Coughing is a very common symptom of a cold, flu or chest infection. While short bouts of cough are normal, a persistent cough can be annoying and even painful. When all the conventional remedies don’t help anymore, you can try these 10 natural treatments to bring quick relief.
Try this warming drink - a mix of hot water, cinnamon and lemon is said to strengthen the immune system and reduce the duration of unpleasant symptoms like coughs and blocked noses. You only need a pinch of cinnamon to make this and feel free to add a touch of honey and some ginger if you like.
Honey is one of the most common home remedies for coughs and even as little as a tablespoonful of honey has actually been proven to be more effective than over-the-counter cough medicines. Honey is excellent for soothing sore, swollen tissue in the throat and contains some enzymes with powerful antibacterial properties. If you are suffering from a bacterial infection, honey may even be able to shorten your illness. Remember that children under 2 should not consume honey but adults and older children can take up to 1 tbsp of honey 1-3 times per day, and it may be especially effective when taken before sleep.
Chicken soup is the first thing we think about when we get a cold – and for good reason! Scientists suspect that chicken soup contains anti-inflammatory chemicals that help to suppress common symptoms (like coughs and sneezes). Chicken soup is also a source of mucus-thinning cysteine, and the high electrolyte content helps to keep you appropriately hydrated.
Liquorice root assists in bringing up mucus from your lungs. It is also a demulcent, which forms a soothing film over the top of your irritated throat tissue and reduces inflammation. Simply add 2 tbsp of dried liquorice root to eight ounces of boiled water, steep the tea for up to 15 minutes, and drink once or twice a day. Avoid taking liquorice root if you have reduced kidney function or are taking steroids.
Steam treatment is not only effective when it comes to sinus and nasal infections – it is also very useful when you’re fighting a bad cough. Hot steam helps to loosen mucus within just a few minutes, and you can enhance the treatment with a range of essential oils that offer further health benefits. Try adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil, which helps to open the airways and reduce breathlessness. Place a few drops of your chosen oil into a bowl of boiling water, let it cool for a few minutes, and then lean over the bowl with a towel over your head to keep the steam in.
A number of studies show that Echinacea and sage are just as effective as more expensive, medicinal sprays that are marketed to fight coughs and sore throats. You can find this type of spray in many healthy food or alternative medicine stores, and it’s generally recommended that you spray your throat every couple of hours while you’re experiencing irritation. You can also try making the spray yourself by mixing Echinacea extract with sage extract and a little bit of saline water.
Ginger is unbeatable when it comes to drying up the phlegm in your throat and will also help you cough it up. Some research shows that ginger also speeds up recovery from the common cold virus. Drinking ginger tea is probably the most powerful way to get these benefits but you can also try adding some fresh ginger to your salads or stir-fries.
Hot turmeric milk is a delicious and powerful way to bring relief from a cough. Turmeric contains curcumin, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory compound that also fights viral and bacterial infections. If you don’t drink milk and you find it irritating to your throat, swap it for soy or nut milk or consider brewing a turmeric tea instead.
Slippery elm has been used to treat coughs and sore throats since Native Americans first discovered its useful properties. It contains a substance similar to mucus, which coats the throat and reduces both soreness and itchiness. Pour some boiling water over powdered slippery elm bark, stir it to mix the powder through, and then drink. You can also find slippery elm lozenges in health food stores. Some health food stores also carry slippery elm throat lozenges.
Mustard seeds are rich in sulphur-containing compounds that will help to loosen some of those thick secretions in your respiratory tract. Crush the mustard seeds and soak them in water for 15-20 minutes. Steep them in a cup of boiling water, strain after 5-10 minutes, and drink when it has cooled a little. If you really don’t like the taste, consider drinking it in small doses at 2-3 hour intervals.
This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.