The 5 Best Natural Remedies for a Cough, According to a Doctor | Livestrong.com

“Honey acts as a cough suppressant and has been found to be as effective as dextromethorphan [a common cough syrup ingredient] and more effective than Benadryl,” Lynn Gershan, MD, medical director of integrative health and wellbeing at University of Minnesota Medical School, tells LIVESTRONG.com. “That is pretty powerful research.”

But that’s not all: “Ginger has a prokinetic effect, meaning it helps move food through your stomach and small intestine,” Dr. Gershan says. If you have a cough due to reflux, ginger might speed up your digestion, making you less likely to regurgitate.

Dr. Gershan points out that if you have a wet cough or your throat feels clogged with phlegm, a sage or thyme gargle is the fastest way to get mucus out of your lungs. “Essential oils in the leaves thin the mucus, and warm fluids help dissolve it,” she says.

  • Fill a tea ball with 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried or finely chopped fresh sage and/or thyme.
  • Place the tea ball in a mug and pour hot water over it. Let it steep for several minutes.
  • Making sure the liquid isn’t too hot, gargle it for about 30 seconds.
  • Repeat as needed.

If you do choose to pop a vitamin when you’re sick, stick to the recommended daily amount: 65 mg of C and 700 mcg of A for adults assigned female at birth; 90mg of C and 9 mgc of A for adults assigned male at birth.

“Think about that sensation of having thick mucus stuck in the back of your throat, and since you can’t cough it out, it keeps irritating you,” Dr. Gershan says. “Drinking something acidic, like pineapple juice, might help thin the mucus so that you can cough it up more easily.”

“It will not suppress a cough,” Dr. Gershan says. “But it is pretty acidic, so it might help loosen congestion.” Plus, because chronic coughing can cause inflammation, it could be a promising method to slash swelling.

As annoying as coughing might be, under normal circumstances it plays an important role in your overall health. According to the American Lung Association, when something irritates your airway — like dust, germs or smoke — your body responds by coughing. This expels the bothersome particles and protects your airway from infection and inflammation.

You heard that right: The gooey slime you’re spitting into the sink actually shields your body from germs. A July 2018 study in ​Nature​ found that mucus acts as an antimicrobial barrier. It helps stave off infection by coating the throat and lungs, making it more difficult for pathogens to take hold.

Your bedroom itself might also be to blame. “If you sleep in a dry environment — say, if you have a forced-air heating system — the lack of humidity might cause you to cough,” Dr. Gershan says. “Plus, sometimes you simply notice a cough more at night because there are fewer distractions.”

This content was originally published here.

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