Are you prone to winter colds and autumnal snuffles? If so, the chances are that you’re more than familiar with cough spray and, alongside a pack of tissues and a nice woolly scarf, it’s probably your favourite cold-weather companion. But do you know how it works?
Yes, we’re quite sure you know how to apply it properly but do you understand how the spray goes about clearing up that nasty cough? Well to start things off, let’s take a look at your respiratory tract.
Your respiratory tract refers to a collection of organs and tissues that enable you to inhale oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide – simply put, it’s one of the most important parts of your body! The tract begins with your nose which filters and warms the air you breathe in and then continues all the way down to the lymphatic system of your lungs, which helps to rid your body of waste and protect your lungs from unwanted pathogens.
When you contract a cough, due to a cold or flu, your upper respiratory tract (your nose, pharynx and larynx) can become infected. Coughing in these instances is extremely productive – your body is trying to expel the mucus from your lungs in order to get rid of the germs and bacteria. Unfortunately, despite protecting your lungs, coughing can be quite aggravating which is why it can continue to persist in the form of a dry cough after the mucus has been ejected.
Other types of coughs can be associated with allergies, stress, pollutants or lower respiratory tract infections. A lower respiratory infection is usually considered to be more serious than an upper respiratory infection. Illnesses like bronchitis, tuberculosis and even pneumonia are classified as lower respiratory tract infections as the airways around your lungs are being affected. You will notice that your coughing is more intense, that you are bringing up more phlegm and that there is a wheeziness in your chest.
In these cases, it is always recommended that you seek medical advice first and foremost before trying any herbal cough sprays.
However, what cough spray you try will largely depend on the type of cough you have as each spray is aimed at a particular set of symptoms.
A.Vogel Cough Spray: A.Vogel Cough Spray is very effective if you are suffering from a dry, tickly cough. It contains herbs like mullein and marshmallow (no – not the spongy accompaniment to hot chocolate!). These herbs work on two different fronts – mullein helps to shift the dry mucus that is still trapped in your respiratory tissues while marshmallow works to hydrate your sore, inflamed respiratory tract. The spray comes with an elongated applicator to ensure that the formula hits the back of the throat, allowing it to be absorbed more efficiently, and it can even be used up to 30 days at a time!
Weleda Herb & Honey Cough Elixir: Similar to A.Vogel Cough Spray, Weleda Herb & Honey Elixir also contains extracts of marshmallow root alongside thyme and aniseed. An oral solution, it can work to ease dry, tickly coughs by soothing the respiratory tract, reducing inflammation and helping to clear any remaining mucus. Two 5ml spoonfuls are advised for adults and children over the age of 12, every 3-4 hours.
A.Vogel Bronchoforce: If you suffer from a chesty cough, it might be more worthwhile trying A.Vogel’s Bronchoforce. Bronchoforce contains a soothing blend of herbs, including ivy, thyme and liquorice. These work together to help the body shift mucus from the respiratory tract and can help to calm any irritation. An oral tincture rather than a spray, children over 12 and adults are recommended to take 20 drops at a time around 3-5 times a day.
Always remember to consult your GP if your cough continues to persist for more than a couple of weeks!