Transitioning your medicine cabinet from over-the-counter medications to natural alternatives can sometimes be a challenging and daunting task. Today, I’m hoping to provide you with some homeopathic alternatives to help treat symptoms that might otherwise tempt you to reach for the cough syrup!
Why avoid over-the-counter cough syrups?
The main reason homeopaths want to avoid over-the-counter medication is to avoid suppression. Don’t get me wrong, there are times that a good cough syrup (and possibly even a prescribed steroid) may be needed to get a cough under control. And even at those times when you need some help through conventional medication, it’s still okay to use homeopathy alongside the the treatment!
But if you are able to catch the cough early and start a homeopathic remedy in a 6C (or 9C or 12C) several times a day, you may completely eliminate the need for any other medications.
The idea behind using a homeopathic remedy is to encourage your body to heal quickly on its own with as few side effects as possible. This is especially important when you want to avoid the unwanted side effects of medications that may interfere with your day-to-day work, such as excessive drowsiness. Let’s explore some homeopathic options.
What are symptoms to look out for?
Remember, in homeopathy we do not need a diagnosis in order to pick a remedy. Sometimes the diagnosis can help you pick a remedy quicker, but sometimes it doesn’t matter! Especially in regards to coughs, a diagnosis is very easy to make. Once you’ve diagnosed the cough (the easy part), next you need to carefully observe the symptoms.
If you are choosing a single remedy (which is typically more effective than combination remedies), ask yourself these questions:
- Is the cough dry, tickling, and irritating? Or is it moist, loose and rattling?
- Is the cough constant? Or does it come and go in episodes?
- What time of day is the cough at its worst?
- What brings relief? Cold or warm drinks? Eating? Lying down or moving around?
- What makes it worse? A stuffy room or going outside? Being active or lying down?
This is not meant to be a post of differentials (a differentials list is meant to help you pick a remedy from many different options), but, rather, this is a springboard for further investigation. I encourage you to get a good book to study the differences in remedies so you can choose the best one for your situation.
A list of example remedies follows below. Pick and use one remedy at a time. For coughs, I like to start with a low potency (as stated above – 6C, 9C, or 12C) to avoid aggravations. If the cough is pretty intense already, a 30C may also be a good place to start.
- Drosera is always my first one to try. It’s good for coughing fits that last a long time.
- Spongia for dry, croupy coughs
- Bryonia for a dry, irritating cough that causes pain in the chest
- Antimonium tart for a loose cough with mucus that cannot be expelled
- Pulsatilla for loose coughs or coughs that change so much you can’t pin down the symptoms
- Sticta pulmonaria for tickling coughs or lingering coughs after an illness. These coughs may be especially annoying at night. (Order 2 Dram, #30 pellets)
If you’re new to homeopathy or just want to have a simpler option on hand, combination remedies can be effective as well! Try one of these during your next cold or during allergy season:
- Chestal by Boiron – All homeopathy, including the remedies not marked for kids, are safe to use regardless of age. Just remember to observe symptoms carefully and stop when you are feeling better!
- Cold ‘n Cough by Hyland’s – another great homeopathic replacement. The great thing about both of these products is that they resemble your typical cough syrup so they make the transition to homeopathy an easy one!
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