1. A Spoonful of Honey
Studies, such as one conducted at Penn State College of Medicine, have found that honey can work more efficiently to calm a cough than over-the-counter drugs. It is a rich demulcent, with a high viscosity and stickiness that does an incredible job of coating and soothing those irritated mucous membranes. Thanks to an enzyme added by bees when they harvest honey, it also has antibacterial properties as well, which may help shorten how long you have the cough if it is due to bacterial illness.
2. Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root is both an expectorant and demulcent, simultaneously soothing your airways while loosening and thinning mucous, easing congestion. It can also ease any inflammation that may be irritating your throat. Its main constituent, glycyrrhizin, is responsible for most of its effects. 30-50 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), it inhibits an enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (how would like you to write that on a name tag?) This enzyme regulates access of glucocorticoid (a steroid hormone) to steroid receptors, ultimately slowing the conversion of cortisol to cortisone. This increases the effect of cortisol and reducing inflammation. If you are on steroids, or have any problems with your kidneys, it is best to steer clear of licorice root.
3. Use Vaporubs
According to a study at the Penn State College of Medicine, children above 2 years of age had symptomatic relief and could sleep better after applying vaporubs. While the exact reason how vaporubs work remains a mystery, the ingredients such as menthol, camphor and eucalyptus may have a role in relieving congestion.
4. Sleep With the Head Elevated
In some persons, a productive cough results when mucus drips from the back of the nose into the throat. This tends to grow worse at night when the body posture is conducive for such dripping. Sleeping with the head at a higher position helps to reduce such drainage and many people find this position helps reduce coughing at night and improves sleep.
5. Gargle Salt Water
Also a popular remedy for sore throats, salt water can ease the discomfort caused by a cough the same way it helps a sore throat-through osmosis. When the concentration of salt is higher outside of the cells in your mucous membranes, water flows out of the cells to balance everything out. When water leaves the cells, swelling goes down, and discomfort is decreased. If you have a cough that happens to come along with inflamed tissue, this is a good route to take. It can also help dislodge any phlegm that’s hanging out and allow you to expel it easily.
6. Ginger tea
Chop ginger into fine pieces, add into a vessel containing one cup of water. Keep boiling the liquid till the volume reduces to half the original quantity. Strain the liquid, add one teaspoon of honey and drink when warm to give a soothing effect against cough. How does it work? Dr Eccles, Director of Common Cold Centre at the Cardiff University, told netdoctor.co.uk that ginger seems to work by ‘promoting salivation and mucus secretion and will help relieve cough symptoms’.
7. Ginger and tulsi
Ginger in combination with tulsi is also an effective remedy for cough. Crush about 10 leaves of tulsi, mix with juice extracted from a small ginger piece. Add in an equal quantity of honey and mix; swallow about a single teaspoon of this about thrice a day to get relief from cough. Read more about the medicinal properties of tulsi or holy basil. People who don’t mind the strong spicy flavour of pepper can also add some black pepper powder and turmeric into a mixture of ginger juice with honey. When this paste is slowly licked for 10 to 15 minutes thrice a day, it helps reduce congestion in the throat and reduces cough. A simple ginger tea is easy to prepare by boiling ginger with water; then add tea leaves or tea powder, drop in some tulsi leaves and pepper powder, strain and drink for relief from cough.