Nobody likes being sick, having cough included. Whether you’re suffering from what is called “wet” cough or dry cough, coughing all hours of the day and night is not fun. If you try to stop the cough from coming out, it may cause pain and may make you cough even more. Drinking medicine for cough and colds isn’t pleasant either. Sometimes cough syrup tastes so awful, you wonder if it will make you even sicker. So if you aren’t up for liquids or pills, here are several alternative medicines for cough and colds you can easily try.
What is the only food in the world that does not spoil? Honey! In Egypt, they found out that a two thousand year old jar of honey is still consumable. Regardless, you aren’t going to need two thousand year old honey for this remedy. All you need is plain honey as it has anti bacterial properties and is a great demulcent as well. Take a couple of teaspoons of honey every few hours. For children, just a teaspoon will do. However, do not try this cure on infants one year old and below as this might increase the risk for botulism.
Ginger tea or salabat as it is locally known, is a great anti cough cure. Since ancient times, it has been used in multiple ways to heal multiple illnesses. It has anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties. You can purchase ginger tea in your nearest supermarket or you can boil peeled, thinly sliced ginger to create this tea. Drink this three to four times a day, until the cough goes away. You can add honey if you cannot take it as it is (which is perfect because honey is also a natural cough remedy).
If you need extra spice in your life, here is your chance. Get your Sriracha ready because spicy food is proven to loosen the mucus in the lungs due to the capsaicin in spicy dishes. Next time you eat rice porridge, add a few sliced red chillies or just mix in a lot of hot sauce. Whew! Now that’s hot.
Steam It Up
Now is your excuse to have a hot bath. Steam is actually a great expectorant, which means it can really help relieve your coughing. Being an expectorant means that it loosens up the phlegm, making it thinner and easier to cough out. Please note that this only works if your cough is due to the common cold, a virus, or even bacterial. But if you are coughing due to asthma, please don’t try this cure as this can only worsen the asthma. Here’s one way to steam it up. Get a bowl and pour in some hot water in it. Lean over the bowl, cover head with a towel and deeply inhale the steam. Ah, relieving! You can also add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to the hot water to clear your nasal passages better.
Herbs are a really great way to relieve cough. Did you know that in Germany, thyme is actually officially approved not only as a cough treatment but for other respiratory illnesses as well like bronchitis? That is how effective this herb is. Thyme contains several chemicals which make it a potent cure for cough. It is best taken as a tea by seeping two tablespoons of fresh thyme in hot water. You may add honey, ginger or turmeric to increase its potency.
Salt and Water Gargle
This seemingly simple solution can actually help cure your sore throat and is even recommended by many doctors. Just mix ¼ to ½ teaspoon of salt with a glass of warm water and gargle for 30 seconds to relieve the inflammation in your throat. You can do this as many times as you would like in a day. Just make sure not to drink the salt water as this can dehydrate you!
Drink More Fluids
We are often told to drink more water when we are ill. Follow this advice and you will be on the road to a clean bill of health. Drinking more fluids than your usual intake can thin out the mucus and help lessen your need to cough. Drinking more fluids when you are also sick is important in combating dehydration. Even if you don’t realize it, you cough out more fluids when you’re sick as compared to a normal day when you’re healthy. You need to replenish those lost fluids so you don’t suffer from dehydration.
There are many different ways you can drink your fluids. These include:
- clear broths like tinola or chicken noodle soup
- herbal teas like salabat
- decaffeinated black tea
- warm water
- warm fruit juices like warm calamansi juice
There is a reason why a lot of cough lozenges available in the market mostly come in lemon flavour. It is because lemon is an effective cough cure. Lemons are full of vitamin C and flavonoids. The combination of these two can definitely knock out cough. If you are feeling brave, sprinkle a quarter of a lemon with salt and suck on it. Or, just make lemonade. If lemons aren’t readily available for you, you can still boost your immune system by upping the number of citrus fruits you take such as calamansi or suha. You can squeeze a few calamansi into hot water and drink it like a tea to soothe your throat or eat the suha as is to get more vitamin C.
When to Seek Professional Help
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to treat your cough naturally, there comes a time when you should also seek the advice of a medical professional. If your cough has been there for more than a week or two, better go to the doctor just to make sure that your illness has not progressed into something worse like bronchitis or pneumonia. Remember, better be safe than sorry.