Homeopaths usually divide winter coughs into three types :
Dry coughs - these coughs feel tight and are often accompanied by an irritating tickle. The term “hacking” describes them perfectly. There is very little discharge, mucous or phlegm.
The homeopathic remedy Bryonia (wild hops) can be indicated for these dry coughs. The mucous membranes feel scratchy and sore. The patient feels irritable and doesn’t want to be disturbed, moved or spoken to. Often there are sharp pains in the chest which are worse for deep breathing and coughing. Some relief can be obtained by holding or pressing the chest when the patient coughs. The cough seems worse in hot, stuffy rooms and better in the open air.
Loose coughs - these coughs are the exact opposite to dry coughs. A lot of mucous is produced which can be very loose and easy to dispel or thick and stringy which sticks and is difficult to cough up. Loose coughs may be accompanied by a rattling sound in the chest and difficulty in breathing.
A common homeopathic remedy for this type of cough is Antimonium tart. This remedy is particularly indicated when the cough is loose but the patient is unable to cough up the mucous. Eventually the build up of mucous or phlegm may get so bad that the patient starts to vomit it up, after which the patient feels a lot better.
Babies and old people often have the type of coughs that respond well to this remedy.
The mucous can be heard rattling around in the chest especially when taking deep breaths. The patient feels weak and drowsy and wants to be left alone. The Antimonium tart. cough is worse at night when lying flat and trying to get to sleep.
Spasmodic coughs - as the name suggests, these coughs have a spasmodic or explosive nature. Patients can experience long bouts of uncontrollable coughing. Extreme examples are the sorts of spasmodic coughing experienced by whooping cough or asthma patients—long whoops or gasping to catch one’s breath.
One of the first remedies to think of for spasmodic coughs is Drosera (Sundew). Patients needing Drosera often go into fits of coughing that can last for hours. Sometimes the fits of coughing follow each other so quickly that the patient hardly has time to draw breath. The cough is worse for lying down and is often indicated for children who get coughing fits after midnight. As you might expect, Drosera is the leading remedy to alleviate the symptoms of whooping cough. Because the coughing causes so much strain on the body, the patient may start to sweat, vomit or even suffer a nosebleed.
There are many other homeopathic remedies that may be better indicated for your particular type of cough. If self-prescribing doesn’t make your cough markedly better, you are welcome to contact me and /or book an appointment to help me find a better remedy to match your symptoms. Repeated coughs need careful investigation and appropriate treatment and in my experience homeopathic remedies can often be very effective in helping to resolve winter coughs.
The following information could be equally relevant for any season - but perhaps especially for the party season around Christmas & New Year.
Can Homeopathy help the morning after the night before? The answer is yes, but there are a few practical things you can do as well to reduce feeling quite so bad.
Many people notice that as they get older their hangovers get worse. Whereas in the past a night on the tiles was hardly noticeable the day after, with increasing age it seems to take longer to get over any excesses. This may be due to the fact that your liver is no longer as young as it once was and may have accumulated damage.
It takes at least an hour for your liver to break down one unit of alcohol, for example half a pint of lager or a glass of wine, so it is very easy to overload your liver. The symptoms you feel in the morning are side effects of the liver trying to throw off toxins.
Some alcoholic drinks as known to be more hangover-inducing than others. For instance, the congeners in whisky, brandy and red wine usually make people feel worse than drinks composed of purer ethanol such a gin and vodka.
Alcohol also causes your body to suffer from dehydration (hence the dry mouth and thirst the next morning) so it makes sense to drink a large bottle of mineral water before going out and to drink a glass of water every now and then throughout the evening. Still water is better than sparkling for keeping hangovers at bay, but any water is better than none at all!
The two most popular homeopathic remedies for dealing with over-indulgence are Nux vomica and Carbo vegetablis.
Nux vomica - this is the remedy to choose if you resemble the proverbial "bear with a sore head", in other words the classic hangover. Patients needing this remedy feel chilly, irritable and over-sensitive to everything especially noise. Nux vomica is known to help the liver work efficiently and will help it eliminate the toxins. The remedy is also especially useful for calming down digestive disturbances - after eating a rich, heavy meal for instance - when the patient feels nauseous and dyspeptic.
Some people find that Nux vomica works best if you take a dose before you go to bed and another dose the next morning, but it will still work if only taken the next morning when the symptoms are already apparent.
Carbo vegetabilis (vegetable charcoal) is a very useful remedy when your symptoms are mainly digestive. Patients needing Carbo vegetabilis have a lot of flatulence and bloating, the discomfort of which is relieved by passing wind.
Sufferers feel tired and sluggish and are much better for being in the open air or "fanned". Eating the smallest quantity of food will make the patient feel worse and even the thought of food can trigger an attack of nausea and vomiting.
Unlike the patients needing Nux vomica who are irritable and bad tempered, patients needing Carbo vegetabilis don't seem to have the energy to be that angry, but feel weak and lethargic.