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It’s that time of the year again when the flu, cough and cold season hits us big. Besides back to school, the flu season is the worst for our household! A simple cough can wreak havoc on most any social situation. Meetings, lectures, weddings, and personal conversations can all be disrupted by a cough that will not quit. I always try out simple and natural home remedies for coughs and colds before heading to the drug store when I can. I much prefer the thought of knowing what I am putting in my body and healing it was healthy foods and ingredients.
Luckily, there are a few ways to soothe your achy throat that are easy to create with foods and ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. My grandmother was the one that really got me to understand how foods can create miracles for you. She lived till she was 103 so I trust she had a good understanding of such!
What Causes a Cough?
To understand why these home remedies work, we much first examine what causes the cough in the first place. The bronchus, which is the air passageway just before the lungs, is lined with very fine hairs called cilia. These hairs are there to catch any debris or organisms that may have made it into your airways. When you get sick, as a defense mechanism the cilia become super sensitive with the purpose of keeping out anything that even resembles a virus. The irritated cilia cause you to cough, ejecting any foreign materials out of your passageway.
Coughing can signify a cold or flu bug is coming on, which are usually caused by viral infections in the respiratory tract. Cold symptoms include nasal congestion and/or a runny nose which cause drainage down the throat triggering a cough. Allergies have similar symptoms, but are caused by allergens that irritate the throat and immune system. Many of the recipes below can be used for either.
Below are several home remedies for cough that use natural foods, no chemicals or other toxins to clear up the problem and most are everyday essentials found in your home already.
10 Home Remedies For Coughs and Colds
Honey is one of the foods that most consistently silences a cough. It can be mixed with nearly all of the other foods that will be mentioned later. Honey is gooey, and does a good job of coating the throat. It soothes the irritated cilia and helps relax your coughing muscles. It also acts as an excellent sweetener for some of the more harsh tasting remedies and teas suggested. Please remember not to give honey to infants or children under 1 yr.
Onion can be used as a good way to settle a cough, and also reduce phlegm. The juice from a white onion is what is most important. Grind the onion finely to extract the liquid. Mix it with honey and let it sit overnight. This creates a fantastic all natural syrup that works very well for coughs. The only downside is that it takes at least six hours to set, and needs to be planned ahead of time. For a quicker version try this heated honey onion honey syrup.
Thyme tea can aid with respiratory illnesses and help to alleviate coughing associated with it. The leaves contain compounds called flavonoids that relax the throat muscles involved in coughing, and also lessen the inflammation and pain. You can make thyme tea at home using two teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves and one cup of boiling water. Let the tea steep for 10 minutes, and strain out the leaves. You can add honey as well.
Grapes are known to help with a cough. They do a good job of clearing phlegm or other foreign matter that is getting stuck in the airways. Other forms of grapes, such as grape juice or raisins, also work just as well. Many people recommend mixing grape juice with honey for an even better result. If you are giving these a child, I would cut the grapes in half or just just the juice.
Garlic can be chewed to help expel mucus as well. Not many people enjoy the taste of such potent garlic but once you realize all the incredible health benefits it packs, you might be more open to giving it a try. Garlic has also been known to have some antibacterial qualities.
So, if bacteria caused the cough, garlic not only helps quell it, but it may also help kill the sickness. Garlic is also one of the more amazing and effective natural antibiotics you can take. Just make sure to brush your teeth before engaging in conversation.
6. Eucalyptus Leaves
Fresh eucalyptus leaves make a great steam that can soothe a cough almost immediately. If you can’t find any fresh leaves- you can used dried ones from the grocery store. Take a few leaves and place them into a pot of boiling water for a few minutes.
Turn the heat down or off and place a towel over your head and pot to trap the air, lean over the pot, and inhale the eucalyptus steam. The vapors and oil inhaled will soothe your air passages quickly. This is a fantastic remedy for head colds as well. You can also make a nice salve out of the leaves just like Vicks vapor rub.
7. Lemon Juice and Honey
Lemons are great for aiding with coughs and coughing as they have healthy properties that reduce inflammation along with infection-fighting vitamin C. One great way to utilize this versatile fruit is to create a cough syrup made with two tablespoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of honey.
Take the syrup several times a day or as needed. You can also take the syrup mixture and add it to some hot water for a soothing tea. This is a simple and enjoyable drink for little kids as well. It is also a great home remedy for dry mouth or just for sipping on, on a chilly winter evening when your bones are cold.
Yogurt contains probiotics which are microorganisms that can provide a host of health benefits. While they don’t relieve a cough directly, they help to balance the bacteria that live in your intestines which can support immune system function throughout the body. Some evidence also suggests that Lactobacillus, a bacterium in dairy, can reduce the likelihood of a cold or flu, and sensitivity to certain allergens like pollen.
Ginger and ginger tea is another very popular natural cure for a cough. Cut fresh ginger into small slices, crushing them slightly. Place them in a cup pouring hot water over them and letting them sit for a few minutes. You can also some lemon juice and honey to it.
You can drink this herbal tea three to four times a day for relief from sore throat, non-stop coughing and even congestion. Another home remedy for coughs that you can make with ginger are these honey lemon ginger cough drops. These are great to make ahead of time and store for when needed.
10. Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root is a fantastic herb that soothes your airways while loosening and thinning mucous, which helps to ease congestion. It can also reduce inflammation that may be irritating your throat causing you to cough. The main active component in licorice root is glycyrrhizic acid, an anti-viral and anti- inflammatory ingredient which can also widen the air passages wider, allowing you to breath easier. You can find licorice root tea at your local store. Avoid this particular if you have kidney issues as the overuse of licorice root can worsen existing kidney problems or kidney disease.
I hope that some of the home remedies for a cough listed above give you some relieve. They are all natural, quick, easy, and definitely worth a try. Let us know what you found helpful or use in the kitchen to cure a cough!