Productive cough is coughing of phlegm or mucous. Like your body, this should be suppressed, however, some of remedies will address a productive cough including an expectorant (a type of cough medicine used to make thick liquid less thick in the lungs) or something that releases mucous and makes it easier for the body to get rid of.
A dry cough is the one we do want to stop. It can be caused by allergies, dry air, a random irritation at the back of your throat that won’t go away, the outcome of a cold and dusty environment, etc. For these we turn to demulcents, ingredients that pacify irritated mucous membranes and remove the irritant causing the cough. Studies carried out in 2004 found that the main constituents in cough syrup (dextromethorphan and diphenhydramine) have the same efficacy in treating coughs as a pacifier ingredient. Try some home remedies rather than turning to chemical solutions for every minor disease. They are better as well as taste a whole lot better than most cough syrups.
At Penn State College of Medicine Studies conducted, have found that honey can work more effectively to calm a cough than over-the-counter drugs. It is a rich demulcent, with a high viscosity and stickiness that does an unbelievable job of covering and calming those irritated mucous membranes. Thanks to an enzyme which also has antibacterial properties, added by bees when they harvest honey. This may help shorten how long you have the cough if it is due to bacterial illness.
Note: This is an exceptional alternative remedy for both kids and adults, but should never be given to children under the age of 2 years due to the risk of botulism (a serious type of food poisoning caused by bacteria in badly preserved food).
You will need…
-1 tablespoon of organic raw honey
Take 1 tablespoon of honey 1-3 times daily as needed to control coughing. If cough is disturbing your sleep, take it immediately before going to bed. For children, you can adjust the dosing to 1 teaspoon up to one tablespoon.
Licorice root is both an expectorant and demulcent, simultaneously comforting your air passages while loosening and thinning mucous, easing blockage. It can also ease any soreness that may be irritating your throat. Its main constituent, glycyrrhizin, is responsible for most of its effects. 30-50 times sweeter than sucrose table sugar), it holds back an enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (how would like you to write that on a name tag?) This enzyme control access of glucocorticoid (a steroid hormone) to steroid receptors, ultimately slowing the conversion of cortisol to cortisone. This increases the effect of cortisol and reducing inflammation. In case you are on steroids, or have any problems with your kidneys, it is best to steer clear of licorice root (the dried root of a Mediterranean plant which is used in medicines and to give flavor to food, especially sweets
-2 tablespoons of dried licorice root
-8 ounces of fresh water
Boil the water and place the licorice root in a mug. Cover with water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink the entire cup up to 2 times daily.
A well known remedy for sore throats, salt water can ease the discomfort caused by a cough the same way it helps a sore throat-through osmosis. The higher concentration of salt outside the cells in your mucous membranes, flows out water of the cells to balance everything. When water leaves the cells, swelling goes down, and uneasiness is decreased. For cough that along with inflamed tissue, this is a good way to take. It can also help remove any phlegm that’s hanging out and allow you to oust it easily.
-1 teaspoon of salt
-8 ounces of warm water
Stir salt into water until it is thoroughly dissolved. Gargle for 15 seconds, spit, and repeat with the remaining water, then rinse with plain water.
Steam is very much underrated is when it comes to anything dealing with a cough, cold, or congestion. Not only does the steam quite literally loosen mucous and phlegm, but you can add many essential oils that will impart wonderful healing benefits. These benefits (anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory etc.) do become airborne, so you inhale them while you breathe in the steam. For this particular blend I’ve included both tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil, which can help soothe and open your airways as well as help fight off bacteria or a virus.
-3 drops of tea tree oil
-1-2 drops of eucalyptus oil
-A bowl of water
-A soft, clean, towel
Boil water in a half-filled medium size-heat proof bowl. Pour the water into it, let it cool slightly for 30-60 seconds, and add the essential oils, giving it a quick stir to release the vapors. Lean over the bowl and get as close as you can while still being comfortable. Remember that steam can seriously burn! Use the towel to cover your head like a tent, catching the steam, and breathe deeply. Ideally, do this for 5-10 minutes 2-3 times a day.
Thyme has been used for centuries, and was even used during one of the most devastating pandemics (a disease) took place in human history. The Black Death was a plague that peaked in Europe from 1346-1353. During that time, and in other incidents of the plague thereafter, towns people would gather to burn large bundles of thyme to ward off the disease, or carry pockets of thyme on them. Indeed, thyme does have anti-microbial properties, but we’re not preventing any plague here-just your cough. Thyme loosens up the muscles of the trachea and bronchi, and also opens up airways. The result is less coughing, and increased comfort.
-a handful of fresh thyme sprigs OR 2 tablespoons dried thyme
-8 ounces of fresh water
-Honey or lemon (optional)
Lightlybruise the thyme, e.g. with a mortar (a strong bowl) and rod, and then place in a mug. Cover with 8 ounces of boiling water, cover, and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Add some lemon or honey to taste, and drink the whole thing. Repeat 2-3 times daily as needed. It’s absolutely delightful just before bedtime.
Black pepper is the world’s most traded spice, but most of its use is restricted to the cooking world. What people don’t know is that it can make a great remedy for coughs that are accompanied by a lot of mucous or chest congestion. If you’ve accidently leaned too close to black pepper while it’s being grinded, you know it can make you cough or tickle your nose. This may not be fun on a regular basis, but it’s a plus if you need to expel all the spiteful stuff that’s junking up your lungs. The honey adds its antibacterial properties, and it makes it so the pepper isn’t too irritating. You can make black pepper “syrup” with honey, or a tea, as below. If possible, use freshly ground black pepper, as the pre-ground pepper simply seems to lose some of its punch.
You will need…
-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1 tablespoon of honey
-8 ounces of fresh water
Place the pepper and honey in a mug and then cover with boiling water. Give it stir to scatter the pepper peels and melt in the honey. Steep for 10 minutes, stir once more, and drink in its entirety. Repeat 1-2 times a day as needed to loosen mucous.
Here you get the soothing qualities of warming ginger, all wrapped up in a delicious easy to swallow cough syrup. Spicy ginger works as an expectorant, helping loosen and expel mucous from the lungs. It can also stop the painful tickle at the back of throat that can trigger a cough if the first place, if you are experiencing a dry cough. The peppermint will also help relieve the irritating tickle of a cough.
You will need…
-3 tablespoons of chopped ginger
-1 tablespoon of dried peppermint
-4 cups of water
-1 cup of honey
Cut the ginger and add it along with the peppermint to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower the heat so that the liquid bubble. Boil until the liquid has been reduced by half, than strain. Let it cool slightly, and then stir in 1 cup of honey until it has been dissolved completely. Put it in bottle and take 1 tablespoon every few hours as needed to ease your cough. Keep in refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.
-I cannot stress the importance of covering your tea while it steeps (remains in liquid). Not only does it keep it piping hot, it traps all the steam and any of the volatile oils in the steam (and their benefits) in the cup for you to inhale when you expose it.