If you’re one of the people who gets an annual cold, you know how awful it can be. It seems like everything hurts, from your runny nose to your sore throat to your cough. I get coughs every winter, so this season is no exception – but there are things I can do to help myself feel better and less uncomfortable until it passes. These natural cough remedies have worked for me in the past, and maybe they’ll work for you too!
There are several essential oils, including eucalyptus, thyme, peppermint, lavender, lemon balm, wintergreen and tea tree oil that can be used in a diffuser or rubbed on your chest. You can also add these to baths (always mix with sea salt or baking soda) or create a gentle massage oil that you rub on your chest.
Herbal Teas For Coughing Season
Tea is filled with antioxidants, which are amazing for your immune system. You can enjoy many varieties of herbal tea, or you can stick with a simple black or green variety. Either way, herbal teas provide much-needed hydration for your body, not to mention great flavor! When you’re sick it’s important to stay hydrated. Hot liquids help thin out mucus, making it easier to expel through coughing and sneezing.
Stay Hydrated and Rest When Needed
Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water every day. Keep yourself well-hydrated, especially if you feel like you’re constantly coughing or have a dry throat. In addition, always stay in bed if your cough is keeping you up at night—your body needs time to heal and getting proper rest will help. Not only can a lack of sleep exacerbate cough symptoms, but it’s also dangerous; according to The National Sleep Foundation , people who sleep less than six hours per night are at greater risk for heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure and diabetes. Your body has incredible mechanisms for healing itself, but they won’t work properly if you don’t take care of yourself by sleeping enough during cold season.
In one study, people who used honey on at least five days of a ten-day period had fewer colds than those who used honey less frequently. Taking two teaspoons of manuka honey before bed also helped them sleep better. As with all natural remedies, manuka has no known side effects, so it’s worth a try. (8) Honey might be especially useful in children, who tend to get sick more often than adults do. In another study, researchers found that kids aged three to six were exposed to 60 percent fewer viruses when they used honey-based cough medicine twice daily for two weeks during cold season—compared with using traditional cough medicine just once a day or nothing at all.
Add some probiotics to your diet by including fermented foods (for example, sauerkraut, kefir) or yogurt in your diet. The probiotics in these foods are natural sources of good bacteria that you can have for free! They’re also a healthy addition that can be incorporated into any diet. Just try not to get too carried away with yogurt intake; at about 150 calories per serving, most yogurts aren’t exactly calorie-free. And don’t forget—you need an acidic environment for these guys to survive so make sure you only eat plain unsweetened yogurts.
This herb is a traditional expectorant. A warm ginger bath or a cup of warm ginger tea can help loosen phlegm in your chest, making it easier to cough up. Additionally, a 2008 study published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that inhaling steam with powdered ginger (15 grams) helped reduce cough symptoms more than cough syrups containing codeine in adults with acute upper respiratory tract infections.
The simplest, most tried-and-true method of treating a cough. Mix two teaspoons of salt in an eight-ounce glass of warm water, stir to dissolve and drink through a straw. Take up to three glasses per day. If you can taste the saltiness of the liquid then you’ve done it right. Don’t worry about overdoing it; studies have shown that even gargling with salted water provides benefits when treating a cough due to its antiseptic properties. And unlike other remedies (such as acetaminophen), there are no associated risks—salt is not generally considered harmful in small doses but not enough studies have been conducted regarding its safety or efficacy for pregnant women.