Top 8 Homeopathic Remedies for Coughs
What Is A Cough?
A cough is a reflex action that helps to clear the throat and airways of mucus, foreign particles, or irritants. Coughs can be caused by viral or bacterial infections, allergies, environmental factors, and even certain medications. Symptoms associated with a cough include wheezing, difficulty breathing, tightness in the chest, sore throat, fever, and chills.
When the body coughs, it sends a signal to the brain that triggers a reflex action. This starts with the diaphragm muscles contracting and breathing out forcefully. At the same time, the vocal cords close to create a “coughing” sound while air is released through the mouth and nose. The exhalation of air through the mouth and nose then helps to clear any mucus or irritants in the throat and lungs, making coughing an effective way of removing unwanted particles from the airways.
Different Types Of Cough
Dry Cough – A dry cough is non-productive and does not produce any phlegm or mucus. It often occurs when the throat and airways become irritated from environmental factors such as smoke, dust, or cold air.
Wet Cough – Also known as a productive cough, this type of cough produces mucus or phlegm that is then expelled when coughing. This type of cough can accompany viral or bacterial infections, allergies, bronchitis, and asthma among other conditions.
Spasmodic Cough – A spasmodic cough is an intense, intermittent coughing fit that can last for a few minutes and be quite severe. It is often caused by irritation of the respiratory mucous membrane which results in involuntary muscle contractions, thus the spasm-like coughing.
As always, we have a great range of homeopathic remedies to help support your body’s own natural healing ability and immune system.
Top 8 Homeopathic Remedies For Coughs
Aconite (An Absolute Must In Any Homeopathic First Aid Kit!)
We give aconite at the first sign of a cough, especially if it starts after exposure to cold dry winds. However, coughs might not start because of an environmental factor, they can also be triggered by emotional events and for that reason we also give Aconite to someone who’s cough has started after a shock or fright (terror and fear are a big part of the aconite picture). Aconite may also be the appropriate remedy if a person experiences a high fever, chills, shivering, anxiety, and a sense of foreboding alongside the cough.
The Aconite cough is a hoarse, dry and croupy cough, worsening around midnight, and a desire for open air and rest. Additionally, the cough is worse after drinking cold water and better in the open air.
- Ailments from dry, cold winds, getting very cold, shock
- Cough presents with high fever or coldness with chills and shivering
- Hoarse, dry, croupy cough
- Starts or gets worse around midnight
- Restlessness, great anxiety, sense of foreboding (think they might die!)
- Dry suffocative cough, coughing from tickly throat
- Croup with barking, hoarse dry cough
- Worse at night and after midnight, drinking cold water
- Better for open air and rest
Ant Tart (Mucus, Mucus and More Mucus!)
This is a great remedy for children who often get chest colds that result in a wet cough with mucus.
The Ant tart cough produces a loud rattling sound due to the build-up of mucus in the chest, it almost sounds like they are drowning in it. Despite the amount of mucus, the person may struggle to cough it up. The cough is coarse and loose, making breathing difficult, they may even vomit from the amount of mucus (Similar to Drosera, but Drosera is a dry cough). The mucus is thick, white, and ropey in appearance and, after a coughing fit, the person may become exhausted and drowsy.
On the emotional side of things, when a person has a cough that would benefit from a few doses of Ant tart, they may not like being looked at or talked to. They will feel worse in warm and stuffy rooms, and their symptoms may worsen with anger or emotions. It is best to leave them alone if possible, sitting upright in a cool room with an open window. They may be thirsty for cold water and, in the case of a child, want to be carried around by their parents.
Ant Tart Keynotes:
- Children who get frequent colds that go to the chest with mucus.
- Suffocating cough and great rattling of mucus but very little is expectorated.
- Can’t raise the phlegm and seems like they are drowning.
- Coarse, loose, rattling cough, chest seems full of mucus.
- Breathing is difficult due to phlegm on the chest.
- Cough followed by vomiting of mucus, which is thick, white and ropy.
- Feels like they would suffocate and has to sit up.
- Can appear exhausted and drowsy after coughing fit.
- Worse for being looked at, warm stuffy rooms, heat, eating, lying down, anger, cold, damp weather, touched.
- Better for lying on right side, cold, open air, sitting up, vomiting, expectoration, left alone.
Bryonia (Everything Is Dry and Painful)
Bryonia is characterised by a slow, gradual onset of a hard, dry, hacking cough that arises from irritability in the upper trachea (windpipe). People who have a Bryonia cough experience sharp, stabbing pains in the sides of their chest while coughing. The cough can be so painful that they have to hold their chest while they cough and if they are laying down they automatically sit up.
The keynotes of a Bryonia cough are dryness (very little phlegm) and the desire to stay still. The cough is worse when the person talks, laughs, or moves, and is also worse at night and in warm rooms. The person may feel better with hard pressure on the chest or in cool open air, and they are often very thirsty, drinking large amounts of liquids in big gulps. Due to the dry, painful nature of a Bryonia cough the person is likely to be very irritable and wants to be left alone.
- Slow, gradual onset
- Hard, dry, hacking cough from irritability of upper trachea
- Dry, hard and very painful, holds the chest to keep it still and stop the pain.
- Coughing causes soreness in the chest, sharp, stabbing pains in sides of chest
- Dryness with very little phlegm
- Cough compels person to spring up in bed/chair involuntary.
- Worse for movement, talking, laughing, coming into a warm room, inspiration, night.
- Better for being still, rest, hard pressure, lying on the painful side, cold things, cool open air.
- Irritable, wants to be left alone.
- Very thirsty, drinks in big gulps
The Drosera cough is characterised by a dry, irritable, and spasmodic cough. The cough can be so intense that the person becomes scared that they will not be able to catch their breath. They may even retch and vomit due to the constant coughing. It is hoarse, deep cough and can start as soon as the person’s head hits the pillow at night.
The person may hold their chest when coughing (similar to Bryonia but it doesn’t have the pain that accompanies the Bryonia cough) and may feel a tightness or tickling in the throat, which causes them to cough. They may also produce yellow phlegm and the cough is usually worse in the evening, before midnight, and in stuffy rooms.
Someone with a Drosera cough will feel better when they are in open air, sitting up in bed, sitting quietly resting.
- Dry, irritative, spasmodic cough, each one quickly following the next one, can hardly catch their breath – takes breath away.
- Can retch and vomit from rapid, continued coughing.
- Cough sounds deep and hoarse, deep barking or choking cough.
- Cough starts as soon as the head hits the pillow and from the warmth of the bed.
- Person holds chest when coughing (like Bryonia) feels tight.
- Tickling in the throat pit, may have yellow phlegm from the cough.
- Worse for lying down, talking, towards evening after midnight, stuffy room.
- Better for pressure and open air, sitting up in bed, motion, being quiet.
Like Aconite, Hepar sulph is a homeopathic remedy used for treating symptoms caused by exposure to cold, but specifically dry cold. This remedy is specifically indicated for a dry cough or a cough with thick yellow mucus.
The person needing this remedy may be very irritable and sensitive to cold air, especially in the morning. They will feel better in a warm room, wrapped up in blankets and prefer warm drinks. It’s important to note that these individuals are very sensitive to drafts so getting them up and out of bed and giving them a cool drink to soothe their throat will not go down well. This cough may come with a sensation that there is a splinter stuck in their throat, causing them to cough, and they may have to bend their head backwards in order to cough.
Honestly, in the case of a Hepar sulph cough it’s best to leave them alone, wrapped up in blankets, and don’t bother them unless it is to bring them a warm drink.
Hepar Sulph Keynotes:
- Cough from exposure to cold, especially dry, cold air, west or northwest winds
- Can be brought on by exposure to a cold draft, after getting chilled.
- Noisy, hoarse dry cough or loose, rattling with thick yellow mucus.
- Croupy, choking cough has to rise up and bend the head back to cough.
- Feels as if fish bone/splinter in the throat causing coughing.
- Feels very chilly, extremely sensitive to a draft or feeling cold worse even putting hand out of bedclothes can cause coughing.
- Very irritable, hypersensitive and doesn’t want to be fussed over.
- Worse for cold air, early mornings, any part of the body getting cold or uncovered, walking, eating or drinking anything cold.
- Better in a warm room, wrapping up, heat.
A cough that would benefit from a few doses of phosphorus, is really violent and dry. The keynote characteristic of a phosphorus cough is the burning sensation in the throat, accompanied by dryness and tickling. This remedy is sensitive to changes in the environment, such as weather and temperature. This cough is not better for any one type of environment, the symptoms will be equally bad in windy, dry and cold weather, as it is in wet, hot weather, it is the change that makes it worse.
Phosphorus is also prone to having a hot feeling in the chest and a dry cough with pain in the head. The cough is often hollow, occurring mostly in the morning and at night, making it difficult to sleep. Phlegm, if present, may have a little bit of blood.
People needing phosphorus are anxious, fearful, and desire company and sympathy. They are easily reassured and crave comfort, especially if they are children. THEY LOVE COLD DRINKS AND ICE CREAM.
This remedy is worse for lying on the right side, talking, laughing, and in the evening/twilight.
- Violent, dry cough with burning dryness and tickling in the throat.
- Change of weather, windy, cold getting wet in hot weather
- Every cold ends in a cough or goes to chest.
- Hot feeling in chest, intense heat behind the sternum
- Dry cough with pain in head as if it would burst.
- Hollow cough, mostly in morning in bed but also at night, prevents sleep.
- Phlegm in morning, is transparent but may be blood streaked.
- Anxious and fearful and wants company and sympathy.
- Worse for going from warm room into cold air, lying on the left side, talking, laughing, evening, twilight.
- Better for touch, massage, sitting up when coughing, lying on the right side, cold drinks.
Pulsatilla symptoms can be triggered by going outside and getting wet, especially if their feet get soaked through. An emotional trigger for this remedy is grief or feeling abandoned.
A pulsatilla cough will often be worse at twilight and feel better for touch or massage, especially when sitting up. When coughing, they need to sit up, but they feel better lying on their right side.
They love cold drinks, but the main keynote is changeable symptoms! Their cough might be loose in the morning and dry in the evening. The cough is rattling with thick yellow mucus usually accompanied by a runny nose with thick yellow or green discharge.
Someone with a cough that would be helped by pulsatilla will crave affection and sympathy and feel very shy, weepy, and clingy. They are worse in the evening with a dry cough and in the morning with a loose cough. They prefer open and cool air and dislike stuffy rooms. Although they may feel better with cold drinks, they are often thirstless and may need encouragement to drink.
- Ailments after abandonment, grief, a chill or getting feet wet.
- Changeable symptoms e.g., loose in the morning, dry in the evening
- Rattling cough with copious, thick yellow mucus and runny nose
- Short, dry, hacking cough from tickling in epigastrium
- Dry cough with headache and retching
- Craves affection and sympathy, shyness, weepy and clingy, wingy and whiny.
- Worse in the evening (dry), morning (loose) and for being left alone, warmth of air and stuffy rooms.
- Better for cool, fresh, open air, cold drinks, sitting up with head high, rubbing and massage.
The Spongia cough is a harsh, dry (similar to Bryonia), and barking cough. The cough sounds deep and hollow, like a foghorn. It is worse for inspiration (breathing in) which is particularly annoying w
hen coughing as, after a coughing fit, you usually need to take in a deep breath of air to catch your breath and you can find yourself in a vicious circle. This cough is particularly worse just before midnight, the person may choke on their cough while sleeping and feel anxious about suffocating.
The cough can cause burning sensations in the throat, larynx, and chest and the person may feel as if their chest will burst. There is also dryness in the air passages, and the person may feel as if they are breathing through a sponge.
The good news is that the Spongia cough may improve after eating or drinking, especially warm drinks (the opposite of aconite They may also feel better by bending forward or find relief by sucking on something sweet. The cough may be improved by lying on the right side and by bending the head.
Note: Whilst similar the modalities of Spongia are different from those of aconite, which is a remedy for terror. Spongia has much less anxiety.
- Harsh, dry, barking, croupy cough, deep, hollow – ‘Foghorn” coughs
- Worse during inspiration and before midnight – difficulty breathing.
- Burning in the throat, larynx and chest after cough – feels as if the chest might burst.
- Cough goes after eating and drinking, especially warm drinks.
- Spot deep in chest, raw and sore – dryness of all air passages
- Feels like “breathing through a sponge”.
- Cough sounds “dry as a bone”, like a saw being driven through a pine board or “Seals bark “
- Choking when falling asleep, with anxiety and fear of suffocation
- Worse for talking, dry, cold winds, before midnight, exertion, cold drinks, lying on the right side.
- Better for eating or drinking (warm), sucking on sweets, swallowing, bending head forward.
- Like Aconite but deeper and less fearful!
So, there you have it! My top 8 homeopathic remedies for coughs.
These remedies can be found at health food stores or homeopathic pharmacies and should be a part of any good remedy kit.
How And When To Take Your Remedy
To use these remedies, try taking a dose of 30C every hour for four hours unless symptoms improve before this. If no change after 4 doses, re-take the case and choose a different remedy. Keep in mind, the body has the ability to heal itself, and the remedies are only keys to unlocking the healing process. When choosing a remedy, consider the symptoms and differentiate between modalities, what makes the symptoms better or worse, and any accompanying symptoms.
Of course, if your cough is particularly severe, your symptoms persist, or you experience trouble breathing, please seek medical attention. Homeopathy is not a replacement for Emergency care.
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