What causes a cough?
As it is a very common symptom, this blog focuses on how to deal with a cough that is the result of a cold or flu. Viruses of this type are easily passed from one person to the next which is why the issue is so common. However, there are many other reasons for a cough as well, including the following:
As any hayfever sufferer will be aware, a cough can be a nasty symptom of this allergy. Hayfever is caused when the immune system over-reacts to pollen or other allergens such as dust, animal fur and traffic fumes. Large amounts of histamine are produced by the immune system in response to these things which causes problems like inflammation, irritation, swelling, itching and coughing. If you’d like to try a natural and effective treatment for hayfever, our Pollinosan Hayfever Tablets are a really good option. This formula is non-drowsy plus, it can be used alongside other hayfever remedies as well.
If you are suffering from a runny nose without any other symptoms of a cold, this can cause a cough as well. That’s because mucus can drip from the back of the nose into the throat to cause irritation. This cough is usually classed as wet but for some more information on different types of coughs, just have a look at our page ‘A.Vogel Talks Coughs’.
This may seem to be one of the more surprising reasons for a cough but again, for many it is a regular occurrence. There are many things that can contribute to the problem of heartburn including pregnancy, being overweight, stress and smoking. However, it is most commonly experienced after consuming certain food and drinks like coffee, alcohol and spice. If you experience this problem it is advisable to cut down or avoid these things altogether. However, if you’d like some more information on how to treat heartburn, our page ‘Heartburn Treatments’ is the place to start!
Another reason for a cough can be an infection such as bronchitis. However, this is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as a headache, tiredness, achiness and a sore throat so don’t jump straight to the conclusion that this is the cause of your cough! The NHS provides more information on this problem should you want some additional detail.
Finally, I’m sure you know this one already, but there’s no harm in giving you a little reminder! Smoking regularly can result in a persistent and frustrating cough. My advice here would be to cut down or abandon smoking altogether as this will be the most effective way to ease your cough and improve your overall health.
Remember – a cough is very rarely as sign of anything more serious than a cold or flu, or any of the things listed above. However, if your symptoms last longer than three weeks I’d recommend you take a trip to your doctors just to get checked over.
Taste-Happy Ways to Treat a Cough
The physical effects of a cough are well-documented - from headaches to troublesome throats, the problem sometimes goes well beyond the cough itself. If the issue persists you’ll probably find yourself scanning the shelves to find all the possible ways of treating it. Unfortunately, this might leave you feeling fed up and frustrated because these treatments often come with a nasty flavour. It doesn’t have to be this way though as there are plenty of natural, pleasant-tasting cough treatments available.
1) A Warm Lemon and Honey Drink
This is a classic and well-known cough treatment for good reason! Not only is it cheap and effective, its usefulness in treating cold and flu symptoms is also backed up by scientific evidence. A study by Cardiff University’s Common Cold Centre for example, found that a hot drink provided instant relief from cold and flu symptoms such as coughing and sneezing.1 The centre used thirty individuals in their study and, in order to make a comparison, each of these subjects were given a cold drink to see what effect that had on their symptoms as well. The results show that a chilled drink was less effective than a hot drink in reducing their symptoms. Therefore, the belief that a hot drink can help a cold or flu isn’t just folklore!
If you mix a little honey together with some lemon and hot water it creates a comforting drink that will help soothe a throat. Plus, this will ease your cough in a more pleasing way than traditional cough medicines. However, if you still need convincing, about the effectiveness of this cough treatment then perhaps the fact it is endorsed by the NHS will be enough to satisfy you! They state that a warm honey and lemon drink has a similar effect to many cough medicines!2 So, next time you come begin to feel a tickle in your throat, have a look in your cupboards and shelves before running to your local pharmacy!
2) Herbal Tea
With scientific evidence highlighting the effectiveness of hot drinks in fighting cold and flu symptoms, it is no surprise that herbal tea is next on our list of pleasant cough treatments.
As a nation of tea and coffee drinkers, most of us consume a hot drink at least once during the day. Therefore, in order to help your cough just swap your regular brew for a mug of herbal tea instead. There are a variety of flavours available so you can just pick whatever one takes your fancy.
We often find that a sore throat accompanies a cough and so peppermint tea is a good choice during this time because it contains menthol which will cool a sore throat. However, menthol also helps break down mucus so this will help your cough as well.
Alternatively, you could try Jan de Vries’ Refreshing Dutch Herbal Tea. This uses a traditional recipe which contains many different herbs that will help to relieve your cough. What’s more, this unique blend means the tea has an enjoyable taste.
Just like hot drinks, a warm bowl of soup will help soothe an itchy throat. Plus, with many different soups available, you can choose one to suit your own tastes. One of my favourites is our healthy, natural and tasty carrot and ginger soup. This recipe is full of goodness like vitamin A, so not only will it help your cough, it will help your body too as vitamin A helps fight illness and immune system infections that often accompany coughs. I also like the strong flavour that the ginger brings to this soup because, as you are probably aware, a cold or flu can affect our taste buds. However, if this recipe doesn’t take your fancy just check out our recipe ebook for some more ideas.
Echinacea has a long and successful history in treating cold and flu symptoms plus, once again its effectiveness is backed up by scientific evidence. The University of Connecticut’s School of Pharmacy reviewed over a dozen studies on the effects of Echinacea on people’s chances of catching a cold. They found that Echinacea could reduce the risk of someone getting a cold by over 58% and found it reduced the length of a cold as well.3 With all these benefits it would be silly not to try Echinacea when you catch a cold or flu virus!
Our Echinaforce Hot Drink is a licensed herbal remedy made from freshly harvested and organically grown Echinacea and elderberry juice. These ingredients are used within twenty-four hours of harvesting so that they do not lose their effective properties.
This hot drink is a really good option for treating a cough because the warm liquid will help to soothe a troublesome throat. Also, the addition of black elderberry means this is a fresh, pleasant-tasting treatment. What’s more, the drink also helps to fight other cold and flu symptoms that may accompany a cough such as headaches and muscle ache. It is able to do this quickly and effectively due to the active ingredients contained in the product.
5) Flavoured Cough Syrup
If I haven’t given you enough suggestions for natural and tasty cough treatments already then don’t worry as I have another!
Cough syrups are a dependable treatment as they help to ease irritation in the respiratory tract. However, they are often accompanied by side effects like drowsiness and can have a fowl-taste so, as an alternative, you could try Bronchosan. This herbal remedy is made from fresh pine shoots which have anti-inflammatory properties to help treat respiratory problems like coughs. Also, the product contains honey to give it a pleasurable taste - there’s no need to worry about pinching your nose to cover up the flavour of this cough syrup!
It is known that vitamin C, which is found in fruit like oranges and lemons, is an effective treatment for colds and flu because it helps boost the immune system. However, more unusually, there is also evidence to suggest that fruit such as pineapple is helpful in easing coughs.
Pineapple is known as a lytic agent, meaning it thins mucus which can in turn help a cough.4 It also contains bromelain, an enzyme known to break down mucus and reduce swelling. As a result, some people may find that pineapple helps ease a cough, though it does depend on the type of cough you have.
If you’d like to try this more unusual cough treatment it is best that you try fresh pineapple rather than the kind that comes in the form of a sugary drink. You can eat the fruit straight or mix it into a pineapple smoothie if you’d prefer. With this option you’ll be getting one of your five a day and helping your cough!