Sore throats! Ugh! You gotta hate them! They are the worst part of having a cold! Let’s face it; you can’t eat, you can’t sleep, you can’t swallow, you can’t talk… It’s like your whole life is put on hold! You want fast relief, so you go to the corner store and buy a throat spray. It tastes awful, it mildly numbs your throat, but in general it solves nothing!
However, lucky for you, there is homeopathy–which actually works!
Sore Throat Case-Taking
How do you take the case of a sore throat? Statements like, “I have a sore throat,” mean nothing to a homeopath–in the sense that such a statement does NOT lead to a homeopathic remedy! That’s why you have to know what questions to ask, and here they are:
- Ask which side of the throat it’s on, or which side is worse, or which side it started on.
- What does the throat look like? Red? Blotchy? Dark? Cheesy, etc.?
- What does the tongue look like? Is it coated? What color? Do you see the imprint of the teeth around the edges? Is it “mapped”?
- Any sores in the mouth?
- What’s the sensation of the sore throat? Describe the pain or feeling; is it a sharp pain, sticking pain, splinter-like pain, burning pain, lump sensation, etc.?
- Etiology–do you know what caused it? And by that, I don’t mean “germs” or “caught it from a friend”. I mean, basically, what caused the person to become so run-down that they caught a cold. Was it change of weather? Exposure to cold winds? Getting the head wet? Sitting in front of air conditioning unit? An emotional stress? It’s not always possible to find the etiology; but, if we can find it, we’re a lot closer to knowing which remedy to give.
- Swallowing, what happens when you try to swallow? What happens when you try to swallow food? What happens on empty swallowing or swallowing liquids?
- The modalities–what makes your sore throat better or worse? Often people say, “nothing”. Or “aspirin”. This will not help us. You have to give them examples–warm or cold drinks, a hot shower, fresh air, sleep, company and emotional support, and so on.
- Are there any concomitants? (other things wrong at the same time, or other issues, like post-nasal drip, fever, sinus headache, excessive thirst, craving for hot drinks, craving for ice cream, out-of-the-ordinary mental/emotional symptoms, etc.)
- Did it come on suddenly or gradually?
- Describe your thirst and food desires and aversions.
Sides of the Throat
Left: Lac caninum, Lachesis, Thuja, Merc-IR, Nitric acid
Right: Belladonna, Arsenicum, Lycopodium, Merc-IF, Phytolacca
Whole Throat: Ferrum phos., Mercurius viv., Baptisia, Hepar sulph., Gelsemium
Sudden onset, high fever which is dry and burning, confusion or delirium, sensitivity to light, noise and touch, eyes are glassy with large pupils, no thirst during fever but may want lemons or lemonade, throbbing or bursting headache, throat is red, inflamed, right sided. Hands and feet are cold, head is hot. Strep throat. Any inflammation where you see dryness, burning heat and bright redness. Worse for lying down, light, noise, movement, jarring, touch and pressure. Better for standing or sitting up.
Slow onset. Burning sensation, better sipping warm drinks; anxiety, fear, needs company and reassurance; restlessness; worse between midnight and 2 a.m. May have diarrhea as a concomitant. May feel very sick and prostrated in general. Chilly.
Swollen glands; burning, raw throat, worse warm or hot drinks, better cold drinks; sharp shooting pain to right ear on swallowing.
Right-sided; starts on right, moves to left; worse 4-8 p.m.; may have gas and bloating as a concomitant; desires warm drinks.
Septic sore throat (sores, ulcers, bad breath, increased saliva). Narrow range of temperature tolerance, always either too hot or too cold. Worse at night. Swollen, painful neck glands, metallic taste, sweating which doesn’t relieve, coated tongue with imprint of the teeth on the border. Worse swallowing, worse warmth of bed. Better for resting, lying down. Chronic cases.
A right-sided Mercury (see Merc-viv. above). Feels like an ulcer in the throat. Bad breath, septic mouth. Increase in saliva. Cheesy exudate. Right tonsil swollen. Constant inclination to swallow.
Left-sided Mercury (see Merc-viv.). Ulcerated like Merc-IF. Dark red. Sensation of a lump. Can start on left and move to the right.
Inflammatory sore throat with lack of other symptoms. No modalities. Fever of unknown origin. Moderate to high fever. Weakness. Take Ferrum phos. on very first sign of sore throat.
Sudden onset. Non-descript inflammatory sore throat; possible etiology: exposure to cold dry winds. Desires cold drinks but they are hard to swallow. Scared and restless. High fever, flushed face, small pupils, very thirsty.
Septic sore throat with brown/yellow coating on the tongue, very bad breath, sudden onset, stuporous, apathetic, thirsty. May say throat doesn’t hurt despite it looking very bad.
Whole throat is sensitive and can’t bear for doctor to examine it. Chilly. Sensation as if a splinter in the throat, especially when they swallow. Worse cold drinks, cold air, cold draft. Wants to cover throat with blankets. Irritable. Pain on swallowing solids but not liquids.
Hoarseness from over-use of voice or exposure to cold/damp. Neck is stiff. Raw, scratchy throat. Better warm drinks, hot showers, hot baths. Etiology: getting wet, being out in the rain and / or cold. Yelling and screaming. Sore throat after tonsillectomy.
Total loss of voice. Hayfever. Raw feeling at roof of mouth. Corners of mouth are sore and cracked. Throat feels constricted, swollen and raw. Hoarse, worse talking and singing.
White patches on tonsils. External throat is sensitive to touch. Painful swallowing extends to ears. Shiny, glazed appearance to throat. Raw burnt feeling. Pain switches from side to side. Sharp pain, shoots to left ear on swallowing. Throat feels dry. Painful swallowing.
Left-sided, or starts on the left, moves to the right. Back of throat looks dark / purplish. Worse heat and warm drinks. Constricted feeling in throat or a lump sensation in the throat. Raw or burning sensation. Doesn’t want anything tight around their neck. Worse after sleep. Sleep aggravates. Better swallowing food, worse empty swallowing or swallowing liquids.
Septic sore throat with sores in the mouth or ulcerated tonsils. Bad breath. Left-sided fish-bone sensation. Worse swallowing, shooting pain to left ear.
Tendency to sore throats. Sore throat, cough and runny nose–the Bacillinum trio.
Tendency to sore throats. Desire for ice cold water. Phosphorus is the number-one remedy for the following: Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Hepatitis, MS, Diabetes. Better for company and sympathy.
Slow onset. Malaise, thirstless, apathetic, inclination to sleep, better alone, asks for nothing. Most Gelsemium flus start with a sore throat.
What Potency Should You Take?
Generally, people have a 30C Emergency Kit at home–at least I hope they do–so, take a 30C dose of your remedy and wait an hour to see what happens. If you’re strikingly better, don’t dose again unless you start to relapse. If you’re only slightly better, figure on taking the remedy every 15 minutes until you are strikingly better, and then stop and repeat only if a relapse ensues or the case stops moving forward. The general rule is, as you get better, take less and less often.
After the first dose, you should drop 2 or 3 pellets of your remedy into a half-filled bottle of water and succuss the bottle five times before each dose/sip. “Succuss” means pound the bottle into your opposite palm. Stop dosing if you get an aggravation. For more information on dosing, see my “Dosing in Acutes” article below:
Meanwhile, I don’t know about you, but, I keep Ferrum phos. 30C in the drawer next to my bed, and at the first sign of a sore throat, I reach for my Ferrum phos 30C and it’s bye-bye sore throat! I can’t even remember the last time I had a sore throat!
Good luck, everyone!
Elaine Lewis, D.Hom., C.Hom.
Elaine takes online cases! Write to her at LEWRA@aol.com
Visit her website: elaineLewis.hpathy.com