In my weekly column for The Lady magazine I often get asked to write about colds and flu so here are a few suggestions:

Way before I became a homeopath I came across Oscillococcinum a homeopathic remedy made by the French homeopathic company Boiron – widely available in the US and Europe, harder to track down here. It consists of several vials of homeopathic pills, which if taken at the very first symptoms of flu, it can often stop it in its tracks. This remedy saw me through my manic 20’s when playing hard and working late was the norm. Since then I’ve tried to take a more holistic approach to health so I hardly need it now, but this is my first recommendation for flu symptoms, and I always have a box in my cupboard - just in case. Available from Victoria Health or good local chemists.

I once had a friend who insisted that the only thing for colds was raw garlic – and loads of it. He would cut up about 8 cloves and eat them washed down with raw parsley which he promised would take away the smell – which it never did.

At least it stopped the spread of whatever germs he had as no one would go near him for days. 

Other than garlic for colds, a more socially acceptable alternative is the well known Echinacea.  Echinacea is a herbal remedy made from the rather beautiful daisy like plant. Studies have shown that Echinacea can reduce the length & severity of a cold, as well as your susceptibility to getting colds. It is particularly effective when combined with Vitamin C, - incidences of colds were reduced by almost 90%. It works by boosting your immune system, with its antiseptic, antiviral & even antifungal properties, though long term use is not recommended.

 Indeed, anything that boosts your immune system in the winter months is a good thing when cold viruses are more prevalent. Another natural immune boosting remedy we love as a family is the common  Elderberry.  

You can make your own elderberry tonic by cooking the berries (raw ones are mildly poisonous) and sweetening with honey.  Or the Sambucol Elderberry tonics come ready made – adult & child variety, which seem to keep us relatively cold & even flu free over winter and taste great too. 

Just a few ideas to be getting on with, more to follow over the next few weeks.