Coughing is an essential action to help clear the throat and the airways but sometimes coughing could be a symptom of some underlying medical cause. The most common cause for coughing is an obstruction in the respiratory tract. Coughing is a clear sign that the body is functioning properly because of the fact that it can defend the body from irritants coming from the lungs, throat, and other structures in the respiratory tract. Most of the times cough can be managed by home remedies. Herbal remedies for cough can effectively manage the condition from becoming worse. It serves as a first aid measure to prevent the condition from becoming chronic.
What causes cough?
Ayurveda explains cough as Kasa roga, which is a disease due to derangement mainly of vata dosha , also associated with Kapha. Due to exposure to smoke, dust, excessive physical exercises, consumption of rough foods, entry of food substances in the abnormal path of the throat and suppression of sneezing, vata gets aggravated in the region of the chest and brings about contraction and stiffness of the eyes, back, chest that may give rise to kasa which may be dry or with sputum. It is associated with pain and loud sound like that of a broken bronze.
Based on the ayurvedic theory there are five varieties of cough namely
- Vataja kasa (due to vata dosha)
- Pittaja kasa (due to pitta dosha)
- Kaphaja (due to kapha dosha)
- Kshayaja kasa (due to emaciation)
- Kshataja kasa (due to injury to the chest)
Each type of cough has its own identifying characteristics, causative factors, and their own treatment depending on the cause.
Cough can be acute, sub acute or chronic according to the duration of the illness. A cough that lasts between 3 and 8 weeks, improving by the end of that period, is a sub acute cough. persistent cough that lasts more than eight weeks is a chronic cough. In general, a cough that lasts for less than three weeks is an acute cough. (source: Healthline)
Herbal Remedies for Cough
- Powder of pippali can be mixed with honey and small quantities can be licked through out the day to reduce cough with phlegm.
- Licorice root can be chewed or the powder of licorice can be taken with honey.
- Leaves of Betel (piper betle) are one of the most effective herbal remedies for coughing. Preparation requires crushing the leaves and adding water until the leaves are of paste consistency. It is specifically applied on the chest.
- Leaves of Butea (butea monosperma) are used in treating cough due to septic and sore throats. Solution is prepared by boiling leaves in water and using the water as mouthwash in order to benefit from its healing properties.
- For coughs caused by a swollen pharynx, characterized by irritation of the throat is usually treated by means of clove (Syzygium aromaticum). A drop of clove oil can be diluted with 100 ml of warm water and can be used for gargling. Alternatively, 2-3 Cloves can be boiled with water and this water can be used for gargling in a luke warm state.
- The humble garlic used for sautéing is one of the most essential herbal remedies for cough particularly whooping cough (pertussis). 2-3 garlic pods can be taken with honey twice or thrice daily.
- The bark of bay berry (myrica nagi) turned into powder is one effective treatment for coughs caused by long-term bronchitis.
Other good herbal remedies for cough:
Treat Cough with Mullein: Mullein is considered as one of the best herbs for cough in Eastern United States. This is primarily because this herb has no known toxicity content. It is usually taken in the form of tincture and teas. Native dried mullein can also be used as tobacco to treat asthma and bronchitis.
Cough and Marshmallow root: Marshmallow root provides for a soothing relief for people suffering from severe coughing and other bronchial problems. Marshmallow root is now available at herb stores in liquid extract, powder, tincture, and cream form.
Peppermint Treatment: Peppermint has a natural cooling and warming effect that is very effective in treating coughs, colds, and fever. Peppermint has decongestant and astringent actions that relieve stuffiness and congestion. It is available in the form of tea, lozenges, and oils.
Wild cherry bark for Cough: Wild cherry bark is a natural expectorant that can flush out phlegm. This herb is commonly used to treat coughs associated with phlegm and congestion. Boil 4 ounces of wild cherry bark in a 500ml water. Simmer it on low heat for an hour. Drink 1 to 3 teaspoon for cough treatment.
Thyme for Cough: The extracted oil thymol of thyme is used as an antibiotic and expectorant. In fact, this herb is commonly used in most commercial cough syrup formulation. Thyme in syrup, tincture, tea, and oil form is very effective in treating cough.
Home Remedies for Cough
In addition to herbal remedies for cough, there are still home remedies for cough that makes use of common cooking ingredients usually present in the kitchen of many homes. This includes ginger, honey, black pepper, and garlic. Click here for more home remedies for cough.
The first line of treatment in Ayurveda for cough when it is associated with phlegm is to remove the accumulation of phlegm. Ayurvedic medicine for cough with phlegm is Dasamoolakaduthrayam kashayam.
Due to high risk of developing cough; it is essential that everyone should be informed on the simplest and most common home and herbal remedies for cough. This is precautionary so as to prevent you from rushing directly to a local drugstore or the doctor’s clinic in search for a cure to stop the coughing episodes.