With cooler temps setting in for the long winter season ahead (and snow falling here in the Northwest), immunity is definitely on my mind. In order to make sure my defenses are in tip-top shape, I’m already taking 5000 IU of flu-fighting Vitamin D daily, and ramping up my daily dose of antioxidants.
In addition, I’ve been on the lookout for the latest natural remedies, and in doing my research, came across a new book, Your Natural Medicine Cabinet by Burke Lennihan, RN, CCH. Having worked with one of Burke’s mentors many years ago, I asked her to join us here on my blog to share her knowledge of a powerful cold and flu solution you’ve probably never heard of:
Did you know there’s an inexpensive natural remedy you can take before you get sick, to ward off colds and flu? It’s one of the twelve tissue salts, powerful remedies that have been used for generations but almost totally forgotten in an age of antibiotics.
Among the best kept secrets in your health food store, tissue salts—also known as cell salts—give us the best of both worlds. They act like nutritional supplements in the form of easily-absorbed minerals, plus they are homeopathic medicines transmitting information to our body’s healing energy. So they can act like a tonic to strengthen our foundation, or work like a remedy to heal our ills. Each of the cell salts is a blend of two essential minerals, and each one has multiple uses.
Here are the most effective ones for colds and flu:
Ferrum phos. the “nip it in the bud” remedy, is one of my top choices for every medicine cabinet. You know that under-the-weather feeling, when you’re rundown, you have no energy or appetite, and that scratchy feeling in the back of your throat makes you go “Uh-oh, I’ve got a cold coming on”? That’s the perfect time for Ferrum phos. Two pellets dissolved in the mouth four times a day can stop that cold in its tracks. It works for the flu or any infectious illness. You’ll also know when to give it to your kids: when they’re cranky and whiny, with no appetite, bored with their usual favorite video game, and maybe they have a mild fever but no other real symptoms. Ferrum phos. can help them snap back to their usual high-energy self.
But what if you start the Ferrum phos. too late and the cold comes on anyway? There’s a special cell salt for the first stage of a cold: Nat. mur., which is made from table salt and affects the flow of water in and out of the cells. You can use it for dry skin, dry lips, dry mouth — any feeling of dryness — or for watery discharges, like a cold with a runny watery nose. If the discharge is like uncooked egg white, that’s an even better match for Nat. mur.
Let’s say you forgot to stock up on your cell salts, though, and by the time you get to the health food store your nasal discharge is already thick and yellow. Calc. sulph. could be your best friend at this point, because it’s good for thick, yellow discharges anywhere in the body. (Try it on your teenager’s acne, for example.) If it’s not strong enough to budge that thick discharge, try Calc. sulph.’s friend, the homeopathic remedy Hepar sulph (it’s stronger and might work better if you’re really sick).
How about if your ears are blocked up with fluid that just won’t drain? Kali mur. will come to your rescue, whether the fluid is from a cold, an ear infection, or swimmer’s ear.
Or if your cold descends into your chest and turns into a loose, rattly cough? Calc. sulph. and Kali mur. can help with the secretions – so can their cousin Kali sulph. Coughs are tricky, though. There are so many possible cell salts and homeopathic medicines for coughs that I advise my clients to simply use elderberry syrup, a tried-and-true cough syrup and antiviral. It tastes delicious, especially when in a honey base, and kids love it.
Directions: There are many ways to take tissue salts and you can’t go wrong. If you take too many, you won’t get side effects. (You’ll just waste some of the tablets, but don’t worry – they are inexpensive.) You can dissolve a couple of tablets in your mouth (they taste like sugar pellets) or put a few in your water bottle to sip on throughout the day. Put a handful in a warm bath, or dissolve a tablet in a little warm water in a small spray bottle to spritz a sore throat.
If your local health food store doesn’t have cell salts, you can easily get them online as 6x potency tablets. They are so inexpensive, you might want to get a kit of all 12 so you have them on hand (search “cell salt kit” online for various brands). You’ll find dozens of uses for these little gems.
Burke Lennihan is a Harvard alumna, former health food store owner, and holistic practitioner at the Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine in Cambridge, Mass. She is the author of the new book Your Natural Medicine Cabinet: A Practical Guide to Drug-Free Remedies for Common Ailments.