We all suffer from coughs and colds at one time or another. Sometimes the symptoms are mild and sometimes they knock us off of our feet for several days.
Homeopathy can help to shorten the duration and severity of your cold symptoms, as well as improve how you feel during the process.
Below is a list of 20 commonly used remedies for coughs and colds. To choose a remedy, remember that the sick person does not need to have all of the symptoms listed for a particular remedy, but most of the symptoms the person has (including all of the prominent symptoms) should be listed.
- Aconite: sudden onset, often after exposure to cold weather or dry, cold wind; the very beginning of illness, within the first 24 hours; fearfulness, high fever, restlessness, sensitivity to light, thirst; watery runny nose, sneezing, headache; early stages of croup.
- Allium cepa: clear, burning nasal discharge that burns the skin and upper lip; eyes red and burning with profuse bland tearing; tickling in larynx, painful dry cough; thirst.
- Arsenicum: profuse watery nasal discharge that burns the skin, nose feels stopped up; irritation and tickling in the nose, frequent and violent sneezing; nasal discharge may be thick and yellow; dull throbbing frontal headache; cough from tickle in larynx or from deep in chest, may be loose or dry; burning chest pain; chilly, anxious, restless, and fearful.
- Belladonna: sudden onset; high fever, dry flushed hot face, enlarged pupils, “strawberry tongue”; mentally dull but unusually sensitive to light, odors, noise, etc.; anxious; throat raw and sore; headache and/or earache with throbbing pain; painful barking and short cough, producing a little thin mucus.
- Bryonia: when cold has moved into chest; dry, painful, spasmodic cough, worse with deep breathing, eating, drinking, in warm rooms and during the day; better from the open air or a swallow of warm water; pain worse with any movement, so person may hold painful area to prevent movement, lie on painful side, put pressure on painful area, lie perfectly still with shallow, painting respirations; thirsty, irritable, watnts to be left alone; looks sick, tired and heavy; dusky, dark skin color.
- Chamomilla: often used for earache; very irritable and sensitive, child wants to be carried; severe pain; one cheek red and hot, the other cool and pale; thirsty.
- Eupatorium perforliatum: deep ache of back and limbs, bursting headache, eyeballs sore; afraid to move because of pain; very thirsty, then chills and fever; vomiting may follow thirst; great weakness.
- Euphrasia: bland watery discharge from the nose and copious burning tears (opposite of Allium cepa); nasal discharge worse in the morning, in open air, and lying down; loose shallow cough, worse during the day; may cough up large amounts of mucus formed in the upper airways.
- Ferrum phosphoricum: beginning stages of all inflammatory problems; gradual onset; pale with red cheeks; red burning eyes; hoarse, restless sleepless, weak, tired, thirsty, apathetic; better from cold applications.
- Gelsemium: gradual onset; sensation of heaviness throughout the body, drooping eyelids; great fatigue, but feels restless; chills up and down spine, worse slightest draft; headache; sneezing and dry sensation in the nose despite irritating watery nasal drainage; better with continued motion and open air if not chilled; worse from damp weather, anticipation (even of pleasurable events).
- Hepar sulphur: rarely used in the beginning stages; cold may have started with watery, runny nose, but now nasal discharge is thick, yellow and may be bad smelling; sneezing at the slightest exposure to cold; wants to be wrapped up, especially the neck and head, with the ears covered; rattling throat cough possibly with croupy sound, may cough up thick yellow phlegm; cough worse from cold air, cold food, exposure to wind, deep breathing and uncovering; sensation of splinter in throat; earache may begin with sensation of poking pain from throat to ear on swallowing; chilly, hoarse; irritable, sweating with sour odor, extremely sensitive to drafts; worse from slightest touch.
- Kali bichromicum: used during later stages of cold; discharge thick, yellow or greenish, and stringy, difficult to remove from nose; thick post-nasal drip; sinus headache with pressure at root of nose; head or face pain that can be pointed to with one finger; hoarse voice; better from heat and lying down.
- Kali muriaticum: to clear Eustachian tube following earache; snapping noises in the ear, impaired hearing following earache; worse from motion, rich foods, and fats.
- Mercurius: cold begins with creeping chilliness; violent sneezing; thick green or profuse watery nasal discharge, making nose and upper lip sore; raw sore throat, difficult swallowing; coated tongue, heavy salivation, bad mouth odor; ticking ear pain, worse at night; very thirsty, weak and trembling; whole person smells sick; worse at night, lying on right side, with wet and damp weather, sweating, a warm room, or a warm bed.
- Natrum muriaticum: cold begins with much sneezing; nasal discharge like raw egg white or boiled starch, with copious flow, or nose may be stopped up; loss of smell and taste; lips try and cracked, skin split at corners of mouth, may have cold sores around mouth; blue mood, weepy, worse, from or irritated by sympathy or comfort; worse from heat, lying down, noise; better from open air, cold bath, going without regular meals.
- Nux vomica: illness after exposure to cold or cold dry weather; onset not sudden; dry, tickling and scraping sensations in nose; nose stuffy and dry at first, then develops a watery and often irritating discharge with sneezing; nose may alternate between stuffed up and runny; “stuffiness predominates at night and outdoors, runniness in warm rooms and during the day” (Cummings and Ullman); throat raw and rough, tickle in larynx; teasing dry cough leads to soreness in chest; cough worse in morning (especially on waking), from 12AM to sawn, after eating, or mental work and in cold air; cough may end in retching; warm drinks relieve; chilly and unable to get warm despite piles of covers, every little motion causes chills; irritable and easily offended, extremely sensitive to noises and odors; better with warmth, in the evening, lying down, and an uninterrupted nap.
- Phosphorus: laryngitis and hoarseness, violent tickling in throat while speaking, worse in the morning or evening; cough dry or loose, croupy or deep, increases when talking, eating, laughing, or breathing cold air; cough worse lying down, especially on left side; cough aggravated by liquids, especially cold drinks; phlegm of any color or consistency, may be streaked with blood; chest pain, worse from motion, better from pressure; sensation of tightness or constriction, or of a weight in the chest; chilly and craves ice cold drinks; nervous when alone or in the dark.
- Pulsatilla: for a “ripe” cold; thick, creamy, bland yellow to yellow-green nasal discharge, with stuffiness alternating with fluent discharge; nose may run in the open air and the evening, and stuff up in a warm room; lips are chapped and peeling; dry mouth with a lack of thirst; both dry and loose coughs, may be dry in the evening, loose in the morning; sensation of weight on chest; coughing spasms may end in gagging or vomiting; cough worse when lying down, with exertion, a warm room,; better with open air; red, swollen external ear with an earache, with severe throbbing pain, worse at night; feels as if the ears are stopped up; weepy, wants sympathy and attention, feeling its useless to do anything to feel better; craves open air.
- Rumex crispus: for cough provoked by breathing cold air or by minute changes in air temperature from warm to cooler; extremely sensitive to inhaling cold air; variation in air flow may excite cough, so person carefully regulates breathing; cough dry and shallow, set off by tickling in airways or pressing hand to throat; worse evening (11PM) and lying down; may have fluent, watery nasal discharge with sneezing, or tough stringy mucus difficult to cough up; hoarse.
- Spongia: loud, dry, barking cough and hoarse, rasping respirations; breathing sounds like saw being driven through a board; cough worse from excitement, talking, alcohol, lying down, and cold drinks; hoarse, breathing difficult, as if there’s a plug in the throat; wakes with sensation of suffocating from throat constriction; anxious, warm, exhausted after slight exertion; better from eating or drinking, especially warm drinks.
How Often to Take a Remedy
- An acute condition is one that lasts for a short time but can begin quickly and have intense symptoms.
- A chronic disease is persistent. It lasts for a long period of time and might recur.
As mentioned above, most acute conditions treated at home, a 30c potency is ideal. In some cases, such as severe muscle pain from overuse or sports injury, a dose of Arnica 200c, for example, may be appropriate. However, most conditions will resolve quite well using 30c potencies.
Once you have selected the remedy, give one dose ( 3-5 pellets) under the tongue and then WAIT and OBSERVE. If there is no improvement at all within a few hours give another dose. If after 3 doses there is no change then it is likely time to try a different remedy or contact a healthcare professional.
A chronic condition is best treated by a Professional Practitioner, and in these cases, the remedy is most often given only once, at the outset of treatment. This is followed by a period of observation to allow the patient and Homeopath to observe changes that may occur as a result of the remedy.
When to Consult a Professional
Remember – not all illnesses should be treated at home. If you are having difficulties finding the right remedy for an illness at home, it’s a good idea to consult with a Professional Classical Homeopath to help identify the right remedy. Also, chronic illnesses or ailments should always be treated by a trained professional.
Note: The information here is not intended as medical advise. Please see your doctor, Primary Care Physician and/or your Homeopath.