Sunday, August 18, 2013

Treating Cough Naturally

Our body is designed in such a way that it is able to heal itself naturally in illnesses such as fever, common cold, and cough. Cough (as it is with fever) in itself is not an illness, but an immune response (a symptom) that helps us recover from the illness. It has its place in healing and ideally shouldn't be suppressed. Cough is our body's automatic response when chest congestion sets in. It helps to break out the congestion and move it out of the chest. Many of us, including myself, like to do it the easy way and find over-the-counter medicines to cure our cough fast, especially when we see our little ones in discomfort, but doing so interferes with the body's recovery process, resulting in a longer illness and possibly more serious complications. 

What Can We Do When Cough Sets In?

- Rest. Resting is a must as it gives the body time to recover.

- Sleep Slightly Elevated. This will help to relieve the discomfort of cough.

- Hot Steam for chest congestion or cool moist air to soothe a dry hacking cough.

- Keep Hydrated. Drink plenty of fluids and warm broths to prevent dehydration.

- Gargling with Saltwater. It will speed up the healing of sore throat.

- Essential Oils. Eucalyptus, peppermint, white camphor, and thyme are a few examples that help relieve chest congestion. Mix it with a carrier oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil and rub it on the neck, chest, and back of the body. If you have a diffuser, you can add a few drops of essential oils in it and let the machine run. 

- Herbs. Elderberry, slippery elm, mullein, marshmallow roots, garlic, onion, ginger, and raw honey are natural expectorants that helps to sooth our throat and loosen mucous without the dangerous side effects of over-the-counter medicines.

- Homeopathic Remedy such as this one.

- Avoid Dairy and Refined Carbohydrates. These foods are mucous-producing and immune-suppressing foods and better avoided while in the process of recovering from a cough. I was confused when Elin's pediatrician told me to stop giving her milk and yogurt when she had a cough, but I think it really helped her heal faster.

- Vitamins. Consume immune-boosting foods that are high in vitamin C, zinc, and D (such as cod liver oil).

- Sun Exposure. Our good old sun gives us the most vitamin D that is especially important for our immunity. Our body produces the most vitamin D when the sun is at its highest.

I have been avoiding over-the-counter cough medicines and seek natural alternative remedies outlined above, along with consuming food and herbs that boost our immune system, and I believe this has helped us from getting sick too often, as we used to get before, and when we did have it, I remember that it didn't last as long. But I also know that we can only do so much, the best we can, to be a good steward of our body. Because in the end, our health is in God's hands and we trust in God's sovereign plan and time.

What natural methods have you successfully tried at home to relieve cough and congestion?

Disclaimer: Although I am passionate about healthy and natural living, I am not a certified or a licensed medical practitioner who can counsel anyone in medical issues and cannot be held responsible for any decision you make regarding your health. What I am sharing are what I have learned and applied to my family but may not necessarily work for yours. My only hope is that this blog may encourage you to learn more about healthy and natural living which will hopefully help you as you make decisions for your own family.

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