Coughing is both uncomfortable and irritating, particularly for children. But when it comes to the ordinary cough, Western medicine has few great solutions that are both safe and effective. Over-the-counter medicine rarely works on children. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) doesn't recommend cough medicine to children under the age of 6 because they rarely ever work, and because they are unsafe.
Most syrups contain DXM (dextromethorphan). This can be harmful, and has also been shown to be fatal in about 5% to 10% of children who are unable to properly metabolize it. Thankfully there are ways to stop a cough naturally and safely.
To get you started, have a look through these seven natural ways to calm a cough that your pediatrician isn't likely to tell you about:
1. Pediatric Tuina Massage for a Cough
In traditional Chinese medicine, ancient massage and acupressure techniques are used to treat a cough, no matter what type of cough it may be - wet, dry, hacking or croupy. This massage technique, known as Tuina, works by stimulating the body to heal itself. In fact, there are six main massage and acupressure techniques that can be used to stop a cough. They also help boost the immune system. A minute of massage can make a huge difference to a speedy recovery.
This powerful technique is known as a 'Spinal Roll'. Watch how it's done in the video below:
This versatile massage can be used to treat many different problems including cough, asthma, digestive issues, sleep problems, anxiety and bed-wetting. No special training is required. The massage is safe, effective and can be used at any age.
2. Using honey and lemon
Using any honey won't do. Opt for a raw, dark, amber honey - buckwheat has been most researched for cough, but avocado and blackberry honey are also suitable. To soothe a cough in children aged two to six, give them a glass of lemon, honey and ginger tea. The honey and lemon will help to break up the mucous. You can also make an easy cough syrup using a ration of 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon lemon juice.
3. Eliminate dairy
Dairy creates or adds to mucous production, and should especially be avoided in the case of a wet, phlegmy cough. Removing dairy from your diet will lessen the phlegm and the burden of getting rid of it through coughing. It is however, important to note that breastfeeding babies or babies who are drinking cow's formula should not have dairy eliminated.
4. Drink herbal tea
Licorice root, mullein, sage leaves, wild cherry bark and slippery elm can be made into a tea with a little honey to help calm a cough. This remedy is not only good for coughs - it works for sore throats too.
5. Rub some essential oils on your child's chest
Essential oils can break up chest and nasal congestion. An essential oil mix can be used on children aged 10 and up. Note that they should never be directly applied to the skin. All oils should be mixed with a base oil, such as olive oil. To combat a cough, combine three tablespoons of honey, with two drops of essential oil and two drops of eucalyptus essential oil.
6. Essential oil steam bath
A warm steamy bath can also help a nighttime cough. As you allow the bath to fill, let the room get steamy, then add a few drops of essential oils to the tub - you can use wild mountain sage or fir needle. The oils will help soothe a cough and open up the chest.
7. Eat organic poached pears with cinnamon
This simple yet effective remedy will help treat a dry, tickly cough. Just before bed, prepare and poach 1 pear with a cinnamon stick, which your child can eat to soothe a scratchy throat.