Having a cough is never a fun situation. And, when it happens to a small baby the situation gets all the worse as nothing seems to soothe the tired and irritated little soul. Plus, it’s highly contagious. Let’s face it, with a cough it is hard to concentrate on work and neither is it a smart idea to get around people as it can be infectious. With a cough, you are better advised to stay back home, resting when you might have had some fun and most likely getting bored all alone! However, you might not know this but getting a cough occasionally is good. It is because a cough clears the secretions and irritants from the lungs and prevents infection. But on the other hand, if your cough seems to be persisting long enough, like for weeks, see the doctor right away. It could be caused by any underlying medical issue.
- 1 Types of A Cough
- 2 Causes of A Cough
- 3 Symptoms of A Cough
- 4 Home Remedies for A Cough
Types of A Cough
A cough is of two kinds – a dry cough and productive cough. A productive cough is characterized by bringing up of phlegm or mucous. It is best to release the mucous in the airways through this cough. You can use home remedies or natural expectorant to loosen or thin the mucous for relief. However, this cough is good for the body as it releases the phlegms.
The more severe cough is a dry cough which sometimes may need medical intervention. It is usually caused by dry air, allergies, as an aftermath of a cold and various other factors. However, in many cases, you can heal these coughs too with homemade cough syrups and other natural remedies.
Causes of A Cough
A variety of factors can cause a chronic cough. One for them is postnasal drip. When the sinuses or nose secrete more mucus, it slips down the back of the throat. This trigger the reflex of a cough, medically termed Upper Airway Cough Syndrome (UACS). Then again, if you have asthma, the cough will be your seasonal guest. It becomes worse if you are exposed to chilly air, fragrances or certain chemicals. Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also cause a cough.
Usually, infection is the prime cause of most persistent and longer lasting coughs. These coughs are present even when one recovers from the flu, pneumonia, cold or other such upper respiratory tract infection. Pertussis or a whooping cough is a lesser realized cause for these kinds of coughs.
Certain types of blood pressure drugs containing angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can also cause coughs. Another reason for an unusual cough is chronic bronchitis which is characterized with colored sputum. Usually, the patients are former or current smokers.
Rarely though conditions like Aspiration, Bronchiectasis, Bronchiolitis, lung cancer, cystic fibrosis can also cause a cough.
Symptoms of A Cough
A blocked nose or a runny nose is the most common symptom of a cough. Some may even feel postnasal drip or a fluid substance dripping down the back of the throat. Sometimes, sore throat becomes a bothering symptom in many people with a cough. There is often a tickling pain at the back of the throat. A burning feeling with the rise in body temperature is also not uncommon. Some people also experience hoarseness of voice when they suffer from a cough. Besides, shortness of breath and in some cases, heartburn could also be present as a symptom.
Home Remedies for A Cough
While there are numerous over-the-counter drugs and medications available in the market for treating cold, the homemade remedies are equally effective. Plus, most of these are easily found in our household, and the rest are purely herbal in nature without any side effects. These are the popular home remedies that can treat a cough often better than any pharmaceutical drug –
Take honey on a regular basis to beat the symptoms of a cough and keep it at bay! Scientific studies have proved that honey can combat a cough better than any medicine. The rich and viscous honey does an excellent job of coating the rough mucous membranes and soothing the irritation. You feel a calming effect. Moreover, honey contains an enzyme which is antibiotic in nature. This speed up the process of healing. In other words, if you are suffering from a bacterial cough, honey is your ultimate remedy. So, give this natural antibiotic shot and cure all your coughing woes in a more natural way.
Both kids and adults can take honey when struck with a cough and cold. However, remember not to administer honey to a child under two years. This is to avert any risks of botulism. All you need to source is organic raw honey for the best and fastest results. Take a tablespoon of it once to thrice a day as you might need it. If a cough is causing hindrance to your sleep, take one or more spoonful just before hitting the bed. For children, keep the dosage limited from 1 teaspoon to a tablespoon a day.
Soothing Licorice Root Tea
Resort to licorice root tea if you are suffering from blocked nose and hoarse throat. Licorice root is a fantastic expectorant as well as a demulcent. This means it soothes your airways while at the same time loosening up the blocking mucous and thinning it out. This way your congested throat and nose is relieved. Plus, licorice root also eases any inflammation. Inflammation is one of the commonest symptoms of a cough and cold that irritates the throat.
The root contains an active compound called glycyrrhizin. This inhibits 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase and slows down the conversion of cortisol to cortisone. This, in turn, increases cortisol’s effects and reduces any inflammation. However, one word of advice here! If you are on steroids or you suffer from kidney problems this remedy is not for you.
To use this super homemade remedy, boil 8 ounces of water. Put about two tablespoons of the root in your mug and pour the boiling water over it. Steep the water covered for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink this tea warm up to 2 times in a day.
Relaxing Saltwater Gargle
Gargling is often said to be the single best solution for coughs. Heal your sore throat and ease away the discomforts caused by coughing with salt water gargle. Salt water gargling uses the concept of osmosis. Salt water has more concentration of salt than is there inside the cells. Thus, when you gargle using salt water, the higher concentration of the salt pulls out the fluid that was retained inside the mucous membranes. With this, the swelling in your throat goes away naturally, and the discomfort is eased. Salt water gargle is the best and quickest method to heal inflammation caused by a cough. Moreover, it also easily dislodges any phlegm and expels it, relieving you more.
To do salt water gargle, mix in a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Take a mouthful of the water, gargle for 15 seconds and spit it out. Repeat this until you exhaust the entire solution. Afterward, rinse your mouth with plain water. You can gargle several times a day for a speedy healing.
Therapeutic Steam Therapy
A steam therapy can be called a one-stop solution for treating any cold, cough or congestion. Steam offers the most efficient treatment for loosening the mucous and thinning out the phlegm. Add few drops of essential oils to the steam, and you can reap even faster and more effective results. The essential oils have their anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and other good qualities which make an aroma steam the ultimate therapy for a healing cough at home.
Tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil are the two of the most useful essential oils for treating cough and cold. While you can use any different formula of the blend for treating cold, there is one that is particularly popular. The blend is especially effective in soothing the irritated throat membrane and opening the airways. The antibiotic properties on the other hand help fight the bacteria or virus.
Boil some water and fill a medium-sized heatproof bowl halfway through. Allow the water to cool for about a minute and then mix in the essential oils. Add three drops of tea tree oil followed by two drops of eucalyptus oil. Stir to mix. Sit comfortably and lean over the bowl getting as close to it as safely possible. Make sure that the water in the bowl has no chances of spilling over on you. Now use a towel over your head in the form of a tent such that the bowl is also inside. This is to seal the vapors from escaping. Breathe deeply to inhale the aromatic steam. You can keep in this position inhaling the steam for 5 to 10 minutes. Do this two to three times a day for a faster recovery.
Curative Thyme Tea
Some people would swear by the curative properties of thyme in relieving cough. Thyme as a remedy for a cough and sore throat has been in use for centuries. The herb also has unyielding anti-microbial properties which wards of any infection whether it is a cough caused by bacteria or virus. Thyme will help you heal by relaxing the muscles of your bronchi and trachea. It will also open the nasal airways helping you to breathe better. Your cough will also gradually reduce as you take thyme tea on a regular basis.
You can either use fresh thyme sprigs or dried thyme for brewing thyme tea. Take two tablespoons of dried thyme or a handful if using the fresh herb. If you are using fresh thyme, bruise it lightly in a mortar and pestle. Place the herb in a mug and pour 8 ounces of boiling water over it. Cover and let this tea steep for 10 to 15 minutes. You can also add lemon or honey or both as per your taste. These will also add to its therapeutic values. Drink the tea warm and 2 to 3 times a day. If a cough is bothering at night, you can also drink a cupful before bedtime for a restful sleep.
Powerful Black Pepper
Black paper makes a powerful remedy for treating coughs, especially if chest congestion and mucous accompany it. You can make your medicinal syrup at home using black pepper and honey. Alternately, you can also brew yourself a cup of warm black pepper tea for a good relief from a cough. However, make sure that you use freshly ground black pepper as this is more effective than the already powdered ones sold in the market.
To make your very own black pepper tea, put a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and a tablespoon of honey in a cup. Boil 8 ounces of water and pour it in the cup. Cover and let steep for ten whole minutes. Stir the tea and drink it warm. You can drink this tea once or twice a day to thin out the mucous causing you trouble.
For syrup, you can add some water to the mixture of black pepper and honey for a more concentrated version. To make it more potent, you can also add a teaspoon juice of freshly grated ginger.
Homemade Cough Syrup
Here is yet another homemade cough syrup remedy to soothe your irritated throat. This delicious cough syrup packs in the goodness of honey, peppermint, and ginger. Ginger is a popular expectorant which loosens and expels mucous blocking your lungs and nasal passage. It can also heal a dry cough and the pain at the back of the throat. Peppermint works in similar such ways in relieving the irritation caused by a cough.
To make this syrup, you will need three tablespoons of chopped ginger, a tablespoon of dried peppermint, a cup raw organic honey and 4 cups of water. Simmer the ginger and peppermint in the water until the liquid is reduced to half its original volume. Strain this concentrated liquid and allow it to cool down. Now, mix in the honey. Store this medicine in a sterilized bottle. Take a tablespoon of the syrup every few hours. This will naturally ease your cough. You can store it refrigerated for three weeks.
Probiotics give your health a natural boost when taken daily. Although the probiotics are not going to treat your cough directly, they will speed up the process no lesser. The probiotics restore the balance in the gastrointestinal flora, which are basically the bacteria thriving in the intestines. This strengthens your natural immune system. The bacterium Lactobacillus contained in it reduces your vulnerability to cold and flu. Plus, it also reduces your sensitivity to allergens like pollen which much often cause a cough. Try to source some probiotic supplements from the health food stores. You could also eat yogurt that contains probiotics or indulge in sourdough bread and miso soup both of which are enriched with probiotics.
Pineapple is yet not very well known as a cough remedy. Nevertheless, it is one fruit to binge on if you are suffering from a mucous cough. The fruit is loaded with bromelain, an enzyme which suppresses coughs. It also thins the mucus in the throat. Popular claims also suggest that eating pineapple can also reduce allergy-based sinus or sinusitis issues which may cause a cough. The enzyme in pineapple is also effective in soothing the inflammation and swelling caused by such conditions.
When affected by a cough and cold, you can eat a slice of pineapple or drink fresh pineapple juice of 3.5-ounce glasses, thrice every day. You can also take bromelain supplements. However, these supplements are not recommended for children and adults taking blood thinners. Also, avoid Bromelain if you are on antibiotics like amoxicillin.
You would not believe this, but that chewing on raw garlic can help you out of a cough. Whether your cough is due to some throat irritation or you have some respiratory infections, raw garlic will have medicinal effects on your cough. Raw garlic has a long history of being used medicinally in treating whooping cough and pneumonia. Thanks to the bioactive chemicals in the bulb which has excellent antibacterial properties. These combat bacteria, including both gram-positive and negative ones.
To keep from coughing, keep a garlic clove in your mouth. Crush it occasionally whenever you have about of a cough. This will release juices which will control your cough. Additionally, you can add garlic to your food to keep secondary infections at bay which follow a respiratory allergy or a common cough and cold.