Winter is on the way, and with it comes those often inevitable coughs and colds. Coughs can generally signify that a cold or other illness is on the way, or they can be the result of an allergy or an infection in the respiratory tract. Coughs can also be a sign of something worse, such as chronic bronchitis or a tumour in the lung – but let’s not panic just yet.
According to Medical News Today, there are six classes of coughs:
- acute cough – this is a cough of sudden onset that lasts up to three weeks
- subacute cough – this type of cough persists for between three and eight weeks
- chronic cough – this type persists for over eight weeks
- productive cough – a cough that brings stuff up, such as phlegm
- dry cough – a cough that brings nothing up
- nocturnal cough – only occurs at night.
It is worth noting that germs often rely on coughs to spread to new hosts (humans!), so getting that nagging sputter under control will not only benefit you, but also your loved ones and those around you.
Therefore, instead of reaching for the medicine cabinet, why not stop the coughing with these five natural remedies?
It’s the go-to remedy for a dry, sore throat, and has been throughout the ages. Honey is included in many over-the-counter cough remedies, and can often be more effective in relieving coughs than medicines that contain chemical cough suppressants.
Make your own cough remedy by mixing honey with normal tea, herbal tea, or with warm water and lemon juice. Or you can simply eat a tablespoon of honey three times a day, or as needed.
Pineapple may not be the first thing you think of to soothe a cough, but there’s an enzyme found in pineapple called bromelain that can help to suppress a cough and loosen the mucus in your throat. It may also help those with sinusitis and other sinus allergies.
Bromelain can be taken as a supplement, or you can make your own pineapple cough syrup.
3. Black Pepper
Besides being the world’s most traded spice, black pepper makes for a handy cough remedy. It can help to relieve chest congestion and can also help you to expel any other nasties you have floating around your respiratory system.
To make a black pepper cough remedy, simply grind a teaspoon of fresh pepper (the pre-ground stuff loses its oomph), then add it, along with a tablespoon of honey, to a cup of boiling water. Cover and steep for 10 minutes, then stir and sip carefully, as it will be hot!
4. Thyme tea
Thyme has been used for centuries to help ward off disease. It was once quite popular to keep a sprig of thyme in your pocket to prevent illness, partly due to its microbial properties and partly because it was believed to have helped defeat the Black Death plague in 14th-century Europe. Thyme relaxes your tracheal and bronchial muscles to help open the airways.
To make your own ‘thyme honoured’ cough remedy, either find yourself a handful of fresh thyme sprigs or two tablespoons of dried thyme. If you’re using the fresh stuff, it’s best to bruise it a little by crushing it in your hands or using a mortar and pestle. Add the thyme to a cup of boiling water, cover and steep for 10 minutes. You can drink as is or, to make it even more effective (and taste nicer), add some honey or lemon.
As a youngster, I can’t tell you how many times I had a towel over my head and my head over a steaming bowl of water to help decongest my nose and throat. Steam is fantastic for loosening mucus and phlegm and, with the addition of some essential oils, can provide anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory benefits.
Find yourself a big bowl, fill halfway with boiling water and pop in three drops of tea tree oil and a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil. Allow it to cool for a minute or two, then, with a towel over your head to trap the steam, very carefully lean as close as you can to the water (be careful as steam can burn) and breathe in gently but deeply. Do this two to three times a day for best effect.
There are many other natural remedies for soothing coughs and colds and, quite often, they are every bit as effective as those purchased over the counter. As always, though, it’s best to consult your health professional when trying to heal yourself, as some herbs and natural remedies may interact with other medicines.
Do you have any time-honoured remedies for coughs? Why not share them with our members?
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