closely corresponds with your symptoms. Bear in mind that symptoms can change markedly and you may need to retake the case before choosing another remedy.

Important Precautions

If you are presently taking allopathic drugs, or are under medical treatment for a specific medical condition, it is essential to consult your homeopath or allopathic doctor before administering homeopathic medicines. Medical care should also be sought if the cold symptoms are unusually severe, or if there is severe difficulty breathing or shortness of breath, chest pain, convulsions, delirium, high fever, extreme weakness, a stiff neck, wheezing, severe headache, sudden unexpected vomiting, or if stools are light colored. Also consult your homeopath if you get colds frequently or if they are severe and long lasting.