Coughing spells are caused by an infection or an allergy, among other things. Depending on the nature and severity of other symptoms, people may or may not choose to consult a doctor for a cough. They may attempt to let it pass or treat it themselves. Home remedies can alleviate or shorten the duration of a cough, but it is always best to speak to a doctor if symptoms advance, last more than a few days, or if one is taking medications.
Some people report that a spoonful of honey can calm a persistent cough more effectively than over-the-counter medicines. Honey is an age-old dry cough remedy that gets its benefits from its analgesic properties. The golden nectar sticks to the irritated mucous membranes and coats them to provide relief. Honey also has antibacterial properties that can help shorten the duration of the cough if a bacterial infection is to blame. Simply mix honey in warm milk or water to make a drink that can help relieve cough and chest pain. Note that honey should not be given to children under the age of one.
Perhaps one of the most well-known and practical solutions for coughing is gargling. Gargling with salt water four to five times a day can help calm a cough by loosening mucus, therefore flushing out bacteria and easing inflammation. Dissolve half a teaspoon of salt in lukewarm water for the best results. The salt can draw excess fluid from cells, easing inflammation, dislodge phlegm hanging in the throat, and reduce soreness.
Throat lozenges can decrease the cough reflex by numbing the back of the throat. This, in turn, reduces irritation. Lozenges containing active ingredients such as honey, peppermint oil, or menthol are the best choices, though any drop that encourages salivation can moisturize the throat enough to quell coughing temporarily.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has a therapeutic effect on sore throats and coughing. It increases mucus production and naturally flushes out bacteria in the respiratory tract. Curcumin is known for its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Boil a cup of water and add one spoonful of turmeric powder. Black pepper, honey, and cinnamon sticks can make the mixture even more effective. Boil the drink for three to four minutes, and drink this mixture a couple of times each day until the symptoms ease. Warm milk with turmeric can also soothe a dry cough.
Steam is a simple method for treating cough and congestion. It loosens phlegm, moisturizes the throat, and clears nasal passages. Adding essential oils to a steam bath can incorporate the anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties of some oils, though this should be done with care, as strong vapors could cause more issues. Simply boil water and let it cool slightly. Pour it into a bowl, add a drop of eucalyptus or tea tree oil, and place your face over the bowl with a towel over your head.
Another way to incorporate steam into home cough treatments is by taking a bath. Warm baths will help break up mucus and phlegm inside the chest and throat. In the colder months, when coughs routinely develop, baths can improve these symptoms and ease any accompanying muscle pain, as well as simply feeling good. Make the water quite warm, but keep in mind that very hot water can result in dry skin. Once the bath is drawn, attempt to remain in the tub, breathing deeply in the steam, for as long as possible.
Ginger is another favored cure for cough relief. The natural anesthetic and soothing properties of ginger help reduce irritation and scratchiness in the throat. Even store-bought cough syrups often contain this healing root. Ginger's anti-inflammatory properties ease irritation, as well. Peppermint has a similar effect. Make your own syrup by boiling three tablespoons of chopped ginger root and one tablespoon of pure peppermint extract in four or five cups of water. After the mixture has simmered a while and cooled, add a cup of honey. Store the syrup in the fridge for up to three weeks and take up to three tablespoons each day.
Honey is powerful on its own, but mixing it with milk can make a soothing remedy for a dry throat. Hot milk brings phlegm up from the respiratory tract and reduces chest pain. Mix a spoonful of honey into a glass of warm milk and drink it slowly to experience reduced congestion and coughing. Try drinking this mixture shortly before bed to get the most of the relaxing qualities, as well.
Thyme is an effective treatment for respiratory illnesses. One study indicated that essence of thyme combined with a pharmaceutical reduced the length and severity of short-term bronchitis and incessant coughing. Thyme leaves contain flavonoids with antimicrobial properties that can relax the throat muscles, reducing inflammation. Simply mix crushed thyme leaves in a cup of water and bring the mixture to a boil. Let it steep for five to ten minutes, then drain the leaves and drink the tea.
The sap of the marshmallow root has long been used to treat coughs and sore throats. Marshmallow contains mucilage that is known to soothe by coating the throat and removing mucus. Marshmallow root is available at many health stores, as a capsule or tea. Children under the age of three should not be given marshmallow root, however.
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