What’s in a cough? Generally speaking, coughing is perfectly normal. A cough can help to keep your throat clear from phlegm and other irritants. However, sustained coughing can also be symptomatic of a number of conditions, such as an allergy, a viral infection, or a bacterial infection.
Sometimes a cough isn’t due to anything related to your lungs. Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD) can also cause a cough.
You can treat coughs due to colds, allergies, and sinus infections with a number of over-the-counter medicines. Bacterial infections will require antibiotics. However, for those who prefer to avoid chemicals, we’ve listed a few home remedies that can help.
1. Honey: Honey is a time-honored remedy for a sore throat. According to one study, it can also relieve coughs more effectively than over-the-counter medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant.
You can create your own remedy at home by mixing up to 2 teaspoons of honey with herbal tea or warm water and lemon. The honey does the soothing, while the lemon juice can help with congestion. You can also simply eat the honey by the spoonful or spread it on bread for a snack.
2. Probiotics: Probiotics are microorganisms that can provide a host of health benefits. While they don’t relieve a cough directly, they do help to balance your gastrointestinal flora. Gastrointestinal flora are the bacteria that live in your intestines.
This balance can support immune system function throughout the body. Evidence also suggests that Lactobacillus, a bacterium in dairy, can reduce the likelihood of a cold or flu and sensitivity to certain allergens, such as pollen.
Fortified milk is a great source of Lactobacillus. You should be cautious, however, as dairy may make phlegm thicker. You can also purchase probiotic supplements at most health food stores and drug stores. Each supplement manufacturer may have different daily recommended intakes. Probiotics are also added to some yogurt types and are present in miso soup and sourdough breads.