Natural remedies are all the rage these days, and rightly so! They were, after all, used by our ancestors throughout past generations, long before quick-fix pharmaceuticals came to be. So, whenever possible, I tend to resort to natural remedies, particularly when having to fight off a cough. The common cough can be quite an annoyance, often accompanied by other side effects such as chest pain and exhaustion.
So, how can you quell a cough without resorting to over-the-counter medicine? Here are some of my favorite natural remedies that have helped relieve a nagging cough.
1. Create your own cough syrup
Studies show that honey is an effective remedy in treating coughs and sore throats. A teaspoonful should suffice, or for a stronger remedy, combine some honey with coconut oil and lemon juice. Though not recommended nowadays, our grandmothers often combined a shot of bourbon with honey before bedtime, to soothe a cough.
2. Sip on Thyme tea
Thyme is an excellent treatment for coughs, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis and whopping coughs, so much so that in Germany, it has officially been approved as an effective treatment. Thyme works to relax the trachea (the windpipe) and reduce inflammation. To make thyme tea, steep two teaspoons of crushed leaves in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes, then strain. For a more potent fix, add honey and lemon.
3. Take a hot shower
Close the windows, turn off the fan and crank up the heat. Steam can be a cough's worst enemy. It works to soothe the airways and loosen sinus congestion and phlegm in your throat and lungs. On the downside though, steam may worsen coughs that are caused by asthma - in which case, be sure to practice caution.
4. Sip on black pepper and honey tea
Black pepper and honey are said to work on 'wet' coughs. The pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow, while the honey works as a natural cough reliever. To make the tea, combine one teaspoon of freshly ground pepper with two tablespoons of honey in a mug and fill with boiling water. Cover, and steep for 15 minutes. Then strain and sip.
5. Drink up!
Consuming a lot of liquids, whether teas or water, may help fight off a cough. This natural remedy tends to work because fluids help thin out the mucus in postnasal drip, keeping the membranes moist.
6. Suck on cough drops
Menthol cough drops work especially well, as they tend to numb the throat, which can help tame the cough reflex.
7. Suck on a lemon
This natural remedy may not sound as pleasant, but it can be very helpful. You should sprinkle the lemon with a pinch of salt and pepper to get the best effect.
8. Make a cup of licorice root tea
Licorice root has long been used to treat coughs. And one of the reasons why this natural remedy works so well is because it can help soothe an inflamed and irritated throat. Slice one ounce of licorice candy (opt for candy that contains real licorice - alternatively, you may opt for licorice root) and steep it in a quart of boiling water for 24 hours. Sip as much as you need.
9. Have some ginger
Ginger has a wealth of health benefits, and has long been used for its medicinal properties. In Eastern medicine, ginger is often prescribed to treat symptoms of colds and flu due to its antihistamine and decongestant properties. To get the most from its beneficial properties, make ginger tea by adding 12 slices of fresh ginger to a pot with three cups of water. Let it simmer for 20 minutes and remove from heat. Strain and add one tablespoon of honey and a squeeze of lemon. If it tastes too spicy, add more water.
10. Sip on Gypsy Cold Care Tea
This effective herbal tea remedy from the Traditional Medicinals brand is made from 92% organic pharmacopoeial-grade (very-high quality) herbs like elder flower, yarrow flower, peppermint leaf, hyssop herb and other organic herbs and flowers.