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Article: Cough Treatment | Lung Health | Cough Relief Supplements

Cough

Author: Dr. Veena Deo

Cough: An ailment characterized by frequent coughing, an explosive expulsion of air from the lungs that acts as a protective mechanism to clear the air passages or as a symptom of pulmonary disturbance.

Cough is of three types:

  1. Dry
  2. Wet
  3. Allergic
  • Acute cough: Sudden onset, lasts for less than 3 weeks.
  • Sub-acute cough: Improves over 3 to 8 weeks.
  • Chronic cough: Lasts for more than 8 weeks.

Cough is a symptom of respiratory disease caused by the stimulation of sensory nerves in the mucosa of the pharynx, larynx, trachea, and bronchi.

Causes of Cough:

  • Cold weather
  • Excessive intake of ice cream and cold drinks
  • Excessive intake of sour food like curd
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Sinus problems
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Asthma
  • Medications used to control blood pressure
  • Common cold
  • Frequent changes in weather
  • Viral lower respiratory tract infection
  • Exposure to atmospheric changes or irritants

Symptoms:

  • Runny nose
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sore throat
  • Stuffy nose

Herbs to Treat Cough:

  • Clerodendrum serratum (Bharangi): This herb dispels cough and is considered a specific remedy for respiratory diseases. It acts as an expectorant and is useful for treating coryza, cough, and catarrhal conditions.

Ref: Shivranjan VV and Indira Balchandran, Ayurvedic Drugs and their Plant Sources, 1994, 87.

  • Solanum surattense (Kantakari): Treats dislodging tenacious phlegm and is extensively used in the treatment of cough, bronchitis, and asthma.

Ref: Jour Res Ind Med, 6(2), 200-201; Jain JP, 1980 Jour Res Ayur Siddha, 1(3), 447-460; Shukla SP, 1986, Indigenous Drugs and their Utilization by Human Beings, Nagarjun, 29(5), 10-11; Bector NP et al, 1971, New Approach to the Treatment of Some Chronic Respiratory Diseases, Indian J Med Res, 59(5), 739-742.

  • Piper longum (Pippali): Cures cough and dyspnea. Active constituents isolated from this herb have anti-tubercular activity.

  • Glycyrrhiza glabra: Acts as an expectorant. The root in the form of decoction or lozenges is useful as a demulcent or in irritable conditions of bronchial tubes, cough, and sore throat.

  • Viola odorata (Banatsha): The flowers are known for their emollient and demulcent properties. Used as a decoction for household remedies for cough and sore throat.

Home Remedies for Cough:

Home remedies are beneficial for acute cough. However, urgent medical treatment is required if the cough is chronic and accompanied by secondary conditions like pneumonia, asthma, or bronchitis. For ordinary conditions, home remedies are the best option due to their negligible side effects.

Natural Home Remedies:

  • Mix honey with carrot juice and drink it.
  • Take black pepper, long pepper, and ginger in equal proportions, mix, and take this powder twice daily with honey.
  • Mix 2g of turmeric powder (Curcuma longa) with a cup of warm milk and take it twice a day for about 15 days.
  • Boil 2 crushed garlic cloves in a cup of milk until ½ cup remains. Divide into two parts; take one in the morning and one in the evening. People with acidity should avoid this.
  • Onion juice with honey is advisable.
  • Take one teaspoon of Adhatoda vasica juice with sugar in the morning to relieve cough.
  • Boil 5 basil leaves, a small piece of cinnamon, ½ teaspoon aniseed, 4 cloves, and 4 black pepper seeds with ½ teaspoon of sugar in one cup of water until ½ cup remains. Filter and drink.
  • Keep the body warm, especially the chest, throat, and head.
  • Aniseed helps break up mucus.
  • To relieve throat irritation and reduce pharynx inflammation, roast 2 to 3 cloves and take them one at a time.
  • Light a lamp with a wick dipped in cow’s ghee, roast a garlic clove over the flame until blackened, crush it, mix with honey, and consume.
  • Eat boiled and steamed vegetables, vegetable soup, and herbal teas. Drink hot milk with a piece of crushed ginger.
  • Use essential oil of juniper; a few drops in hot water can be used as an inhalant.
  • Drink one cup of hot water before going to bed.
  • Add turmeric powder to water for steam inhalation.
  • Boil 4 to 5 cloves of garlic in 2 cups of water until one cup remains. Filter and drink.
  • For dry cough, gargle with warm spinach juice.

Avoid:

  • Ice cream, cold drinks, fried food, bread
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Exposure to cold, wind, fans, air conditioning
  • Sour foods like pickles, curd, meat, fish

Though I have mentioned the quantity of ingredients in some natural home remedies, it is advisable to consult an Ayurvedic physician for the appropriate quantities and for personalized recommendations.