When seeking natural remedies for cough relief, it's important to ask the right questions. And those questions begin with, "What kind of cough do I have?" because there aren't many "one size fits all remedies, whether natural or otherwise.
Coughs are classified in two different ways. There are wet coughs and dry coughs and you plan of action will be different depending on which kind you have.
Wet Cough Treatment
This yucky kind of cough [aren't they all?] is unmistakable because you spend your day hacking up chest mucus. But this is a good thing, believe it or not. Most over-the-counter remedies try to suppress this kind of coughing but that isn't what you want because you absolutely must get rid of that darned mucus. The cough is your body's way of healing a cold, infection or even the flu.
1. These wet coughs are more common during the colder, damper months so be sure to stay warm. When I have a wet cough I find that it's useful to wear some kind of muffler around my neck (assuming it's chilly, of course – we'd look pretty stupid wearing a muffler at the beach! :-)
2. You can loosen that phlegm, and cough it up more quickly, with warm, moist heat. The shower is wonderful, but of course we can't stay in there forever. Recently my daughter sweated out a ghastly cold & flu by staying in a hot tube for about two hours, reheating the water as it cooled. A wet sauna is obviously quite helpful.
3. Some folks like to add some scent like lavender or eucalyptus. Some people detest the smell of eucalyptus, but I love it and it's great for loosening up the mucus. Simply add a bit of essential oil to your bath. And an important caveat … the artificial scents may cause your congestion to worsen, instead of improve. If you can't use the real thing it's best to have an 'unscented bath'.
4. Since wet coughs often involve infection, consider some foods that will fight infection – like garlic and onion. Raw garlic is excellent, but personally I can't stand eating it that way. If you can, great but if you're wuss like me then add it to soup or stews or other casseroles – but at the last minute. This way the heat won't destroy all the good stuff that fights infection, but it will be palatable. Another way, of course, is to take garlic tablets.
5. If you prefer onions, or want them in addition to the garlic, then a long time natural remedy for onion~cold fighting is to either juice or blend a small to medium sized onion, then add a bit of hot water and some lemon juice and sip this concoction slowly just as you would a cup of tea.
6. Grapes are great "de-toxers" and if you can eat all, or mostly, grapes for a couple of days you will heal sooner. Since they're so easy to digest, your body will be able to rally its forces away from digestion and focus almost exclusively on healing.
Natural Remedies For Dry Coughing
Dry coughing isn't about phlegm and mucus – it's about an irritated throat. It's having that 'tickle' in the back of your throat and you know you're going to cough and you hate it! The more you cough, of course, the more irritated your throat becomes ===> and the more irritated your throat, the more you cough ===> and the more … you get the idea. It's one of those eternal loops until your throat is soothed. Here are four remedies for that welcome relief.
7. Delicious almonds are a good natural remedy and a tasty one to boot – especially as compared with eating raw garlic!!! Soak the almonds for multiple hours or overnight, grind them up and mix with a bit of honey or molasses for sweetening. Take this paste and eat it – put it on bread or cracker, if desired. There are multiple recipes for this dry coughing remedy and most of them insist that we should remove the skins. Personally, I find that to be too much trouble although perhaps it would work better if I'd done that?
8. Honey itself is very soothing. There are many recipes for using honey and what they have in common is that they're all warm and mixed with lemon juice. You can drink this 'as is' or add such spices as turmeric (extremely famous in the Ayurvedic medicine of India], ginger to warm the body or even pepper, believe it or not. I've not tried this last one, though.
9. Make a warm tea with the herb marjoram which is a stress reliever and a relaxant. Obviously, the more calm and peaceful we are, the quicker we will heal from anything – not just dry coughs.
10. You can also find dry cough relief by drinking – and especially, gargling – with raw green juices – especially spinach. The most effective way to do this is with a juicer but if you don't have one then blend the spinach leaves with as little water as possible and then strain out the leaves. The juice won't be nearly as potent, but it's better than no juice. Gargle and then swallow a small amount. Warning: if you've not used to raw juices, you are almost certain to not like raw spinach juice. Adding some carrots or apples to your juice concoction will dramatically improve the taste.
Try some of these natural remedies for cough relief before you reach for the medicine cabinet. Remember: the goal of medicine is to halt the process … and while that might be more comfortable, it's the antithesis of healing, which is what you truly need.