As the season changes inexorably to colder weather, shorter days and damper climate, many of us will predictably begin to suffer with the onset of respiratory tract infections as part of our individual susceptibilities to these perennial changes in our environment.
Here, then, are a few tips for minimising the disruption that the onset of winter heralds:
Although there are many homoeopathic remedies for coughs, probably less then a dozen will cover the majority of types, and symptoms will often respond dramatically on the basis of one or two well chosen keynotes. Subdividing the cough into “dry” or “rattling” will help enormously with a successful remedy selection.
Aconite: coughs with a sudden onset, or which start at night. Invaluable when a cough has been brought on from fright, or a cold wind. Croupy coughs in their first stage.
Spongia Tosta (Roasted Sponge): just as you would expect from a sponge with no moisture, spongia is indicated for very dry coughs, characterised by a rasping, wooden sound in the throat. Coughs are worse at midnight.
The remedy follows on well from Aconite in the later stages of croup.
Rumex Crispus: like Spongia, another great remedy for very dry coughs with a keynote tendency of aggravation from breathing in cold air, so covering the mouth ameliorates. Consequently worse entering or leaving a warm room.
Bryonia: for dry coughs which cause pain on coughing, due to movement of the chest.
Therefore must hold the chest with each cough. Strong keynotes are worse movement, better when still, and so this is one of the top remedies for pleurisy (inflammation of the membrane lining the chest).
Phosphorus: the cough can be dry or loose but there is marked sensitivity to the external environment, so the cough is easily triggered by talking, smells, etc.
Belladonna: the main keynote is that this remedy has one of the loudest coughs. The cough is typically hollow sounding, bellowing, barking with lots of noise in relation to the size of the sufferer! A red face and bulging eyes can accompany the cough.
For cold and flu’ prevention, and a safe alternative to the influenza vaccine (which often produces flu’ type symptoms!), the remedy Bacillinum and Influenzinum can be taken every fortnight. Take four times a day for the first day then twice a day once every fortnight.
Hepar Sulph: when the cough becomes “loose”, worse for the least cold air, and this remedy follows Aconite well.
Antimony Tart: where the chest feels full of phlegm, which is hard to raise; often indicated in children and the elderly with a low vitality to cough up mucus.
Drosera: loose coughs, with attacks of violent coughing, worse after midnight, from drinking, and as soon as the head touches the pillow and often vomiting follows a coughing fit. For this reason, Drosera is often a good remedy for whooping cough.
Kali Carbonicum: coughs can be dry or loose, with stitching pains. Worse at night between 2 a.m. and 4 a.m. and better sitting upright or bending forward, so this is often a good asthma remedy.
Phosphorus: usually dry but can be rattling, and a top remedy to consider when every cold ends in a chest infection. Worse evening or twilight and from lying on the left side.
Causticum: irritated, tickling coughs with scant, difficult expectoration. Feeling of mucus in the chest which makes one try to cough just a little deeper to get it up. Worse on lying or bending the head forward. Better from cold drinks.
All the above remedies mentioned can be taken in a 30C potency, starting every hour for six doses then twice a day.
For coughs which linger for weeks or months consult a registered homoeopath or your GP.
Lawrence Collin, M.R.Pharm.S, L.C.Hom, Pharmacist and Homoeopath.