Homeopathy Papers

Tidbits 45: Homeopathic Remedies For Coughs

Elaine Lewis
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There’s not much a ‘doctor’ can do for your cough, so, by all means, try homeopathy!

Since I’m sitting here coughing, and Shana is in the other room coughing, thanks to the “cougher” who sat next to us at the screening of “Deconstructing The White Album”, I thought we might as well do this month’s Tidbits on Coughs!

What remedies do we have for coughing?

How do you take a coughing case?

We’ll do that later!  Only homeopaths will be interested in that; right now, for the people who are out there coughing, here are:

The Most-Used Homeopathic Remedies for Coughs

 

Antimonium tart.

We’ve had a lot of Antimonium tart cases in the Quiz lately so we should all be very familiar with it!  When you think of Antimonium tart, think of “loose”, think of “rattling”, and think of “expectoration very difficult!”  We call this “Difficult Cough”.  In babies and children, they will be worse lying down and better carried.  They may seem stuporous, lifeless with an overwhelming desire to sleep like Gelsemium.  Better cold/outside air, worse warmth.  They are irritable, complain-y and whiny.  This is our drowning remedy, it’s our “swallowing wrong” remedy.  Any time there’s fluid in the lungs and it needs to come out, give Antimonium tart.

 

Phosphorus

This is our main remedy for pneumonia and bronchitis.  I keep Phos. 200C by my bed and whenever I wake up with a distressing cough–which has only happened 2 or 3 times, but each time it was quite extreme–Phosphorus 200C stopped it in less than half an hour.  For Phosphorus, think of dry cough, hoarse cough, tightness of the chest and oppression of the chest.  Dry hacking cough.  Can be painful.  You may also observe the famous symptom: major thirst for ice cold drinks.  Cough is worse from talking and laughing.  Also, worse exertion and cold air.  Better sitting and lying on the right side.

 

Bryonia

Bryonia is a remedy with very severe symptoms.  A Bryonia case is going to involve a lot of sharp, stitching pain; so, here’s what you can expect from a Bryonia cough–a hard, dry cough that hurts the patient’s chest and his head.  He may have to hold his chest or hold his head when he’s coughing.  (Nux vomica holds his head too.)  The least motion makes his cough worse, even breathing makes it worse, so he will try not to breathe deeply.  He appears irritable because he does not want to talk to you.  Talking involves taking a deep breath and he cannot do that without exciting a cough, which is painful; so, he may refuse to talk to you.  He is very dry, mucus membranes dry, and so he’s very thirsty but will not want to sit up to drink, so, will ask for water only rarely but will drink the whole glass down when he does.  Better rest, better firm pressure, better cool open air.

 

Spongia

Another really important dry cough remedy.  The cough can be barking, hollow, metallic or can sound like fabric ripping or a carpenter sawing through wood.  Worse talking, better eating, better drinking, worse sweets.  Can feel suffocating, as if breathing though a sponge.  Gasping breathing.  Fearful of suffocation.  Worse warm room, worse lying down, worse wind, worse exertion; better warm food.

 

Pulsatilla

Switching over again to loose coughs, we have Pulsatilla!  Let me clarify–loose in the day, dry at night.  Evening aggravation.  Thirstless.  Wants to be propped up.  Better for company.  Desires butter, ice cream and creamy foods.  Discharges are thick, yellow or green.  Nose is stopped up.  Child may be weepy and pathetic sounding.  Better for sympathy and consolation.  Better in outside open air and better for walking slowly.  Worse warm, stuffy rooms.

 

Drosera

One of our main whooping cough remedies.  Violent fits of coughing, can hardly breathe!  Cough is hard, painful, dry, barking and ends in gagging or vomiting.  He may say there is a crumb or feather sensation in his throat.  Worse lying, worse after midnight, worse cold drinks.  Cough may result in nosebleed.

 

Ipecac

The thing with Ipecac is, almost any complaint that goes for Ipecac has nausea and vomiting; hence, the cough will have nausea or vomiting as a concomitant.  You can confuse this remedy with Antimonium tart and Pulsatilla because like Pulsatilla, it is thirstless and better for open air, worse for warm stuffy rooms.  Like Antimonium tart, it will have a loose, rattling cough with great difficulty to bring up mucus.  The tongue is clean, no coating.  There may be coughing up of bright red blood or nosebleed.  Asthma remedy.  Worse smell of food.  Breathing is difficult.  Very disgusted by everything, hard to please unlike Pulsatilla.

 

Hepar sulph.

Dry or loose cough, can’t expectorate.  Very cold, may be shivering.  Any exposure to cold excites cough, must stay completely covered.  Worse cold air, cold draft.  Very sensitive to cold.  Thick yellow mucus.  Cough is worse from cold drinks.  Weak with rattling in the chest.  Very hypersensitive to pain, to touch of any part that’s painful.  Suffocative attacks forces patient to sit up and bend head backwards.  Worse after midnight.

 

Rumex

Dry, incessant, violent, tickling cough.  Tickle in throat.  Rawness sensation in trachea.  Worse from uncovering.  Even just sticking the hand out of the covers excites a cough.  Cough prevents sleep.  Coughs as soon as his head hits the pillow.  Mucus in throat.  Worse inhaling cold air, so, he may pull the covers over his head.

 

How Do You Take A Coughing Case?

 

Well, first of all, you have to ask your patient, “What does your cough sound like?”  And you have to give him examples, because otherwise, your patient will give you unimaginative answers.  Do you honestly think your patient is going to say, “It sounds like a saw going through a pine board”?  But that’s a very important description for us, as only Spongia has it!  And you know where to find it?  It’s in the Coughing chapter under “Sibilant”.  Yeah, I know, don’t ask.

What are some of the coughing sounds listed in our Repertory?

 

Cough Sounds

  1. Barking
  2. Choking
  3. Croaking
  4. Croupy
  5. Crowing
  6. Deep-sounding
  7. Dry
  8. Explosive
  9. Forcible
  10. Hacking
  11. Hawking
  12. Hissing
  13. Hoarse
  14. Hollow
  15. Loose
  16. Metallic sounding
  17. Panting
  18. Paroxysmal (coughing fit)
  19. Racking
  20. Rasping
  21. Rattling
  22. Resonant
  23. Ringing
  24. Sawing
  25. Short-sounding
  26. Shrill
  27. Sibilant
  28. Suffocative
  29. Tight
  30. Trumpet-sounding
  31. Violent
  32. Whooping cough
  33. Toneless
  34. Constant
  35. Difficult (hard to raise phlegm)
  36. Machine-gun cough–it’s under “Minute, guns, short hacking cough, like”. (Don’t ask!) See also “Series, coughs in a”.

 

Sensation

Now, we need to ask about the all-important “Sensation” the patient may be experiencing when he’s coughing, let’s list a few of them here:

  1. Burning–burning in chest, trachea, throat, etc.
  2. Choking
  3. Constriction–in throat, chest, etc.
  4. Crawling sensation–in chest, throat, etc.
  5. Down of a feather, see also “feather”
  6. Dryness–of chest, throat, etc.
  7. Exhausting
  8. Foreign body sensation–in throat, etc. See also “Crumb” & “Lump”.
  9. Formication (like insects crawling)
  10. Fullness sensation in chest
  11. Hair sensation
  12. Icy cold air in air passages
  13. Itching in chest
  14. Itching in Larynx
  15. Lump in throat
  16. Painful
  17. Rawness in larynx
  18. Roughness–cough leads to a roughness sensation in throat, etc.
  19. Scratching sensation–in throat, chest, etc.
  20. Smoke sensation in trachea
  21. Smothering sensation
  22. Sticking sensation–in throat, etc.
  23. Suffocating
  24. Swollen sensation in throat
  25. Tickling–in chest, larynx, etc.
  26. Oppression (of the chest)
  27. Tormenting

 

Location

Location!  You’d be surprised but some people will say, “It feels like the cough is coming from my stomach.”  So, here are a few locations where the cough may be coming from:

  1. Abdomen
  2. Back
  3. Heart
  4. Larynx
  5. Stomach
  6. Throat
  7. Uterus

 

Modalities

Modalities, the all-important modalities!  (The things that make the patient better or worse.)  Oh yeah, they are really important!

  1. Coughing agg. The more you cough, the more you cough. (I had that once!  That’s Ignatia!)
  2. Acids agg. I assume that means orange juice, etc.
  3. A certain time aggravates: Look up Daytime, Forenoon, Afternoon, Morning, Evening and Night. Check the subrubrics for the exact time if needed.
  4. Air agg. Look at the subrubrics–cold air, dry air, open air, etc.
  5. Anger agg.
  6. Ascending stairs agg.
  7. Autumn agg.
  8. Bathing agg. (see also Generals: bathing)
  9. Bed, on becoming warm in bed agg.
  10. Belching amel.
  11. Bending, forward or backward, agg. or amel.
  12. Breathing agg.
  13. Cold–temperature, drinks, food, wind, milk, etc. either agg. or amel.
  14. Drinking
  15. Eating
  16. Excitement
  17. Exertion
  18. Heated, on becoming
  19. Holding, holds chest with his hands amel.
  20. Hunger agg.
  21. Ice cream
  22. Inspiration (breathing)
  23. Laughing agg.
  24. Lying (down)
  25. Milk
  26. Motion
  27. Odors
  28. Periodic. This means the cough comes at a predictable time or day. For example, if your cough comes every night at 1 am, go to “Night, 1am”
  29. Pressure agg.
  30. Rising, on
  31. Room, in
  32. Sit up, must
  33. Sleep
  34. Spicy food agg.
  35. Standing
  36. Stooping
  37. Storm, thunder storm, agg.
  38. Sun agg.
  39. Swallowing
  40. Sweetmeats agg. I guess that means sweets. Think of Spongia for that.
  41. Talking
  42. Tea, hot, agg.
  43. Touched, being, agg.
  44. Uncovering, undressing agg.
  45. Waking
  46. Walking agg. or amel.
  47. Warm agg. or amel.–warm food, warm room, etc.
  48. Weather
  49. Wet, getting wet
  50. Wind, coughing in the
  51. Winter
  52. Bright, shiny objects
  53. Spoken to, being spoken to agg.
  54. Cellars–cellar air/damp cellars

 

Concomitants

Concomitants!  That means, “What else is going on besides the cough?”  This is how I found Shana’s remedy, because she complained that her eyes were running, and I already knew her nose was running because she was sniffing, so I gave her Allium cepa and it really brought her out of the worst of it.  What are some of the concomitants listed in the Coughing chapter?

  1. Chill
  2. Constipation
  3. Coryza (that means runny nose, another way of saying “the common cold”)
  4. Fever
  5. Heart complaints–some people have what’s known as “cardiac cough”.
  6. Sneezing
  7. Mental symptoms, like fear from coughing, fear that they might not be able to stop, which could be Aconite.

 

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom. Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at LEWRA@aol.com Elaine is a graduate of Robin Murphy's Hahnemann Academy of North America and author of many articles on homeopathy including her monthly feature in the Hpathy ezine, "The Quiz". Visit her website at: http://elainelewis.hpathy.com/ and TheSilhouettes.org

Leave a Comment

9 Comments

  • DEAR DR,
    YOUR ARTICLE IS VERY EXHAUSTIVE. AS YOU STATED THAT WHILE TAKING THE CASE OUR FIRST QUESTION TO THE PATIENT IS WHAT IS THE SOUND OF THE COUGH. LATER ON SEVERAL TYPE OF SOUNDS ARE GIVEN IN YOUR ARTICLE. I WISH IF YOU COULD GIVE THE NAME OF THE REMEDY AGAINST EACH SOUND, IT WOULD HAVE HELPED A LOT FOR THE PRESCRIBER TO PRESCRIBE THE REMEDY IMMEDIATELY WITHOUT GOING INTO THE LONG DETAILS IN EACH CASE. SO THAT THE PATIENT MAY THINK THAT HOMEOPATHS ARE COMPETENT TO CURE A COUGH ON THE BASIS OF SOUND ONLY. LET US MAKE HOMEOPATHY SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE.
    THANKS AND REGARDS
    DR C S GUPTA

    • Hi Dr. CS. Are you saying that when I listed the cough sounds I should have also listed the remedies that fall under them? But they’re all in the Repertory. All the remedies are listed in the Coughing Chapter under those headings, those cough sounds. When you’re taking a case, you simply want to know from the patient what his cough sounds like. He might say it’s dry; but, perhaps you can get him to be more specific by saying, “Can you be a little more specific than that? For example, does it sound like a seal barking? Or maybe like a saw sawing through wood? Or perhaps a hollow sound?” Then if he says, “Yeah, it does kind of sound like a saw going through wood!” Now you’ve really got something! It’s not important to know the remedy at this point, it is only important to know the cough sound. The other thing is, listing all the remedies for these cough sounds would have made the article not only “exhaustive” but “exhausting”! I’m reading your comment over again and I believe you’re under the impression that each cough sound pertains to just one remedy. No, that’s not usually the case. That’s why a complete case has to be taken. Check your Repertory and you’ll see.

  • great article Elaine,seems like everyone I now has a cough of some sorts.
    The over the counter cough suppressants many take only confuse the case and aggravate the original symptoms. This brings me to the combination polypharmacy combination homeopathic cough formulas- OMG talk about suppression.

  • Elaine,
    Thanks for selecting such a nice topic whose arena is vast. The causation of which, most of the times lies somewhere else. The topic has been very educative and nicely presented. I have been deeply impressed by the way you evaluate or set the hierarchy of symptoms. Keep it up.