What causes a cough?
A cough is a reflex in your throat that helps to clear away mucus and other irritants. It can be brought on by many different reasons, including virus or infection, exposure to irritants in the air such as smoke and dust, asthma or certain medications. There are also different types of cough; you may experience a tickly cough, a croaky cough, a chesty cough. Usually they clear up after a couple of weeks, but if it persists it may be a good idea to speak to your doctor.
If you have a particularly dry and irritating cough, honey will almost definitely bring you some instant relief as it will coat the back of your throat and soothe your mucus membranes. Honey also contains anti-bacterial compounds which can help to kill off any “baddies” you have lingering in your throat.
- For best results use raw, organic honey. Simply take a spoonful or two whenever necessary to stop a cough in its tracks.
- You can also mix honey into you tea throughout the day for added effect.
Salt Water Rinse
Salt water has many uses. It can be used to clean and sterilise, it can be used as a de-icer and it can be used to improve your health. Gargling with warm salt water when you have a cough and a sore throat can not only be beneficial immediately but can also help to heal the problem in the long run. Salt water will help to dislodge and wash away mucus, irritants and bacteria that are attached to your mucus membranes. It will also draw out excess fluid from inflamed tissue, which should reduce any pain.
- Add a teaspoon of natural sea-salt to a cup of purified warm water and mix well until it has completely dissolved.
- Gargle with the solution, trying to keep it at the back of your throat for as long as possible so that it can work its magic.
- Spit out and gargle with the remaining solution. Be sure not to swallow any of it!
Long known to help sooth coughs and other respiratory issues, liquorice root contains compounds that coat the throat with a thin layer of mucilage, which in turn helps to relieve tickling and dryness in the throat and airways.
Warning: Liquorice root can produce serious side effects such as high blood pressure, headaches, and kidney disease. It is recommended to speak to your doctor before you start taking it and important to not take too much.
- Liquorice tea can be made with half a teaspoon of dried liquorice root. Add it to a cup of water and boil it up for five minutes.
- Allow it to steep for a few more minutes, and then strain out the herb and drink.
Warm Milk and Honey
This warm drink can work wonders for a dry and irritating cough. Both the honey and the milk will coat the back of your throat, bring instant relief. The warm milk also has mild sedative properties so it will help you to relax, thus promoting healing.
- Warm a cup of milk in a pan and add a teaspoon of raw, organic honey.
- Stir well and drink slowly, allowing the mixture to stick to your throat.
Peppermint contains high quantities of natural menthol. Menthol helps to break up mucus and clears congestion. Peppermint is also high in potassium which will help to keep your blood pressure steady.
- For best results use fresh peppermint leaves. It is easy to grow and a great plant to have growing in your garden.
- Add 2-3 teaspoons of leaves to hot water and allow it to steep for 5 minutes.
- Strain out the leaves and enjoy.
Lemon and Honey Syrup
Lemon contains a whole array of vitamins and minerals that are capable of boosting your immune system and helping to fight off an infection or virus. It is also an anti-bacterial so it may help to kill off the infection directly. Lemon and honey together becomes the perfect remedy for relieving a cough or sore throat.
- Add the juice of 4 freshly squeezed to a saucepan.
- Put the lid on the pan and leave on a very low heat until it is boiling.
- Allow it to cool slightly and then add a tablespoon of raw, organic honey, mixing well. It should have a syrupy consistency.
- If you want to, you can add a splash of rum for an extra kick.
- Take a spoonful of the concoction every hour or so, or whenever your throat feels especially dry. It will help to coat and soothe your mucus membranes, preventing continuous coughing episodes.
This common herb not only adds flavour to your food but it also packs a punch in the health department. Thyme leaves contain compounds which relieve coughs and also relax the muscles the trachea.
- Thyme tea can be made using 2-3 teaspoons of crushed leaves, adding it to hot water, steeping for 5 minutes and then straining.
- Thyme oil can be used to gargle with, add 1 or two drops of thyme essential oil to warm water and gargle for a few minutes before spitting it out.
How to prevent coughs
Coughs caused by infection or a virus can be fairly difficult to avoid but improving your diet to boost your immune system is a good place to start. Avoiding areas that are known to have high pollution levels, quitting smoking and giving up using aerosols is also a good idea if you suffer from recurring irritating coughs.