A persistent, bad cough caused due to the winter virus can take a toll on a person’s health and well-being. Constant coughing can hurt the chest and can also make the sufferer feel weary and drained out. Moreover, a bad and lingering cough can also adversely affect the sufferer’s daily activities by interrupting the sleep and work schedules.
Coughing, in general, is considered a normal and healthy reflex that can clear irritants and infections from the body. There can be several causes of cough including an allergy or infection, cold, acid reflux, and the use of blood pressure drugs or other medications. During the winter season, cough is often caused by a virus and can be very annoying because it may continue for a prolonged period. To relieve a bad cough and the resultant congestion in winters, people generally depend on steam inhalation, salt-water gargles, and other easy home treatment methods.
From the Ayurvedic perspective, cough is a common ailment that is described as ‘Kasa.’ It is considered a Kapha disorder which starts with vitiation of Apana Vayu in the Purishavaha srota (large intestine). The most common cause, as per Ayurvedic texts, is the accumulation of mucus in the respiratory tract. The treatment of cough in Ayurveda is to eliminate the exact cause behind the ailment with the help of natural remedies.
Home Remedies for Bad Cough
Since the winter virus increases the incidences of prolonged and persistent cough, it is advisable to use some effective organic home remedies to treat the condition. Some of the time-tested and beneficial Home Remedies for Bad Cough have been listed below.
Ginger is widely known for its anti-inflammatory properties which can relieve a bad cough, reduce throat pain, and manage nausea. The anti-inflammatory compounds present in ginger can treat cough by relaxing the membranes in the airways.
How to Take
To soothe a bad cough, ginger tea can be prepared by brewing a few ginger slices in a cup of hot water and steeping them for some time before straining. Ginger tea can be taken with honey or lemon juice for enhanced taste.
The use of honey can also reduce coughing when taken regularly once or twice a day, till coughing subsides. Honey is considered an effective cure for bad cough due to the winter virus because of its cough-suppressant capabilities.
How to Take
The consumption of herbal tea with honey is an excellent organic home remedy for cough because it can reduce coughing more effectively than some of the over-the-counter cough-suppressing medications.
The healing actions of peppermint leaves are beneficial in managing a bad cough caused due to winter virus. The presence of ‘menthol’ in peppermint acts as a powerful decongestant that can soothe the throat and break down mucus.
How to Take
To benefit from this remedy, people suffering from a bad cough can either drink peppermint tea or inhale peppermint vapors. Alternatively, the use of peppermint oil for making a steam bath is also useful for relieving cough.
4.Consumption of Infection-Fighting Foods
People suffering from bad cough due to the winter virus should add infection-fighting foods to their daily diet. Some of these foods – known for antibiotic and/or anti-diarrhea effects – include:
- Fruits like bananas, blueberries, and cranberries
- Vitamin C-rich foods like bell peppers
- Vegetables like carrots (because they contain beta-carotene)
- Chili peppers (because they can help break up mucus in the lungs)
- Mustard (as it has the ability to break up mucus in air passages)
- Onions (because they can treat bronchitis and other infections due to the presence of phytochemicals)
- Black tea or green tea (because they contain ‘catechin’ phytochemical which has antibiotic properties).
5.Consumption of Spicy Foods
The consumption of spicy foods like hot peppers is also an excellent organic home remedy for managing a bad cough that does not go away easily during the winter season. Spicy foods can provide relief from cough by clearing congestion and improving circulation. In addition, spicy foods also have a nasal-clearing effect and can improve overall health.
6.Intake of Foods Rich in Vitamin C
Vitamin C has the proven ability to treat illnesses like cough and cold. The intake of foods that contain abundant amounts of Vitamin C can shorten the duration of viral illnesses as well as strengthen the immune system by eliminating free radicals. Some of the common fruits and vegetables that are rich in Vitamin C are oranges, broccoli, and red peppers.
7.Intake of Foods Rich in Probiotics
Probiotics are microorganisms that can provide immense health benefits by balancing the gastrointestinal flora – the bacteria (like Lactobacillus) that thrives in the intestines – and boosting the immune system. Probiotic-rich foods can lower a person’s sensitivity to cough, cold/flu, and other viral infections. Some of the probiotic-rich foods which can ward off a bad cough or cold include natural yogurt, miso soup, and sourdough bread.
8.Increased Intake of Fluids
Persistent bad cough resulting from the winter virus can also be managed by increasing the intake of fluids to stay adequately hydrated and prevent dehydration. The consumption of fluids, particularly hot beverages, can be beneficial in relieving sore throat, chills, fever, runny nose, fatigue, and other symptoms of cough, cold or flu.
Some of The Hot Beverages/Fluids That can Provide Relief From a Cough Are
- Warm water
- Warm fruit juices
- Herbal teas
- Decaffeinated black tea
- Clear broths.
9.Use of Eucalyptus Oil
Eucalyptus oil contains beneficial cough-relieving properties due to the presence of compounds like ‘cineole’ which can fight infections caused due to viruses, bacteria, and fungi. People suffering from a bad cough can inhale the steam of a few drops of eucalyptus oil added to a bowl of hot water. Inhaling the steam for a few minutes, two times a day, can treat viral infections and manage cough, headaches, mucous overflow, and stuffy nose.
A bad, persistent cough caused by the winter virus can be managed effectively by using the above-mentioned organic home remedies. These remedies are extremely beneficial for relieving the symptoms of cough and cold and soothing the throat. However, people suffering from a bad cough should seek medical help if the cough persists for a few weeks and is accompanied by some serious symptoms like:
- Yellow/green phlegm
- High fever (more than 102°F)
- Weakness or constant fatigue
- Fever lasts for more than three days.
Dr. Vikram Chauhan (MD-Ayurvedic Medicine) is an expert Ayurveda consultant in Chandigarh (India). He has vast experience of herbs and their applied uses. He has successfully treated numerous patients suffering from various ailments, throughout the world. He is CEO and Founder of Krishna Herbal Company and Planet Ayurveda in Chandigarh, India. He researched age old formulas from ancient Ayurvedic text books to restore health and save human beings from the worst side-effects of chemical based treatments.