Are you suffering from a nagging cough? Is it allergies, a respiratory infection or a chronic condition such as bronchitis? Perhaps you have tried all of the conventional over-the-counter medicines without success, or perhaps you just want to avoid taking harmful chemicals that only mask the symptoms.
Fortunately, there are holistic cough remedies that are both effective and have little to no adverse effects.
Most commercial cough medicines contain either dextromethorphan or guaifenesin, both of which can cause dizziness and headaches.
Neither medicine helps to eliminate the cause of the cough and encourage natural healing. For a holistic approach, try one of the following natural methods:
1. STEAMERS AND DIFFUSERS
Using a steamer or room diffuser both help to diffuse moisture into the air. This method is considered very therapeutic for both acute and chronic coughs.
For steaming method, simply boil a pot of water and allow the steam to fill the room. A safer method is to use an electric room diffuser. These are relatively inexpensive and can be found either online or at most natural health stores.
To kill infection-causing bacteria and help speed the healing process, try adding one of the following essential oils in the steamer or diffuser. You will only need 3 or 4 drops to benefit from these healing oils. Try one or a combination of two or more. It all depends on which scents you find most appealing.
- Clove: Naturally antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Clove is excellent for treating coughs caused by both the common cold and flu viruses. It blends well with cinnamon.
- Eucalyptus: Naturally expectorant and decongestant. Eucalyptus helps sooth mucous membranes while encouraging the body to expel fluid from the lungs. It blends well with lavender and thyme.
- Lavender: Analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic. This helps relieve pain while fighting infection. It blends well with tea tree oil and eucalyptus.
- Melaleuca: Also known as tea tree oil. Melaleuca helps kill bacteria and fight infection naturally. It blends well with lavender and chamomile.
- Thyme: Also naturally antiviral and antibacterial. It blends well with rosemary to remove excess mucous.
2. HERBAL COUGH REMEDIES
When you think of holistic medicine, herbs generally come to mind. Herbs are nature’s medicine. They are plants which can be used in cooking, medicine or both. Many medicinal herbs grow wild, while others can be cultivated at home.
The following herbs are commonly used to treat conditions where acute cough is often a symptom, such as with the common cold and flu. Some of these herbs are used specifically to treat coughs. It is best to consult a natural health professional to determine which remedy is right for you.
- Echinacea: A wildflower, also known as purple coneflower. Echinacea is one of the most popular natural antibiotics available today. It works by stimulating the immune system and helping the body fight infection naturally. It can be found in liquid extract and capsule form. The recommended dose is 300 mg, three times per day for seven to 10 days.
- Garlic: Used in both cooking and herbal medicine. Garlic has been used as both food and medicine for centuries. Like Echinacea, it is a natural antibiotic and has been used to treat the common cold and flu. It is also naturally anti-viral and anti-fungal, and can be used to address a variety of conditions. It is best eaten fresh, but also can be found in tablet form. The recommended dose is 600 to 1,200 mg daily, divided into 200 to 400 mg doses.
- Horehound: Horehound is a natural cough remedy. It can be used to treat coughs due to the cold, or chronic bronchitis. It is often combined with hyssop to make a natural cough syrup. Simply add a few drops of liquid tincture to a teaspoon of honey, and take three to four times per day.
- Licorice: Used in both cooking and herbal medicine. Like horehound, licorice is a natural cough remedy. It is used the same way, by adding a few drops to a teaspoon of honey, but has the added benefit of a pleasant taste. It makes an excellent natural cough medicine for children. However, licorice has been shown to lower blood sugar levels, and should not be taken by diabetics.
- Red Clover Blossom: A wild flower native to North America. Red clover is considered a natural blood purifier and has been used to treat whooping cough and other respiratory disorders. It can be found in liquid extract or capsule form. The recommended dose is 40 to 160 mg per day or 3 to 5 mL or liquid extract.
3. YOGIC CLEANSING PRACTICES
Certain yogic cleansing techniques are used to both prevent and treat respiratory problems such as cough, allergies and sinusitis. The most common methods are:
- Jalaneti or nasal irrigation: Using a small neti pot, pour a mild saline solution into each nostril and allow the water to drain out the opposite side. Repeat once or twice daily. Jalaneti helps to clear the sinuses and prevent post-nasal drip which can irritate a cough.
- Kapalabhati or crown brightener breath: Sit upright in a comfortable position. Exhale all the air forcefully from the lungs, than quickly inhale again through the nose. Repeat for 20 to 30 breaths, rest and repeat the process 2 or 3 more times. Kapalabhati cleanses the entire respiratory tract and helps strengthen the lungs.
- FamilyDoctor.org: Cough Medicine – http://familydoctor.org/online/famdocen/home/otc-center/otc-medicines/858.html