Tis the Season for… Sore Throats
Tis the season for… Sore Throats.
Sore throat complaints are keeping me busy this month! Some have the dreaded Covid, some have the flu, some may have strep throat and some people just have a sore throat.
What to do about this pharyngitis? (Pharynx is the part of the throat behind the mouth and nasal cavity and “itis” for inflammation.)
Well, at the first sign of feeling unwell, I like the Banerji protocol of Aconite 200c mixed with Bryonia 30c. Taking this right away can often nip things in the bud and send the yucks away before they can settle in.
Another option for those who are quick on the draw is Ferrum phos 6x. This, too, can often turn things around in short order.
Once the yucks have made themselves at home and one is definitively feeling unwell, let’s look at a few homeopathic remedies which may help. (Note: There are many remedies which can be helpful for sore throats, these are just a few of my favorites.) See also: Calming the Cold; Some Flu Remedies to Consider and Tis the season for the crud.
Extremely painful, dark red throat, where swallowing liquids is the only option and even that is very difficult, despite being thirsty; tiny bites of food gags them. They may have swollen glands and/or bad breath.
The sore throat appears suddenly and generally hurts more on the right side with burning or throbbing pain. The throat and the tip of the tongue may be red. Pain is worse from turning the head, touching the throat and swallowing, especially liquids. Face will often be red and hot but the hands and feet tend to be cold.
Burning and rough sore throat with pain that extends from the throat to the ear. May feel like there’s a painful lump in the throat that cannot be swallowed. Pain in the sternocleidomastoid — the long muscles on either side of your neck. Paralysis of the vocal cords. Swallowing solid foods is difficult.
Homeopathic Hepar is known for a sticking sensation in the throat, like a splinter or a bone. Pain extends to the ear on yawning and swallowing. May hawk up thick, yellow, sticky mucus. Wrapping up the external throat feels good. Cold drinks or becoming cold makes them feel worse but warmth in general and warm drinks can help. There may be a pulsation felt in the throat and they may feel worse in the evening and at night. Very sensitive to the pain and sensitive to everything else, too, actually and they may be irritable and impatient.
A purple throat, often on the left side (or starts on the left and moves to the right) and feels worse when swallowing liquids — even saliva is difficult — empty swallowing makes the throat hurt even worse (though they may have a constant desire to swallow). Swallowing solids may be easier. May have a disturbing constricting sensation, causing them to loosen clothes around the throat. Ear pain with sore throat. There may be a sensation of breadcrumbs or a painful sensation of a lump or plug which is not relieved by swallowing. They may choke easily, especially on falling to sleep and may have a suffocative feeling. Often feel worse on waking.
Often on the right side with a dryness in the throat and they may not be very thirsty. A stitching pain on swallowing which is better with warm drinks and worse with cold drinks. Choking on swallowing. They may feel like there is a lump or a plug in the throat. They are chilly but they also want fresh air but are worse becoming cold or eating/drinking cold things. May have digestive issues at the same time as the sore throat.
Lots of saliva and a raw, rough and burning feeling in the throat. Lots of slime gets stuck in the throat and there may be drooling while sleeping. Swollen glands. A bad or metallic taste in the mouth and may have bad breath. The throat may be copper colored. Throat pain on coughing. The throat may be worse at night and they may also experience night sweats. Finding the right temperature is often difficult.
Body aches and restlessness may accompany the sore throat. The tip of the tongue may be red. The throat becomes irritated and the voice becomes hoarse and is often worse from talking. The pain is worse from swallowing at first, but improves with more swallowing. Warmth is helpful and moving around may help, too — feeling worse when they are resting. Like the swallowing, they may feel worse when first moving around but better as they keep moving.
When to see a doctor?
According to the Mayo Clinic, see a doctor if:
A few quick notes relating to tonsillitis. (Note on type: Most highly indicated, highly indicated and indicated.) Again, there are many homeopathic remedies for tonsillitis and I am just focusing on the throat remedies already mentioned.
Tonsillitis, in general — in order of importance: Belladonna, Ferrum phos and Mercurius. Hepar & Lachesis. Baptisia and Lycopodium.
Tonsillitis with pus: Hepar, Mercurius. Belladonna, Lycopodium, Lachesis
Hardness of hearing with tonsillitis: Hepar, Lycopodium and Mercurius
Chronic, recurring tonsillitis: Hepar, Lachesis and Lycopodium
Painless tonsillitis: Baptisia
Burning pain in tonsils: Belladonna and Mercurius
Purple tonsils: Hepar and Lachesis
Bright red tonsils: Belladonna and Ferrum phos
Dark red tonsils: Baptisia and Lachesis
Tonsillitis in children: Ferr-phos, Lachesis, Lycopodium and Mercury
Sharp pain in tonsils: Belladonna, Lachesis, Lycopodium and Mercury
Tearing pain in tonsils: Belladonna
Throbbing pain in tonsils: Belladonna
Strep throat is another possibility and can lead to long term problems in rare cases. Unlike most sore throats, strep is caused by bacteria. Strep A is big in the news this year, especially in the UK, but there are other strains of strep which can cause throat problems, too (A, C & G are the primary throat culprits).
I never messed around with strep throats when my kids were little because I know two people who suffered terribly as a result of untreated strep. “Untreated strep throat can cause an autoimmune reaction in which the body attacks its own tissues and may lead to rheumatic fever, chorea and kidney damage” (Berkow et al. 1995).
How can you tell the difference between a sore throat and Strep throat?
Ultimately, for a full diagnosis of strep throat, you need to see a doctor and get a throat culture.
According the the Merck Manual and the Mayo Clinic, strep throat symptoms typically appear suddenly and include:
In very young children (under 4), the only symptom may be a runny nose. (When my kids were little, I learned that strep infections in littles may present with only stomach problems, so keep that in mind.)
“People with strep throat generally get better in 2 weeks, even without treatment. … antibiotics can shorten the duration of symptoms in young children and prevent serious complications such as rheumatic fever” (Berkow et al. 1995). (Note: There are homeopathic remedies which can be helpful in strep throat, but that is beyond the scope of this article.)
If you are suffering from a sore throat, try one of these homeopathic remedies so you can get back to some painless Fa La La-ing before the festive season is behind us.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Berkow, R., Beers, M. and Fletcher, A., 1995. The Merck Manual Home Edition. Merck Research Laboratories.
Mayo Clinic, 2018. Strep throat - symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Some Flu Remedies to Consider
In my last post, I mentioned 7 remedies which may be good to have around as the cold & flu season approaches.
Here’s a quick rundown of why they’re good to have nearby, focusing especially on fevers.
Baptisia for fevers with profuse sweat, intense thirst; fevers with lethargy — no energy. Those who may benefit from homeopathic Baptisia may be suffering from bad breath or other foul smelling discharges. The bed may feel too hard and going outside and getting some fresh air does not sound like a good plan to them. There may be some mental confusion or they may even feel as if they are intoxicated. There may be copious, (often) smelly stool. Throat may appear dark red.
Bryonia. Homeopathic Bryonia may be an excellent remedy for a flu that creeps up on you… when you haven’t quite been feeling yourself but you wouldn’t necessarily call yourself “sick” yet, either. A dry fever with a great thirst for a lot of liquid; chills are more likely not a part of this picture. Dryness, however, is a key part of Bryonia… you may see constipation or a dry cough or dry eyes, dry skin, dry mouth. Someone benefitting from Bryonia may prefer to be still and quiet with movement resulting in discomfort, including when moving their eyes. They may prefer to be by their grumpy selves.
Eupatorium feverish people may find themselves shivering, especially after drinking any liquids. Aching pain anywhere in the body, but specifically pains in the legs - terrible pains in the bones themselves and may even feel as if one is broken. Big chills. Unquenchable thirst. Pulsating pain in the back of the head.
Gelsemium has little or no thirst at all and the 4 Ds: Droopy, drowsy, dizzy and dull. They feel their eyelids are too heavy to keep them open. Shivering and weak with coldness down the back. May feel faint. They may feel a dull, bruised pain all over and are worse from physical exertion. There may be a headache, beginning in the neck and moving up to the top of the head and feel as if there were a band or hoop around the head. Headaches may be relieved to some degree when urinating.
Mercurius sol is often worse in the night, where a fever may drive them from their bed. There may be shivering and shuddering with this fever. There may be bone pains, but more so at night. Discharges from the ears and the eyes. Fevers with profuse perspiration, again, worse at night or diarrhea at night. Headaches may be worse on the sides of the head and extend to the ears and the teeth.
Nux vomica flus may have pain in the lower back during fever. Shivering with perspiration. Thirsty but not wanting to drink anything. Very chilly and worse for cold air or drafts and may have a cough which starts when becoming cold. Nux vomica is well known for its digestive issues and may experience stomach pains during fever. They may find themselves oversensitive and emotional during a fever.
Rhus tox is most likely mentally restless during a fever. Chill plays a big part in a Rhus tox fever: chill, followed by heat and perspiration; thirsty during the chill; they feel worse when chilled and may develop a tickling cough during the chill. Drinking cold drinks may bring on stomach pains. They may feel they have a lump or plug in their throat and swallowing may feel good on the throat. They may feel better lying on their back and worse lying on the sides.
Here's wishing you have a happy and healthy winter season!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Julia Coyte, CHom
I am passionate about homeopathy and I love sharing this passion. Having a working knowledge of homeopathy shouldn't be kept a secret. If people have the ability to help themselves, their children and their friends when they have minor ailments, life just gets better for everyone. That is the purpose behind Ruminating on Remedies.