Whether you’re suffering from a constant dry and tickly cough or a chesty phlegmy cough, symptoms can last weeks, disrupting sleep and making life miserable.
Coughs tend to strike after a cold or flu, or as a result of an allergy, bout of bronchitis or asthma, or as a symptom of other conditions such as rhinitis, acute sinusitis or reflux.
How to ease cough symptoms
Normally coughs go away on their own, but it’s important to see a doctor if you have been suffering from a persistent cough.
Whilst some coughs need to be remedied with rest or treatment from your healthcare practitioner, many types of coughs can also benefit from a natural home cough remedy.
What are home remedies?
Home remedies are simple treatments to help alleviate minor health problems that you can prepare at home using commonly found ingredients. Many home remedies originated long ago and have been passed down from generation to generation.
Home cough remedies
One or more of the following home remedies may help to alleviate symptoms of a cough.
Sleep. Firstly, getting lots of rest is key to beating a persistent cough and driving the immune system.
Drink lots of fluids. Not only do liquids thin mucus but, they help to keep the membranes in the airways moist, minimising irritation.
Steam-inhalation. Stand in a hot shower or place your head over a bowl of warm water, with a towel draped over your head, and you will start to feel the unblocking of your nose and congested upper airways. A few drops of eucalyptus or tea tree oil can enhance the effects. But for safety, take extra care that you don’t use boiling water, especially around children.
Honey and lemon. For adults and older children, honey is a popular home remedy option owing to its antioxidant and antimicrobial properties. Lemon helps reduce inflammation and is packed with natural vitamin C. Combine the two together to ease your cough symptoms. Consider having a spoonful of honey up to three times a day (including before bed), or taking some in some warm water or herbal tea along with the juice of a lemon.
Warm liquids. There is some research to show that hot liquids and warm soups, such as chicken soup, herbal teas such as peppermint, ginger or chamomile can help to loosen mucus in the chest and airways, clearing decongestion and easing cough and cold symptoms.
Fresh thyme. Used as a natural remedy for centuries, including during the dreaded Black Plague era, thyme contains flavonoids in the leaves whose microbial properties have been shown to relax throat muscles and reduce inflammation. Fresh thyme may be more effective than dried thyme and can be found in most supermarkets and garden centres, although dried thyme may be used with success too. Simply steep a couple of crushed sprigs or teaspoons of thyme in boiling water for a few minutes, strain and drink.
Salt water gargle. Gargling half a teaspoon of salt with water can help to relieve an itchy throat and tickly cough.
References available upon request.