Respiratory Diseases

Common diseases affecting Respiratory system starting from hay fever, nasal catarrh to asthma, bronchitis and pleurisy had been described with cause, symptoms and homeopathic therapeutics by E.H.Ruddock….

105. Hay-Asthma Hay-Fever Summer Catarrh.

DEFINITION- A specific disease, affecting predisposed persons only, and affecting them in the same way, and at about the same period, every or nearly every year, and caused by the pollen from certain flowering plants, including the grasses. The term Hay- fever is not sufficiently inclusive, for hay, although sufficient in many cases, less frequently produces the affection than the various flowering plants. It undoubtedly demands a special susceptibility in the patient, and vaccines have been made and used with some success.

SYMPTOMS- They are those of an ordinary Catarrh, to which those of Asthma are superadded. These are itching of the forehead, nose, eyes, and ears much general irritability and lassitude; sneezing; profuse discharge from the nose; tightness of the chest, dyspnoea, and cough pricking sensation in the throat, general depression, etc. Exposure to the emanations from powdered Ipecacuanha give rise to similar symptoms in many persons.


1. When the chest is chiefly affected- Ipecac., Ac-Hydrocy., K- Bich., Ac-Carbol.

2. When the nose, eyes, and throat- Arsenicum (much debility with acrid discharge); Euphr. (profuse lachrymation); K-Hydriod, Sabad., All, Cep.

3. Prophylactics- Arsenicum, Iodium, K-Bich., Psorinum, Thuja.

Sabadilla- The late Dr. Bayes recommended one drop three times a day in water, and the administration of the drug by olfaction several times daily; he adds, By this means I have cured many severe cases, and made numerous converts to our system. Severe paroxysms of sneezing suggest this drug.

Liq. Potassae Arsenitis- Is recommended as a specific. We have obtained excellent results in many cases from Ipecac., Euphr., Mercurius and Arsenicum In several the disease has not recurred in subsequent years.

INHALATION- The remedy used internally should also be administered by inhalation, either by simple olfaction, or, still better, in the form of vapour this is produced by means of an ordinary perfume or spray-producer. Inhalation should always be employed during an attack.

ACCESSORY MEANS- Removal to the coast, with a barren surrounding country, or to any part where flowering plants and grass do not grow, or hay is not stored, offers the surest protection. The symptoms are mitigated by protection from bright sunlight and by such means as tend to promote the general circulation. Cold or tepid bathing, the cold-shower-bath, and the Turkish bath are also recommended under different conditions. In one reported case, two or three minutes’ swim in the sea removed the symptoms as if by magic.

106. Laryngitis and Tracheitis.

DEFINITION- An inflammation of the mucous membrane of the larynx and trachea, with secretion of tenacious mucus, and considerable swelling from effusion into their submucus areolar tissue. This trouble was formerly called Croup, but the name should now be abandoned. Laryngeal Diphtheria was frequently called Croup, and confused with ordinary Laryngitis.

SYMPTOMS- The disease usually begins as a Catarrh, the first indication being fever and Hoarseness (a symptom which always indicates the implication of the larynx and the neighboured of the vocal cords) in the voice or cry of the patient, with a peculiar barking cough. In adults, unless due to Tubercle, or Syphilis, Laryngitis is troublesome, but not a serious disease. In children, however, we often find that after one or two days, or even without any premonitory indisposition, usually at night, the symptoms become aggravated, the sleep being interrupted by paroxysms of hoarse coughing, the child throwing its head back to put the windpipe on the stretch. A metallic ringing sound is heard in the inspiration and in the cough, which has been compared to the crowing of a young cock, or to the barking of a puppy; with this there is often evident a certain amount of laryngeal spasm, and although the respiratory efforts are great, it is evident, from the turgescence of the face and neck, that an insufficient quantity of air enters the lungs. After the fit has continued for a time, a few minutes to an hour or more, there is an interval of relief usually of several hours’ duration. The pulse is frequent and wiry; and there is loss of appetite, thirst, and great distress.

Pure spasm of the larynx without inflammation is spoken of elsewhere. It is rarely fatal, ordinary laryngitis is also more troublesome than dangerous.

CAUSES- The immediate cause is infection from an organism, generally of influenza or the pneumococcus. Predisposing causes are cold dark, damp, and unhealthy localities; sudden changes of temperature; wet feet; poor and scanty food, especially the adoption of improper diet when a child is weaned; insufficient clothing, or previous illness.


1. At the commencement- Aconite, Spongia, or Ant-T.

2. Fully-developed Laryngitis- Bromium, Iodium, Spongia, K-Bich., Hep-



Aconitum- Febrile symptoms, spasm of the larynx inducing difficult breathing. In urgent cases, a dose every ten, fifteen, or thirty minutes. Even when another medicine is indicated the remedy chosen should be alternated with Aconite, as spasm frequently occurs during the course of the disease.

Bromine- Laryngitis, with extreme congestion and swelling of the air-passages affection of upper part of the air-tubes, causing the child to grasp at the throat, and evince anxiety dry croupy cough, like that of a sheep, grating and tickling. Aggravation of symptoms from warmth. A low dilution (1x) should be administered alt. Aconite if the skin is hot and dry, every half-hour or hour till improvement ensues.

Spongia or Iodine- One of these may be chosen if there be a hard, barking, or whistling Cough, and the breathing is very laboured. Iodium should have the preference in weakly patients, and be administered also by inhalation.

Hepar Sulphur- Loose Cough, with a ringing or brassy sound, and constant rattling in the respiratory organs, during which the patient tries in vain to get relief by expectoration.

Phosphorus or Arsenicum, according to the symptoms, may be required if debility be very great and the disease take on a typhoid character. One of these remedies may be alternated with another having more affinity to the local lesion.

Administration- In very severe cases, every fifteen or thirty minutes in less severe, or during improvement, every two, four, or eight hours.

ACCESSORY MEASURES- During the treatment everything should be avoided that would be likely to excite or irritate the patient. A partial or complete warm bath at 98 degree Fahr. repeated in a few hours if the patient continue very hot spongs or cloths squeezed out of hot water and applied to the throat; the feet and general surface of the body should be kept warm and the air of the apartment raised to about 65 degree Fahr. and this temperature uniformly maintained by day and night; it is sometimes recommended that watery vapour should be thoroughly diffused therein by keeping a kettle of water constantly boiling on the fire, or over the flame of a spirit-lamp, and fixing a tin or paper tube to the spout to convey the vapour near to the patient. This often gives relief, but should be done rather as an emergency measure than as a matter of routine. In very severe cases, a tent should be formed over the patient’s bed, and steam conducted under it by a tube from boiling water, to which a few drops of Iodine or Kali bichromicum have been added. This method of administering medicines by inhalation is a most valuable one in Laryngitis.

107. Coryza Catarrh Cold in the Head and Bronchial Catarrh.

The condition expresses under the above different terms is common occurrence, and often the precursor of very serious affections. It consists of inflammation of the mucous membrane of some portion of the air passages. If the mucous membrane of the nose is affected, it is mucous membrane of the nose is affected, it is called Coryza; if the trachea and large bronchial tubes, Bronchial Catarrh.

SYMPTOMS. Coryza usually commences with lassitude, slight shiverings. weight in the head, sneezing, watery eyes, and obstruction of one or both nostrils, with a discharge of thin, colourless fluid. If it be a severe cold, the foregoing symptoms are soon followed by a dry Cough, Hoarseness, Sore Throat, dryness, tenderness, and swelling of the nostrils, pains and soreness of the limbs, general weakness, more or less fever, quick pulse, thirst, loss of appetite, etc. Under a vigorous condition of the constitution, or as the result of judicious treatment, the symptoms soon subside. In other cases the complaint may assume the form of Bronchitis, Pneumonia, Quinsy, Influenza, Toothache, Neuralgia, or even be the forerunner of Tubercle in a predisposed person.

CAUSES. Infection by some bacterial organism. There are many capable of causing symptoms of Catarrh, especially the Micrococcus Catarrhalis and Pneumococcus and Influenza germs. Predisposing causes are exposure to draughts of cold air; wet boots or clothing; insufficient clothing when the body is cooling after having been heated. Wet feet or wet clothes do not ordinarily result in a Cold if the individual changes his clothes for warm, dry ones, immediately after ceasing from active exercise, and avoid any further exposure. But if a person perspires, and then gets chilled, he will be very likely to take cold, and to exhibit some of its effects. It is not when the body is hat, but when it is cooling, that it is most susceptible. When the body has been heated or exhausted by exercise, the frame is not able to react, and then the application of cold increases the depression. Partial exposure to a cold atmosphere, as in a close carriage with the windows open, is more injurious than a general exposure; probably because the balance of the circulation is less disturbed in the latter case, and the lunge are better supplied with oxygen. Damp beds, or prolonged bathing, or even passing from heated rooms to cold ones, or into open air, will frequently give cold.

TREATMENT. Camphor. This remedy is suited to the chill or cold stage, when its prompt administration, in two drop doses, repeated several times, every ten or twenty minutes, will often terminate the disease in the first stage. It should be chosen in preference to Aconite, when the patient has still to be exposed to atmospheric changes. It is of little or no use except in the incipient stage.

Aconitum. Commencement of a Cold, or in the precursory stages of diseases resulting from a cold, with feverishness. If promptly administered, it often obviated the necessity for any other medicine. A dose every second or third hour. If the cold has advanced into any other disease, Aconite may be alternated with, or substituted by, some other remedy.

Bryonia. For Bronchial Catarrh cold on the chest with hard Cough, shaking the head, etc., and soreness of chest, Bryonia is one of the best remedies, with or without Aconite

Gelsemium. Watery discharge from the nose, soreness in the throat and chest, Cough and Hoarseness; early stage of acute Bronchitis, without the excitement calling for Aconite catarrhal Ophthalmia.

Arsenicum. Abundant discharge of thin, hot, excoriating mucus from the nostrils, with burning sensations; flow of tears; lassitude and prostration.

Allium Cepa. Thin excoriating discharge, better in open air, violent spasmodic cough.

Pulsatilla. Impaired taste and smell; thick foetid discharge from from nose; heaviness and confusion in the head; aggravation of the symptoms in the evening or in a warm room; sharp pains in the ears and sides of the head, frequently changing from one place to another.

Mercurius. Constant sneezing, with soreness of the nose; thick mucous discharge; alternate heat and shivering; profuse perspiration; sore throat; aggravation of the symptoms towards evening. It is often useful in alternation with Nux V. If merc. fail, Hepar S. may be substituted.

Euphrasia. Acrid fluent Coryza, with involvement of the lining membrane of the eyes, and profuse lachrymation. Better out of doors.

Kali Bichromicum. Chronic Catarrh, and chronic affections of the respiratory mucous membrane generally with Hoarseness, tough stringy sputa, chronically inflamed or ulcerated throat, Cough, etc. An additional indication is a concurrent affection of the digestive mucous membrane yellow coated tongue, etc.

Baptisia (with feverish Cough); Nux V. (stuffy Cold); Ipecac. or Cact. (rattling of mucus); Cimic. (chronic); Rumex (sensitiveness to cold air); Chamomilla (infants and young children); Dulcamara (often preventive or curative of cold from damp). Sufferers from regularly catarrh should have the offending germs determined and isolated, and a vaccine made. Vaccine treatment of this disorder is very satisfactory. ([ See Homoeopathic world for 1913).

ACCESSORY MEANS. The hot foot bath at bedtime, and warm gruel when in bed. When the directions are promptly and efficiently carried out, Cold may generally be arrested in its incipient stage. When the Catarrh is established, the most essential measure to insure a rapid recovery is to avoid exposure to atmospheric vicissitudes until the attack has passed away. In serious cases the patient should remain in bed for two or three days. As a rule, high food, and a very sparing use of meat, should be adopted at the commencement of a cold. Young infants should be fed with milk be means of a spoon, and simple cerate, cold cream, or tallow applied to the nostrils.

TO DIMINISH EXCESSIVE SENSIBILITY TO COLD. Extremely sensitive persons should consult a homoeopathic physician, who will be able to prescribe both hygienic and medicinal measures suitable to individual cases. The two following measures are, however, recommended for general adoption. 1. Free exposure to the open air daily. Familiarity with the atmosphere has a wonderful influence in demising the sensibility of the skin, and enabling the body to resist the invasion of cold. 2. The morning cold bath. Especially when preceded by the performance of such regular muscular exercises as those of Lieut. Muller’s system. Cold sponging over the entire surface of thee body, the plunge bath, or the shower bath, is an invaluable method of protecting the body against injury from exposure to changes of temperature, in those who can obtain a good reaction, and who do not feel tired afterwards. Taken regularly in the morning, the cold bath inures the surface of the body to a greater degree of cold than it will probably encounter during the day; and at the same time it promotes a vigorous capillary circulation, which is essential to the harmonious and healthy working of the system. For hints on the use of the bath, see sec. II.

108. Aphonia Loss of Voice Hoarseness.

DEFINITION. Aphonia is a temporary or permanent paralysis of the muscles which approximate the vocal cords in the production of sounds.

CAUSES. Acute of the inflammatory condition of the mucous lining of the larynx and trachea, a frequent accompaniment of a common Cold. Severe ulceration of the larynx from Syphilis, Tubercle or Cancer, may cause Aphonia. Hysteria or debility is a cause of simple Aphonia. Aphonia from the pressure of an Aneurism of glandular Tumours is also accompanied by marked dyspnoea. It is rather a symptom than a disease per se.

SYMPTOMS. The voice is hoarse and husky, at times almost or entirely inaudible; there is a ticking, dryness, or irritation and perhaps soreness in the throat with a short, dry Cough.


1. Simple hoarseness. Phyto, (also complete of chronic loss of voice); Hepar S. (wheezing); Phosphorus (Paralysis of the vocal cords); Carbo V. (chronic).

2. With cold in the head or chest. Aconite, Causticum, Mercurius, Bryonia, Spongia, Phosphorus, Dulcamara

3. From over exertion of the voice clergymen, singers, etc. Phyto., Causticum, Arnica, Bary. C., K. Bich., Belladonna

In some cases the sulphurous Acid spray may be effectually employed. The throat and neck should be often bathed with cold water, as a preventive. Electricity is also of use.

Leading Indications and Accessory Means are pointed out in the preceding Section; also in that on Sore Throat.

109. Bronchitis.

(a) ACUTE BRONCHITIS is acute Inflammation of the mucous membrane of the bronchi the air tubes of the lungs. It may affect either the large or the small bronchi; and smaller the tubes in which the inflammation exists, the greater the danger. Bronchitis is most common in elderly persons, although it is not infrequent in children.

SYMPTOMS. At first there is fever, with headache, lassitude, anxiety, Hoarseness, Cough, heat,, and soreness of the chest, and other symptoms of a common Cold. The mucous secretion is at first arrested, but afterwards increased in quantity. There is a sense of tightness or constriction of the chest, especially of the upper front part; oppressed, hurried, anxious, laboured breathing, with wheezing, severe Cough, which is at first dry, but is afterwards accompanied with viscid and frothy expectoration, sometimes streaked with blood; the breathing sounds are accompanied by dry or moist rales; subsequently the sputa become thick, yellowish and purulent, but never rusty coloured as in Pneumonia, although it is frequently streaked with blood. The pulse is frequent and often weak; the temperature of the body is always raised, in severe cases as high as 105 degree; there is throbbing in the forehead and aching in the eyes, aggravated on coughing; the tongue is foul; the urine is scanty and high coloured, with other febrile symptoms. In favourable cases the disease begins to decline between the fourth and eighth days, when the breathing becomes easier, and the expectoration thicker, less frothy and stringy; and the compliant soon entirely disappears, or assumes the chronic form.

In cases about to terminate fatally, the skin becomes covered with cold perspiration; thee cheeks and lips are pale and livid; the extremities cold; there is rattling and a sense of suffocation, the breathing being nearly suspended by the morbid secretion which choked up the bronchial tubes and their ramifications, and which the patient has not longer power to cough up; at length, extreme prostration and complete insensibility end in death.

MORBID ANATOMY. On a post mortem examination, we find the trachea, the bronchi, and their divisions and sub – divisions, completely blocked up by a frothy, adhesive mucus, resembling that which had been expectorated during life.

(b) CHRONIC BRONCHITIS is a somewhat different disease, very common in advanced life. In mild cases there in only habitual Cough, Shortness of breath, and copious expectoration, and entire absence of Pyrexia. Many cases of winter cough in old persons are example of chronic Bronchitis. It is often insidious in its approach, although it sometimes succeeds to acute Bronchitis, when that disease has been neglected or badly treated. As result of the constant coughing, the air vesicles of the lungs become stretched and ruptured, producing a condition known as Emphysema, and the bronchial tubes become sacculated, forming at times cavities of some size. This conditions is known as Bronchitis. Some degree of Emphysema or Bronchitis (or both) accompanies Chronic Bronchitis. Both add to the shortness of breath and neither can be entirely removed though the symptoms can be relieved.

CAUSES. Similar to those of common Cold Infection by bacteria of various kinds. Predisposing causes exposure to cold draughts of air, to keen and cutting winds, sudden changes of temperature, scanty clothing, or undue exposure of the throat and neck after public speaking and singing. There are certain social indiscretions which are fertile causes. Among these are the habits of our business men. who, after a hurried early breakfast, hasten to catch the train or ‘bus to the city, where they work all day on little or no food, and start on the homeward journey in the evening with the vital powers depressed, and in a condition most favourable to the inroad of disease. Ladies are also ‘indiscreet’ in exposing themselves to draughts of cold air in the thinnest and scantiest clothing, in halls or passages, or even in the open street on the way between a crowded room and their carriage. Thin boots, and too late resort to winter habiliments, are also sources of danger of danger; as is also inattention to the fact that those advanced in years require warmer clothing than the middle aged.

Winter Cough, often regarded with indifferent, is, in many cases, but a precursor or symptoms of this common disease. When an epidemic of cholera sweeps away its hundreds, public attention is attracted, and fear induces attention to precautions hitherto despised. Bronchitis sweeps away it thousands annually, and is surely deserving of more general attention than is generally given to a mere winter Cough.


1. ACUTE BRONCHITIS. Aconite, Ant. T., K. Bich., Bryonia, Phosphorus, Ipecac.

2. chronic. Ant. T. (much loose mucus) K. Bich. (tough, stringy phlegm); Carbo V. or Arsenicum (great debility, stringy phlegm); Ammonium Carb. (incessant Cough, with sensation as it there wee wool in the larynx); Mercurius (Purulent expectoration) Silicea, Phosphorus, Sulphur, Cact. Ac. Nit. is of great service in may cases.

3. In children. Aconite, Phosphorus, Bryonia, Pulsatilla (loose cough); Ipecac. (spasmodic Cough) Ant. T. (accumulation of mucus).

4. Remedies sometimes requires. Belladonna, Coni., Seneg., Spongia, Iodium, Opi.


Aconitum. Should commence the treatment of all cases with the usual febrile symptoms. If administered early and frequently it will materially shorten the attack, and perhaps be alone curative. A short, hard Cough., excited by tickling sensations in the windpipe and chest, inducing frontal headache; and burning and sore pain in the chest, are also indications.

Bryonia. Violent Cough, chiefly affection the upper part of the chest, under the breast bone, with copious expectoration of thick yellow mucus, sometimes blood streaked. In advanced stages the choice often lies between this remedy and Phosphorus. With Bryonia the cough is worse on going from cold air into a warm room; with Phosphorus vice versa. Bryonia is also useful in the acute attacks of children with suffocative Cough, great agitation and anxiety.

Kali bichromicum Bronchitis, with irritation in the larynx and chest, inducing severe and long continued paroxysms of Cough, with tenacious and stringy phlegm.

Edward Harris Ruddock
Ruddock, E. H. (Edward Harris), 1822-1875. M.D.

Author of "The Stepping Stone to Homeopathy and Health,"
"Manual of Homoeopathic Treatment". Editor of "The Homoeopathic World."