A cough is an uncomfortable, usually involuntary, painful action that the body uses to eliminate  toxins and irritations from it’s throat. Fundamentally, it is the body trying to either eliminate phlegm (productive cough)  or a dry cough caused due to irritation of the tissues.

You do not want to try and control a productive cough, as it is doing the very important job of removing dead infected tissue and bacteria from your body, especially lungs. Treatment in this case should be focused on loosening the phlegm in the lung and improving body’s resistance to infection and helping to fight the invasion.

Dry cough on the hand, is the body’s response to irritation, which may be cold air, pollutants, allergies to food, pollen etc. A dry cough is irritating and can be quite embarrassing as well.

This is the kind of cough you want to control. Many cough syrups do little or nothing more than these simple home remedies, and it would be wise to give these a shot first.

  • A spoonful of honey: Is there a yummier solution to the problem? An all time favorite with children, it is very helpful in adults as well. However, is should not be used for babies and toddlers below 3 due to risk of botulism.  It can be taken by itself or with some warm water 2-3 times a day. If cough is significant at night, try a spoonful before bedtime. Local honey (Honey made from local bees and from flowers in your town) is believed to be the most effective. However, any honey will help.
  • Steam: This one is well known, all our grandmothers have taught us this one. We all know it works, unfortunately laziness often gets in the way! Still, a few minutes of steaming can make an amazing difference in how you feel over the next few hours. All you need is to sit over some boiling water, just off the stove with a towel or blanket to contain the steam and give you a warm nifty steam room! Some Vicks or eucalyptus oil in the water is known to further help. Take breaths as deep as you can handle. Added benefit – a steam facial and cleaner pores!
  • Salt water gargling: Another one of our all time favs! We all know this one. It’s easy effective and can be done almost anywhere. All you need is warm water and salt.Use at least one teaspoon of salt in every 8 oz of water. Drink up, face up and gargle away as long as you can manage, spit and repeat. Make sure the water is as far back in your throat as you can handle.  Do it every few hours and you are bound to feel better soon.
  • Fresh ground black pepper: That’s right, a perfect excuse to get some black pepper rasam!! For those who can’t get to it fast enough, just add some fresh ground pepper in warm water. Add a spoonful of honey. Strain and drink up! The pepper helps with improving circulation and loosening the phlegm and the honey is a natural antibiotic and cough reliever!
  • Ginger and pudhina: Another known and common solution for cough. Ginger helps with expectoration and pudina (peppermint leaves) helps with soothing the cough. Boil about 4 cups of water and a 1 cm piece of chopped ginger with 5-6 leaves of pudina. Boil till quantity is reduced to half and then drink a tablespoon at a time. Add honey for added benefit or to make it more palatable. You can drink it every few hours. and keep the rest refrigerated for a couple of weeks.
  • Ajwain (Thyme leaves): Ajwain leaves purge the phlegm, strengthen the lungs, work as an antiseptic and are an excellent remedy for shortness of breath. Boil a few handful of leaves in water or 2 tablespoons of dried thyme in water. Drink it like tea with some honey if you wish! You can drink it every few hours or just before bedtime.

Try these remedies first before you head to the drug store! Most ingredients are found easily in yours or your neighbor’s kitchen! If accompanied by fever or other symptom, consult your doctor or doctors at Syncremedies. Wish you a comfortable singing throat soon!

Numerous online content and websites were consulted for the writing of this article. This article is an attempt at consolidate the information. The best source of information is your doctor and this article is not intended to replace medical advice.

Written and amalgamated by Dr Archana Naidu-Komandur, BDS, DDS, PG, FAGD

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