Children respond well to homoeopathy. They are in the active stage of life, rapidly growing and building. They are sensitive to substances including medicine that normally exercise less power later on. They are subject to diseases that seldom attack adults and any particular ailment does not always run the same courses as it does in adults.
In the young age group, they cannot clearly tell you their feeling or complaints, yet for the same reason they do not exaggerate or mislead.
Colds and Coryza For many years mothers have successfully handled these frequent though simple diseases with remedies kept on hand in the household. Children are very susceptible to head colds. Moreover, their close contact with other youngsters in play or in the classroom exposes them to the source of infection.
The following homoeopathic remedies have been used by mothers for many years in the household to handle these frequently occurring ailments.
Aconite: To be given as soon as the cold starts. The doctor does not always see the child in the Aconite stage. If given early enough, it is often sufficient to curb the distress. The principal indications of aconite are : sudden onset from exposure to cold and to cold dry winds, sneezing, fluent discharge from the nose, restlessness and anxiety. The distress becomes aggravated at night.
Natrum muriaticum 30 x: Indicated when the discharge from the nose is free-flowing, watery, resembling the white of an egg. The cold usually starts with much sneezing. The symptoms are relieved in the open air, become worse in a warm room. Note that the higher dilution or potency of 30x is recommended.
Mercurius: The patient complains of a “grippy” chilliness. The nasal discharge is excoriating, being white or yellow. There is a prickly sensation of soreness in the throat, sweating and tendency to swollen glands.
Ferrum Phos: Especially for the not-too-robust child, those with a predisposition to colds. The nasal discharge is thin, watery, and non-excoriating. Ferrum phosphoricum is recommended for the first stage of all upper respiratory infections.
Nux vomica: Is of value in the early stage of a cold in the head. Sniffles after exposure to damp, cold weather. The nose feels stuffy. The discharge is fluent in the day-time but blocked up completely at night.
For many years the homoeopathic treatment of croup has been the use of three remedies. In the first stage, Aconite, given on the usual indications. Second stage, Spongia. Third stage, Hepar.
Aconite: To be given at the very first stage, evidenced by excitement, sudden onset. Cough is dry and barking.
Spongia tosta: The membranes are dry. There is no wheezing or rattling. The cough is dry and rasping and becomes better after taking warm drinks. Suitable especially to children of fair complexion.
Hepar sulph: The third of the “croupy” trilogy. The medicine is also a general constitutional remedy for coughs due to colds. It follows other homoeopathic remedies well. Indicated when the croupy cough has indications of looseness. The cough is choking in the morning with rattling mucus and suffocating attacks. There must be some looseness in the cough to indicate Hepar sulph. The Hepar cough is better from dampness, better from warm drinks.
Iodium: This remedy suits the swarthy, dark type of child. The cough is dry, provoked by a tickling feeling. The respiration is “sawing” and difficult. The throat is raw and the child has a tendency to grasp the throat when coughing. cold tends to extend downward to the chest. The Iodium cough becomes worse in a warm room.
Kali bichromicum : Indicated when the cough is metallic, hacking. Expectoration is stringy, profuse and sticky. The voice is hoarse.
Coughs Due to Colds
Home treatment of coughs due to colds should be administered only as long as the distress responds to the remedy chosen. Should a cough persist or show a tendency to become chronic, a physician should be consulted.
For the transitory cough, associated with the common cold, and not complicated with the causes of deeper significance, the following homoeopathic remedies are helpful:
Ferrum phosphoricum : This medicine is the best general remedy for the early stages of the cough. The cough is dry and short. Chest is inclined to be painful. Breathing is labored. This remedy, being a tissue salt (one of the inorganic substance found in the body) may be alternated [* To alternate homoeopathic remedies, “gives a dose of remedy “A” first. After a required lapse of time, give Remedy “B”. Revert to Remedy “A” for the third dose. Remedy “B” for the fourth dose, etc.*] with other indicated remedies.
Ipecac: The cough is suffocative, rattling, leading to nausea and vomiting. Ipecac cases have a rapid onset and the remedy should be given at the irritative stage of the cough. Be watchful of a cough accompanying vomiting symptoms, particularly if the child’s cough ends in a high-pitched inspiration, commonly known as a whoop. Such a cough probably indicates whooping cough, an acute, highly infectious disease requiring a physician’s attention.
Simple Sore Throat
For a simple sore throat due to a cold, when the attack is acute and superficial, the following homoeopathic remedies are indicated and may be given if the cause is know or as a first aid treatment before the doctor comes. Any sore throat condition must be watched carefully and should be left to the care of a physician. To have a sore throat, it must be painful to swallow, otherwise it is a pharyngitis or laryngitis and requires a remedy or remedies given under “Coughs”.
The throat is a weak spot in many people. Any exposure or infection settles here. “Tight”, “raw”, “constricted” are the terms used by the patient and inspection shows a reddened throat and sometimes with little patchy areas of infection in the tonsillar area.
The severe type should have professional attention especially if fever and toxic symptoms are present.
Milder types, especially if encountered frequently, may find their remedy in one of the following:
Belladonna: Usually more right-sided, dry and red, with constricted feeling. Little glands under the jaw bone are apt to be swollen. First stage has fever with little thirst.
Mercurius iodide rub. 6x: Usually a left-sided, throat, sore and swollen glands. Stiffness of muscles of neck and throat. Throat dark red and swollen.
Lycopodium: Right-sided sore throat, better from warm drinks. Stitches on swallowing.
Phytolacca: Usually, dark red throat, swollen glands, better from cold drinks.
In no field of pediatrics has homoeopathy won more friends than in smoothing over this troublesome period. The two great drugs are Calcarea carb. and Calcarea phos.
Calcarea phos: For a rather physically weak child, but mentally bright. They have delayed dentition and often have difficulty in holding the head up. They are hungry and tend to nurse all the time. Sweat is present but not much on the head.
Calcarea carb : For the fat, flabby child – sweats on the head, so that a half-moon of moisture appears on the pillow. Sour smell and excretions.
Magnesia phos: Where the child has severe painful gums.
Belladonna : Congestion of the gums.
Chamomilla : Every two hours for six doses. A most effective remedy. Painful dentition, but the main symptom is the irritable, snappy nature. Sweaty, hot and red.
Acute Stomach Distress
The actual factors in these acute upsets are always known. Certain babies are more prone to these disturbances than others.
Nux vomica 6x: Always a coated tongue, an effect of improper food. Worse in the morning. Bitter eructations-they want to vomit but cannot.
Antimonium crudum 6x: Irritable, fretful, nervous state. Heavily coated tongue. No appetite, child vomits milk in curds. Constant belching.
Podophyllum: A fermentation, painless, gushing, profuse diarrhoea. Worse in the morning. Seems to drain the infant dry. Abdomen tumultuous with gurgling.
Chamomilla : Diarrhoea from teething – sweats after nourishment. Irritable, hot and abdomen distended.
Arsenic : Same offensive stools, dark, with great prostration. Aggravation from eating. Dehydration and anxious state of mind.
Magnesium carb: Sour, fat, stool; undigested milk; green, fatty, like scum on a frog pond.
Though diet is important, and mild purgatives are used and are effective, yet if this state is chronic in the infant he becomes a candidate for homoeopathic prescribing.
Bryonia: Very definitely helps the baby who passes, with difficulty, a large, dry, hard, as if burnt stool.
Alumina: Where there is no urging, absolutely no desire for days at a time. No ability to expel stool; however, if an enema is given, it is soft and passes easily.
Nux vomica: Spastic type – ineffectual desire.
Silicea: Much straining and after effort the stool seems to recede. Considerable spasm of the sphincter. Accumulation of fecal matter in the rectum.
Magnesia mur: Constipation of infants. Knotty, crumbly, tight.
Abnormalities of Growth and Development
Careful attention to subjective and objective symptoms leading to the prescription of one of the following constitutional drugs is one of the most satisfactory of all applications of homoeopathy. We do not expect a change overnight but it is surprising what will happen over a period of a few months.
Natrum mur: The children are anemic and emaciated, especially around the neck which is thin. They are late in developing the ability to talk. A dry mucous membrane and a greasy skin.
Calcarea carb. : Fat, flabby, bashful children. Increased perspiration, especially head sweats. They are cold, damp and smell sour. They crave eggs and grasp at plaster, wood, coal and are prone to bouts of diarrhoea.
Silicea: These children are mentally bright but oversensitive to outside stimuli. Rachitic type; big belly. They acquire frequent colds and like warmth and a warm room.