7 important "single" homeopathic remedies for coughs
In homeopathy and especially in working with homeopathic single remedies, selection based on an individual's specific symptoms is critical to success. Colds frustrate selection in that symptoms constantly change as the condition matures. One important element to examine is the cough. The character of your cough can make a definable difference in homeopathic remedy comparisons. Does it force you up at night? Is it dry or wet, rattling or wheezing, or constantly changing? Does the mucus stay down, gag you or come up easily? Does heat, cold, motion or lying down aggravate it?
The number of remedies indicated for coughs is seemingly endless. However, some stand out as suitable for common coughs and as good examples for what to look for in defining your cough.
Here are seven. Each one addresses a unique type of cough and set of symptoms that may accompany that cough..
Pulsatilla: Wearying night cough that forces the cougher to sit up and hold the ribcage. The cough tends to be dry, shaky and frustrating in the evening and at night– forcing you to sit up over and over again. In the morning, it starts out dry and very fitful with retching, but as the congestion matures the thick mucus loosens toward morning. The coughing spells worsen the dry sore throat and cause soreness in the chest. Related cold symptoms include sticky eye irritation, nose is stuffy at night and runny in the morning, minor fevers are chilling, mucus is bland thick and greenish and like everything Pulsatilla, symptoms are very changeable. Specific people are most apt to need Pulsatilla. They tend to be ‘soft, gentle, mild, affectionate, as well as clingy, weepy, moody, sometimes childish’ with a deep need for security and ever changing moods and symptoms.
Nux vomica: A suffocating cough highlights a restless cold or flu with extreme chilliness.
The cough is dry, tight and hacking. It oppresses breathing and causes a bruised soreness and often a bursting headache. Cough and other symptoms typically induce Nux's trademark irritability and sensitivity to light, noise, etc. Symptoms feel worse in the morning (possibly starting at 3a.m.) and in cold dry atmosphere. A finished nap and damp weather tend to lessen symptoms a bit. Extreme chilliness makes drafts unbearable. The cold may also have hot irritating mucus that blocks the nose at night and a rough sore throat that sends pain toward the ears on trying to swallow the lump in your throat. On the emotional side, typical adjectives for Nux individuals or states include: competitive, impatient, impulsive, ambitious, aggressive, fastidious, restless. Stress from excess is an important keynote, whether brought on by too much work, food, fun or spirits.
Kali bich: Stubborn, gagging cough. Thick, ropy, yellow to green, sticky, stringy, stubborn, smelly mucus is at the heart of what this remedy can treat. The cough is stubborn, gagging, hacking misery as you try to clear the thick mucus out of your throat. Mucus crusts up in the nose and fills the sinuses causing choking post nasal drip, hoarseness and pain especially at the root of the nose. The cough often starts very dry but over time becomes more productive especially after a walk in fresh air. When mucus accumulates overnight, morning becomes a torment of blocked nasal passages with stubborn hacking, hawking, gagging and coughing. Heat, but not hot weather, can help, but beer and morning are highly aggravating.
Phosphorus: A hard, dry, tight, racking cough set off by a tickle in the aching raw throat. The colds Phosphorus treats best move quickly into the chest. The cough may set the body trembling and cause labored breathing and tightness across the chest. Cold air, talking and physical exertion trigger bouts of coughing. A key trait to its fever is great thirst for cold drinks that are vomited soon after warming in the stomach. Hoarseness usually results from these colds, but it also helps hoarseness from overuse, especially in singers. Phosphorus can do the most for excitable, impressionable often lively individuals who burn the candle at both ends until the energy runs out; then sadness, anger and even indifference can dominate.
Bryonia: A dry, hacking, painful cough with stitching pains– worse for movement. Bryonia relieves ailments that approach slowly, linger too long, are worse for movement and may result from being chilled when overheated or from fast weather changes. Its slow moving flu and colds are marked by dryness and body-aching misery. Dry hacking cough causes pain in the sternum and forces you to sit up especially at night. Hawking will eventually move the mucus. Eating and drinking aggravate cough as will going into a warm room. Other symptoms include a bone-aching, chill-ridden fever, great thirst for cold water, dry throat and a “don’t touch me, leave me alone” irritability.
Hepar Sulph: A dry or rattling cough with chilliness. Chilliness and yellow phlegm also dominate this cold and there may be sinus pressure with splinter-like sore throats. Cold dry wind, walking, even exposure of any body part from under the covers can provoke this changing cough that runs from a barking dry hoarse cough to loose, rattling/choking coughing. The individuals needing Hepar sulph most lack internal heat, are easily offended, and get are sensitive to rudeness or causes. They may become quite sad and highly irritable, especially at night. Though not highly active, they may speak, eat and act out quickly and impulsively. In general, if highly sensitive to cold, pain, and touch, you might want to examine Hepar sulph, especially if cold air feels threatening.
Natrum mur: A dry tickling cough. Dryness underlies many of Nat mur’s applications. Its colds and congestions have a dry rawness with thickening clear to whitish mucus. Coughing is dry with rattling in the chest set off by a tickling the the throat. It can be particularly bad in the morning and very fitful at night in bed. Cough often triggers a frontal headache that feels as if the forehead would burst. On the emotional plane, the dryness becomes idiomatic as Nat mur applies to poorly circulated stress– suppressed grief, humiliation and heartbreaks. Sadness, irritability, anger, occasional sleeplessness and haunting memories tend to dominate. Complaints tend to improve with open air, deep breathing and tight clothing, and worsen with consolation, more emotion, hormonal fluctuations and sunlight (especially headaches). A deep crack in the lower lip and a desire for salty foods further indicate a need for Nat mur.
We hope this helps you get to know your coughs better. Other cough-clearing remedies to consider: Drosera, Dulcamara, Gelsemium, Ipecac, Spongia and Sulphur.
*Please note: these statements are based upon traditional homeopathic practice. They have not been reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration.