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Natural Treatment for Dry Coughing
Cough is a symptom of many diseases but it can also be a disease on its own. Dry cough produces no sputum. It can be painful, loud and prolonged. If not properly treated, dry cough may cause other respiratory complications. Even though cough is the number complaint in most general hospitals, it can be successively treated without prescription drugs. Natural cough remedies are effective and safe to use. So why waste time waiting for your GP to see you for that bout of cough? Read on to find out the most effective natural cough treatments you can try at home.
A cough is a reflexive reaction that the body uses to clear the congestion, irritants, microbes and particulate matter from the breathing pathways.
Although the explosive, sudden release of air is the reaction most associated with cough, it is actually the last stage of a process that begins with inhalation and involves forced exhalation and a closed glottis.
Cough is mostly caused by respiratory tract infections but it can also be triggered by other respiratory diseases, other underlying diseases and even certain drugs.
There are different ways of classifying cough. When it is classified by duration, it can be acute (brief and with a sudden onset), sub-acute (lasting 1 – 2 months) or chronic (with a duration lasting longer than 2 months).
Cough can also be classified by its nature: dry or non-productive cough (with no or very little phlegm produced) and wet or non-productive cough (with copious sputum).
Dry cough most commonly present as raspy, racking and violent. Before a bout of dry cough starts, sufferers usually experience tickling sensations in their throats. Dry cough happens when the throat and upper airway becomes inflamed without producing mucus.
There are different causes of dry cough. The most important ones are:
While cough is in the top five complaints for which most people consult doctors, it does not always have to warrant hospital visits. In fact, there are remedies you can prepare and use at home.
In most cases, these home remedies are just as effective as the prescription cough medications doctors recommend and better than most of the over-the-counter non-prescription cough suppressants and expectorants in the market.
These home remedies are not only effective, they are mostly better tolerated.
Discussed below are some of the most effective remedies for dry cough you can try at home.
There are different ways to treat dry cough with inhalation. The simplest method involve pouring some warm or boiling water into a bowl. Then cover your head with a towel and lean into the water vapor rising from the bowl.
Steam from a hot shower or a vaporizer can also be used in this way.
Steam provides moist air which soothe the breathing airways as well as loosen congestion and remove irritants from the throat and lungs.
However, aromatherapy is a better use of steam in the treatment of dry cough.
The basic principle of aromatherapy is the addition of therapeutic oil to boiling water. The hot water then vaporizes the essential oil and the active ingredients of the oil can then be carried along and inhaled with the steam.
Common essential oils that are excellent expectorants and decongestants include peppermint oil, oil of cedar, eucalyptus oil, pine oil, thyme oil, myrrh oil and juniper oil.
The directions for using these oils for treating dry cough start with the addition of a few drops to a bowl of boiling water and then inhaling the vapor. Besides their expectorant effects, aromatherapy oils can soothe the airways and directly prevent cough reflex.
Drinking hot water or hot milk can also work in the same way as steam inhalation.
Hot drinks warm up the chest and when the warmth spreads to the lungs and airways, it can help trigger increased production of lubricating mucous to wet the path of airflow and wash away the irritants triggering dry cough.
Herbal teas are especially good drinks for relieving dry cough. Besides spreading warmth in the chest, their expectorant, antitussive, antimicrobial and antioxidant active ingredients can contribute significantly to providing immediate relief for those suffering from dry cough.
Hot teas made from lemon grass, thyme leaves, licorice roots and even green tea leaves are effective.
Other effective herbal teas include the ones made from chamomile, ginger, rosemary, comfrey, cherry bark, red clover, fennel, anise and coltsfoot.
Hot teas can also provide benefits similar to those of aromatherapy oils. The heat of the tea releases some of the herbs’ active ingredients as vapor which can also help soothe the airways.
Herbal remedies for dry cough are also available as decoction. Examples of herbs used in this way are Glycyrrhiza glabra root, Viola odorata flower, Piper longum and Solanum srattense.
Another dry cough drink remedy besides hot herbal teas, decoctions, lozenges and water is salt water.
The salt water remedy is not strictly a drink but a gargle. Dry cough is often caused by dry, irritated throat and salt water can help remove the irritants.
By repeatedly gargling the throat with salt water, the backwash removes the irritants and the salt in the water moistens the smooth muscles of the airways by prompting the retention of water there.
To prepare a salt water gargle for dry cough, add 2 teaspoons of table salt to a glass of warm water. Stir until all the salt dissolves and then gargle with the solution. Repeat this as many times as you can without swallowing the salt water.
Honey is another common ingredient of natural cough remedies. It is a universal and highly regarded remedy among alternative medicine practitioners.
Honey has some excellent physical and therapeutic properties. Its thickness gives it the right viscosity for a liquid that can soothe the tightness in the chest and the tickle in the throat experienced during dry cough.
Honey is also an excellent antibacterial agent. It also has healing properties.
A spoonful of honey is a commonly prescribed natural dry cough remedy for children.
Honey can also be combined with the herbs listed above. Therefore, it can be used to sweeten herbal teas as well as contribute to the healing powers of those teas.
However, there are more specific honey-made remedies for dry cough. First, honey can be added to a glass of warm water and drunk to soothe the throat.
Aloe vera juice – Equal parts of honey and aloe juice can be mixed to make a cough remedy. This remedy is especially effective for dry cough that presents with scratchy throat and also for smoker’s cough.
Carrot Juice – In the same way as described above, honey and carrot juice can be mixed. Add a little warm water too.
Lemon Juice – Boil a lemon for 10 minutes to soften and express the essential oil in the rind into the juice. Cool it down, cut in half and squeeze out the juice. Mix the juice with honey and add 1 teaspoonful of glycerin.
Grape Juice – A cup of grape juice plus a teaspoon of honey is also a dry cough remedy.
Onion juice – Mix equal parts of onion juice and honey to make a cough syrup. Let the syrup stand for 3 hours before drinking.
Garlic – Cut and mince a clove of garlic. Marinate the grated garlic in honey overnight and then take in teaspoons the next day.
Apple cider vinegar – Add 3 tablespoons of honey to ½ cup of apple cider vinegar. Take the cough mixture, one teaspoon at a time.
Turmeric – Mix a pinch of turmeric with a teaspoon of honey and drink before bedtime.
Almond – Soak a few almonds in water overnight. Peel the almonds in the morning then cut and grind them into a fine paste. Add a teaspoon of honey to this paste and eat.
Curiously, sugar is also an effective home remedy for dry cough. However, in most cases, it is only added to sweeten herbal mixtures. The best kinds of sugar to use are the organic, unrefined ones.
A folk remedy for dry cough recommends sucking a cube of raw sugar. Another odd sugar remedy recommends eating a teaspoon of butter after sprinkling a few grains of sugar on it.
Yet another sugar remedy involves taking a teaspoon of Malabar nut with the sweetener early in the morning.
Besides sugar, chocolate is also another odd dry cough remedy. For this purpose, dark chocolate is recommended since it contains the highest proportion of theobromine.
Theobromine is an alkaloid found in chocolate. It is chemically similar to caffeine but unlike caffeine, it is known for its ability to suppress cough.
50 – 100 g of dark chocolate is the recommended dose of this luxurious dry cough remedy.
In the homeopathy system of alternative medicine, “like” is used to treat “like”. This means that homeopathy treats diseases with low doses of the very substances that can cause the symptoms being treated.
By this principle, pepper is an excellent example of a homeopathy remedy for dry cough.
Ingesting pepper or even the inhalation of its loose powder can trigger a bout of dry cough. For this reason, black pepper and long pepper (with honey added) are commonly used to treat dry cough.
However, there are more specific and effective homeopathy remedies for dry cough. These include
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