Case Quizes Clinical Cases

Revisiting: The Worst Cough Ever!

Written by Elaine Lewis

Did you find the remedy for Elaine’s horrendous cough? Scroll down for the answer.


Happy Holidays Everyone!

Same to you, Shana!!!  The joy of the holiday season is upon us!

If you say so.  Well, real quick, I’m going to go through the Death Report.

Oh geez!  That should cheer everyone up!

Well… I was going to make some mundane announcement (you know, to balance out the bad news) that was happier in nature, like Elton John’s


“Madman Across the Water” turning 50 last month, but then you would’ve just said No One Cares.

Oh.  That reminds me.  No one cares!

Either way it still must be recognized.  It’s the album that gave the world “Tiny Dancer” and “Levon”.


Ok… So, now:

Sadly we lost a member of Tavares, a group of brothers known for a series of hits during the Disco Era of the ’70’s which included, but not limited to, “It Only Takes a Minute” (a song I remember you playing when I was little) and “Heaven Must Be Missing An Angel.”

Ralph Tavares (center), the oldest brother, was almost 80 when he passed away this month. Tavares is also known for their cover version of “More Than A Woman”, which was written by another famous group of brothers…

Gee, I wonder who it could be?

The Bee Gees.

Both the original and Tavares’ cover version appeared in the movie “Saturday Night Fever” and were featured on the best-selling soundtrack album.  If you see one movie in your life, this should be it!  Anyway… Here is “More Than A Woman” by Tavares, it’s a live performance, and normally live performances aren’t very good, but this is an exception (despite the video being a bit fuzzy, but you quickly see past that, trust me!)

This month we also lost Michael Nesmith of the Monkees (he was the guitarist).  The Monkees had their own TV show: 1966-1968.

Micky Dolenz is now the only surviving member; first we lost Davy Jones (who apparently was the only Englishman in the group) in 2012, followed by Peter Tork in 2019. They are known for songs such as “I’m a Believer” (I first heard it in a South Park episode)

No one cares……..

“Daydream Believer”, “Last Train to Clarksville” (doesn’t it sound like a Beatles song to you?)

They all did!

You know what’s nuts though?  I think I heard “Mary, Mary” in a commercial from one of our Simpsons tapes.  I didn’t know it was the Monkees at the time, though, but now it’s growing on me. Anyway, here is one of their biggest songs, “Daydream Believer”… Wait.. isn’t their biggest song “I’m a Believer?”  I think “Daydream Believer” was their last # 1, but “I’m a Believer” was HUGE.

They were all HUGE!  (Except for “Mary, Mary”)


Who’s in the Quiz this month?


Well.  This should be interesting.  Not!

It happened almost as soon as I heard Robin Murphy died!  I developed a cough and a sore throat. So weird because I almost never get sick, and nothing was working, all the things I usually take at the start of a cold–Ferrum phos., Phosphorus…. I tried Spongia, I tried Antimonium tart, I tried Oscillococcinum, Influenzinum …. Nothing was working!  I started imagining that this was what happened to Robin, that nothing was working, that he tried all the things that should have worked and nothing was working.

I was losing sleep, I had no energy.  Then, amazingly, Lynda-with-a-Y wrote!  She’s a homeopath from Canada.  She asked me how I was.

“I have a cough and a sore throat and can’t sleep because of it,” I said.  I may have said other things too.  Anyway…

“Take _________________,” Lynda says.

I was skeptical.  I had never taken _____________ and the keynote I knew it for didn’t seem to be present.  I wasn’t even sure I had it above a 6C, but I did, thank goodness; I had a 30C, so I took it.

I wrote back: “Wow!  Thanks, Lynda, immediately after taking ___________ the sensation in my chest melted away!  I was able to go shopping!”

“Especially smiling and happy U and Shana r feeling much better!  YAY!!!!” replied Lynda.

“Woo-hoo!” I said.

Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, Shana had it too!  She had the exact same symptoms I had!

Epilogue: I was taking a nap at night after dinner after feeling sooooo much better all day.  But I kept waking up with a cough, and I started wondering what the heck was going on!  I seemed to be getting worse by the minute!  A violent, spasmodic cough!  Terrible tickling in the upper chest and throat area making the need to cough unbearable!  I wondered if I was in a new remedy state and if __________ would even work anymore!  I couldn’t remain lying down.  I got up, stumbled and lurched into the kitchen, coughing all the way, I hastily plussed my remedy bottle, my hands and body shaking from the non-stop coughing!  I took a dose every 15 minutes with 10 succussions before each dose for maybe 2 or 3 doses and then fell asleep.  When I woke up, I was fine!  Lynda does it again!!!!

I can confidently declare December, 2021 to be “Lynda-With-a-Y Month” at!


OK, so what do you think the remedy was that cured the Worst Cough Ever?  Write to me at [email protected] and let me know.  The answer will be in the January ezine.

OMG!  It’s almost 2022!  What the heck happened to 2021?  Where did it go?

While I’m looking for it, see answers below:



Kali carb










Wow, we’ve got a lot of answers here!  Who wants to go first?

Hi Elaine.

Jim Hebert, everybody!!!!!

I enjoy your articles and taste in music compared to the noise today.

Yay!!!!  I am now declaring January “Jim Hebert Month” at!

I think Calc-c covers all the cough symptoms.

Well, Calc-carb did cover the cough symptoms, as you say; but… the problem was, it didn’t cover them strongly.  There were remedies that were in Bold for more than half the symptoms, so, the first thing you would have to do is find symptoms from the narrative I gave you, or, as I always say, make a list of the Elements of the Case.

For instance, the most obvious element you could write down would be “violent cough” and then “paroxysmal” cough, which means “attack”,  coughing attack.  And then, what about the BIG 4?  When you’re taking a case, you should be asking yourself, “What are the BIG 4?”  And by that I mean:  Sensation, Location, Modalities, Concomitants.  Do you see any of those in this case? 

The sensation was quite plainly stated as tickling.  The location was mentioned as being in the chest and larynx.  Can you find any modalities (the things that make the complaint better or worse)?  This is what you have to do when attempting to solve a case.

Thank you. I will definitely add your advise to my list.  If I recall correctly from Hahneman, the Generals and Mind symptoms take priority.

Yes, they do.  But I don’t believe I had any.

So being that the cough began after the death of Robin Murphy which was bad news that affected the emotions (mind), I chose that as a Priority symptom since that was what brought on the cough.  Mercurius… Calc-C and Gels both had a 3 rating (bold) for bad news.  Calc-c had the tickling (sensation), spasmotic (paroxysmal), violent, waking up at night, etc. with 2’s and covered many more cough rubrics.  Gelsemium did not come close to covering as much.  Can you tell me why I was wrong in using the Mind Rubric as the highest priority instead of the other symptoms as a priority as you have done?

So, as best as I can explain it, there are two parts to this case.  The first part I remember very little about except to say I had a cough and a sore throat that came on after Robin died, and it kept me from sleeping at night which meant I was exhausted on top of everything else; and I already took Ignatia 200C, which seemed appropriate as I was in denial, saying, “No!  This can’t have happened!  It’s not possible!  Robin is too healthy to die–and too young; he’ll live to be 100!” 

(And Ignatia is very much a “No!” remedy, a remedy of opposition—you say yes, I say no; a remedy of non-acceptance, pushing back against the tide, so to speak.)

Even still, I wound up with a cough despite having taken Ignatia.  Was it Ailments from Grief?  Or even was it Covid 19?  We just don’t know!  See, Shana had it too!  And because of that, I would have to rule out Ailments from Grief. 

Now, as I was saying, there were two parts to this case.  In the first part, I have a cough and a sore throat that’s gone on for a few days when, luckily for me, Lynda-with-a-Y writes and says, “How are you and Shana?”  I told her what was wrong with us.  And she blurts out a remedy name, plus Mercury or Mer-cor which didn’t resonate with me so I dismissed it.  I didn’t have much faith in her main suggestion but I took it anyway since I was having no luck forcing Phosphorus to work, and incredibly, Lynda turned out to be right for both me and Shana!

But it was what happened when the remedy wore off that all my Quiz symptoms appeared!  That was when the coughing attack started.  I hadn’t had a coughing attack, a violent attack, before that. 

Now, you know, when a remedy works, and you relapse, your first thought should be to repeat what worked and not start looking for a new remedy.  But I figured I better raise the potency, given that my current symptoms were so much worse than before.  If your last dose wore off, is it likely to work again at the exact same potency?  Maybe, but, in this case of a violent attack, well… probably not!  So I plussed my bottle—fitfully, because I was coughing the whole time! 

I took a sip and was relieved to find it was still the right one!

Thanks for the explanation.  I also had come across Ignatia as a mental that seemed to match but decided Calc-c was the better one. In the past, I have also used Phosphorus many times for coughs and throat symptoms.

Phosphorus came up in my repertorization but it didn’t work!  I kept taking it, trying to force it to work, but it never did!

It even cured a Covid cough. I’ll never forget the time when I was in Medellin, Colombia.  I met a young lady who had the sensation that something was in her throat.  There were no other symptoms such as pain, expectorations, etc.  With so little to go on, I had to revert to asking her other questions about her temperament, desires, appetite, etc.  When I asked her if she had any fears, she said she was extremely fearful of thunder.  I immediately remembered that Phosphorus was afraid of thunder.  I looked in my small bag of different medicines (globules) and the one for Phos was empty.  I guess I had in the past used the last globule and forgot to refill it.

The next time that happens, fill the tube up with water and the remedy is back!

Anyway, I opened the small empty bottle and held it up to her nose and told her to inhale.  Immediately, as she was still inhaling, she stopped and said “Something fell!!”.  I said what do you mean?  She said that it felt like something fell down in her throat.  It was truly an amazing experience.  And the problem was gone.

Amazing!  Yes, Hahnemann was quite fond of the “olfaction” method.  We all need to remember that when our bottles are empty.  Either inhale the bottle or fill it back up with water.

She said how much do I owe you.  I said you don’t owe me anything. My reward was the pleasure of seeing the healing power of the God-given Homeopathic medicines in curing you.

Can you imagine a doctor ever saying, “You owe me nothing!  My reward is in seeing your health deteriorate on the drugs I just prescribed!  (Oh snap!  I said the quiet part out loud!)”

Once again thanks for your info and I will make note of everything you said.  God bless you for the work you are doing.

Well….  We sort of have to thank Lynda-with-a-Y…..But now, here’s Mary Queen of Scotts!


Hi Elaine,

Hi Mary K.

My guess is Kali-carb.  I’ll keep trying if this isn’t right.

It wasn’t Kali carb.

What about Conium?

Well, Mary K, not a bad guess.  Conium came up #2 in my repertorization.  Here’s where I think you went off the track: mistaking my stumbling and lurching into the kitchen for a neurological problem.  I simply could not walk straight due to all the coughing!  This may have thrown weight over to your Conium choice.  The remedy was actually Coccus cacti.  (Coc-c.)  Here are the elements of the case:

  1. Violent cough
  2. Paroxysmal cough
  3. Tickling cough
  4. Cough wakes from sleep
  5. Must sit up


Hi Elaine and Shana,

Hi Maria!

I just read “Tidbits 86” and was shocked to hear about Robin Murphy and Misha Norland.  I had no idea!

Yes, it is shocking, for real!

All I can say is that I am so sad but also so grateful for the legacy they left behind for us and they sooo will be missed 🙁

My condolences to their family, they were legends in the homeopathic world.


And such beautiful souls.

For this month’s quiz I would vote for Ignatia

I did take Ignatia. 

or even Gelsemium but you said you had never tried the remedy before.  So it is none of these, I guess.

Right, neither one.

(But I am surprised that Ignatia didn’t work if you tried it.)

It just goes to show that the cough, etc. was a coincidence and not an ailment from grief as one might have expected.

So because of etiology, I looked at ailments from bad news and ailments from grief and I saw Drosera in both of them.  It is also in the influenza rubric.  And it is famous for its terrible coughs.

So my vote goes to Drosera.

It is a long shot, but if I am wrong I will try again.

Drosera was a good guess.  What you haven’t done–in fact, what nobody has done so far, is make a list of the elements of the case.  I’ll get you started: we have…

  1. a violent cough; 2. a paroxysmal cough–that means attack, a coughing attack; then find rubrics for them, then repertorize if need be. And as a guide, remember the Big 4:

sensation, location, modalities, concomitants.

Oh it wasn’t an ailment from bad news huh?  What a timing!

Very strange timing!  And also strange that I needed a remedy that I had never taken before and would never have known to take in a million years!

Ok I will repertorize by pencil because my old computer is still broken.

So…after my primitive repertorization, my vote goes to Coccus Cacti.

 You’re right!  You nailed it!

I was between this and Rumex.  I thought of Cuprum too, for UNINTERRUPTED PAROXYSMS but it was missing from the other rubrics.

Rubrics I used:

Violent cough

Paroxysmal cough

Spasmodic cough

Aren’t spasmodic and paroxysmal the same thing?

Cough, from tickling in throat pit

Throat, tickling

Chest, tickling sensation

Cough, sleep, wakens from

I absolutely agree, and good that you caught that “wakens from sleep” rubric!  But, be careful about swaying your repertorization to one side by using multiple rubrics that mean the same thing. 

For instance, if you’re between “spasmodic” and “paroxysmal”, pick the rubric that has the most remedies in it instead of selecting both of them.

“Throat tickling”, “Throat pit tickling”…just pick Throat, it covers both of them; and then “chest tickling”…frankly, just picking the main rubric, “Cough, tickling”, covers everything! 

And the interesting thing is this, in Murphy’s (and I’m not sure what Repertory you’re using) Coc-c. is in Bold for “Cough: tickling”, but it’s not in Bold for “Cough, tickling, chest” nor “Cough, tickling, larynx”.  So where else can there possibly be tickling, I ask you?  So if it’s in Bold in the main rubric, you would expect that at least one of these sub-rubrics would have to be in bold too!  You see how flawed the Repertory is?  How imprecise?  So by selecting the sub-rubrics, you risk actually down-grading Coc-c. and possibly causing it to lose to some other remedy.

Rumex coughs from tickling in air passages, but I went for Coc-c because Rumex is in plain under Violent cough.

Good thinking.

If I am wrong, and is not Coc-c and neither rumex, I will try again 😛

You’re not wrong so don’t try again!


I see Neil from the UK has written:

This month’s cough is ignatia.  Came in following sad news and also found this in your review of coughing remedies which sounds like Ignatia and I’m sure I’ve read worse lying down too.  Here’s what you said,  “Coughing agg. The more you cough, the more you cough.  (I had that once!  That’s Ignatia.)”

Ignatia is a good guess, and I did take Ignatia!  But that wasn’t it, unfortunately.  I had actually taken Ignatia early on.  Ignatia is only a 1 under Coughing: paroxysmal.  There were plenty of 3’s, including the one that worked.


I think I see Wayne all the way in Australia!

Hi Elaine,

I was very surprised to hear that Robin Murphy has passed away.

I am deeply sorry.  I don’t know if you know, that Misha Norland also passed away.

Wayne, it appears that you have not seen my tribute to Robin Murphy and Misha Norland:


You’re right, I didn’t see it.  I definitely will read it.

Miccant has played around with their system and I can’t get my repertory to function, so I have been trying to repertorize without my computer.

I can’t understand that.  I have Miccant Vision software.  I downloaded it.  It works great. 

You may have been shocked to hear the bad news and Aconite may have been of help, but you said the remedy was not common.

Let me just say, less common than Phosphorus or Spongia for example; but, I was able to get it to come up in a repertorization of my symptoms.  You have to pick out the elements of the case:

I did take Ignatia 200C but it didn’t seem to have any effect on the virus, and Shana had the same thing; so, because of that, I think we have to rule out Ailments From Bad News and chalk it up to something we picked up while we were out shopping.  Covid 19?  Could be, since the symptoms were so strange.

I wonder if you took Drosera, which would seem to fit the symptoms?

Drosera is a good guess.  But that wasn’t the one.  Drosera is very weak for “Cough wakes from sleep”.  I took Phosphorus which repertorizes very high, but, it’s weak for “coughing attacks”.

Happy New Year!

Thanks, same to you, Wayne!


Hey everybody, Vamsi’s in the house!!!!

Dear Elaine,

Happy NEW YEAR 2022 !!!  May you have a wonderful year ahead

and may you fill us with new interesting quizzes…for the whole year.

I’ll give it a shot!

I know I might be the last one to answer this quiz…

You are.

but I cannot leave it without answering, you see…you have really given us an addiction of Quizzes 😊

Wow, maybe I should be selling them on the corner!

The main symptom…

Waking up with a cough

And tickling in the upper chest and throat area.

Was fine all day and the cough commences in sleep and aggravates.

Sleep aggravates symptoms – Lachesis..

Please let me know.

Well, Vamsi, that’s a good observation: cough comes on during sleep.  I suppose Lachesis is a good guess.  There’s a similar rubric: Coughing: sleep, cough wakens from.  That’s the rubric my remedy was in.  As a 2.  But there are 44 remedies in that rubric; so, we have to make a list of the elements of the case.  What are they? 

  1. cough wakens from sleep
  2. violent cough
  3. paroxysms (coughing attack)
  4. Must sit up
  5. tickling cough
  6. tickling, larynx

So, if you repertorize this list, you come up with Coccus cacti.  I have never taken this remedy before!  It worked for both me and Shana!  If Lynda with a Y hadn’t written to me, I’d have never taken it!  All I can say is, the next time you get a really horrendous cough, think of Coccus cacti.

I want to thank all the people who voted!  Please try again with this month’s quiz!

See you in February!

Elaine Lewis, DHom, CHom

Elaine takes online cases. Write to her at [email protected]

Visit her website:

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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