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Cough and its Management

Dr. Beena Thomas

The different characteristics of cough would determine which homoeopathic remedy is to be selected. Though there are innumerable medicines in homoeopathy for various types of cough, the most commonly used ones are described below.


Cough is the most frequent of all respiratory symptoms. The different ways in which cough can manifest itself can determine the seriousness of the disease. It may be short, painful as when in pleurisy accompanying pneumonia. It may be loose and readily productive of sputum as in bronchiectasis. It may be paroxysmal, ineffectual and exhausting as in cases of chronic bronchitis and asthma.

Cough is usually an early symptom in bronchial carcinoma but it may be a relatively late development in pulmonary tuberculosis. Cough is most often aggravated by changes in temperature. Cough can be dry or accompanied by expectoration or pain in the chest.

Management
According to homoeopathy all obstacles to recovery should be removed that is, in smokers, smoking should be stopped. If cough is aggravated by cold air and cold drinks, these should be avoided and the patient should not be exposed to cold air and should take warm drinks, preferably. All foods that aggravate the problem should be avoided.

In 1977, a systematic manner of evaluating patients with chronic, persistent cough was proposed that was based upon evaluating the locations of the afferent limb of the cough reflex. It was called an anatomic, diagnostic approach. At its core was the evaluation by history, physical examination and laboratory testing of the anatomy of the afferent limb of the cough reflex. From my perspective, the most important role that the anatomic, diagnostic protocol has played in the evaluation of how chronic persistent cough is managed today is that it has allowed us to discover and appreciate that extra-pulmonary as well as pulmonary conditions commonly cause persistent cough.

Homoeopathic Treatment
The different characteristics of cough would determine which homoeopathic remedy is to be selected. Though there are innumerable medicines in homoeopathy for various types of cough, the most commonly used ones are described below.

Antim tart: This is a good remedy for old age cough, where there is rattling of mucus, but very little is expectorated. Cough is excited by eating.

Belladona: Belladona is used for cough with tickling sensation in the throat. The cough is short, dry and is worse at night.

Bryonia: This in indicated in dry, hacking cough from irritation in upper trachea. Cough is dry at night with stitching pain in the chest.

Drosera: Drosera is a good remedy for whooping cough. Cough is spasmodic, dry and irritating and the paroxysms follow each other rapidly.

Ipecac: This is usually indicated in children with wheezing and rattling in the chest. Cough is incessant and violent with every breath and is accompanied by nausea and vomiting.

Hepar sulph: This is given when cough occurs due to exposure to dry, cold air. Cough is excited form eating anything cold.

Pulsatilla: This is given to patients who feel better in the open air and have dry cough in the evening and at night and loose cough in the morning with yellowish expectoration.

Spongia: Spongia is another good remedy for cough when it is dry, barking type and is relieved by eating or drinking warm drinks.

Sometimes it becomes very difficult for a layman to decide what medicine to use and consult a doctor at that time. There are many homoeopathic combinations available in the market for a quick relief from cough. Many allopathic preparations are also available but the disadvantage of these syrups is that they cause CNS depression and drowsiness.

Of the homoeopathic cough syrups available is the Stodal syrup, which can be used safely for all kinds of cough. This syrup has been clinically tested and has shown its efficacy in relieving dry as well as loose cough.

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