“Homeopathic treatment is always worthwhile, even in individuals who are seriously ill and in need of care where there is no hope of complete recovery of health” (Teut and Doppler 2019).
Coughs are considered chronic when they last for 8 weeks or longer (4 weeks in children).
Nuisance? Yup. Annoying? Yup. (For the cougher and those around you.) Dangerous? Sometimes — be sure to seek the opinion of a medical professional if you are suffering from a chronic cough. Additionally, severe coughs can cause vomiting, dizziness, incontinence and even rib fractures.
What causes a chronic cough? Allergies. Postnasal drip. Asthma. Smoking. Acid reflux. Infections (colds and flus). Pneumonia (if you suspect this, please go to the doctor). Fungal infections of the lung. COPD. Some drugs can be the cause of chronic cough. The list goes on, but I dare say you get the picture. Plenty of underlying reasons for a chronic cough.
The beautiful part of homeopathy… well, there are many beautiful parts to homeopathy, actually. I digress. Back to today’s beautiful part of homeopathy. The underlying cause doesn’t matter. If we know the reason, it can sometimes be helpful, but it’s not a necessary component to find relief.
According to pulmonologist Jonathan Parson from Ohio’s Weiner Medical Center, it’s important to remember that coughing is considered to be a “protective mechanism.”
A few descriptions of coughs:
Some coughs come in the middle of the night, waking the poor soul (and their spouse). Some people cough first thing in the morning. Some people cough all day long sometimes escalating to the point of vomiting.
With so many different kinds of cough, it’s no surprise there are a lot of homeopathic remedies which may help.
Today, I’m going to do a brief repertory (listing the specific type of cough and the associated remedies) followed by a short Materia Medica (a write-up of the remedies) for a couple of my favorite cough remedies. Note: this is an incomplete repertory. (Frederik Schroyens lists over 4,000 rubrics for cough!) I concentrated only on the most highly indicated and easily available remedies.
IMPORTANT NOTE: There are many possible underlying reasons for cough, some of which can be very serious. I have highlighted only a couple of these symptoms. If you are suffering from a chronic cough, have it evaluated by a medical professional.
Bursting head pain during cough: Bryonia, Natrum muriatium, Nux vomica,
Coughing worse by eating: Antimonium tart, Bryonia, Nux vomica
Cough with obstructed breathing: *BE SURE TO SEEK MEDICAL CARE IMMEDIATELY. While waiting for help to arrive, try one of the following: Antimonium tart, Arsenicum album, Cuprum metallic, Drosera, Ipecac, Nux vomica
Cough with rattling in the chest: Antimonium tart, Ipecac, Nux vomica
Cough with vomiting: Antimonium tart, Bryonia, Drosera, Nux vomica
Evening cough: Bryonia, Nux vomica
Eyes watering during cough: Bryonia, Natrum muriaticum,
Fear of coughing: Antimonium tart, Apis, Drosera
Involuntary urination with Cough: Apis, Arsenicum album, Bryonia, Causticum, Natrum muriaticum Nux vomica
Painful cough: Bryonia, Causticum, Nux vomica
Suffocating, choking cough: Antimonium tart, Cuprum, Drosera, Ipecac,
Tickling cough: Drosera, Ipecac, Nux vomica
Vertigo/dizziness with coughing: Antimonium tart, Arsenicum album, Nux vomica
On to the materia medica!
I could literally keep writing for days about various coughs and their homeopathic remedies.
Just know that if you are suffering from a chronic cough, there’s a good chance homeopathy may help. What have you got to lose?!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Judah, 2020. Types of Coughs in Seniors: ‘Pardon me, I have a cough!’ [online]. Laurel Bay Health and Rehabilitation Center. Available from: / [Accessed 18 Jun 2023].
Murphy, R., n.d. Homeopathic Remedy Guide. accessed through Radar Opus.
Murphy, R., n.d. Repertory, version 3. Accessed through Radar Opus software.
Schroyens, F., n.d. Synthesis Adonis. (accessed through Radar Opus software).
Song, W.-J., Morice, A. H., Kim, M.-H., Lee, S.-E., Jo, E.-J., Lee, S.-M., Han, J.-W., Kim, T. H., Kim, S.-H., Jang, H.-C., Kim, K. W., Cho, S.-H., Min, K.-U. and Chang, Y.-S., 2013. Cough in the Elderly Population: Relationships with Multiple Comorbidity. PLoS ONE [online], 8 (10), e78081.
Teramoto, S., 2005. Significance of chronic cough as a defence mechanism or a symptom in elderly patients with aspiration and aspiration pneumonia. European Respiratory Journal [online], 25 (1), 210–211.
Waking up in the middle of the night to your little one “barking” and struggling to breathe is a frightening thing.
Croup, according to Taber’s Medical Dictionary “is an acute viral disease, usually occurring in children from 6 months to 5 years and marked by a resonant barking cough, (sounding like a seal), and varying degrees of respiratory distress" (Venes and Clarence Wilbur Taber 2013).
Croup isn’t a separate disease unto itself — it’s something that can develop from a common cold or flu. “If there’s enough swelling, irritation and coughing, a child can develop:
Mayo says to seek medical attention if your child:
Despite how scary it sounds, croup isn’t usually serious and it mostly can be treated at home.
Why the barking? The cough forces air through the swollen and irritated passageway and results in a seal-like bark.
My oldest was prone to this and it is indeed an unnerving experience. I didn’t know about homeopathy then, but we were able to treat him at home each time by sitting in the steamy bathroom until it all calmed down.
Conversely, taking the child outside into the cold night air or having them stand in front of an open freezer can also do the trick (Cleveland Clinic 2021).
How can homeopathy help?
The first remedy to consider for croup is Aconitum napellus, or Aconite, for short. (Remember! Aconite rhymes with fright!) It’s a pretty sure bet that both the child and the parent* will be frightened! Use Aconite at the first sign. Repeat, if needed. Aconite is the “go-to” remedy for any illness with rapid onset. * Don’t forget Ignatia for the worried parent!
Other homeopathic options for croup:
Spongia tosta is the next remedy to consider if the Aconite did not take care of it quickly. Spongia is known to have a cough which sounds like a saw going through wood — a very dry cough and warm drinks are probably helpful.
Hepar sulph might be useful in the morning or in the following days when the cough can sound basically the same, but it changes to a wetter cough — loose and possibly rattling. There may be some choking fits that accompany the cough.
Repeat the chosen remedy every 15-20 minutes, if needed. If the child falls asleep, that’s good! If they wake again, repeat the remedy.
(Click for an instructive video of cough sounds and their corresponding homeopathic remedies.)
If your child is prone to croup, consider working with a professional homeopath to help prevent recurrences.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Allen College of Homoeopathy, n.d. Listen the Cough Sounds & Diagnose the Remedy (Part 1) [online]. www.youtube.com.
Cleveland Clinic, 2021. How to Care for Your Child’s Croupy Cough [online]. Cleveland Clinic. .
Kessels, L., n.d. Home Remedies for Colds and Croup: Do They Work? [online]. www.stlouischildrens.org.
Mayo Clinic, 2019. Croup - Symptoms and causes [online]. Mayo Clinic.
Venes, D. and Clarence Wilbur Taber, 2013. Taber’s cyclopedic medical dictionary. [22nd ed., ISBN: 9780803629776]. Philadelphia, Pa.: F.A. Davis.
And, so it begins. The season of family, friends, food, festivities and, less desirably, the crud.
What follows is an account of one family suffering from the crud. I know this family well and often help them homeopathically through quick text exchanges. Knowing she has a good home kit of homeopathic remedies, I addressed her questions and their symptoms with common remedies.
Note: sitting down and taking the full case is definitely a better way to approach any situation, but this is how things go sometimes. She didn’t request a “full” acute consultation, she just wanted to address her symptoms as they popped up.
A friend called last week with her 1st grader suffering a nasty, yucky cough. She got over it pretty quickly, but she managed to share it with her little sisters. The littlest one wasn’t sleeping for a few nights and since little ones aren’t known for entertaining themselves quietly when they aren’t sleeping, her mom didn’t sleep either and she, too, succumbed to the crud.
In an ideal world, the right remedy will take care of the whole enchilada all at once. But, with colds and flus you often have to chase the symptoms. One remedy takes care of the first problem and then the symptoms change and move and are looking for attention elsewhere.
The mom texted with her symptoms: “What do I take for right sided nasal congestion that is also plugging my right ear? It’s a gross one. I tried to get on top of it before it fully took over and was unsuccessful.”
My answer: homeopathic Sanguinaria canadensis.
I knew from her oldest’s symptoms that an icky cough was part of this picture and Sanguinaria is a good cough remedy in general. It is highly indicated in a hacking cough, an irritable cough, a tickling cough and even whooping cough.
Sanguinaria also is noted for ear pain and ear discharges and excessive mucus and/or tickling in the larynx, trachea or throat. The lungs may be filled with gunk and the discharges may be stringy or have an odor
The headaches of Sanguinaria can be accompanied by nausea or have pain above the eyes and can be specifically associated with the right side. Gastric headaches, throbbing headaches and migraines can all be helped by homeopathic Sanguinaria.
The Sanguinaria did its thing and she was feeling better than she had been earlier in the day, but her ear was still troubling her. It turns out her ear was hurting more than she mentioned at first and said that earlier in the day she found relief from resting her ear on a heating pad*. This made me think of Belladonna, another right-sided remedy that is indicated in ear pain that is better from warmth. Not long after, she texted that the crackling was much improved.
* This is a very common occurrence, where what would be important symptoms are left off “the list” for one reason or another. Perhaps it is that another symptom is taking precedence or the symptom in question was worse and seemed to have disappeared and not worth mentioning, but then rears its head again.
The next morning, the ear pain was gone but the congestion had shifted to her left nostril. Arsenicum album or Apis popped into my head and she texted that she had the Arsenicum album near by and “it seemed to do the trick.”
I didn’t hear from her again and I just happened to text this afternoon to see how she was doing and she was not well. She now thought she had developed a sinus infection. In addition to that, her middle child was still sleeping poorly, coughing and “when she blows her nose it’s like she could blow it forever and never run out of snot.” Her daughter was also “fairly emotional” and “overly sensitive” about things that normally wouldn’t bother her.
This was the first I had heard about this daughter and suggested Pulsatilla. Pulsatilla is well known for sadness, weeping easily and changeable moods. Children who can benefit from Pulsatilla are often in need of comforting and feel better for consolation. Pulsatilla is also known for discharges of all kinds from all over the body: ears, eyes, lungs, nose and more. A non-irritating, bland, discharge which may be thick or slimy or yellowish/greenish. Pulsatilla is not the only remedy that is known for a copious discharge, but when you add in the over-sensitivity, then Pulsatilla makes a lot of sense. Very soon after, another text arrived saying her daughter was already sounding less cruddy and was “snotting and coughing” less than before.
As for the mom, she was suffering sinus pressure and a pretty bad headache. The mucus was no longer free flowing but it was sticking around causing the sinus pressure and the headache and causing pain at the base of her neck and down the shoulder blades.
Kali bich is one of the best remedies for headaches from sinus pressure and also for sinus infections. Again, in very short order, another text arrived saying she was “feeling so much better.” A few minutes after that she phoned from her car (she felt well enough to go out and do what she needed to do!) and said she could “feel the tension leaving her body.” Her face pain was gone, her shoulders were relaxing and her voice continued to lighten as the conversation continued.
Could all of the mom’s symptoms be addressed more cleanly straight off the bat? Perhaps. In hindsight, Kali bich may have been what she needed from the start, but as the symptoms presented themselves, it didn’t become clear until later. Homeopathy definitely isn’t an exact science and when the symptoms are being addressed in a piece-meal fashion via short, informal texts it’s easy to miss symptoms which could be more specifically targeted if more information had been available.
Regardless, homeopathy was able to keep this busy mom going, despite her many and varied symptoms and is a good example of how symptoms can be addressed and responded to when you have a stash of common remedies at your disposal.
At this point, the dad has not succumbed. He has been taking Cold Calm** as a preventative. So far, so good!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
** I have no affiliation with this company, I just like their product.
Remember way back when when we used to routinely exercise our immune system? We would be constantly bombarded by germs that if you weren’t strong enough would result in… [play the ‘duh duh duh’ music here] a cold!
There is/was a school of thought that getting and beating these types of attacks is/was good for your health — taking your immune system for a walk, so to speak.
My family routinely turned to Boiron’s Cold Calm for quick relief almost every time a little “somethin’ somethin’” seemed to be creeping in.
Cold Calm is a combination homeopathic remedy that can certainly save time and energy if the symptoms are just starting to present and are not quite clear enough to choose just one remedy. Or, when you are the person suffering and the inability to think clearly sets in.
Here are the homeopathic remedies included in Cold Calm with a little more information to understand what’s in it and how these individual remedies may help your symptoms.
Allium cepa is the red onion — you know, the thing that makes your eyes itch and burn and tear up and your nose follows streaming along soon after.
Apis mellifica is the honey bee — you know, the thing that stings you and you swell up… like your nose or your eyes if you have a cold.
Belladonna has a reputation as a “virus interrupter.” More specifically to coming down with a cold, Belladonna can be helpful with congestion or when suffering a headache as a result of stuffiness. It’s certainly helpful if any sore throat is involved.
Eupatorium perfoliatum, also known as “Bone-set” is an excellent fever remedy, specifically (wait for it…) when your bones ache, including your facial bones as a result of sinus pain.
Gelsemium sempervirens is one of the great homeopathic influenza remedies. This remedy is taught in the homeopathy schools as the 7 dwarfs remedy: for when someone is Droopy, Drowsy, Dumb, Dizzy, Drained — that’s only 5, but you get the idea. An excellent headache remedy.
Kali bich — for when it’s thick! The old homeopathy books call them “clinkers” — that’s a booger to you and me in modern parlance. Lumps of stuff in the nose or throat. Again, another excellent headache remedy if the symptoms fit.
Nux vomica — good for stuffy nose, but even better for sneezing. Nux vomica is also an excellent remedy for the tummy symptoms which can sometimes accompany a cold/flu. And, it’s really good for the short temper that can sneak in there when you’re feeling crummy.
Phytolacca decandra — swollen glands and sore throats, specifically the sore throats where the pains shoot from the throat into the ears on swallowing.
Pulsatilla — if there is a loss of taste and smell. Stuffy nose; a bad odor in the nose; mucusy, loose cough, bland watering eyes (not burning, that’s Apis mentioned above).
I have heard Cold Calm referred to as "magical" — now you know why. This little mixture covers just about everything one would need at the start of “a little somethin’ somethin’” coming on.
If Cold Calm isn’t quite cutting it for you and you need some further assistance with cold or flu symptoms, book an acute appointment and we’ll see what we can do to get you feeling better quicker.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Photo by Matthew Henry on Unsplash
Once upon a time, when somebody sneezed or coughed, we all assumed it was either a cold or allergies and we really didn't think very much about it. Now, if you're in public and you have to sneeze or (heaven forbid!) cough… hold it in -- don't even go there!
Allergy season has returned to our neck of the woods. Headaches. Sneezing. Runny noses. Blocked up sinuses. Tickling in the throat. Yuck.
Let's look at a few homeopathic remedies that might be of assistance.
Allium cepa is a go-to remedy for runny noses which burn and eyes that water blandly and can present with a dull frontal headache.
Arsenicum album -- for burning discharge from the nose and the eyes and eyelids may be puffy. Here's a potentially important piece of the allergy puzzle with this remedy: Complaints return annually. (While this is more of a classical homeopathic approach to allergies, Arsenicum album can certainly be applied in a practical or therapeutic way, as well.)
Euphrasia focuses on the eyes. Opposite to Allium cepa, Euphrasia has a bland runny nose and burning eyes. The eyelids may also itch and burn.
Natrum muriaticum can have a profuse watery discharge from the eyes and the nose and what comes out of the nose may have an egg white consistency. Taste and smelling may be an issue as well as a tickling in the pit of the throat.
Nux vomica -- obnoxious, relentless sneezing as well as irritation in the nose and eyes. Grumpiness might just be a part of this picture, too.
Sanguinaria can be very helpful for sinus issues and facial pain and headaches from the blocked sinuses.
Wyethia also has the runny nose and sneezing, but it also has the peculiar symptom of an itchy palate -- requesting your tongue's assistance in rubbing back and forth trying to scratch that itch.
There are many, many homeopathic remedies to address the many, many allergic symptoms. If you need help deciding what remedies may best suit your symptoms, or if you are prone to allergies in general, homeopathy can help to strengthen your system and lessen this burden.
Contact classicallypractical.com to see if homeopathy can help relieve your seasonal allergies now and in the future.
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical Homeopathy
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.