Everybody coughs. It’s a normal bodily function that helps you keep your throat and mouth clear of irritants and other substances that could be harmful to you. So, you shouldn’t be worried about coughing every now and then. Too much coughing, however, is another thing. When you’re experiencing sustained coughs over a period of time or when it’s unusually painful, it may be a sign of something bad like an allergy, a bacterial infection, or a viral infection. And no, not all bad coughs are caused by lung problems. There are many other conditions that are non-respiratory that can cause you to cough abnormally as well.
As common as it is, coughing tends to be met with a lot of over the counter medication. These usually involve treating the illness causing the coughing so that the symptom goes away. But if you’re looking to give yourself a natural and immediate relief from uncomfortable coughing, here are a couple of remedies that have been proven to help.
Honey is perhaps one of the oldest and best-known home remedy for a sore throat. Some studies have even suggested that it is more effective as a cough suppressant than medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DM). This is largely due to honey’s antibacterial properties. It’s a tasty kind of remedy too!
To use honey for your cough, add two teaspoons of it to an herbal tea drink. Plain warm water or lemon water will work as well. The combination of honey and lemon will soothe your throat while dealing with the congestion in your system. If you’re having a snack, you can add honey to a biscuit or bread for a nice treat. And yes, you can directly eat the honey with a spoon and it will work just fine.
You’re probably familiar with probiotics and all the health benefits they give you. They aren’t really used to help treat coughs directly, but they do help by balancing out all the bacteria that live in your intestines that may be contributing to the problem. This will improve your immune system, helping you to recover from any illness causing the cough.
Related to this is Lactobacillus, which is a bacterium commonly found in dairy products. It can be used to reduce one’s sensitivity to certain allergens that can cause colds, such as pollen. Just be careful with drinking fortified milk – even though it’s a rich source of Lactobacillus, it may make phlegm thicker.
In any case, probiotics are quite common and can be bought in many supermarkets and health food and drug stores. Just be sure to follow the recommended dietary intake so that it does its job properly. Yogurt is quite commonly found in stores and is a great and affordable source of probiotics.
Don’t just use it as a remedy for coughs, though. If you can, make it part of your regular diet in order to have a healthier immune system overall.
Scientific studies have suggested that pineapples are a great cough remedy, mainly due to the fact that they contain bromelain, an enzyme that can be used to suppress coughs while loosening up the mucus stuck in the throat. A slice of pineapple or 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day should do the trick. In addition, bromelain also helps with sinusitis and allergy-based conditions that cause coughing. It’s also used to treat certain inflammations.
Bromelain isn’t just in pineapples. There are supplements that contain it and is a common ingredient in many antibiotics. Of course, pineapples are a cheap and easy source of it, and you shouldn’t be touching antibiotics unless your doctor prescribes them to you.
The ever-reliable saltwater solution also makes the list of natural cough remedies. Both ingredients are common items in the household and, when mixed together, create a great antibacterial mouthwash that you can gargle to clear your throat. One half teaspoon of salt mixed in warm water is enough to soothe your throat and relieve any irritation. Just be sure that the solution isn’t too hot that you end up injuring yourself.
Thyme has long been used to help with many kinds of respiratory illnesses, including short-term bronchitis. People drink thyme as a tea made from crushed thyme leaves. This is because the leaves have flavonoids, which are compounds that can relax one’s throat muscles, thus easing any coughing and reducing any inflammation.
You can easily make thyme tea by taking 2 teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves and brewing them with 1 cup of boiling water. Steep for about 10 minutes before straining. The tea is quite relaxing too!
Some people use mint candies to relieve their cough. Peppermint contains menthol and can be used to not only soothe the throat but also act as a decongestant, helping to break down the mucus so you can breathe better. If you don’t feel like chewing candy, you can also drink tea with peppermint.
You can also draw a peppermint steam bath and inhale its vapors, allowing you to achieve the same effect. To do this, prepare half a cup of hot water and add 3 to 4 drops of peppermint oil to it. Take deep breaths while above the steamed water so you can inhale the vapor.
Alternatively, you can also take a hot shower. Not only is it relaxing, but the steam can also clear you up and has the same effect as a decongestant.
There are a lot more cough remedies that are not on this list, but hopefully these ones will help you out when coughing starts to get in your way.
Remember that these remedies can only do so much. Always consult a doctor when you start feeling other symptoms along with the coughing, such as headaches or fevers. Keep in mind that coughing is only a symptom and you have to treat the sickness if you want to feel better overall.