Natural Cough Remedies, Plus Dry Cough Relief
If you’ve been to grocery stores and pharmacies in the past week or two, you may have noticed empty medicine shelves. It’s unnerving, to say the least. When coronavirus takes hold in your area, you want to make sure you have what you need to relieve at least some of the symptoms.
One of the distinctive symptoms of coronavirus is a dry cough, so it makes sense to stock up on over-the-counter cough medicines. The thing is, everyone and their brother is doing the same thing.
You’re not left to ride it out without options, though. Great-gandma’s old-time cough remedies are actually quite effective, and some even have science behind them. Here are a few natural cough remedies you can try, including herbs that are effective against the the type of unproductive dry cough you might experience with coronavirus.
For generations, herbalists have been advising people to take elecampane for lung conditions such as bronchitis, asthma, and even whooping cough. As if nature packaged it up for us, elecampane contains both compounds that calm a cough, along with compounds that help loosen phlegm so that you can get it out of your body.
How to take it: Make elecampane into a cough syrup by combining 2-3 tablespoons of elecampane root with four cups of water, then bringing the mixture to a boil. Turn down the heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes. Add your favorite honey while it’s warm, strain out the root pieces, and sip on your tea throughout the course of the day.
Traditional healers have used mullein for thousands of years as the go-to herb for coughing and lung conditions. Herbalists consider mullein an expectorant and a demulcent, which packs a one-two punch by helping you get the mucus out, while soothing irritated airways. Mullein may have antibacterial properties as well.
How to take it: If you’ve developed a cough, you can dilute mullein extract in water according to package directions. Or, you can make a tea out of mullein leaves. Make sure you use a fine strainer, because the leaves have tiny hairs that can irritate your throat.
Your grandma was onto something. A spoonful of honey before bed just might be what you need to soothe a cough. In one study, honey reduced cough frequency and helped children sleep when compared to placebo. In some children, honey was as effective as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough suppressants.
Honey has antimicrobial properties with varying degrees of potency depending on the type of honey you have. Manuka honey is well-known as a powerful antibacterial.
How to take it: A teaspoonful of honey is all you need for temporary relief. You can take it straight, or stir it into warm tea, which can be incredibly calming on an irritated throat.
Children under the age of one should not consume honey.
Ginger for a dry cough
Among natural health enthusiasts, ginger is well-known for its anti-inflammatory properties, which could be helpful if you have irritated, inflamed airways.
Ginger is also thought to be a cough remedy. One study found and tested a polysaccharide in the root that shows cough suppressant activity. How do you get to the polysaccharide magic? Easy -- just boil it in water.
How to take it: Peel a one-inch knob of ginger, and slice. Add it to a saucepan with two cups of water and bring it to a boil. Continue boiling for 10-20 minutes, strain, and drink as a tea when cool enough to sip. Add honey and lemon for a delightful taste and extra soothing action.
Does Vicks on the feet relieve coughing?
This isn’t a natural product, but it’s one worth a look. Some people swear that rubbing Vicks Vapor Rub on your feet before bed is an effective remedy for coughs.
Is it? We don’t actually know. It most likely depends on the person. If you decide to try it, make sure you put socks on before getting under the covers. Greasy bed sheets are sure to keep you awake.
What’s great about these remedies is that you can pick and choose what works for you, or even stack them for added effectiveness. There’s no harm in brewing elecampane, mullein, ginger, then adding some honey and lemon, for a soothing tea to sip. As always, resting is the best medicine when you’re trying to recover from any condition, so be sure to take care of YOU.