Coughing is one of the first symptoms of influenza. It is nothing more than an automatic system “cleaning” that our body adapts to clear the throat from phlegm and irritants. Often, however, the cough is also a symptom of major diseases, caused by allergies, viral or bacterial infections.
Studies conducted by the American Academy of Pediatrics have shown that the active ingredients present in many cough syrups have a degree of effectiveness equal to that of placebo. Therefore, rather than resorting to drugs of synthetic chemical origin, it is better to use natural remedies, directly prepared at home. The added benefits include side effects and they are applicable to taste buds of all ages. Simple and practical natural remedies are sufficient, able to alleviate and fight the symptoms of a cough.
Beware, however, serious bacterial infections must be treated with antibiotics, natural remedies will not suffice. Organic remedies can really help in the majority of cases, whether it is a wet or a dry cough, there is a solution.
1. Honey and Lemon Syrup
The ancient Egyptians used it to treat coughs, digestive disorders, and wounds. It has soothing and antibacterial properties which are even today’s pharmaceutically advanced society, is the most used remedy to treat a dry cough because it helps to reduce respiratory irritation and is an excellent sedative.
It can be taken with a cup of warm milk before going to bed or even several times a day, without causing any drowsiness. With honey, you can also prepare a perfect syrup to calm a cough. It is sufficient to heat the juice of a lemon and add a glass of honey and a tablespoon of sunflower oil.
The syrup should be placed in a sterilized container and taken in doses of one or two teaspoons when needed. Honey will act as a calming agent, while lemon juice can help with congestion. If you do not want to mix it, you can also eat two teaspoons of honey, or spread it on a slice of bread as a snack. Honey is also recommended to sweeten and enhance other natural remedies offered below.
2. Licorice Tea
Licorice is a miraculous root against a cough because it has an expectorant action, which means that it helps to remove the mucus from the lungs and emollients, then forms a relaxing film over the upper part of the sore throat, reducing inflammation, and soothing to the respiratory tract encouraging the disappearance of the mucus and reducing congestion.
It can also treat any inflammation and throat irritation with licorice. Its main component, Glycyrrhizin, is the basis of most of the beneficial effects it offers. The second valid cough remedy is, therefore, to ingest licorice in the form of herbal tea daily. However, it is advisable to avoid taking licorice root if have reduced kidney function or if you are taking steroids.
To create a licorice herbal tea you only need 2 tablespoons of dried licorice root and water with which to boil the tea. The recommended dosage for this natural cough remedy is 2 cups of herbal tea per day.
3. Salt Water Gargles
Saltwater is another very valid natural remedy to defeat a cough and soothe a sore throat. This method works thanks to the osmosis process. When the concentration of salt is greater outside of the cells, the water flows out of the cells and migrates outwards to dilute the part with the highest concentration of salt. As a result, the water flowing out of the cells reduces the swelling and even the feeling of discomfort.
If you have a cough accompanied by an inflammation of the airways, this is the best method you could use. To develop this natural remedy you will need simple cooking salt and water. It is necessary to mix the salt in the water until it is completely dissolved. Once the salt has virtually disappeared in the water, you can start gargling making sure that the salty liquid ends up on the inflamed part. Expel the saltwater without swallowing and repeat the operation until the liquid is exhaustion. At the end of this do not forget to rinse with normal warm water.
4. Vapors Breathing
Breathing in vapors is perhaps the most classic of grandma’s remedies. You probably know that steam can help against infections of the sinuses and symptoms associated with colds and flu, but it can also be useful when you are fighting a bad cough. It dissolves the mucus in a few minutes, and you can improve the treatment with a range of essential oils that offer additional health benefits.
For example, you could try adding a few drops of eucalyptus oil or tea tree oil, which helps to open the airways and reduce dyspnoea and fight viruses and bacteria. All you have to do is put a few drops of your chosen oil in a bowl of boiling water, let it cool for a minute, and then lean over the bowl with a towel over your head to keep the steam inside and breathe deeply for 10-15 minutes being careful not to burn your face. Repeat 2-3 times a day.
5. Thyme Infusion
The thymus is often used as a natural remedy for respiratory diseases. Several studies have shown that the extract of thyme leaves, mixed with ivy, can help relieve a cough, sore throat and bronchitis. Thyme leaves contain flavonoids, an element that can relax the throat muscles involved in coughing, thus, reducing inflammation.
The thymus is an ancient folk remedy used for centuries, also used to treat several devastating pandemics that took place in the history of mankind. During times of plague, citizens gathered to burn large bundles of thyme in the street.
This plant has antimicrobial properties and is able to relax the muscles of the trachea and bronchi, opening the airways and relieving the symptoms of a cough. To prepare an infusion slightly crush two teaspoons of thyme leaves in a mortar, add 250ml of boiling water and leave it to infuse for 12-15 minutes. Add honey and/or lemon to improve its taste. Drink a cup 2-3 times a day.
6. Banana and Honey Cream
The banana is a fruit with the sweet taste that is characterized by its versatility and its high nutritional value. Useful to strengthen the immune system, thanks to its contribution of folic acid, rich in antioxidants and sugars. Also, it is very soft in the throat and helps to reduce the irritation caused by flu, colds and other respiratory conditions. Honey as you already know is one of the most powerful antibiotics in nature.
Peel 2 ripe bananas and place the pulp in a bowl. Take a fork and mash it until you get a thick puree. Pour 400ml of boiling water, cover and leave to rest for 30 minutes. After this time, add two tablespoons of honey and eat the cream. The ideal would be to take one or two tablespoons of warm cream four times a day. Keep it in the fridge and heat up every time you want to repeat the dose. Note that if this is not a miracle cure for coughs and colds, it is a good choice to deal with its symptoms.
7. Black Pepper Potion
Black pepper is the best-selling spice in the world, but many use it in the kitchen. What people do not know is that it can be an excellent remedy for that kind of a cough accompanied by a lot of mucus and pulmonary congestion. If you’ve ever had pepper close to your nose, you know that it immediately triggers your instincts to sneeze and cough, this can be beneficial to help eliminate all the mucus in the lungs. The most annoying part of coughing is trying to release the phlegm that seems to be lodged in the lungs and throat.
It is advisable to use it with honey to reduce the irritating properties of pepper. Then add to a boiling water a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and a tablespoon of honey, leave to marinate for 10 minutes, stir it up one last time before drinking it. Repeat up to twice a day as needed to thin the phlegm.
8. Ginger and Mint Syrup
Treating cough with an infusion of ginger and mint is a great remedy for fighting all types of coughs. Ginger acts as an expectorant, helping to expel mucus from the lungs and soothing agent, stopping the annoying tickling in the back of the throat, which can trigger the cough attack. Menthol present in peppermint plays a soothing role against a sore throat and acts as a decongestant, helping the immune system to break down the mucus.
To make ginger and mint syrup at home, you need 3 tablespoons of ginger root, 1 tablespoon of mint (also dried), and 4 cups of water. Put all the ingredients in a saucepan and let it boil at low heat until the water has halved. The mixture is filtered, a spoonful of honey is added, the mixture is mixed and an effective cough infusion is obtained. Take a teaspoon every two hours, store in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 weeks.
9. Garlic Potion
In ancient Chinese traditions, garlic has always enjoyed a reputation as an antibiotic, a blood purifier, and a simple cure for coughs and colds. Raw garlic clove is also useful for disinfecting small wounds. One clove a day helps to prevent and counteract bacterial infections, three cloves a day for colds and flu.
Dip three peeled garlic heads and cut into wedges into two glasses of water. Put everything in a saucepan and cook until the water has halved. Remove the cloves of garlic and add to the liquid obtained 1 glass of apple vinegar and 40 grams of honey. Stir, bring to a boil, leave to cool and store in a glass bottle in the refrigerator. Take a tablespoon a day. Some advice on taking garlic without compromising the breadth, apart from the alternatives of buying the tablet form, a simple herbal preparation includes using parsley, mint, or an apple, which are to be chewed raw at the end of a meal.
Whiskey is an important ingredient for natural and home remedies to treat coughs and colds. Actually many cough syrups that are bought in pharmacies have certain alcohol content. The word alcohol can also have a negative connotation and its healing power is a controversial and unproven argument.
However, alcohol has been used in the treatment of a cough for generations. Because it helps eliminate mucus and clears the airways by relaxing and calming the nerves. Grog is a remedy very popular against colds. This drink relieves congestion, soothes the throat, and relaxes the body.
To make a hot grog add a teaspoon of honey to a glass of whiskey, squeeze a little ‘lemon juice, and drink before going to bed. As an alternative, hot bourbon is probably the most effective sedative of an alcohol cough. Brandy also has some medicinal properties and is believed to alleviate congestion and clear the airways. The brandy can be drunk directly or can be mixed with hot water, honey and lemon.