A cough is the body’s protective reflex, an attempt to eliminate foreign objects from the respiratory tract. It is quite common for a cough to accompany or follow a cold or flu. A cold will often cause swelling and irritation in the throat and upper airways and the body perceives this swelling as an object, which it tries to expel by coughing. Cough remedies are amongst our oldest medicines. Today, both conventional medicines and licensed herbal remedies are available to treat coughs, but first you need to identify what type of cough you have.
Dry and tickly, or productive?
A cough can be productive or non-productive – a polite turn of phrase that describes how much or little mucus you bring up when you cough. A dry cough is a type of cough which produces little or no mucus or phlegm. It is very similar to a tickly cough and often, these terms are used interchangeably. Both dry coughs and tickly coughs are known as non-productive coughs.
A productive cough on the other hand, produces plenty of runny stuff. Chesty coughs, also referred to as mucus coughs, are characterised by the amount of mucus they produce. Your natural reflex is to cough up or ‘expectorate’ this mucus to help clear your chest.
Natural remedies for dry or tickly coughs
Generally speaking, a cough suppressant will help to dampen down the irritation of a dry and tickly, non-productive cough. Herbs have been used for many years as natural remedies for dry and tickly coughs. They generally work by soothing and reducing the urge to cough.
Herbs for dry coughs: a favourite for dry coughs is spruce or pine. Extracts of the young leaves from the Norway spruce have been used traditionally to soothe and suppress dry and tickly coughs.
Try: A.Vogel Bronchosan Pine Cough Syrup . Made from extracts of freshly harvested pine shoots, Bronchosan can be used to relieve dry, tickly and irritating coughs. It also contains honey, which is naturally soothing; it also gives the syrup a sweet, pleasant taste.
Natural remedies for chesty coughs
If your cough is productive, you will need an expectorant to help bring up the excess mucus in your airways. Expectorants thin and loosen mucus from the respiratory tract, encouraging its expulsion.
Herbs for chesty coughs: ivy is an example of a herb that exerts an expectorant action. Thyme, one of our oldest herbs, can also help to clear the airways of excessive mucus. It can be particularly helpful for hacking coughs and catarrh. And liquorice, another old favourite, is widely recognised for its expectorant properties.
Try: A.Vogel’s Bronchoforce Chesty Cough . A herbal remedy designed for the relief of chesty coughs, mucus coughs and catarrh, it contains all three chesty cough favourites: ivy, thyme and liquorice, and is used to help relieve chesty coughs resulting from excess mucus or catarrh in the respiratory tract.
Hot water and honey for coughs
Whether your cough is product or non-productive, dry or chesty, staying properly hydrated will help to speed your recovery.
Hot water and honey can also help. Good quality honey, such as manuka honey, can be soothing on your throat, which may be sore from coughing, but it also has unique anti-bacterial properties. Add a slice of lemon for some added vitamin C and extra immune support.
Cough worse at night?
If your cough is worse at night, use extra pillows to raise your head slightly. This will help to prevent any mucus from collecting at the back of your throat and triggering your coughing reflex.
If symptoms persist or you cough up blood, do consult your healthcare professional or GP.