Basic Homeopathic Therapeutics – Colds


from ‘Basic Homeopathic Therapeutics’ by Karen Johnson

Colds that come on very suddenly especially after exposure to cold dry winds. Coryza is dry, with a headache. Hot scanty watery discharge from the nose. Roaring in the ears. Throat and tonsils can be sore. Fever with thirst. (See Fever.) Anxious, fearful and restless.

Coryza with streaming nose, eyes and headache. Frequent violent sneezing. Profuse acrid discharge from the nose but profuse BLAND tears from the eyes. Patient is hot and thirsty, and very sensitive to smells. They feel worse indoors and in the evenings but feel better in the fresh open air. Cough is very painful in the larynx, tickling in the larynx.

Always get colds in the nose from every change in the weather. Colds begin in the nose and descend to the chest. Thin watery acrid nasal discharge. Sneezing from irritation in the nose. Thirsty for frequent sips of water. Patient is always cold, suffers from draughts. Patient is restless; anxious; weak beyond expectation for severity of the illness. Any burning pains are better for warmth, he likes air around his head and wants company.

The cold often begins in the nose with symptoms of sneezing, running of the nose, lachrymation and aching of eyes and head. The symptoms then descend to the throat and chest (see coughs/whooping cough). Patient is irritable, thirsty for cold drinks and wants to be alone. Patient is worse for any movement.

In this remedy the nasal catarrh is BLAND, the lachrymation is excoriating (opp to Allium cepa). Severe fluent coryza, which also flows down back of throat into larynx. Cough with copious expectoration. The coryza is worse at night and lying down. Cough is worse during day and lying down.

Colds with violent sneezing in the morning. Yellow stringy elastic catarrh and expectoration is the keynote. (There can be profuse watery discharge though this is not so common.) Offensive discharges. Dryness of nose with pain at base of the nose. Post nasal catarrh with lots of hawking. Chronic inflammation of frontal sinuses with stopped up sensation of nose.

Colds starting with paroxysms of sneezing and often cold sores (Herpes simplex). Catarrh is bland and watery. Sneezing is worse on exposure to fresh air. Cough with bursting headache. Slight urinary incontinence on coughing. Hoarseness. Patient desires to be alone. Fluent coryza for about 3 days then nose stops up and breathing becomes difficult. Sense of smell and taste can be lost.

Colds with thick yellow bland catarrh. Patient’s nose is stuffed up at night and runs in the morning. Nose also runs in the open air and stuffs up when patient is indoors. Patient is not hungry or thirsty. Can be chilly but averse to warmth and warm stuffy rooms. Patient is clingy, demanding, wants company and attention. Sense of smell and taste can be lost.


In the orthodox medical world, the amount of a drug present in each dose or its strength is indicated by a measure e.g. Paracetamol 500mg, Penicillin V 250mg, Amoxil syrup 125mg/5ml etc. This is not the case in homeopathic medicines. The number given after the name of the medicine is called the potency, and is an indication of how many times the serial dilution process has been carried out and which scale of dilution was used. e.g.

Arnica 12X indicates that a one in 10 dilution was carried out serially 12 times. (The X is the roman letter for 10, denoting the dilution factor. The 12 indicates it was done 12 times.)

Arnica 30C (also 30 with no x or c after it ) indicates that a 1 in 100 dilution was carried out serially 30 times. (The C being the Roman letter for 100, denoting the dilution factor and the 30 indicating that the dilution was carried out 30 times)

Arnica 1M indicates that a 1 in 100 dilution was carried out serially 1000 times. (The M being the Roman letter for one thousand).

In effect the higher the number, the more dilutions have occurred and less physical substance is present! Unlike orthodox drugs where a weight e.g. Amoxil 500mg indicates twice as much Amoxil as in an Amoxil 250mg capsule, Arnica 24C is not twice as strong as Arnica 12C. Arnica 24C has had 24 serial dilutions of 1 in a 100 carried out on the Arnica, while Arnica 12C has only had 12 serial dilutions of 1 in 100 carried out on it. The Arnica 24C is therefore much more dilute/ weaker in terms of the amount of physical substance present than the Arnica 12C. It can be clearly seen that two Arnica 12C do not add up to one Arnica 24C as two Amoxil 250mg would be equivalent to giving one 500 mg capsule. The Arnica 12C would have to undergo another 12 serial dilutions by a factor of 1 in 100 each time to make Arnica 24C.

In potencies above 13C (a 1 in 100 dilution carried out serially 13 times) there are no molecules of physical substance present. A fact which confounds many orthodox scientists! However once one gets away from the idea that you must have molecules present for anything to happen (as physicists are doing), this is not a problem to understanding homeopathy. Potencies such as 1M, 10M, 50M are an invaluable tool in aiding homeopathic patients in such emotional states as acute shock or grief (acute or long-standing) etc. where the lower potencies would not have a profound effect on the emotional state. Many homeopaths and their patients can attest to the practical results of using the higher potencies which contain no physical substance.


Dosage is a very complex science. The best dose has to be assessed for each patient. However, some general guide lines can be given. The aim in Homeopathy is to give the minimum amount of the remedy (in potency, quantity and frequency of administration) that will stimulate a response in the patient. This amount may vary, for example:

1 single tablet of Belladonna 200 may start to reduce a fever but in another patient 2 or 3 doses at close intervals may be required to start reducing the fever. Each is a minimum dose.

If remedies are obtained from a reputable source then a single tablet is sufficient to constitute a dose. Homeopathic remedies are not cumulative as, for example, paracetamol or aspirin.

If a response occurs after the first dose, such as:

– An easing or amelioration of symptoms i.e. a fever begins to subside, or
– A mild and temporary increase in intensity of symptoms.

No more doses should be administered until the relief is seen to be ending, noted by a return of or increase in intensity of the symptoms.

The dose should be re-administered in the same potency when “relapses” occur, if the length of time between subsequent doses is the same or longer. If after 2 or 3 doses the time interval between doses is lessening the next higher potency should be considered, i.e.

Belladonna 30 is given to a patient, the fever begins to subside, but after 2 hours starts to increase. Another Belladonna 30 is given, the fever again subsides but the amelioration only lasts 45 minutes before the fever returns. Belladonna 200 should now be given.

If nothing appears to have happened shortly after giving the first dose, but you are certain it is the most indicated remedy, repeat for 2 more doses. The interval is variable depending on the urgency of the situation but guide lines are:

For normal acutes i.e. coughs, colds, flu repeat at 1- 2 hour intervals up to the 3rd dose. In high fevers repeat the next two doses at 15-30 minute intervals.

As soon as a response occurs, follow the guide lines given above for dose repetition. If nothing changes after the third dose, consider another remedy or a higher potency. i.e. go from a 6c to 30c or from a 30c to a 200c. If choosing a higher potency of the same remedy, BE SURE THAT THIS IS STILL THE MOST INDICATED REMEDY, (N.B. in some situations e.g. acute constipation it is best to wait a little longer before trying another remedy.)

If at any time the symptom picture changes, the new symptoms should be carefully assessed to see if another, more suitable remedy is indicated.

If no response occurs within 24 hrs, OR SOONER if you have any concerns for the patients wellbeing consult a reputable practitioner, doctor, hospital as need dictates. Remember patient safety is paramount!