Identifying the cause of a persistent cough can be a difficult task, as there are a number of different conditions that can cause this symptom. Allergic reactions, bronchial infections, COPD, the flu, or a ‘smoker’s cough’ can be the reason for particularly violent bouts of extended coughing — or, it could signal an underlying disease. Thankfully there are many different treatments including conventional methods and alternative therapies that can help to alleviate excessive coughing, but it is important to be aware of any possible side effects before starting a particular treatment.
Gargling With Salt Water
An old-fashioned salt water gargle can provide relief for any type of cough, and this treatment is particularly effective against coughs caused by an accompanying sore throat. Prepare a solution of 8oz. of warm water to 1 tsp. of salt. Mix well, and then gargle with this solution several times per day. Spit out after gargling and don’t swallow the salt water mixture. The University of Maryland attributes the effectiveness of this method to the natural healing power of salt, and the warm water provides soothing relief for a tickly throat.
Homemade Honey and Lemon Syrup
This classic remedy has been used for centuries, and can bring temporary relief to those suffering from excessive coughing. Honey coats a dry, tickly throat and lessons the irritation that triggers the cough. According to the Medical College of Wisconsin, honey soothes the mucous membranes and will bring instant relief, even if only temporarily. The Green Pharmacy Handbook states that due to their high antioxidant content and vitamin C levels, lemons may be effective when treating a cough that is part of a cold or flu. Lemon juice also has soothing properties, and will help to clear the airways, and its natural antiseptic qualities are perfect for fighting infections. Mix 2 tablespoons of honey with the juice of one lemon, and then take as needed. Exercise caution when giving this medicine to children because honey is not be suitable for babies and young children under the age of 2 years.
Homeopathic Bryonia Alba
Bryonia Alba is indicated for an extremely deep, loud cough that is often accompanied by pain in the chest and throat. This type of cough can be a symptom of many different conditions, and painful contractions of the chest wall will often cause the person to start coughing without being able to stop. Other possible triggers include eating, drinking and changes in temperature, and sufferers may drink plenty of cold water to try and soothe their chest and throat. Homeopathic remedies are available over the counter from most pharmacies and health food stores. Always consult a professional if your coughing persists or gets worse after treatment.
Breathing in hot steam opens up the airways and soothes mucous membranes that have become dry and irritated from conditions such as croup. Fill a bowel with boiling water and draping a hot towel over your head to breathe in the steam for a few moments. Adding a few drops of essential oils such as tea tree oil or eucalyptus will also help to expand the airways. Use care to avoid burning yourself with the hot steam. A bathroom filled with hot steam from the shower is an alternate method to relieve a violent cough.
Cough syrups are the most common way to treat a cough, and there are many different formulas to treat all kinds of coughing. Expectorants are ideal for chesty coughs from colds and flus, and others contain antihistamines that are useful in treating coughs related to some form of allergy. Some cough syrups contain suppressants that will relieve dry coughing allowing the sufferer some relief from persistent coughing during the night. As the majority of cough syrups contain some form of drug, exercise caution when taking them to avoid side-effects. Safer natural cough medicines are available at health food stores and do not contain pharmaceutical drugs that may cause addiction or other noxious effects. Children under the age of 6 should never be given cough suppressants, and it is advisable to consult a health practitioner before starting any type of treatment involving cough syrup.
“Homeopathic Medicine at Home”; Maesimund B. Panos, M.D.; 1980
“The Green Pharmacy Herbal Handbook: Your Everyday Reference to the Best Herbs for Healing“; James Duke; 2002
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