When I was young mom with four children I was always looking for ways to soothe them when they were sick. I wasn’t interested in suppressing their minor illnesses because I know illness has value, that a child’s immune system matures by getting sick. Instead, I was looking for drug-free soothers and immune boosters.
Herbal teas and tinctures helped. Echinacea was an early favorite. The scents of essential oils were comforting, especially lavender, though I like the citrus scents of grapefruit and lemon for the freshness they bring to a sick room. Bach Flower Remedies are so subtle that they are perfect for children, especially as they address the emotional discord that often precedes illness.
In the early eighties, I interviewed a popular Albuquerque doctor for a feature in Mothering magazine and learned about homeopathy for the first time. I immediately appreciated the complex observations of the sick person that go into identifying an appropriate homeopathic remedy. I was drawn to homeopathy because it taught me so much about illness and gave me new tools of observation with which to help my children.
Before homeopathy, I thought a cough was just a cough. Now, I know that there are many different types of coughs. Some are dry and hacking and sound like a seal barking. Some are croupy. Some are loose and create a lot of discharge. The person who is coughing may be red or pale; listless or active; hungry or uninterested in food. All of these things help one to determine what remedy to give and how best to help.
HOMEOPATHY AT HOME
There was a small homeopathic pharmacy in Albuquerque where I picked up the book Homeopathic Medicine at Home and started buying remedies for simple colds and coughs. Two I liked right away were Aconite and Belladona. Aconite is for the very beginning of an illness, when the first symptoms appear. Belladona is for illness that comes on suddenly, even violently, when the child is flushed red and with dilated pupils.
These were two conditions I knew already from observing my children and I found that when I gave the right homeopathic remedy they would have an almost immediate, but brief, intensification of their symptoms and then begin to improve. It seemed to me in observing my children that the homeopathic remedy stimulated their immune systems to move onto the next phase of the illness.
I remember when I began to hear about this legendary homeopathic remedy in the early nineties. It had the oddest name and just pronouncing it was a challenge. Though my kids didn’t have flu symptoms very often, when they did I gave them Oscillococcinum (O-sill-o-cox-see’-num). What is important with oscillococcinum is that one take it immediately upon noticing any flu symptoms. It is so effective that we all just learned to reach for it at the first symptom of the flu because it always worked. and I always make sure to have it in the house.
HOMEOPATHY ON THE INCREASE
Homeopathy is growing in popularity in the US: 2009 sales reached $870 million, up 10% from the previous year. Oscillococcinum, the top selling natural remedy for cold and flu, is sold in 60 countries with estimated 2009 retails sales in the US alone of $20 million. It is manufactured by Boiron, founded in 1931 in Lyon, France and now the leading homeopathic company in the world.
With success comes professional jealousy and Boiron, along with Shoppers Drug Mart, is a defendant of a Canadian class-action suit—presumably industry motivated— challenging the marketing of Oscillococcinum.
If you like Oscillococcinum and want to support its efficacy and right to be on the market, check out this petition.
Support Boiron, Hylands, Nelsons, Boericke and Tafel, Standard Homeopathic and other homeopathic companies that serve us with their products. It’s important that we have access to a full range of gentle healing products to help our children and, as parents, we have the good judgment to know what is safe and effective for ourselves and our families. And, homeopathy is effective. What would we do without Hyland’s Teething products, for example?
Please share your stories about using homeopathy with us.
Tags: Aconite, Bach Flower Remedies, Belladona, Boericke and Tafel, Canada, Echinacea, flu-like sympoms, France, Homeopathic Medicine at Home, homeopathy, Hylands, Lyons, Mothering magazine, Nelsons, Oscillococcinum, Shoppers Durg Mart, Standard Homeopathic