Why do we cough?
Your body has many ways of defending you from the hundreds of bugs that can cause the common cold. One defence mechanism is the production of mucus, a sticky, slimy substance that entraps viruses and bacteria in its slippery layers.
Once these bugs have been captured, the body may try to expel mucus from the respiratory tract by coughing. This is fine if the cough is moderate and productive, but not so great if the cough doesn’t result in the expulsion of catarrh, and continues unabated for ages. It’s thought that lingering coughs can last for up to three months after a common cold which is bound to make life miserable!
Types of cough
In my blog ‘What type of cough do you have?’ I discuss the various types of cough that exist, however, for now here a few of the most common examples.
- Tickly cough – this is usually described as a non-productive cough as it brings up very little mucus. It usually occurs as a result of irritation in the neck and it can be both persistent and annoying.
- Chesty cough – in contrast to a tickly cough, a chesty cough does bring up mucus and usually occurs during a bout of cold or flu.
- Dry cough – this occurs as a result of irritants in the upper respiratory passages such as allergens or viruses and once again it rarely brings up mucus.
Herbs to help – fresh spruce shoots
It goes without saying that a persistent cough will prevent sleep both for yourself and those around you. In these circumstances herbs that help to thin mucus and encourage it to journey up and out of the respiratory tract are very helpful.
Fresh spruce shoots contain a volatile oil that is rich in terpenes, an organic compound that has antiseptic, antibacterial and mucolytic properties. This last feature means it can encourage mucus to become liquid in form and therefore easier to move. However, pine shoots also promote the removal of catarrhal congestion from the lungs.
Alfred Vogel recommended that walkers look out for fresh pine shoots and chew them when rambling. For those of us not out on the pine-covered hills however, it might be easier to find them in Bronchosan Cough Syrup.
This product is made from extracts of freshly harvested pine shoots and is ideal for dry, tickly and irritating coughs. Also, Bronchosan contains honey which not only gives the product a sweet, pleasant taste, but it also soothes the throat.
Herbs to help – ivy and thyme
Other herbs that frequently prove handy for those suffering from a chesty cough are ivy and thyme. When taken together these two herbs thin mucus to make it easier to expel. However, they also ease spasms in the bronchial tube which helps to reduce the amount of coughing the sufferer experiences. Plus, these herbs also ensure that remaining coughs are productive in that they get the clogging catarrh up and out. The result is a swifter end to the cough and a return to peaceful nights and painless throats.
Not sure where to find a reliable cough remedy containing both ivy and thyme? Well, look no further than Bronchoforce!
This product contains liquorice alongside freshly harvested ivy and thyme which work together to tackle the chesty, mucus and catarrh-filled coughs that often accompany colds or flu.
Originally published on 24 September 2013 (updated on 28 September 2018).