A cough is a reflex action to clear your airways of mucus, phlegm, and air born irritants, such as smoke or dust. It can also be caused by inflammation of your upper respiratory tract (throat and windpipe) due to a viral or bacterial infection.

A cough can also be caused by inflammation of your upper respiratory tract (throat and windpipe) due to a viral or bacterial infection.

A cough is usually caused by an underlying illness condition such as asthma, bronchitis, common cold and smoking. Some prescribed medicines can also cause a cough. For example, ACE-inhibitors, which are medicines that are used for treating heart failure, have a side effect that causes a cough.

There are generally two kinds of coughs – dry and chesty.

A dry cough occurs when the throat and upper airways become inflamed. It is non-productive which means that phlegm (thick mucus) is not produced. Dry coughs are usually characterized by a tickle in the throat. This cough has a forced, hacking sound.

A chesty cough can be either productive, where phlegm is produced as a response to the infection, or non-productive due to the infection causing the lung passageways to swell. This cough has a moist, rasping sound.

Care and Treatment

There is no quick way of getting rid of a cough that is caused by a viral infection. It will usually clear up after your immune system has defeated the virus. If your cough is caused by a bacterial infection, as is the case with pneumonia then you may be prescribed antibiotics.

However, you can take measures to treat the coughing symptoms of the virus, including drinking lots of fluids and taking over the counter cough medicines that contain cough suppressants. Expectorants, such as guaiphenesin, ammonium chloride, squill, sodium citrate and ipecacuanha may help chesty coughs. They help bring phlegm up so that coughing is easier. These remedies provide symptomatic relief, and do not necessarily cure it.

Natural Treatments for a Cough That You Can Try At Home

Here are some natural treatments for a cough that you can try at home –

Gargle Salt Water – Sometimes the simplest of remedies are the most effective. Simply stir 1 teaspoon of salt into 8 ounces of warm water and stir until thoroughly dissolved. Gargle for ten seconds and then spit it out. Repeat this and then rinse with plain water afterwards. This works because the sodium in salt water flows out of individual cells, shrinking inflamed tissue.

Steam Your Lungs – Steam has the power to loosen mucous and phlegm and if you add a couple of drops tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil to the steamer and inhale deeply for 60 seconds at minute intervals, you might heal your lungs.

Raw Organic Honey. A spoonful of raw organic honey can work to calm a cough. It is a rich demulcent that helps to coat and soothe irritated mucous membranes. Honey is also antibacterial and can help shorten the duration of an illness due to bacteria. Taking 3 spoonful’s a day can help calm a cough.

Licorice Root Tea. Licorice Root Tea is both an expectorant and demulcent, soothing your airways while loosening and thinning mucous and easing congestion. Licorice contains glycyrrhizin, which inhibits an enzyme that creates inflammation in the body. Simply drink a full cup of licorice root tea twice daily.

Thyme Tea – Thyme has been used for centuries to fight the plague. It was burned to ward of the disease and drunk as a tea. Thyme also relaxes the muscles of the trachea and the bronchi and also opens up airways. A tea for coughs is made from a handful of dried thyme, honey or lemon and 8 ounce of fresh water.

When you are drinking teas, be aware that sniffing the steam can be a way to get the volatile healing oils from the licorice root or thyme into your lungs directly, which also helps the steam from the beverage loosen mucus and phlegm.

Do you suffer from a chronic cough, asthma or allergies. For more information about how to deal with environmental illnesses, s or to book a consultation about anti-aging, naturopathic testing, Toronto weight loss programs or any health issue you may be experiencing, visit the Pinewood Natural Healthcare Centre website that has a list of full services and products at www.pinewoodhealth.ca. You can also call our Toronto Office at  (416)-656- 8100.  We also have an office in Pickering, Ontario at (905)-427-0057. Send an email to info@pinewoodhealth.ca and we would be happy to answer any question that you have about our holistic health services

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