Cough Remedies. While coughing may seem like an annoyance, it actually serves a purpose. Coughing is a natural reflex that protects your lungs by clearing your airways of lung irritants, such as smoke and mucus (a slimy substance). Coughing happens when the nerve endings in your airways, tubes that carry air in and out of your lungs, become irritated. But, coughing can signal a larger health issue. If you have an acute cough that lasts less than 3 weeks, it may be caused by the common cold or other respiratory infections, such as flu or whooping cough. If your cough lasts more than 8 weeks, it’s considered chronic and may be caused by asthma, bronchitis or stomach acid reflux, which can irritate the throat and lungs, causing coughing fits.
Consider oil pulling. Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic remedy in which you swish oil in your mouth to remove harmful germs and bacteria from your mouth. Use organic, cold-pressed oil like vegetable, sesame, olive, or coconut oil. Take a spoonful of oil and swish it in your mouth for one minute to gain the benefits. If you can, try to swish the oil for 15-20 minutes. To make sure the oil absorbs and detoxifies as much bacteria as possible, aim to do this with an empty stomach. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
Take elderberry extract. Elderberry is commonly used to treat coughs, sore throats and respiratory illnesses because of its anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties. It also stimulates the immune system. You can buy Elderberry extract as a syrup, lozenge or dietary capsule supplement at most nutrition or drug stores. Or, you can steep 3-5 grams of dried elder flower in a cup of boiling water for ten to fifteen minutes. Then, drink it as a herbal tea, up to 3 times per day.
Use peppermint. You can buy peppermint in the form of lozenges, extracts used in dietary supplements, herbal teas, essential oils and a fresh herb. Don’t forget that you can use the fresh leaves as a garnish or flavouring in everyday meals. You can also make and drink your own teak up to 3 times a day by steeping one tea bag (approx. 3-4 grams or 1 ½ teaspoon) of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of hot water (80–85°C).
Use eucalyptus. You can buy eucalyptus as lozenges, cough syrups, and vapor baths at most drug stores to help soothe sore throats. Try applying topical eucalyptus ointments to your nose and chest to relieve congestion and loosen phlegm. It’s generally safe for adults to apply eucalyptus to the skin. Or, you make eucalyptus tea to drink up to 3 times a day by steeping 2–4 grams of dried eucalyptus leaves in a cup of hot water for 10–15 minutes.
Eat honey. You’ve probably heard that tea sweetened with honey can help a sore throat, but eating pure honey can actually stop a cough. Eat 2 teaspoons of honey during a bad coughing spell or right before bed. Studies have shown that consuming honey before sleeping can actually improve sleep quality.
Use ginger. Ginger can help you produce mucous and relieve coughing. You can steep fresh ginger in hot water to make a tea, chew on crystallized ginger, or add a few teaspoons of ground powdered ginger to 1 tablespoon of honey and eat it.
Try thyme. Thyme is used to treat bronchitis and coughing. It’s also gentle enough that it’s safe for small children to use. For a great combination of remedies, make a honey thyme tea. Steep 3 springs of fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons of honey in 1 cup of hot water for 10 minutes. Strain and drink to stop coughing.
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