Clinical Cases

Revisiting: Jay-Fee and the Sunshine Band

Written by Elaine Lewis

Allergic cough. Elaine fills you in on the answer to last month’s quiz.

You didn’t miss last month’s quiz, did you?  God forbid!  Because that would have been a monumental tragedy!  For you late-comers, here it is again.


Well, Kelly, how has your family favored us with illness this time?


Elaine, you will be happy to know that my husband stepped on a rusty nail!

Oh no! Not another foot injury! Kelly, I’ve played “Get on the Good Foot” by James Brown three times now!

Are you sure you’re not exaggerating?

Do you remember your “Excruciating Foot Pain”?


Do you remember when your daughter stepped on a spinning coin and severely injured her foot?

Sort of.

And remember the “Really Bizarre Foot Pain” you had in June?  I’m telling you, The Quiz is becoming very footsie!  

Fine! I get the picture! But what are we going to do?

Luckily for you, Kelly, I happen to have a client with ulcerative colitis.

Wow, Elaine! You’ve hit the Big Time! We’re going to have an ulcerative colitis case?


But you just said….

His son has a cough.  Kelly, I assure you that this cough lives up to our highest standards of “riveting” and “exciting”!

Are you saying a cough beats out a rusty nail?

Kelly, trust me, this is the cough of the century!  His father advised me that this would make a great quiz case!  Here’s our conversation:

My youngest son has a nagging cough. Jayfee initially started coughing in September on and off and the doctor told us he had ragweed allergy and will go away after sometime. His coughing is dry, no runny nose, watery eyes, no phlegm, no gurgling sounds. The cough has been on and off for about 2 and 1/2 months. Doctor insists there is nothing wrong with him and constantly wants us to give him cough syrup. His cheeks are cold to the touch and he doesn’t like the cold weather. Of course Boston at this time of the year is nothing but cold. He coughs less in the night time and more during the day. When the cough attack starts he is less energetic. Only thing unusual with his cough was he asked me to get him Jalepeno chips. These are very hot and Jayfee usually doesn’t go near anything spicy or hot. He doesn’t run a fever, and doesn’t complain of headaches or anything else.

Good heavens! He has a cough and he’s better for spicy Jalepeno potato chips?! Now I’ve heard everything! Let me ask you, does your son have red cheeks?

YES YES we thought it was dry skin, he surely has no fever.

Let me ask you, does he tend to get homesick?

Oh YES. He always wants to be home. We call him the home-body.

Is he better in open air or closed rooms?

He doesn’t like to go outside but when he does, he doesn’t cough much, hmmm. He coughs more in closed rooms; I guess he’s better in open air.

He has had numerous health problems in the past such as a high fever-related seizure when he was 3 1/2. He would then get high fevers and start shivering and shaking. I spent countless nights putting him in the bath tub and giving him Tylenol or Advil even though I know it was toxic to his body but it would bring his fever down and make him more coherent. We just thought he was a homebody, always wanted to go home and every year late in the fall he would develop this cough that would hang around for a while. Hopefully you can find a remedy that will work for him; it kills me to give him Robitussin or any other cough syrup.

You should probably fill out the Acute Case Questionnaire:

Acute Case Questionnaire

1. Did your complaint come on suddenly or gradually? Describe the complaint.

The cough starts in Aug/Sept time frame. Usually it is a low level cough; sometime it feels like he is trying to clear his throat. Every now and then it flares up and he might get a runny nose, if it is cold he’ll sneeze a few times. He does complain about being sensitive to cold weather. He gets rosy cheeks but for most of the time has no fever or at least is not noticeably warm. Occasionally his eyes will get red and watery. The cough has no time related pattern i.e. sometimes he’ll cough in the daytime sometimes in the night. This summer though he also had tachycardia, his heart was beating at 137 beats per minute. The doctor dismissed it by saying he was dehydrated and kept him under observation in the hospital til his heart beats return to normal.

2. Etiology–

The cough started 2 years ago (so this is the third fall season). We had just moved into our current house so it made sense that he played outside a lot and got exposed to ragweed (that’s the doctor’s theory). However, by late October and early November the weather hits freezing mark in MA so ragweed is inactive.

3. Sensation–

I asked him if his throat hurts and he says no but sometimes it hurts on the top of his head as he pointed out. Not forehead but the top of his head.

4. Appearance–

When it gets bad he gets rosy cheeks, sometimes red watery eyes.

5. Location–

Throat I guess or his sinus track maybe

6. Modalities–

Better sleeping if he can sleep.

7. Concomitants 

He gets tired. Sometimes gets the dark circles under his eyes even if he is hydrated. Dry peeling lips. Lots of ear wax. Very stinky sweat. None of my other kids have a sweat with that odor, not even me and I sweat a lot.

8. Discharges–

Sometimes gets diarrhea.

9. Generals–

He feels a bit thirsty.

10. The mentals

He wants to be babied or pampered.

11. What have you been saying?

He ALWAYS wants to go home even if we go somewhere he likes he eventually wants to go home.

12. What are you doing?

(no answer) 

13. Thirst–

He does not like refrigerated water; room temperature liquids are fine with him. He sips not gulps

14. Fever?


15. Sweating?

During the day and night. No particular stain.

16. Odors?

Bitter smell, pretty strong.

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

(no answer) 

18. Is there a diagnosis? 

Ragweed allergy.

19. Describe your energy

energy is good and then lethargic.


Any bad breath?


How does he feel about open air and drafts?

OK as long as it is not too cold

Does he tend to be warm or chilly?

Chilly when he is not doing well

Does he have any burning pains, such as the lips, throat, etc.?


Any feelings of soreness or constriction?

No but he says sometimes there is mucus he swallows and feels better??

Is he better all covered up in blankets, etc.?

When he is sick he likes to be covered

What’s his personality like? For instance, lazy? Stubborn? Sensitive to insults? Easily offended? Changeable moods? Oppositional, etc.?

Sensitive to insults, easily offended, comic relief — always wants to make everyone laugh, extremely competitive

When he coughs, is it painful in distant parts other than the chest?

Sometimes on top of his head

Thursday, November 29, 2007

How is he after the remedy?

His coughing went down, he has a runny nose but previously it was stuffy but now he says he doesn’t feel congested and can breathe fine. He also has been sneezing but doesn’t feel miserable. His cheeks though are still rosy. He seems to be more energetic and of course was also playing on the computer. His eyes are not red; they have cleared up but are still a little bit glassy.

The following is what I have observed,
1. The cough is no longer continuous; it is breaking down into small spells, maybe three or four.
2. His cheeks are no longer dark rosy, occasionally a tinge of color appears but then it is gone.
3. He is more energetic and less lethargic.
4. He is still jocular and wants to sing.
5. His eyes become glassy and slightly red with the coughing spells.

I forgot to ask–how is the homesickness?

He actually volunteered to stay at a friend’s house for 3 hours after school on Wednesday. If that’s an indicator then he is not homesick like he used to be.

You’re saying that even spending three hours with a friend in the afternoon would trigger an attack of homesickness for him, never mind spending the night?

Half an hour at tops, that’s what it used to be

What about his disposition? Easy to anger, thinks he’s being insulted, etc.?

He has been pretty laid back and lovey dovey. He hasn’t fought with his brother lately. He gets or feels insulted very easily; we thought he was over- sensitive. This would lead to him fighting with Asad (his older brother).

He has been sleeping well and getting up in the morning without any complaints. He didn’t like getting up in the morning and would snooze a couple of times after being woken up.

He has been always very intelligent and we just thought esoteric behavior is a part of it. He taught himself computer games and operation by age 31/2, geometric sequences by age 5, had perfect scores on his achievement test by age 6, and started non-planar geometry at age 7 1/2. We had multiple opportunities to put him in the gifted children programs at Stanford, Cornell, and John Hopkins but didn’t avail due to my health and the older two kids. We just thought his behavior was normal as he was a little ahead of his time. His social skills are great as he is jocular, well liked by his teacher, and all kids in his class like him. Of course he also referred to himself as the “King”. However, we never understood him being homesick all the time but never really raised the flag until the cough.

Jayfee’s cough is down to 20%. It is awesome NOT to see him cough!!!!!!!!! I have been giving him _________30C twice a day and as long as he is showing progress, I don’t want to increase it to three times a day. I can live with a little bit of cough for now, what do you think??

December 12, 2007

I’m baffled. I gave him _________ again and his cough has pretty much vanished!!!!! No more coughing!! His cheeks are not rosy!!!! On and off he had the cough for three years. And consistently coughing this time since September. The change is fantastic, no cough syrup for three weeks!!!! I feel great that he is healing naturally without allopathic medication. Thanks, and Thanks again…………..

December 13, 2007

He is in a great mood, sang lots of KC and the Sunshine Band–“Shake Shake Shake….” needless to say, he is a trouble-maker!

Jay-Fee, you are all right with me!  Here’s Kay-Cee, KC and the Sunshine Band:



Shake Shake Shake, Shake Shake Shake, Shake your booty!



So, how did we do? Well, we got a lot of winners this time! Yes, the remedy was Capsicum! Here’s why I like this case–and our previous case too (Inez’s tonsillitis case–the first one). Both these cases show how pointless it is to give nothing but the standard medical information to a homeopath! The latter case was solved based on Inez’s eating butter off the stick during her illness, and this case was solved based on Jayfee craving the very hot and spicy Jalapeno chips he normally doesn’t like!

This is why I always say, no matter how much information you think you’ve given me, you still have to fill out the questionnaire! If I can’t pick up one of these odd-ball clues in your case, well, heaven help me! If all I’ve got is: dry cough, loss of energy, cold cheeks and worse during the day, how many remedies is this going to fit? Ten? Twenty? Thirty? It’s all too general, too common! And to make it worse, what if the remedy we need is an under-proved/under-utilized remedy about which we know next to nothing? Is Capsicum even under “dry cough”? I have no idea! And what if it is? It’s such a huge rubric, what good would it do us anyway? So, we absolutely depend on these unusual, peculiar symptoms to lead us to a remedy.

As soon as I heard about the hot and spicy jalapeno chips, I thought, “I simply must pursue this!” I asked the $100,000,000 question: “Are his cheeks red?” I got not only a yes but a YES in capital letters! That emboldened me to go ahead and ask the $64,000 question, “Is he homesick?” I got such a resounding yes to this question; it was almost too good to be true! I sent the Capsicum materia medica to Jayfee’s father and asked him to tell me to what extent his son fit any of the characteristics of this remedy and lo and behold, it was just one big YES after the other! He even said Yes to the shivering! But the homesickness was severe, what with him not even being able to spend more than half an hour after school at the house of a friend!

So, as you can see, we had an acute remedy that fit the constitutional case! So what does this mean?  It means we expect the remedy to totally transform this patient and guess what?  It did! Not only is the cough gone but so is the homesickness and, well, here’s the report I just got from Jayfee’s father:


I was about to tell you about him but I forgot. Here it goes: I gave him a plussed 200C, he took a sip ten days ago or maybe 12, no cough, no rosy cheeks, and everything went back to normal. I have noticed now that he is more jocular, doesn’t get into fights with his siblings, and is more of a comedian. Good energy and more easy-going personality.

I should point out that Capsicum feels easily insulted and, so, frequently gets into fights and arguments. Jayfee’s father knows to tell me about strange/rare and peculiar symptoms in a case, but, if he hadn’t, I’d have found out about the Jalapeno Chips in the “food desires” question; so, I can’t say enough times how important the questionnaire is!

Here’s what some of our winners had to say:

Hi Elaine, I think the remedy for Jay-Fee is Capsicum. The red but cool cheeks, the extreme homesickness, and the desire for jalapeno chips (spicy food) are among the listed rubrics for this Rx. Capsicum is also listed in bold under “nervous cough” in Kent.

Best wishes.


Thanks Carole, but be careful; he wasn’t diagnosed with a “nervous cough”; in fact, the doctor said there was nothing wrong with him; yeah, that’s reassuring!

Hi There,
I’m a student at the HCH in Ottawa, Ont., Canada.

I happened to come across your website and ezine and really enjoyed reading the current issue. I think this case, as well as last month’s case is great for those of us that are students.

In Jay-Fee’s case what led me to choosing Capsicum is his homesickness, red cheeks, offensive perspiration, pain in vertex, and cold/chilliness. When I repertorized homesickness capsicum was bold and was also the only remedy for with red cheeks–so bingo–that is my answer. I then went to Morrison’s and looked up Capsicum, Phos-ac, Carbo-an and all the symptoms were in Capsicum only. Thanks for the great lesson!

Pam Lomack


Hi Elaine

Thanks for the competition, very humorous and interesting!

The obvious suggestion is Capsicum.


Affinities: mucous membranes, mastoid, burning

Stomach, desires pungent

Cough, dry

Face, discolouration, red, cough with

Stomach, desires pungent

Averse cold drinks


Drinks cold <

Uncovering <

Mind, homesick (constitutional, not cough)

Mind, homesick with red cheeks, Caps only

Mind, offended easily (constitutional, not cough)

Mind, jesting (constitutional, not cough)

Does not have:

Eye, lachrymation with cough

Cough, > open air

Head, pain, vertex, coughing on: *SRP *

Persp. odour bitter: *SRP * (Veratrum only)

There are some other less obvious possibilities, but I am sure I would have given Capsicum first.


Affinities: Mucous membranes, nose, lachrymal glands

< cold drinks

< uncovering

> air

Stomach, desires radishes

Face, discolouration, red, cough with

Eye, lachrymation with cough

Head, pain, vertex, coughing on: *SRP*


Shivering as concomitant


Affinities: Nerves and muscles, bladder, larynx, weakness and paralysis

Stomach, desires pungent

Head, pain, vertex, coughing on: *SRP*


Lots of cough symptoms though usually larynx

Cough > sips of water

Mind, homesick (constitutional, not cough)

Re general case description: please allow me to add, desires spicy is not the same as better spicy. I think there is no evidence the jalapeno chips helped the cough?

I look forward to the result!

Helen Swan RSHom


The remedy is Capsicum (cayenne pepper)

ailments from change of residence, school, or country
easily feels homesick
extremely sensitive and touchy, so love to be home all the time
jocular and sings, yet angry at slightest cause

glowing redness of face with cough
cold to touch but red cheeks
throat pain worse when not swallowing
thirst for small quantity of water, craves pepper, spicey food
tendency to catch cold, worse cold air, cold things


OK! So, congratulations to: Helen Swan, Dr. Bhavika Gor, Elisabeth, Zdenka Adasevic, Carole, Pam Lomack and Anonymous 1 & 2.

And P.S., just to allay any confusion, some of you will recognize Capsicum as Cayenne Pepper; but, this is NOT herbal treatment!  We did not give Jayfee cayenne pepper, we gave him Capsicum 30C, it’s a homeopathic remedy made out of capsicum (cayenne pepper).

Capsicum 30C

Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom.  Elaine takes online cases. Visit her website at:

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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