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
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
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
References available on request