A cough can get really irritating! No matter your age or gender, constant coughing can really jar your body and mind. It disrupts you at work, play and school; it keeps you awake at night; it creates a brief period of ostracism and basically just wreaks havoc on your peace of mind. Unfortunately, we are all affected and afflicted by this very common ailment at various intervals, and let’s face it, there’s little you can do to not catch it the next time.
While we hope that your cough is temporary and non-serious, cough can be a source of concern, and can be categorized as:
- Acute: when it occurs for less than 3 weeks
- Chronic: when it continues for more than 8 weeks, in which case, stop reading this and go see a doctor!!
- Sub-acute: anything between 3 and 8 weeks
- Productive: if you cough up sputum
- Dry or non-productive: if there is no expulsion of sputum
- The reasons behind a cough are multifarious; some are very simple and clear up easily with antibiotics and a lot of TLC; others may be serious and may require long term treatment, and possibly hospitalization.
- Other symptoms that often accompany a cough are:
- High temperature
- Chest pain
- Difficulty in breathing
- Blocked nose
- Disrupted sleep
Why We Cough – Causes:
The reasons behind a cough are so many in number and intensity that I dare not start mentioning all of them here. Instead, here are the most common causes that can leave you coughing:
• Viral respiratory tract infection (RTI)
• Eosinophilic bronchitis
• Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
• Common cold
• Pertussis (Whooping cough/Croup/Diptheria)
• Foreign body
• Dry mouth
• Swallowing difficulties
• Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (Drugs used for diabetes and high blood pressure)
• Lung tumors
• Pollution related pathogens
Overwhelmed? Confused? Well, for such a common ailment, it is easy to expect a number of known and unknown causes. As I said earlier, if you have a cough lasting for more than 8 weeks, it is a must to consult a doctor immediately as it can signal a serious underlying disease. I once read somewhere that if you can feelyour lungs… you have a problem!
Home Remedies for Cough:
Again, hoping your cough is non-serious, here are some very simple home remedies (in no specific order) anyone can try. They are easy to use and can be made from everyday kitchen and garden products. So, before you visit the pharmacy, try these no-side-effect tips. With any luck, you will be rid of that cough and back on your feet in no time. Most of these tricks work equally well for children, though it is best to consult your paediatrician before you try them on your child for the first time.
1. Banish Allergens:
In case your cough is being caused by some allergen, try to remove it from your lifestyle. Cough can be triggered by things such as cigarette smoke (even for passive smokers), pollen, dust, mould, pet hair and the like. Try avoiding these substances during the time of year when you are most susceptible to catching a cough.
2. Warm Milk:
Warm milk, or for that matter, any warm liquid, helps in relieving a cough by hydrating the dry, raspy throat. It also reduces chest congestion and helps in the expulsion of sputum.
Strange as it may seem, powdered or crushed almonds, added to some orange or lemon juice, can be the perfect home remedy for cough. The taste of the mixture is very refreshing and soothing as almonds have natural relaxing properties.
Flax has natural properties to soothe sore throats. Use them by boiling them in water. Add a little honey or sugar for taste and sip the mixture to find that much needed relief.
5. Sesame Oil:
Mix a little quantity of sesame oil in a tablespoon of honey. Your cough will never even see this sneaky little trick coming its way.
This pretty little fragrant herb has a natural summery aroma. If used as an infusion by boiling in water for some time, it will relieve even the toughest of coughs for at least a few hours. The vapor from the water will also soothe the aching throat muscles.
7. Lemon Tea:
Sip on this queen of refreshing teas and say goodbye to that cough. Lemon will clear any built up phlegm from your throat, giving you the much needed relief from a raspy cough.
This root and its medicinal properties are very well known and exploited in Asian countries. To soothe a cough, try a glass of hot milk with a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Turmeric has amazing healing and antibacterial qualities and will go a long way in curing you of that nasty cough. If you find the taste too appalling, you can sweeten the milk with as much sugar or honey as you want.
[ Read: Benefits Of Turmeric for health ]
Red or white, vinegar can be used to soothe that adamant cough. This is another best home remedy for cough. Use 2 teaspoons of vinegar in a glass of warm water to gargle, taking care not to ingest it. It can be quite unpleasant if you do. If the taste puts you off, you can add some lime juice or salt to make it bearable.
In combination with honey, cinnamon is a magic potion for coughs that won’t go away. Heat some honey till it becomes slightly runny and add cinnamon powder (in a ratio of 1:10) and mix it well. Let the honey cool down and use this yummy cough syrup any number of times you wish. This mixture is absolutely safe for children and they love the flavour too!
11. Onion Syrup:
What on earth is THAT? Well, it is made easily at home by grating an onion. Next, add some sugar to the grated pulp and allow it to dissolve in the onion overnight. By morning, your home made cough syrup is ready! Take one teaspoon of it whenever you need it during the day and feel that hankering cough go away. (Psst… take my word and do this before you brush your teeth!)
This beautiful, delicate herb can solve cough trouble too. Make a concoction of Thyme leaves in a cup of water; reduce the water by boiling it to half the amount and sip the liquid. You will feel instant soothing and relief.
13. Black Pepper:
I know, it sounds like a dangerous way to cure a cough, but black pepper – kernels or powder – is very effective when taken with honey or even boiled with tea leaves. Sure, it will sting, but your cough will die away for hours after that. However, this might give you acidity, so don’t take more than a teaspoon or 3-4 kernels at the most. This is an instant home remedy for cough.
Before you screw your nose, please know that garlic has very strong antibacterial and pain relieving qualities. Boil one or two cloves of garlic for some time in milk and drink it. I know, it tastes and sounds horrible, but you can get back to your normal routine soon, as this will surely relieve even the worst of coughs.
15. Maple Syrup:
Maple syrup contains natural sugar and can be taken by anyone. Mix some baking soda in a tablespoon of maple syrup and take it once or twice a day to relieve constant coughing fits.
[ Read: Herbal Cough Syrups Available In India ]
16. Redstone Sugar:
This specific kind of sugar can be powdered and added to a hot glass of milk or water or even tea. It is a sure shot and tasty way to get relief from that annoying cough.
Licorice is an excellent pain reliever and a relaxant. Keep a bit of licorice in your mouth for about 10 minutes and ingest its sweet juice. Your cough and the accompanying pain will be gone in a jiffy. WARNING: DO NOT use licorice in ANY form during pregnancy, as it creates muscle contractions and may trigger preterm labour. For others, you may try pure licorice, licorice chewing gum or licorice tea.
Honey is a gentle yet effective cough reliever. It has soothing properties, which can relieve incessant coughing in an instant. Take a spoonful of honey, add 2-3 drops of ginger juice or black pepper kernels to it and savour a couple of cough-free hours.
19. Eucalyptus Oil:
Okay, this one has been my salvage for all my life. It is easily available in the market. Simply put a drop on a tissue or handkerchief and keep it on your nose; or put two drops on your pillow and have a restful cough-free sleep; or use it in the water you use for taking steam; or rub eucalyptus oil rich balms or ointments on your throat and back. Its expectorant and antibacterial action will relieve cough, headache, body ache and a blocked nose in no time.
Our wonderful H2O can cure cough and soothe your aching throat, whether used as a liquid or as vapor. A perfect home remedy for dry cough. Have a warm glass of water, sip it slowly, and feel it work its magic. The warm water will relieve your cough throughout the day and will also rehydrate your body as is advisable during cold and cough. Otherwise, you may enjoy a “face sauna” by covering your face over a pan of steaming hot water. For added effect, add an expectorant balm, eucalyptus oil or a drop or two of tincture to the water. After inhaling the steam for about 10 minutes, keep your head and forehead covered till the moisture dries out on its own.
There is a reason why this plant is worshipped by the Hindus. Its leaves have marvellous healing qualities. For a cough, you may simply chew the leaves after washing them. If the taste is too strong, you may add a pinch of salt and/or some black pepper. Another way is to boil it with tea leaves and have that wonderfully scented basil tea.
Yeah, ginger is a magical root that works for so many ailments. It works for cough too. Ginger has strong antibiotic properties. If taken with honey or in black tea, it will give you a natural painkiller and cough reliever any time of the day.
23. Common Salt:
Sodium Chloride or common salt used for gargling works very effectively against cough and throat pain. It gives humidity to the throat, acts as an anti-bacterial and soothes pain. Try it any number of times in the day and get instant relief. Use half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water. Don’t ingest it though, as salty water can induce vomiting.
24. Milk Cream:
A spoonful of cream taken at bedtime will keep your night’s sleep peaceful and undisrupted. Though it sounds contradictory that cream can help a cough, it really works. For weight watchers – it’s just a spoonful, no harm done! Take care not to ingest anything after you take cream as it will negate its effect. That’s why bedtime is the perfect time to do this.
This little spice has wonderful relieving properties. Keep 1-2 pieces of clove in your mouth and ingest only the juice. Keep it there as long as you can. It will give you instant relief from coughing fits and that scratchy throat pain that gets so annoying when you are trying to work.
So, do some of these tips look like they are a recipe for an evil witch’s evil potion? Fair enough.
But all of them DO work. All of them are time tested. It is up to you to find out what works best for your kind of cough. Hopefully, you will find the one that clicks. When you do, remember to spread the word.
Watch a Video from StylecrazeTV – 5 Quick Natural Home Remedies For Cough
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