Naturopathy for Coughs & Colds

It seems that everyone is catching a cold, coming down with the flu or cough lately. It could be a combination of the weather and the haze pollution in Kuala Lumpur. Or a particularly nasty virus that’s going around. It certainly is lingering around in my home, taking it’s own sweet time.

Apart from treating these illnesses with natural remedies, we also emphasise the importance of prevention such as washing our hands with soap frequently, avoid touching our eyes, nose and mouth with dirty hands and avoiding contact with people who are ill. I definitely do not claim to be any sort of expert at preventing these common illnesses, the fact that my girls are down with one of these illnesses just about every week seems to be proof of that! Unfortunately this gives me plenty of experience on how to deal with them. Basically we suck at prevention, but we’re getting better at treating them….guess that’s progress right?

There have been lots of queries recently on natural treatments as well as ways to minimise the use of antibiotics and other medications. Please see below for a recent Q&A. In the email, my reply was much shorter. Here I expanded it to include more information;

Question:
Hi,
I feel like I’ve heard of Transfer Factor but can’t remember where. Can you please explain to me what is it and how will it help our kids. Btw what do you give your kids when they are down wth fever and bad chesty cough? My son is down wth both. Can’t give him anything except paracetamol . Other medication don’t agree wth his body. Gets agitated after taking them.

Yours truly,
G, mother of son diagnosed with Autism

4Life Transfer Factor Plus

Reply:
Dear G,

Transfer Factor is a type of immuno-therapy and in my opinion it is not a first tier supplement. In my personal experience, it helped my girls during illness-free period by prolonging it, but not while they are ill. I have used several brands of Transfer Factors, one of them is 4Life Transfer Factor which you can purchase easily online. You can also try Beta Glucan, a Warrior Mum friend swears by Transfer Point’s Beta Glucan 500 and VRP’s Epicor for prevention of illness and to balance the immune system. Another favourite is Colostrum, such as Kirkman’s Colostrum Gold. In my opinion, this is safe to take as a first tier supplement.

Another friend who is also a Naturopathic Doctor loves Echinacea, an herbal remedy from the Native American plant. Echinacea is effective for the prevention or used at the very first sign of a cold or flu. It is not to be used for more than 1-2 weeks. Echinacea is widely available in most pharmacies, such as Blackmore’s brand. Do take note that some Echinacea blends contains Goldenseal, an herbal anti-microbial. Goldenseal is not suitable for persons with pollen allergies. Gingko biloba is also used for the prevention of flu.

Eucalyptus Tree

In the old days, at the first signs of illness would see me reaching for the cold medication or Panadol. Not anymore. During my biomed era, at the start of an illness, I usually increase Vit C, probiotics (casein-free), zinc, glutathione precursors such as N-Acetyl Cystein and other anti-oxidants. We also use Fluimucil (a type of acetyl-cysteine) to break down the mucus. This can be bought in most pharmacies I think, though our doctor prescribes it for us. For congestion, I use saline nose drops to clear the nasal passage. Breathing in steam from eucalyptus oil or even Vicks vaporub helps with breathing.

Turmeric

Some coughs are triggered by post-nasal drip, so clearing the runny nose helps the cough. Turmeric is my favourite herb, apart from being used in cooking, it also has amazing antiviral and anti-inflammatory properties. It helps with runny nose. Pound some fresh turmeric and rub the ‘juice’ on the nose. This dries up the sinuses quickly! Though it does leave an orangey-yellowish stain on the nose.

Fresh garlic also has amazing antiviral and anti-microbial properties, so I always add fresh minced garlic in food. For sore throat, gargle with salt water, though this may be difficult for younger children. Taking 1 tsp of honey is said to help with dry sore throats too. And don’t forget to drink lots of water to hydrate.

If that doesn’t help, then I use Sinupret by Bionorica which is an herbal sinus remedy. I bought it in Singapore pharmacies and stock it up, but I think it may be available in Malaysia. Do let me know if you can find it here. Sinupret is the most popular cough and cold remedy sold in Germany. For coughs, I also like Prospan which is herbal based too. As much as I prefer natural treatments, for coughs that lasts for more than 3 weeks requires immediate medical attention.

In the old days, I only give Panadol or other fever medication when the fever is 38.4 celcius and above. For very high fevers, I use Voltaren suppositories. Epsom salt baths, sponging or a cool wet towel on the forehead helps. Some prefer to use ibuprofen instead of panadol for pain and fever management. However if it’s escalated or the fever is more than 3 days and needs medical attention, then I would see a doctor. Ever since I started using homeopathic remedies, I haven’t had to use medication to treat fevers or other illnesses. I am a big fan of Children’s Fever Stop for fevers. Please read here on treating fevers with homeopathy.

According to recent reports, most medicated cold, flu and cough medicines are not suitable for children under 6 years old. I love this article on naturopathic treatments for colds, please read.

If your son has adverse reactions or side-effects from certain medication, I would tell the doctor the names of all the previous medication that he has a bad reaction to and ask the doctor for alternatives. Some medications contain pseudoephedrine which causes side effects eg. trembling, rapid heartbeat, hyper etc and should be avoided. There are always alternatives, it’s a matter of getting your doctor to help you find an alternative solution. I tell my doctor about any side-effect or bad reactions and our doctor is kind enough to respect our wishes.

Nowadays, my first response is always homeopathic remedies. Either using a combination remedy or a single remedy depending on the occasion. With the help of my homeopathy guidebook, online reference tools or by consulting with my homeopath, I use a single remedy to treat an acute condition. If it is the correct remedy, we can either successfully nip it in the bud if treated early enough. Or it eases the discomfort and shortens the duration and severity of the illness. So far, I find homeopathic remedies very effective for my girls and I for certain acute illnesses compared to naturopathic, biomed or mainstream medicine.

Please exercise caution when self-prescribing. Even when using natural or herbal remedies, there may be side-effects or contraindications. Do take note that this is not to be construed as medical advice, please consult with a Naturopathic Doctor or a registered homeopath to manage your child’s treatment.

Hope this helps,
Marissa

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8 thoughts on “Naturopathy for Coughs & Colds

  1. Hi Marissa

    I was about to ask you what to do to treat cold, cough, fever and sore throat. This is very informative and I will follow you advice! Using Antibiotic has certainly affected my son bad behaviour and sensory issues coming back. I would like to ask you that where did you get the
    Sinupret by Bionorica in Singapore? I do travel to Singapore for couple days to see our DAN doctor every month and i usual get GFCF food from Paragon shopping Mall.

  2. Hi Annie, you can buy Sinupret and Prospan from most pharmacies in Singapore. Sometimes antibiotics are the answer to our prayers, it certainly helped us many many times. But it does come at a price:-(

    Take care,
    Marissa

  3. Hi Marissa,

    have u ever tried Coldenza from Nelson’s? is it safe for children? I bought it from Brown rice Paradise. My 3 1/2 yr old daughter is down with cough and cold. Hope to hear from u.

    Thanks,
    Nik

    • Hi Nik,

      I’ve never tried Coldenza myself, but I took a quick look online. Nelson’s is a well-trusted homeopathic company, I buy their Arnica and Calendula creams, excellent stuff.

      Coldenza only contains Gelsemium 6C, Gelsemium is a well known single remedy. I have used it myself, but at higher doses. I usually use 30C or 200C potencies. However, that’s based on my experience.

      Secondly, because it is based on a single remedy, it will work only if the symptoms and emotional picture matches those of Gelsemium. Though Gelsemium is a classic flu remedy, the main characteristics are:

      1.The Ds – drowsy, dopey, dizzy, disoriented and dull.
      2. The patient feels as if a truck drove over him.
      3. So tired, can’t move a finger, feels heavy limbs, aching upon even moving his eyes. But can’t fall asleep.
      4. He has no thirst, slow pulse.
      5. Symptoms made worse by motion, light, noise, stuffy rooms.
      6. Wants to be left alone
      7. Eyelids feel heavy, eyes look droopy
      8. Feels better when perspire, urinate
      9. Flu accompanied by headache

      So if your child has a cold / flu and most of the above characteristics, then Gelsemium would be perfect. If you do have it, then give it a try.

      Gelsemium is also an excellent remedy for anxiety, especially for anticipation anxiety that starts just before a certain event takes place (not for anxiety that can start weeks in advance) Also great for shock from hearing bad news, where the patient feels paralysed, can’t move, trembling.

      Usually for newbies, I would recommend combination remedies where they include several types of homeopathic remedies that would cover most cold/ flu symptoms. Mainly because it makes it a lot easier and it covers many different types and characteristics of various patients with colds, flus. Colds and flus are different illnesses and symptoms, so do read the package carefully. When choosing liquid remedies, make sure you choose either Alcohol-Free or specially made for Children. Otherwise, try Oscillo, it’s a single remedy, a universal flu remedy, but doesn’t help with coughs. NatraBio, Hylands, Boericke & Tafel all have combination remedies for colds and flus. You can buy all from http://www.iherb.com, do remember to read the Product Reviews which gives an excellent guide to which ones are popular. VitaKids also carries a few homeopathic remedies for colds and flus, including Oscillo and the excellent NatraBio Children’s Cold and Flu Relief which I’ve used for my kids many times http://www.iherb.com/NatraBio-Children-s-Cold-and-Flu-Relief-Liquid-1-fl-oz-30-ml/6638?at=0 I also like the combination remedies for colds, coughs and fevers from http://www.homeopathyplus.com.au .

      Don’t forget, even though you’re using homeopathics, you still need to support the immune system with other natural cold and flu treatments e.g. lots of fluids, epsom salt baths, natural antivirals and antioxidants. Hope this helps and hope your son gets better soon Nik!

      Kind regards,
      Marissa

  4. hi Marissa,
    I am searching for some nature products which help to support my kids immune system as they can easily down with the flu virus.
    Are you able to share with me with your opinions on these supplements ?
    1)Childlife first defense http://www.iherb.com/Childlife-First-Defense-4-fl-oz-118-5-ml/6367
    2) Sambucol, Black Elderberry Immune System Support Liquid, For Kids http://www.iherb.com/Sambucol-Black-Elderberry-Immune-System-Support-Liquid-For-Kids-Berry-Flavored-4-fl-oz-120-ml/16697
    Btw, may I check with you for if the active ingredients found in NatraBio, Children’s Cold & Flu Relief safe a 6mths old bb to consume?

    thank u
    Nami

  5. Pingback: Spectrum Mum’s Must-Haves: Sinupret | Spectrum Mum in Malaysia

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