Homeopathy for Recurring Infections
August 29, 2019

Homeopathy for a chronic cough or lingering cough

Using natural remedies for a common problem

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Homeopathy can stop a chronic or lingering cough that has been present for weeks or even months. For most people, a non-complicated lingering cough will quickly improve within 2 weeks and be completely gone within 1-2 months of starting homeopathic treatment. The treatment consists of natural substances made into pills or liquids, and these are taken by mouth for a limited length of time, until the condition is resolved.

Chronic coughs are usually not due to an obvious infection

Chronic coughs are usually not due to an obvious infection, although they may have started with a common cold. By the time I see my patients, there may have been months of coughing. The cough may be worse for colder weather or it may come on when eating, when exercising or during rest. It may be worse in the morning or only happen at bedtime. Some people may have a nervous cough in certain situations only.

At times, conventional doctors have difficulty to differentiate such a cough from asthma, especially when children are too young to use the usual diagnostic tests. In these cases, doctors prescribe inhalers if they feel that the severity demands it, but especially when there is coughing upon exertion.

Reasons for chronic coughing

Although conventional medicine is quick to diagnose chronic coughing as asthma, and this may be correct in severe cases, it is more helpful to realise coughing is due to an irritation of the airways.

This irritation may be located anywhere from pharynx (throat), larynx (voicebox), trachea (windpipe), bronchi (lower airways), or even bronchioles or alveoli (tiny airways deeper inside lungs).

The irritation may be caused by allergies to pollen, dust, cats or dogs, mould, foods, medicines such as paracetamol or aspirin (10% of adults have such an allergy), or chemical air pollutants inside and outside the house or within the workplace. The allergy causes a release of histamine and subsequent watery secretions which need to be coughed up, or it may cause a tightening spasmodic reaction which narrows the airways and causes the coughing.

In some people, a chronic cough is smoking related or due to a history of many chest infections.

Coughing may be stress-related

A cough may also be entirely stress related. Temporary nervousness or long-term anxiety may cause tightening of the airways or histamine release with mucus secretions in the airways. Either can bring on coughing and shortness of breath. This is similar to so-called stress urticaria, where some people develop a short-lived itchy skin rash due to being stressed.

In young children, a chronic cough may be triggered by events such as stopping breastfeeding, being moved out of the parents’ bedroom, a younger sibling being born, starting nursery or school, or a more traumatic event such parents’ separation or the death of a grandparent. Whilst these are mostly a normal part of growing up, some children are more sensitive and express the emotional turmoil in their physical body. Adults can do this also, but in children we are often quick to suspect an infection or an allergy when an emotional or mental stressor may actually be the cause.

In these cases, homeopathy can be a very welcome treatment because psychotherapy or counselling is difficult when a child is very young. Homeopathy has the added benefit of the child not being aware of being treated for any emotional issue. They simply take some pills or drops for their cough. As the days and weeks pass, their emotions rebalance and the coughing resides. I have seen children move back into their own bedroom, and others going off happily to nursery or school without separation tears at the gate, meanwhile not coughing anymore.

A chronic cough may be due to a combination of factors

This is why a good homeopath takes time to listen to the patient’s point of view and his or her experience. A good homeopath also carefully explores the patient’s medical and personal history in order to find out how or why the cough may have come about and why it has not stopped yet.

In spite of all this diligent work, in some cases no reason can be found apart from a constitutional or inherited tendency or weakness. But especially in these cases homeopathy can excel, because it is one of the very few therapies that can improve such inherent weaknesses, as long as they are not based on congenital birth defects. To give an example, an inherent weakness might be a condition running on the mother’s side of the family through several generations. This might be the tendency to suffer from allergies or recurrent sore throats or migraines in grandmother, aunt, uncle, daughter and granddaughter. This is something a good homeopath can address with carefully selected remedies. Conversely, a congenital defect such as a missing kidney cannot be reversed. Although, homeopathy could still help to optimise the remaining kidney’s function.

In the case of a chronic cough, we may therefore see several generations in one family suffering from recurring or chronic respiratory complaints, such as bronchitis, asthma, pneumonia, croup, bronchiolitis or COPD. In many such cases there is a case of Tuberculosis in a pervious generation too.

Another possible scenario is that with each generation the respiratory weakness moves deeper inside the body. In this way, the grandmother may suffer from chronic rhinitis, the daughter may suffer from recurrent laryngitis and the grandchild from recurring lingering coughs.

There is also a connection between the so-called atopic conditions. These are hay fever, eczema, asthma and urticaria. In a child with a chronic cough we may therefore find the mother suffering from urticaria and the father from hay fever.

The benefits of homeopathic treatment

The benefits of homeopathic treatment for a chronic or lingering cough are that no pharmaceuticals are required. The natural homeopathic remedies have no side-effects and no short- or long-term risks associated with their use, provided the treatment is supervised by a properly qualified and experienced homeopath. It is not recommended to use homeopathy to treat a chronic cough without such ongoing supervision.

Homeopathy aims to completely alleviate any symptoms so that no further treatment is required. Conversely, when a cough is treated with pharmaceuticals, we often see a patient developing a dependency on the medication. This means that when the medications (inhalers) are stopped, the next common cold may trigger a proper asthma attack. In effect, the condition has therefore deteriorated into asthma, from what was a mild chronic cough before the medical intervention took place.

Homeopathy, on the other hand, resolves an uncomplicated cough without such a deterioration being likely. This is because the underlying reasons for the coughing are addressed and resolved. Any inherent weakness in that area is ironed out as much as possible and the coughing is not triggered anymore.

But good homeopathic treatment does more than this: it addresses the whole person and strengthens the defences anywhere in the body, whether this relates to infections or chronic weaknesses. It is always the whole person benefitting, and therefore, good homeopathic treatment for a lingering cough also leads to a general improvement of health and well-being.

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