Therapeutics of Respiratory System by Van Denburg in Covid-19 management

Dr Nishkala P.S

Abstract : Corona virus disease (COVID-19) is an infectious disease caused by the SARS-COV-2 virus. Most people affected experience mild to moderate respiratory symptoms and recover with therapeutic management. “Therapeutics of respiratory system” by Van Denburg is a clinical repertory. He has constructed this repertory with the primary objective of saving time and to render the work of the physician more efficient by enabling him to select the drug with greater precision. This book comprises of both repertory and materia medica pertaining to respiratory system. This article is an attempt to correlate the rubrics from “Therapeutics of respiratory system” with symptoms of COVID-19 which can be applied in clinical practice.

Key words: COVID-19, Therapeutics of respiratory system

Corona virus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a contagious disease by severe acute respiratory syndrome corona virus 2 (SARS-COV-2)

Mode of transmission:

  1. Droplets or aerosols.This is the most common transmission. When an infected person coughs, sneezes, or talks, droplets or tiny particles called aerosols carry the virus into the air from their nose or mouth. Anyone who is within 6 feet of that person can breathe it into their lungs.
  1. Airborne transmission. Research shows that the virus can live in the air for up to 3 hours. It can get into your lungs if someone who has it breathes out and you breathe that air in. Experts are divided on how often the virus spreads through the airborne route and how much it contributes to the pandemic.
  2. Surface transmission. A less common method is when you touch surfaces that someone who has the virus has coughed or sneezed on. You may touch a countertop or doorknob that’s contaminated and then touch your nose, mouth, or eyes. The virus can live on surfaces like plastic and stainless steel for 2 to 3 days. To stop it, clean and disinfect all counters, knobs, and other surfaces you and your family touch several times a day.1

Incubation and contagious period:

Latency period of SARS-COV-2 infection is from 3 to 7 days, with a maximum period of 14 days and SARS-COV-2 is infectious during the latency period.

Risk factors

  • Older age: adults >65 years of age
  • Lung diseases- like COPD, Cystic fibrosis, moderate to severe asthma, Pulmonary hypertension, Pulmonary embolism etc
  • Heart disease- Cardiomyopathy, Congenital heart disease, Coronary artery disease etc
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Cancer and certain blood disorders
  • Weakened immune system etc2

Clinical features
COVID-19 defines spectrum of clinical symptoms which varies from asymptomatic / pauci symptomatic to clinical conditions which manifest into mild, moderate and severe or critical phase. This includes respiratory failure, multi organ failure and systematic manifestations.

The totality of common symptoms arisen during outbreak of infectious COVID-19 illness includes fever or chills, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, fatigue, muscle or body aches, headache, loss of taste or smell, sore throat, congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, gastro intestinal symptom3.

Therapeutics of the Respiratory System

Author: Mervin W. Van Denburg

Year of publication: 1916

Number of remedies: 247

Plan and construction –

  • General index to repertory
  • Shorter index
  • Repertory
  • Materia medica

Rubrics that can be related to COVID 19 symptoms

  1. Fever ; high:
  • High fever; great dyspnoea: cyanotic circulation; abundant exudates: pleurisy of left side, Antimo. Tart
  • High fever; great restlessness, anxiety, Ars alb(Ac, Bell)
  • High fever, or always chilly; pulse uneven, Bufo
  • High fever, scanty cough: severe, sharp pains in chest, which are worse from coughing, Ferr mur
  • High fever, severe scanty cough; with moderate expectoration, mixed with coagulated blood; cough arises from pain and tickling in mid- chest; audible palpitation, kali nitr
  • High fever, hot skin; no thirst or sweat; acute catarrhal dry cough; no sputa, or discharge only from posterior nares, spig
  • High fever, with acute dry cough; beginning with pneumonia, verat alb
  • High fever: acute dry cough; congestion of lungs or bronchi; rapid breathing, nausea and vomiting occasionally present; very scanty bloody sputa, verat vir.
  1. Dry cough
  • Distressing, dry cough
  • Dryness, dry cough
  • Dryness, alternating with loose sputa, dry cough
  • Dryness in chest; dry cough
  • Dryness ; constant dry cough
  • Dryness; hoarseness; dry cough
  • Dryness , pains in chest, dry cough
  • Dryness , racking dry cough
  • Dryness , scanty dry cough
  1. Smell and taste lost
  • Smell and taste lost, acute coryza:

Smell and taste lost, fluent coyza, sneezing and lachrymation, acute; severe, dry cough; or sputa by day only, tough and difficult. Anacard

  • Smell and taste lost; fluent coryza, dry gagging cough; no thirst; sneezing and chilliness, Ant tart
  • Loss of smell and taste; with frequent sneezing and very profuse, watery discharge; acute; no appetite or thirst; rheumatic pains in head and ears, cycla
  • Smell and appetite lost, nose runs a stream of warm water; feverish, sneezing, increased saliva, fluent, acute coryza, Iodium.
  1. Sore throat
  • Soreness in larynx and throat; burning and dry cough:
  • Soreness in larynx and throat, exceedingly painful and sensitive, dry cough
  • Soreness in larynx and throat, scraped , dry cough
  • Soreness in larynx and throat , sensitive to all kinds of irritational dry cough
  • Soreness in larynx and trachea; spasm and suffocation, dry cough
  1. Dyspnoea
  • Dyspnea; agonizing; dry cough
  • Dyspnea ; alternating with free breathing ; dry cough
  • Dyspnea ; breathing short
  • Dyspnea ; chest constricted
  • Dyspnea ; chest oppressed
  • Dyspnea, excessive ; dry cough
  • Dyspnea , inhaloing difficult; cough
  • Dyspnea; painful , dry cough
  • Dyspnea ; pleurisy, cough
  • Dyspnea, rapid breathing
  • Dyspnea; suffocation
  • Dyspnea; violent; agonizing
  1. Pneumonia
  • Pneumonia , hollow, very painful dry cough; nothing is raised, Ant t
  • Pneumonia , chronic coughs; sub acute pneumonia or sub acute pleuritis, Arg nit
  • Pneumonia, acute , severe chills, high fever, sharp pains in chest; dry and very difficult cough, very scanty thick rust coloured sputa, Iodum
  • Pneumonia , especially of left side, cannot lie on left side on account of cough, better on back, Lycopod
  • Crouous pneumonia , verat alb
  • Threatened pneumonia; high fever; rapid pulse and breathing, scanty blood streaked or bloody sputa; oppression of chest; verat vir
  1. Sputa and discharges
  • Abundant coryza, acrid
  • Abundant coryza, bland
  • Abundant, purulent sputa
  • Abundant, thick ,sputa
  • Bland, thick coryza
  • Bloody coryza
  • Bloody sputa
  • Color, coryza
  • Color, sputa
  • Headache , coryza
  • Purulent, sputa
  • Rattling,sputa
  • Sneezing, coryza
  • Thick , coryza
  • Thin, coryza
  1. Vomiting and gagging with cough
  • Vomiting, constriction of throat
  • Vomiting, eating, brought on by
  • Vomiting, gagging
  • Vomiting, mucus difficult
  • Vomiting, spasmodic cough4

Conclusion : “ Therapeutics of respiratory system focuses on the ailments of respiratory system and contains numerous rubrics related to the same. As COVID-19 mainly manifests respiratory symptoms “Therapeutics of respiratory system” may be of good help in managing COVID-19 cases. In future more clinical studies can be planned using specifically this repertory.


  1. Accessed on 2 May 2022
  2. Accessed on 2 May 2022
  3. Accessed on 1 May 2022
  4. Van Denburg M W; Therapeutics of the respiratory system, B Jain, New Delhi,1994 ,145,156-158,178,179,310-312,443-445

Dr Nishkala P.S
MD Part 2
Department of Case taking and Repertory
Under the guidance of Dr Munir Ahmed R
Government Homoeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Bengaluru

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