The common cough can be harmless, but it can also signify a more serious illness. Learn more about the reasons why we cough and how to treat it with a few simple home remedies.
Hampering the Hack
Annoying, loud, and disruptive, a persistent cough can put a damper on your daily routine. Coughs can be defined by how long they last. A brief cough is caused by such factors as cold air, irritating fumes, breathing dust, or drawing food into the airways. A persistent cough, however, typically results from mucus and other secretions brought on by respiratory disorders such as the cold, the flu, pneumonia, or tuberculosis. (Note: A persistent cough always should be checked by a doctor, as it also can be a symptom of a serious medical condition, such as cancer.)
Moisture content also differentiates coughs. Some are dry, accompanied by a ticklish or sore throat. Others are accompanied by a thick phlegm and are called wet coughs.
A Beneficial Reflex
Regardless of time and moisture content, a cough is produced when viruses, bacteria, dust, pollen, or other foreign substances irritate respiratory passages in the throat and lungs. The cough reflex is the body's effort to rid the passageways of such intruders, and it spares no power in the expulsion. A cough reflex can expel a foreign substance at velocities as high as 100 miles per hour.
Determine what kind of cough you have and search out cures specific to that type. Some remedies aim to moisten dry throats, while others are expectorants, helping you cough up and get rid of mucus and irritants. Most of these kitchen cures aim to battle both coughs, unless otherwise noted.
From the Home Remedies Candy Jar
Licorice. If you love licorice, you're in for a treat with this remedy. Many folk remedies use licorice root to treat coughs and bronchial problems. It serves not only as a flavoring agent but also as a demulcent (a substance that soothes inflamed or irritated throats) and an expectorant. Real licorice or candy that's actually made with real licorice (look for "licorice mass" on the label) works best. Reach into your candy jar and slice up 1 ounce licorice sticks. Add 1 quart boiling water and steep for 24 hours. Drink throughout the day, adding a teaspoon of honey for sweetness. If you can't find real licorice in your part of the country, try horehound, another old-fashioned candy that is a demulcent and helps to relieve coughs.
We've got a few home remedies that can help alleviate the symptoms of a cough on the next page.
For more information about coughs and how to treat them, try the following links:
- To see all of our home remedies and the conditions they treat, go to our main Home Remedies page.
- A more serious cough usually accompanies bronchitis. Read about this illness in Home Remedies For Bronchitis.
- Starve a Cold/Feed a Fever? Learn the best approach in Home Remedies For Colds.
- Don't get knocked out by the flu this year. Keep from getting sick in the first place, and get better if you do, by following these Home Remedies For The Flu.
This information is solely for informational purposes. IT IS NOT INTENDED TO PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE. Neither the Editors of Consumer Guide (R), Publications International, Ltd., the author nor publisher take responsibility for any possible consequences from any treatment, procedure, exercise, dietary modification, action or application of medication which results from reading or following the information contained in this information. The publication of this information does not constitute the practice of medicine, and this information does not replace the advice of your physician or other health care provider. Before undertaking any course of treatment, the reader must seek the advice of their physician or other health care provider.