Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Annoying Coughing and Sniffing in the Middle of the Night

Shana at FSS reunion

Elaine gives the answer to last month’s quiz.

Wow! Alot of people answered the October quiz! If you missed it, here it is again:


Shana at FSS reunion

Yes, mom?

I’m having trouble thinking up a title for this month’s quiz.

Whose quiz is it?



You know…. The annoying coughing and sniffing in the middle of the night?

I never said it was annoying.

No, I said it was annoying! The non-stop sniffing, the hoarse cough, what a racket! How was I supposed to sleep through that?

I don’t knoooooooooooow…………

Then I saw it!  The open window!

The open window?

That was it! The cold night air, that was my first clue!

Don’t forget the burping….

Oh, right, the burping, that was my second clue! It all added up to something!


Shana, they’re supposed to figure that out!

Oh, right; I forgot!

OK, people, if you know the answer, send me an email at [email protected], the winner will get some sort of prize.

Aren’t they going to get a Synthesis Repertory?

No, Shana, Dr. B changed his mind! People have stopped sending in the right answer since we put up that repertory up as a prize. So we are going to just give them some applause, or something like that, for the right answer.

I’m sure people would much rather have applause!!!

Can you come up with a title?

How’s this: “Annoying Coughing and Sniffing in the Middle of the Night”.

Genius! Pure genius! Do you work here?

I’m not sure.

Then you’re hired!



  • Silica
  • Nux vomica
  • Sulphur
  • Aconite-2
  • Sanguinaria
  • Kali bich.
  • Arsenicum-4
  • Carbo veg.-9
  • Ambra Grisea-2
  • Phosphorus-2
  • Hepar Sulph.-2
  • Lobelia
  • Rumex
  • Sambucus

It looks like the consensus here is for Carbo veg., and guess what? You’re right!!! But let’s talk about it for a minute, shall we?

Astute reader Paul Perkal writes:


Is it Ambra grisea?

It fits all these rubrics:

desire for open air
eructations excite cough
after midnight
hoarse cough
obstruction in nose
I didn’t look into the other possibility – that the window was open before the symptoms started, and the cold air caused the problem. [Elaine rolls her eyes] But the “eructations” rubric narrows it down so much, that I figured I was on the right track.

I noticed one symptom of ambr. that you’ll find funny – worse from music! (I happened to find this article –

Maybe I should ask for a Silhouettes recording as the prize…

Woo-hoo!  Yes, Paul, maybe you should! It shows you really know a lot about homeopathy! But unfortunately, you got the wrong answer. I will explain why Ambra grisea isn’t right. First of all, two things were important here, first was the strange/rare and peculiar symptom (also known as the “concomitant”); namely, BURPING; and since it was the middle of the night, you can probably assume “empty” burping; or, “empty eructations” since eating would have been over with hours ago! You do know what Hahnemann says about the “peculiar” symptom in the case, right? That the remedy MUST match that, even it matches nothing else? (See Paragraph 153 of The Organon.) Now, what remedy do we associate with burping? I, personally, think of Carbo veg. So, I gave Carbo veg, and it worked! She went right to sleep! The next day I looked up Carbo veg. in the materia medica and was shocked to find it was listed for: “Ailments from Night Air”! Wow, that was more than I ever expected! And “hoarse cough” was there too! Holy cow, the whole case was there!

So, let’s look at the rubrics you chose:

desire for open air–Actually, you have no way of knowing that, which I think you admitted yourself (“the window may have been open before…”). Yes, exactly! It might have been warm at bedtime, hence the window being open; or, I might have opened it myself.

eructations excite cough-I never said burping excited the cough. I only said she was burping. That’s what a concomitant symptom is, by the way. It’s a symptom that’s there for no reason. No one knows why it’s there, but there it is!

after midnight – I understand Carbo veg is worse at night, so, this will probably confirm carbo veg; however, I will just bet that “worse after midnight” has so many remedies … well, let me check. OK, over 250 remedies. See, a rubric that size is practically useless! However, if a patient were BETTER after midnight? That would be a great symptom as there are only 7 remedies there!

hoarse cough – Yes, Paul, hoarse cough is one of the symptoms of this case; but, Ambra grisea is only a 1 under hoarse cough, Carbo veg is a 3! In fact, if you just took the two symptoms (hoarse cough and empty eructations) and crossed them, you’d have carbo veg, kali bich, and causticum tied for first place.

obstruction in nose – Oops! There was no stuffy nose. If there were, she wouldn’t have been able to do all that annoying sniffing that was keeping me awake! What she had was a runny nose, which, in our Repertory, is under “Nose: coryza.” (Someone really has to change that to “runny nose”!)

Now, there is actually a rubric, “Generals: Air, night air agg.” and adding this rubric to our list of symptoms puts Carbo veg. WAY over the top with Aconite a distant 2nd.

Who are our winners?

Ute Seebauer, Gun Stahl, Dejan, Saritha S., Anka Blankendaal, Akanksha Agnihotri, G. Michael Reynolds, Helen Sebastian-Pace, and Mary-Jane Sharratt

Here’s the prize (don’t thank me, thank Paul Perkal!) The Silhouettes with John (“Bootsie”) Wilson on lead singing their big hit in the UK, “Not Me Baby”!

Not Me Baby/YouTube

The New Silhouettes

About the author

Elaine Lewis

Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine is a passionate homeopath, helping people offline as well as online. Contact her at [email protected]
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: and

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