Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Cold Gone Bad

Shana smiling in profile @ Sabrinas

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

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:


To read last month’s full case quiz. Visit – 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 either way! What determines the remedy is knowing 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 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 weepy!
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

Alan, we don’t have a winner again! Will someone pleeeeeeeeeze read this month’s quiz and try to win our idiotic Prize?!

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 [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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