How can I stop my annoying cough?

Although coughs can occur at any time of the year, winter is the peak season for coughs associated with viral or bacterial infections. While a cough helps to protect and clear your respiratory system from irritants and mucus congestion, it can be annoying, not only for you, but for your family and workmates too. An untreated cough will only slow down your recovery process and keep you awake at night, causing your body to become even more rundown.

Types of cough
Coughing is not a voluntary action, it’s an involuntary action. Special cough receptors are located throughout your respiratory system and when irritants or excess mucus stimulate these receptors, an involuntary cough reflex is triggered. Coughs can come in all shapes and sizes too:

  • acute – usually sudden onset and short-lived
  • chronic - usually never quite resolves and is long-lasting
  • dry – no mucus secretions
  •  productive - profuse mucus secretions

Important mechanisms to address for a cough
A cough may be triggered by a variety of mechanisms and these need to be addressed so you can relieve that annoying cough:

  • anti-inflammatory – reduces inflammation and irritation (catarrh) within the respiratory tract
  • antispasmodic – reduces spasms associated with coughing fits
  • bronchodilation – relaxes and dilates the bronchioles to reduce coughing 
  • demulcent – soothes and protects the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract
  • expectorant – helps to loosen and clear mucus congestion
  • mucolytic – thins and liquefies thick mucus, improving clearance from the respiratory tract

Top 5 herbs to help relieve a cough
Here are your top 5 herbs, that not only address the various mechanisms of a cough, they can also provide you with symptomatic relief:

Adhatoda
Adhatoda is an important Ayurvedic respiratory antispasmodic and expectorant herb, traditionally used as a cough remedy and for the relief of fevers. As an expectorant, Adhatoda helps to expel mucus from the chest and respiratory tract to relieve respiratory and chest mucous congestion. See more here: link to Cough Remedy website page Adhatoda provides anti-inflammatory activity with bronchodilation properties that dilate air passages and facilitate breathing. See more here: link to Lung Care website page
Ivy leaf
Ivy leaf is well-known traditional respiratory expectorant and mucolytic. As a mucolytic, Ivy leaf can liquefy very thick mucus making it easier to expel and relieve respiratory and chest mucous congestion. Ivy leaf, as an expectorant cough remedy, helps to relieve coughs. See more here: link to Cough Remedy website page
Marshmallow
Traditionally used for its well-known demulcent activity that exerts a soothing effect by coating the mucous membranes of the respiratory tract, helping to soothe and relieve irritation and inflammation of the upper respiratory tract and throat. Marshmallow is traditionally used as a cough remedy, to soothe and relieve coughs, including dry coughs, and to clear mucus and inflammation of the mucous membranes. See more here: link to Cough Remedy website page
Elecampane

Traditionally used in herbal medicine to assist expectoration, relieve respiratory difficulties such as shortness of breath, for pulmonary, lung and chest complaints, and to strengthen the lungs. See more here: link to Lung Care website page
Licorice
Traditionally used as a demulcent to relieve inflammation and irritation of the mucous surfaces of the lungs, bronchi and respiratory tract and to relieve cough, respiratory catarrh and mucus. See more here: link to Lung Care website page

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