First Things First: Differentiating Coughs
Coughs can be either productive (wet) or non-productive (dry). The symptoms are different and thus the treatments will also be different.
A productive cough will produce mucus and phlegm (whether down the nasal passages and throat, or up from the lungs) and a non-productive, hacking cough will not produce sputum. In general, a cough is the body’s response to things ranging from environmental allergies and asthma to the common cold or more serious illnesses such as upper respiratory tract infection, pneumonia, bronchitis or emphysema.
Treating Dry Coughs
- Hydration: Ingest plenty of fluids. Drink water, bone-broth, or sip on non-citrus fruit juice. Avoid carbonated drinks and citrus juices – they may irritate your throat more.
- Clean air: Impure air will aggravate your lungs and trigger coughing fits: salt lamps, certain house plants and bees wax candles purify air.
- Thyme: This herb is an officially approved German treatment for coughs, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough: To make a tea: mix 2 teaspoons crushed leaves in 1 cup boiling water, cover, then steep for 10 minutes and strain.
- Flaxseed: Boiling flaxseed in water gives you a thick, gooey gel that soothes the throat and the bronchial tract. Local raw honey, cinnamon and lemon act as mild antibiotics, and make this syrup super-soothing. For this natural remedy, boil 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseed in 1 cup of water until the water becomes thick; strain. Then, add 3 tablespoons each of honey and lemon juice along with 1 teaspoon cinnamon.
- Slippery Elm Lozenges: Made from the bark of the slippery elm tree, these were once medicine-chest staples. Slippery elm is loaded with a gel-like substance that coats the throat and keeps coughing to a minimum.
Treating Wet Coughs
- Elevation: Use extra pillow to elevate head at night
- Moisture: Moisture can also help loosen anything that’s left in your airways. Start a hot shower, close the bathroom door, and put a towel between the bottom of the door and the floor. Spend 15 to 20 minutes inhaling the steam as it builds up in the bathroom. Run a humidifier. Humidifiers can be purchased at most drug stores, and most can store enough water to run for hours. Position the humidifier so that you can inhale the moisture while you sleep.
- Elderberry Syrup: Bioflavonoids and other proteins in the juice destroy the ability of cold and flu viruses to infect a cell. Cool fact: Elderberry juice was used to treat a flu epidemic in Panama in 1951!
- GOOT: GOOT stands for Garlic Oil Ointment Treatment and is an antibiotic, antiviral, antifungal & antiseptic herbal remedy consisting of unrefined coconut oil, cold-pressed olive oil and organic garlic.
- Essential Oils: Eucalyptus, Peppermint and Sage essential oils in about 2 TBS of organic olive oil make the perfect herbal oil to rub on feet & chest. *Be sure to use therapeutic grade essential oils when using topically.*
- Cupping: Cupping is a manual therapeutic procedure of Traditional Chinese Medicine that is an excellent treatment for a wide variety of pain, lymphatic, and respiratory conditions. (jumping on a trampoline also helps loosen the mucus build-up)
- Lemon drops: Lemon drops work especially well for “wet” coughs.
- Cayenne Pepper: Persistent coughing can result to painful chest pains; cayenne is effective in reducing this pain. Cayenne pepper increases blood circulation to the area which hastens the healing process. It is also stimulating and warming which is a pleasant remedy when one is suffering from cough and cold.To make a healthy cayenne syrup, mix together cayenne pepper- ¼ teaspoon, honey-a single tablespoon, water-2 tablespoon, apple cider vinegar- a single tablespoon, ground ginger- ¼ teaspoon. You can take the syrup at least 2 times daily.
- Licorice: Licorice is good for a cough as it loosens phlegm and relaxes bronchial spasms. Add licorice tincture to a cup of hot water and sip.
*Learn a new coughing technique:
If your throat is strained and irritated from nonstop coughing, try this technique to head off a coughing fit. The next time you feel a cough coming on, force yourself to take a series of small, gentle coughs, finally ending with a large one. The tiny coughs help move mucus toward the upper part of your air passage so you can expel more of it with that last, big cough. (Source)
Call Your doctor if:
- You have a cough that lasts for more than 4 weeks.
- You’re coughing up green or bloody phlegm.
- Persistent wheezing and shortness of breath. Coughing can be a symptom of a more serious illness, such as chronically obstructed airways, disease or asthma. In its most extreme, it can even indicate a heart condition, especially if it’s accompanied by wheezing and shortness of breath.
- Sharp chest pains, chills or a fever higher than 38°C (101°F) for more than 3 days, as well as a cough. You may have pneumonia.
For more natural options check out: The Holy Grail of Natural Remedies
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*Feature image source