Cough - How to Fight It?

You may not know that cough itself is not a disease but a manifestation of defense of our body when it is trying to keep our air passages free out of the instinct of self-preservation. However, that changes nothing about the fact that cough is annoying and unpleasant and it must be treated in time. If we underestimate cough treatment, the inflammation may get further into the throat and into bronchi and windpipe; the danger of bronchitis or even pneumonia becomes very real then.

What Causes Cough

Cough is caused by the same bacteria or viruses behind cold, flu or bronchitis. However, cough may also be a response to anything strange and inappropriate that has gotten in the air passages. For example if you live in a city with much smog, it is very likely you wake up coughing out phlegm. The body struggles to get rid of everything in the way of air passages. If the cough is accompanied with phlegm, it is classified as wet cough or productive cough. If the cough is irritating and unproductive, similar to choking, it is dry cough. Dry cough produces very little phlegm. 

Dry and Irritating Cough

First, we need to distinguish which type of cough we suffer from – is it dry or wet? Appropriate treatment is recommended accordingly. It is better to suppress dry cough with an appropriate medicine. Agents for dry cough suppression are called antitussives. They are able to dim the reflex of irritating and exhausting coughing caused by irritation. But it is necessary to pay close attention to the composition of such agents. Some may contain codeine which inhibits the respiratory centre and is addictive in long-term application. Cough drops without codeine are preferable.

Wet Cough

If you suffer from wet cough, choose medicinal drugs called expectorants. Pick the most powerful medicine. It should induce increased phlegm production and facilitate hemming after dilution. It is good when the agent is able to support movement of cilia; this helps clean the air passages and increases resistance against infection.

Treating Cough with Essential Oils

Essential oils may also bring some relief from cough. You can inhale them or mix them with vegetable oil and use as poultice or massage matter on the neck in a ratio of 15 ml of olive oil and 2 drops of an essential oil. You can also add essential oils to bathwater or sprinkle a few drops on a handkerchief and inhale them dry. The following essential oils might help you with your cough: eucalyptus, thyme, lavender, myrtle, sage, cypress, frankincense, lemon balm, bitter orange, peppermint, tea tree.

Home-made Recipes for Cough Treatment

A verified conventional wisdom recipe also proven scientifically is black beet juice or radish juice. Slice the radish, pour honey over the slices and stick them back together. Fix them with a rubber band. The radish will discharge juice sweetened by the honey. Take 1 teaspoon of the juice 3 times a day after a meal. You can also prepare radish juice by hollowing the radish up and filling it with honey. After 3 hours, place the radish bottom up into a bowl and after 3 more hours you collect the discharged juice. Take the juice after a meal. Then there is marjoram-onion tea. All you have to do is drink a cup of this tea twice a day and you should feel better. Another thing that allegedly help is drinking yeast mixed in lukewarm water every morning. There are also various alternatives involving honey: horseradish with honey, lemon juice with honey, vodka with honey and ginger, raspberry juice with honey, cowslip blossoms with honey, cabbage juice with honey. As soon as daisies bloom in the spring, et 4-7 blossoms a day to prevent cough.

Herbs to Fight Cough

You can also try to alleviate your cough with teas, syrups and various extracts made from these herbs, spices and ingredients: coltsfoot, yarrow, oak bark, clove, lime blossom, elderflower, mullein flower, thyme, plantain, lungwort, fennel, chamomile, horsetail Corn, primrose, oman root, sage, liquorice, marshmallow...

Cough Teas and Syrups

Marjoram Cough Tea


1 tsp dried marjoram, 0.25 l water, 1 tbs honey, half tsp lemon juice

Pour cold water over the marjoram, let it boil, put off the stove and let loach for 10-15 minutes. Then strain it, sweeten it with honey and add lemon juice. Sip several times a day.


Anise Cough Tea


1 tsp anise, 1 tsp cumin, 0.25 l water

Grind the anise and cumin in a mortar, put them into a cup and pour boiling water over them. Let it rest for 15 minutes, strain and drink 3 times a day. The tea helps discharge phlegm.


Walnut Cough Tea


shells from 12 walnuts, 0.5 l water

Put the shells into water and let them loach for 12 hours. Then boil the water with the shells and strain. Drink the beverage lukewarm several times a day. If necessary, sweeten it with honey. The tea dissolves phlegm and takes effect after 2 days.


Daisy Cough Syrup

Pour 1 litre of boiling water over a handful of daisy blossoms and let it rest for 12 hours. Then strain, pass through a sieve or a strainer and boil the extract with 500 g of sugar until it thickens. Use 2-4 teaspoons a day.

Plantain Cough Syrup

Pound 5 fresh plantain blossoms into a paste with 4 tablespoons of water and heat the mixture up. Gradually add honey until the mixture gains a syrupy consistency. Take 1 tsp of the syrup each hour.

Onion Cough Syrup


0,5 kg onion, 1 tsp fennel, 1 l boiled water, 1 kg sugar, 4 lemons, 4 oranges, 6 cloves

Chop the onion, add the fennel, pour water over them and let it all loach for 12 hours. Then strain, add sugar, lemon and orange juice and cloves. Keep stirring it until the sugar dissolves. Then pour into flasks and store in a cool dark place. When suffering from cough, take several tablespoons a day.


Cough Medicine


2 larger lemons, 1 larger onion, fine sugar or honey

Place slices of onion and lemon alternately into a large cup. Cover each layer with sugar or pour honey over it. The last layer has to be lemon. Press everything down into the cup and cover it. Let it loach for 2 hours in a warm place, then it is ready to be served. When coughing, use 1 tsp a several times a day.


Cough Diet

If you suffer from cough, you should add certain foods into your diet. A substance called Allicin may alleviate your cough; it is commonly found in garlic and onion. Drink 1 glass of milk with a pressed clove of garlic a day. Eat porridge, red and yellow fruits and vegetables and foods rich in zinc, magnesium, folic acid and vitamins C, E and A. Eat 1 serving of fresh fruit and 1 serving of cooked vegetables a day. Add wheat sprout oil or sesame oil into salads from fresh vegetables. Carrot and pumpkin are also suitable vegetables. They have a high proportion of carotenoids which are vitamin A provitamins, important for mucous membranes. Consume fresh citrus fruits and various seeds. Another remedy for respiratory diseases is fish oil; therefore eat fatter fish 3 times a week. Coffee lovers will delight in the fact that coffee expands bronchial tubes, so it is suitable against cough.

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