Coughs-At Home with Homeopathy
As I have explained in the recent video, homeopaths know that we are all individuals, and consequently there is no “one size fits all” when it comes to finding remedies for people.
I often have patients contact me for a remedy for their baby or child’s cough. Those who are new to homeopathy are a little startled at the long list of questions I have. Set out at the bottom of this blog is a list of things to note about your own or your child’s cough-it will help you find the remedy required. If you cannot find a remedy you can contact me.
Remember- Firstly,in homeopathy we look at the individual and at the whole: "a foot is no more the whole man than a symptom the whole disease". We are greater than the sum of our parts.
Secondly, remember-we are not trying to cure the cough: we are trying to help the patient heal the whole of themselves.
Consider how the patient is. If they are breathing without a problem, if their energy is good and they themselves are not concerned about the cough, if it does not affect their sleep, then it could well be just “a cough”, which is one of the ways in which our body uses to expel irritants, mucous and so on.
Coughs may also be the last symptom to go, after an acute illness, so be patient.
Some cough remedies.
Aconite- the cough is short, dry and repetitive. Comes on suddenly, often just a few hours after being out in a cold dry wind or the rain, or after excitement or a fright. Often worse around midnight/1am; patient may feel frightened, is restless and needs air. It can be croupy, hoarse, croaking. Patient may feel they are suffocating. There can be a whistle or wheeze on the in-breath.
Spongia-again worse cold air, can be better in frosty weather, croupy, barking, hollow, wheezy. Patient feels it is suffocative; mucousy but can go suddenly dry. Often holds throat as it is painful. Better for eating or drinking a little. Easier to tip head forward to cough.
Hepar Sulph-rarely a dry cough, more likely to be loose and rattling, croupy, and worse for slightest draught to any part of the body or eating and drinking cold things. Often cries before coughing and tips head back to cough. A repetitive irritating cough. Mucous is copious, thick, yellow, loose but can be difficult to bring up and children will swallow it. Cold air tightens up the mucous and often less mucous at night.
Croupy coughs-When my eldest child was croupy I had not heard of homeopathy and spent hours steaming her in the night. However with my second child I had begun to use homeopathy and how wondrous was that! Croupy cough, baby wakes, I gave the croup remedy, within minutes baby was asleep again, much improved in the morning! Simple!
The 3 remedies above combined is often very good for croup when you are unsure which remedy to choose. Once again remember, some children with croup will need a different remedy. For children use 6 c or 30c potency, or if you have mix of potencies you can mix them together. Give 3 or 4 times a day and as needed in the night. Always speak to a homeopath or doctor if you think things are worsening, especially breathing. NB It is a rare occurrence but epiglottitis sounds croupy, child must sit up, makes a horrible noise on both the in and out breath, known as stridor-take your child to hospital straight away.
Other remedies to consider-
Rumex- dry tickle causes cough, worse change of temperature at night.
Ipecac- Incessant loose rattly cough causing gagging and vomiting as so much mucous.
Antimonium tart- cough develops when eruptions have been suppressed; lots of mucous “ drowning n mucous”
Pulsatilla- child has a cold as well, snotty nose, thick discharge ranging from cream to green; extra or less thirst than normal; wants cuddles and company; feels better in the fresh air-cough often better in the fresh air. A bit whinging and whining often. Cough is in 2’s, as in “cough cough” rather than paroxysmal.
Coughs and colds-general measures. If breastfeeding continue to do so, if bottle feeding depending on the age of the child, speak to a health visitor about diluting formula milk. Children who are weaned-cut out milk, cheese, yogurts, bananas, oranges, sweets, crisps, bread, pasta, biscuits, bread, cakes…… put only good nutrition in if you want them to get better. Home cooked vegetables, and fruit, and meat, fish eggs if they want them. Give small amounts, and do not worry if they do not eat. Eating and digesting use up energy, and not eating is fine providing you keep up fluids, water or very dilute juice is fine. Remember- we can only survive seconds without air, days without water but we can survive weeks without food!
These are the questions I ask parents when they come to see me for help for their child’s cough, so these are the questions to ask yourself.
What is the cause of the cough? Has the child got a cold, or had a cold? What are the cold symptoms?
Did the cough begin very suddenly, e.g a few hours after being out in the cold or rain, or doing something the child found exciting or frightening?
Describe the cough-frequency, when, how often, is it a short cough, or 2 coughs or a whole paroxysm of coughing?
What does it sound like? I think this is a difficult question for many people, but it means is it loose ( with mucous), dry, rattling, hollow, rasping, croupy?, Before you decide if it is chesty or not, put your ear to your child’s back, listen up near their shoulders, and gradually move down, listening to both sides.
Observe if when coughing your child brings up any mucous, and whether they can spit it out or swallow it. If you see the mucous describe it- white, frothy, cream, green, yellow, sticky, like little balls etc Do you think the cough is because mucous is trickling down their throat and it is this that is making hem cough. Post nasal drip, we call this.
Modalities- this is what makes a symptom better or worse, and is very useful information when looking up remedies yourself or when talking to me.
Is the cough aggravated or ameliorated ( helped) when the patient goes from a warm room to a colder one, or from the house out into the cold, or the other way round, cold to warm?
Does the patient have to sit up to cough? Does this help the cough? Can the cough be during sleep, disturbing sleep or wakens the patient form sleep. Does lying down help or aggravate? Is the cough painful-observe if the patient clutches/presses throat of chest or cries when they cough?
Time modality- morning cough, afternoon, daytime only, day and night, on waking, on rising-getting out of bed, after a meal, during a meal? Better or worse for eating, or drinking, and if so, hot or cold drinks.
Emotionally what is going on? Tearful, irritable, anxious, needs company, to be carried, or cuddled, quitter than usual, prefers to be alone? Is there something upsetting the patient? Something they are not able to say?
I hope this has been useful, do send me feedback if you would like to, to firstname.lastname@example.org