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.
Early on in my homeopathic training, a friend’s son was scheduled for surgery to remove his tonsils. I had my tonsils out as a kid and as an adult, I realize having tonsils would be a useful thing. They are not as expendable as mainstream thought might otherwise have you believe.
What are tonsils? According to Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, tonsils are “a mass of lymphoid tissue in the mucus membranes of the pharynx and base of the tongue.” Let’s break that down further, again using Taber. Lymphoid: "Pertaining to lymphocytes." Lymphocyte: "A white blood cell responsible for much of the body’s immune protection." It sounds to me like tonsils are an important part of your immune system and may best be left intact. In fact, according to What are the Organs of the Immune System, “Because of their location at the throat and palate, they can stop germs entering the body through the mouth or the nose. The tonsils also contain a lot of white blood cells, which are responsible for killing germs.” Yep. Tonsils sound useful to me.
Back to my friend’s son who was scheduled to have these useful things removed. The reason he was scheduled for surgery was recurring tonsillitis and the presence of tonsil stones. At that time, I had never even heard of tonsil stones. Turns out a tonsillolith is “a calculus in a tonsil.” There’s no difficult math equation hiding in the tonsil (I crack myself up sometimes! 😂), a calculus is “a stone, usually composed of mineral salts” (Taber). A quick search of the Internet shows they can either be asymptomatic or be a cause of sore throats.
As I said, I was brand new to homeopathy, and I had just learned about the cell salt Silicea (or Silica). Silicea is known to push things out. And push things out, this Silicea 6x did indeed do for this young man. He not only spit out a bunch of tonsil stones, an old splinter that had been lodged in his leg for years popped out! (And, they cancelled the surgery because his recurring tonsillitis stopped. Yay!)
I knew homeopathy was good, but hearing a report like this, just as I was getting underway with my studies certainly propelled me along.
If you (or your child) is suffering from recurrent sore throats, homeopathy may be able to help, whether from tonsil stones, strep throat or a hoarse voice/sore throat from over use. Contact me at classicallypractical.com.
Throat or Tongue?
A few weeks ago, I had a nagging sore throat for days. The sore throat wasn’t enough to interfere with my life, but it was annoying. I didn’t feel ill in any other way. I had no other symptoms pointing to allergies. I tried a few remedies and had no success. I was stumped.
Then, I bit my tongue and that was the ticket!
One of the beautiful aspects of homeopathy is taking all the symptoms into consideration at one time to find the best remedy.
Mercurius sol is one of many remedies for sore throats, and I didn’t think of it right off the bat. But, when I kept biting my already bitten tongue, the penny finally dropped. Merc sol is also well known for aphthae (small ulcers in the mouth or on the tongue) and aphthous stomatitis, a.k.a. canker sores. Aha!
The niggling pain in my throat was lessened significantly in very short order and the tender little lump on the tip of my tongue was gone. By the next day, the re-injuring of my tongue was a thing of the past and my sore throat was just a ghost of itself.
When looking for the best remedy, remember to include all the relevant information in the case. My generic, not terribly painful sore throat didn’t give me enough information to quickly find the remedy needed. In this case, I had to bite my tongue to fix my throat!
Photo by Merch HÜSEY on Unsplash
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.