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.
Bloody noses are a bloody bother.
Thankfully, that’s only what they are, generally speaking. Rarely are bloody noses an emergency. According to verywellhealth.com and NHSinform, you need to seek medical assistance for a nosebleed when:
Some people have chronic bloody noses*. All 3 of my sons have experienced periods of regular bloody noses and homeopathy has been amazingly helpful in dealing with this, especially in the moment.
I have seen nosebleeds stop shockingly quickly with a few of the appropriate little homeopathic pellets.
What are the appropriate remedies?
Dr. Andrew Lockie (1993) recommends using the appropriate homeopathic remedy (he says in a 6c potency) every 2 minutes for up to 10 doses. (In my experience, nosebleeds stop much faster than 10 minutes when using homeopathy. If the bleed hasn’t stopped in a few minutes, try another remedy.)
I present to you here, in alphabetical order, some of my favorites:
Arnica, especially for nosebleeds following an injury. Nosebleeds with a cough or from blowing the nose. Nosebleeds from exertion or from washing your face. (I have never seen this one, but I do know of people for whom nosebleeds occur while in the shower and Arnica just might be their answer.)
Ferrum phos, either as a cell salt (6x) or in potency (6c or 30c). Nosebleeds in children; nosebleeds accompanying a fever; bright red blood.
Hamamelis — with dark and thin blood. Nosebleeds in the morning.
Ipecac — bright blood, clotted or coagulated.
Phosphorus — bright red blood, bloody nose as a result of blowing the nose; in children; noses that bleed easily.
What else can help?
Once upon a time, long before I knew about homeopathy, I read that cayenne pepper (a pinch in a glass of water, then drink it) can help. Well, a visitor, an adult, was experiencing a bloody nose. I got out the cayenne pepper and I was getting the water and the person took a little dab of the cayenne pepper and put it right up their nose. The bleeding stopped immediately and though they had been experiencing regular bloody noses, one didn't return again for many years after that! (Be forewarned, though -- this person had quite a shocking experience with that jolt to the system!)
Another little tip I’ve learned with my boys… paper towels are much more effective than tissues.
I leave you with this joke, simply because I couldn’t resist.
A British man says, “I’ve got a bloody nose!!!”
His friends reply, “yeah, we all do.”
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath (and re-teller of bad jokes)
* If you or your child suffers from regular nosebleed, it might be worth considering a consult with a homeopath to see if you can get to the bottom of the issue.
Photo by Brittany Colette on Unsplash
Lockie, Dr. A., 1993. The Family Guide to Homeopathy. USA: Simon & Schuster.
NHS Inform, 2019. Nosebleed causes and treatments [online]. Nhsinform.scot.
Perko, S. J., 2008. The homeopathic therapeutic subject reference : a homeopathic practice guidebook for physicians and health care practitioners. San Antonio, Texas.: Benchmark Homeopathic Publications.
Ratera, Dr. M. M., 2016. First Aid with Homeopathy. Kander, Germany: Narayana Verlag.
Upjoke.com, 2022. The 20+ Best Bloody Nose Jokes - ↑UPJOKE↑ [online]. upjoke.com.
Weintraub, S., 1999. Natural healing with cell salts. Pleasant Grove, Ut: Woodland Pub.
What goes up…
Perfect is the enemy of good
I learned this trick from Pinterest years ago.
The crud has hit my house. It entered surreptitiously on New Years Day and didn’t let itself be known for a few days after that. I helped my son through it, homeopathically speaking, and then it was my turn.
In general, it is much harder to help yourself, homeopathically speaking, than it is to help someone else. When you are helping someone else, you are logically interpreting symptoms. When you are trying to interpret your own symptoms when you’re not feeling your best, you’re lucky to have logic still involved in the process at all!
Anyway, I am unofficially on day 8, though I didn't test positive until 2 days ago. I don’t feel terrible, but I don’t feel great. I certainly have felt much worse in my life. The low-grade fever doesn’t want to budge. I have a terrible smell/taste in my nose. (I didn’t lose my sense of smell/taste — in fact, they have become highly sensitized.) I do not love the lack of energy, mental or physical. I know people who currently have “it” or just had “it” and they took the Ivermectin or the HCQ and some felt better immediately and some are still struggling to feel better.
It was this last piece of information that made me realize that I’m doing pretty well with my remedies. I have not had the “painful shivers” or the loss of smell; I have been sleeping like a baby. I don't have a painful, rib-breaking cough. Aches have been minimal and are now completely gone. I have a lot of snot but I don’t have that bursting headache that some people are getting. (My left eyeball was tender when I moved it for a couple of days, but it was annoying, not unbearable.) I am now coughing a bit, but it feels like a forward movement — clearing that stuff out. I can breathe just fine and my lungs aren’t involved. (I did turn into a mouth breather for a couple of days, but that’s gone now, too.) Everything has stayed from the neck up and I appreciate that fact!
What remedies have I used?
I’ll be completely honest — everything! If a symptom appeared, I tried a remedy. Sometimes the remedies felt futile (like for the fever that won’t budge) and sometimes they seemed to help pretty quickly.
To keep this article brief — and so I can get back to the business of getting well and kicking this garbage to the curb! — I will list a few remedies that have been very helpful for me and for my son and friends.
My son started out with extreme restlessness and low/mid back pain: Nux vomica. (In hindsight, Rhus tox could have been helpful here, too, but it wasn't presenting that way at first.)
He had the painful shivers and very painful skin. Fortunately, his skin wasn’t so painful that he couldn’t have anything touch it (Krajewski et al. 2020), but it was uncomfortable for him. He found great relief from hot water: Rhus toxicodendron.
He had some dizziness for a quick minute but an old bottle of Heel’s “Lightheadedness” quickly cleared that up.
We used a few other remedies for him here and there, but these were the big movers for him.
That’s the thing with acute diseases — you have to chase the symptoms. A symptom shows up, a remedy helps it and another symptom moves in to take its place. It’s not like clearing up a chronic condition where you want to stick with A remedy or a group of remedies for a while. You have to react quickly with the changing symptoms of an acute.
My yucks started out with severe dizziness and nausea and vomiting: Ipecac.
After 2 days, everything was very much improved and I thought I was good to go and then the new version of symptoms set in a few days later.
Oscillococcinum — the Flu remedy.
I literally have not yet figured out the low grade fever thing. (Very frustrating!) But, it’s not terrible and I guess I have to let my body do what it’s doing and trust that it knows what it’s doing. Generally speaking, though, Ferrum phos is an excellent remedy for low-grade fevers. I have also tried fever combination remedies, to no avail.
Eyeball that hurts when moving it: Bryonia. Bryonia on its own wasn’t doing the trick, but mixing Aconite with the Bryonia did do the trick. [Aconite/Bryonia is a Banerji Protocol to ward off the yucks of any kind, but homeopathic legend has it that when you add Aconite to a remedy that should be working, but isn’t, it’s like a power boost and it certainly seemed to be for my painful eyeball.]
That moment when the bed felt too hard to get comfortable: Arnica. This, too, can be Bryonia, but given that I wasn’t having the eyeball luck with that remedy, I moved on to Arnica.
Last night, when the coughing started in the middle of the night: Boiron’s Chestal Cold and Cough. I haven’t had to repeat it yet, so that must have done the trick. [note: having combination remedies available are extremely helpful in the middle of the night when you can’t get your brain to figure it out!]
Nux vomica helped with my stuffy nose and gas.
Arsenicum album helped early on with a burning sensation deep in my nose.
For the most part, however, I have now accepted that perfection really is the enemy of the good. I don’t feel great, but I am thankful that I have a lovely husband and sons who are keeping the home fires burning, literally and figuratively.
On that note, my husband has yet to succumb. Hopefully, he is that rare breed that is not susceptible to this virus. Or, it could be that he has religiously stepped up his supplement routine — he said he feels better than he has in a while as a result! — and, at any little hint of anything, he turns to his tried and true: Boiron’s Cold Calm.
Who knows? They say children experience positive growth after an illness — we certainly noticed that when our little fellows got sick — maybe that can be true for old homeopaths, too! I have come to the conclusion that my body just needs to experience this sickness for whatever reason. I’m not sick in bed. I can even still beat my husband in gin rummy, and he's no slouch at the game! I am tired and don’t feel great, but I am not down for the count and I believe it is homeopathy that is responsible for this small blessing. It just is what it is. I haven’t been sick in many years! I guess it was just my time!
It was Voltaire who proclaimed, “Perfect is the enemy of good.” It has been so very many years now that I have avoided getting really sick. My remedies have always stepped in and fixed everything right up for me in very short order. I now expect perfection and that’s not a reasonable goal.
I will keep on keeping on and I know one day soon, this will all be behind me and I can get back to the business of life!
Julia Coyte, CHom
Classically Practical homeopath
Krajewski, P. K., Szepietowski, J. C., and Maj, J., 2020. Cutaneous hyperesthesia: A novel manifestation of COVID-19. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity [online], 87, 188.
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.