Four ways to fix your cough

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Naturopath Kate Ferguson reveals her best natural remedies for easing your cough.

Coughing is our body’s way of removing a foreign irritant or mucus from the upper or lower respiratory tract. 

A cough can occur as a result of a number of conditions, including allergies, irritants, medications, viral and bacterial infections and gastric reflux.


Remedies that may help provide relief from a cough

  • Decongestant – clearing congested airways 
  • Mucolytic – breaks up mucus 
  • Expectorant – helps to loosen and expel mucus 
  • Antitussive – relives a cough
  • Demulcent – soothes irritated mucous membranes

#1 Inhalation

Using an inhalation of essential oils may be a convenient and effective way to soothe a cough.

The easiest way is to simply add 3-4 drops of your chosen oil to a handkerchief, hold it to your nose and inhale as needed.

Another method is steam inhalation. Add 5-10 drops of oil to a bowl of steaming water, with a towel placed over your head. Close your eyes and place your head over the bowl, and slowly breathe in and out for a few minutes.  
Essential oils that may be of benefit for cough relief include:

  • Cedarwood – expectorant 
  • Eucalyptus – decongestant, expectorant 
  • Spike lavender – expectorant, mucolytic 
  • Pine- antiseptic – expectorant

#2 Syrups

Using a herbal cough syrup may help to provide relief from an irritating cough. A cough syrup that contains an extract of ivy leaf is a good choice as it may help to soothe your cough by: breaking down mucus, acting as an expectorant and relieving catarrh.

#3 Lozenges & gargles

Herbal throat lozenges and gargles may help to soothe an inflamed and irritated throat which can lead to painful fits of coughing. 

Using a lozenge that contains echinacea may help to relieve inflammation and improve resistance to infection.

Herbs for sore throats and coughs that can be prepared as a tea and then gargled when cooled include:

  • Sage – anti-inflammatory 
  • Thyme – antibacterial, expectorant, antispasmodic

#4 Herbal teas & hot drinks

When you have a cough, it’s important to stay hydrated to prevent any mucus from getting thick and sticky. Fluids can help to thin out mucus, making it easier to expel.

To make a great hot drink when you have a cough, add fresh ginger slices, manuka honey and fresh lemon juice to a mug of hot water. Ginger is warming and helps to break up mucus.

Herbal teas that may be of benefit when you have a cough include:

  • Marshmallow – demulcent
  • Liquorice – demulcent, expectorant

New research supports zinc

New research supports zinc reducing cold symptoms. Read about it in the Blackmores Wellbeing Blog.

References available on request