Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Cold Gone Bad

Written by Elaine Lewis

Elaine gives the answer to last month’s quiz. Revisiting: Cold Gone Bad

Did anybody, by any chance, miss last month’s Quiz Adventure?  A show of hands please.  D’oh!  This is ridiculous!  OK, here it is again with the answer to follow:


Shana, guess whose case we’re doing this month?

Shana smiling in profile @ Sabrinas

Is it Mickey Moose again?

Nooooooo….. It’s Mini Moose!

Mini Moose?

Yes, Mini Moose, Mickey Moose’s daughter!

Oh! Mini Moose!  Mom, I think “mini” is spelled with 2 n’s and an “ie”.

Now, Shana, who’s the homeopath here?


Now, pull up a chair and get ready for another Hpathy prize-winning adventure as we present to you:

“Cold Gone Bad!” starring, Minnie Moose.  (There, are you happy?)


Acute Case Questionnaire

1. Describe the complaint or complaints in your own words in as much detail as you can. Don’t forget to include the onset–did the complaint come on suddenly or gradually?

My oldest daughter (12) has a sore throat with earache.  It began with a cold Tuesday, then has gone into a cough the last couple of days and now she seems to be worsening with none of my interventions helping much.  So at this point her biggest complaint she says is the throat.  It is her entire throat.  She says it is worse swallowing empty – so swallowing food or drink is a little better.  It is not red or swollen and I see no pus in there.  She says it hurts a little while talking, but mostly while swallowing.  She says it feels like she is swallowing a log over and over and then while she swallows someone pokes her ear drum really hard with a Q-tip.

The ears started hurting today.  It is both of them.  No discharge and they are not red.  The right ear is worse.  She is still coughing.  It is productive- yellow, beige.  She coughs a lot though like hacking and has fits of coughing where she can’t stop.  She says lying down and sitting make the cough worse.

She is also still blowing out a lot of snot – it is yellow too.  Her nose is red and raw from all the blowing.  She says in the night she is woke up by crusts in her nose – they are yellow too.  Her ears are watery looking and red- she looks like she has been crying.  Both cheeks are red.  No fever.

2. Etiology–this means the cause, if you know it.

Maybe she got exposed to something new in the mountains last weekend.  It was a change in weather there to VERY COLD, especially where we were.

3. Sensation–describe the pain or other feeling you have.  Does it extend anywhere, does it shoot anywhere? For instance, “It feels like there’s a crumb in my throat, I’m constantly trying to swallow.  The pain shoots to my left ear.”

Her description for the throat is like swallowing a log.  She says the ear pain when she swallows is throbbing.

4. Appearance– anything remarkable? Red skin, droopy eyes, etc.?

Cheeks are red.  Eyes are red and watery like she has been crying.

5. Location–where on the body is your complaint located?

Everywhere! Ears, throat, chest, sinuses!

6. Modalities–this refers to the things that make your complaint better or worse.

Throat some better from swallowing food or drink.  She said that in the shower all of it feels better.  Also she said she feels better outside.

7. Concomitants (additional symptoms associated with the complaint)

She is chilly also she says tonight.  She acts like she feels bad tonight, so I am concerned.  She usually takes a cold in stride pretty well at her age.

8. Discharges–color, odor, consistency.

Yellow discharges from nose and chest.

9. Generals–these are all the symptoms that begin with the word “I”: I’m hot, I’m cold, I’m thirsty, I’m tired, I’m sad, I’m irritable, I’m hungry, I want pickles, etc.

I’m irritable – she says.  I’m cold also.

10. The mentals: Is the complaint changing you mentally or emotionally?

She is irritable.  She seems somewhat indifferent to me.  I also think she seems weepy and has almost cried a few times.  I think she is tired of feeling so bad.

11. What have you been saying?  For instance: “I’m fine, leave me alone.” “Don’t leave!” “I wanna go home!” “I want ice”, etc.

Can’t think of anything.

12. What are you doing? For example, tossing and turning, pacing, fidgeting, moaning and groaning, calling people on the phone for support, etc.

Moaning and groaning yesterday, now she is more lethargic and just pitiful to me.

13. Describe your thirst and appetite–

She doesn’t want to eat.  Not too thirsty at this point.

14. Fever? No.

15. Sweating? Describe.

This morning she was sweating on her lip she said, but not since.

16. Odors?


17. What is most striking or peculiar about your condition?

To me, that SO MUCH is wrong.  Also, that I can’t seem to fix it.  For her, I don’t know.  Early on in the sickness she was thirsty and usually isn’t much.  Now that has passed.  She has not been sleeping as much or well – getting up early since she has had it.  She is at that age where she could sleep all day, so that is new.

18. Is there a diagnosis?  For instance, flu, teething, etc.

??? Cold gone bad?



  • Pulsatilla-9
  • Hepar sulph.-3
  • Nux v.-2
  • Ignatia
  • Calcarea
  • Phytolacca
  • Lachesis
  • Conium
  • Kali-bi

The consensus here seems to be for Pulsatilla.  Why do you think that is?  My guess would be: yellow discharges, not very thirsty, better in open air, loose cough … but, for me, the most important, the most significant symptom in the case was, “Generals, bathing, hot bathing amel.”, and Pulsatilla isn’t in that rubric at all!  Pulsatilla isn’t known for being better heat, in any fashion, isn’t that right?  Here’s what Minnie’s mom said:

…in the shower all of it feels better.

Keep in mind that when we’re talking about “shower”, we mean “Hot” shower unless otherwise noted.  I think that’s pretty dramatic, don’t you, that the whole case improves in the shower–the cough, the sore throat the ear pain, the sinuses…?  It certainly made an impression on me!  What did Hahnemann say in Paragraph 153 of The Organon? The most striking, strange, rare and peculiar aspect of the case has to fit the remedy, more so than any of the common symptoms like, “sore throat, worse swallowing”, “yellow discharge”… What could be more common in a cold than a yellow discharge?  I wonder how many hundreds of remedies are in that rubric?

Hot bathing ameliorates all symptoms!

That’s quite striking!  What do YOU think of when you hear, “Hot bathing ameliorates“?  I think of Rhus tox.  And, having thought of Rhus tox, I went back to see if any other part of the case went for Rhus tox and here’s what I found: The cough was worse while sitting still and lying down.  Doesn’t that sound like Rhus tox to you–worse from being still?  I said, “Oh my God, that’s two big keynotes for Rhus tox!”  And then I struck gold with the etiology, which was, Ailments from cold weather.  Pulsatilla is not to be found there either.  Rhus tox hates the cold!  You do know how important “etiology” is, don’t you?  I remember when I was interviewing Miranda Castro as our “Homeopath In The Hot Seat”. I asked her about etiology and here’s what she said:

Etiology is a very high-level symptom.  It’s right up there, one of the highest.  The correct remedy HAS to have the etiology covered.  We HAVE to know it.  I am ruthless about this with patients and I let them know that.  I will back people into a corner until I get [it]. …I will chase down that etiology if I have to … and so, if I’m at a point where people start saying the same things over and over and I haven’t gotten the information I need, and I haven’t gotten the etiology, I will take charge and chase it down!

The etiology means the “cause”.  Is your stomach pain from an injury?  (Arnica)  Or from bad food? (Arsenicum)  The pain or sensation can feel the same but what determines the remedy is the cause!  All the people who chose Pulsatilla were, I imagine, thinking about things lower down in the “hierarchy of symptoms” than what was at the top.  Etiology is right up there at the top of the hierarchy!

People also made the mistake of making a lot of local symptoms more important than the Generals.  When a “modality” (something that improves or worsens the complaint) acts on the whole person rather than just a specific part, it becomes elevated to a “general”.  Generals have more value than “particulars” in solving a case.  So, even though we couldn’t find Rhus tox in the local “sensation as if a log was in the throat while swallowing”, it was more important that we found it in, “Generals: Hot bathing ameliorates [all complaints].”

I know some of you also thought it was Pulsatilla because Minnie appeared to be weepy.  Well, that’s just the problem, she only APPEARED to be!

Other rubrics that went for Rhus tox:

Better in open air-3
Throat, pain, on swallowing-2
Mucus discharges yellow-1
Throbbing pain-2
Cough, paroxysmal attacks-1
Throat, empty swallowing agg.-2

Dr. B, we don’t have a winner this time.  Will someone pleeeeeeeeeze read this month’s quiz and try to win our Prize?!

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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