Coughing is the body’s reflex reaction to clearing the throat when particles such as dust or smoke reach the airways. It makes breathing easier and gets rid of discomfort in the throat. Everyone coughs once in a while, but when it lasts for more than three weeks, it’s time to consider your options on getting relief.
The best remedy will depend on the cause of cough. There are several potential causes of coughs – asthma, bacterial infection, clearing the throat, medication, postnasal drip, respiratory tract infection, smoking, and some serious conditions – to name a few.
Acute cough substantially improves within two weeks, even without medication. Most adults are able to get relief quickly because they know what the best food for cough is. Want to learn how to get better rid of cough naturally? Read on.
- Honey. Honey contains antimicrobial compounds that fight bacteria. Some testimonials state that it restores the immune system. In the ancient times, Egyptians used it to disinfect wounds. Some studies showed that children suffering from night time coughing got better results from drinking it rather than a specific medication. Parents swear by honey, and if you want to try it for yourself, all you need to do is add a teaspoon to your favorite hot tea or warm water or milk.
- Salt water. Salt water is one of the easiest ingredients you’ll need to get relief because it’s always available in your kitchen. You simply need to make a gargle solution out of it by adding half a teaspoon of it to a cup of warm water. Mix well until combined, and let it cool for a few seconds, before gargling it. Do this three times a day and see improvement in days.
- Hot steam. Steamtherapy helps in clearing mucus built in nasal passages and throat. The warm air, when inhaled, helps reduce pain in the throat. There are several ways of doing steam therapy. Firstly, you can turn on the hot shower and close your bathroom door to let it fill with steam. And then sit inside for a few minutes until you feel better. Secondly, prepare a bowl and fill it with hot water. Place a towel over your head and lean into the bowl for at least five minutes. And lastly, you can use a steam vaporizer.
- Garlic. Garlic has been proven to be beneficial not only for cough but also other medical conditions. Its antibacterial property has improved many conditions for centuries and up to this present day. Studies show that people with more intake of garlic recovered earlier than the ones who don’t and they didn’t get sick more often than the others. If you want to try this remedy, simply add it to your favorite broth or soup.
- Ginger. Many people are aware of ginger’s anti-nausea effect. This is why many pregnant women swear by it. They use it to treat their morning sickness. But any sick person would benefit from it, especially if nausea is a symptom they’re fighting. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory property may help with dry cough. All you have to do is add more of it and incorporate it in your food or make a tea by boiling a few slices.
- Chicken soup. This is a common comfort food for cough. People just get better after eating, and it’s because a chicken soup contains more nutrients than we know. It has amino acids, calories, electrolytes, minerals, protein, and vitamins, which are all good for hydration and recovery. It also produces steam, which helps in loosening the mucus.
- Fluids. You already know that water is good for your body. But it’s more important now if you’re experiencing a cough. Water therapy helps in hydration, and you need it now more than ever. Increasing fluid intake will help in alleviating the symptoms. Apart from water, you can also try other fluids for variety, such as broth, coconut water, decaffeinated or herbal tea, and warm fruit juice.
- Fruits. These have several vitamins and minerals that are good for overall health, and very beneficial in relieving the symptoms of cough. A banana is a great comfort food when you’re feeling sick, but its content is very helpful when you’re feeling nausea. Berries have properties that boost the immune system. Apple’s fruit juices have strong antibacterial effects. If you mix all these with your oatmeal, you’ve got a full-packed healthy meal.
- Thyme. Thyme is a very popular ingredient used all around the world. It’s not only common in the healthy industry, but it’s also used in the cosmetics industry. Thyme has a lot of medical purposes, and one of them is relieving coughs. According to studies, people suffering from acute bronchitis were able to get better more quickly with the help of thyme leaves. Try this remedy by mixing it with a cup of warm water.
- Spicy food. Capsaicin is an ingredient found in spicy foods or chili fruits. This ingredient is effective in clearing the nasal passages because people often get a runny nose after eating them. Some studies also show that people suffering from chronic cough are numb to irritation. Don’t try this remedy if you’re suffering from acid reflux as it may worsen the symptoms.
Wayne Probert is a senior reporter at Zobuz, covering state and national politics, and he is a grantee with the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. Before joining Zobuz, he worked as a freelance journalist in Kentucky, having been published by dozens of outlets including NPR, the Center for Media.