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Quick And Natural Solutions To Stop Persistent Coughs

Quick And Natural Solutions To Stop Persistent Coughs

What exactly causes a cough?

A cough can be part and parcel of a cold or virus, however once the other symptoms go away, a cough can sometimes linger on. Coughing is vital for clearing our throat and breathing passage of foreign particles and mucus. It’s our body’s way of allowing us to breathe more easily and clearly protecting us from anything unwanted getting into our lungs and windpipe. A cough that has stayed with you for more than three weeks should be seen by a doctor and could have a more underlying cause, however, having a stubborn cough can be quite normal and could be caused by allergies, dusty environments, dry air or remnants of a cold.

How do I stop coughing?

Persistent coughs can be extremely irritating and can sometimes feel like they will never go away. Not only is it physically uncomfortable, but the look of annoyance you get when your noisy, unstoppable reflex is the only sound in a quiet room, can be embarrassing and all you want to do is stop coughing. The solution to ridding ourselves of an incessant hack can be found in over-the-counter medicine or cough syrups but for those that prefer to stay away from the chemicals, the alternative can be natural home remedies. Here are ten cheap, quick but effective remedies you can source from home.

1. Honey

A well-known helper when it comes to colds and flu symptoms, honey is a super remedy. It’s antibacterial properties can help rid bad bacteria hanging around in the throat and aid recovery very quickly. The thick stickiness coats the throat and helps relieve any soreness that can develop from constant coughing. A study was done at Penn State College of Medicine that showed honey was more effective than cough medicines when given to children.

How to use it: The best way to use honey as a cough remedy is to have it straight from the spoon as the stickiness will help coat your throat. Try using thicker forms of honey and organic brands if possible. Have 1-3 tablespoons throughout the day when you feel you need the relief.

2. Thyme

Used as a cold and flu remedy, herbalists have been using thyme for centuries. Like honey, the herb is antibacterial as well as spasmolytic which means it helps calm a hacking cough. Not only that but it’s an expectorant which fights off excess mucus – a rather odious side-effect. Thyme, therefore, is a great way of quelling that cough.

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How to use: Infusing thyme in hot water is the most effective way to use this herb for relieving symptoms. Crush a few sprigs into a cup and pour boiling water over it letting it steep for around ten minutes, remove the thyme and drink.

3. Salt water

A persistent cough can start to cause inflammation in the throat and become increasingly uncomfortable. Gargling salt water is a cheap and effective way to eliminate soreness by drawing excess fluid from inflamed tissues in the throat. The act of gargling can also loosen phlegm and mucus clearing the passageway.

How to use: Dissolve one teaspoon of salt into warm water and gargle for ten seconds. Repeat several times throughout the day making sure to rinse your mouth with plain water lessening the amount of salt entering the body.

4. Water for hydration

A sometimes overlooked remedy is making sure you are kept hydrated. Dehydration can help worsen symptoms and slows down your path to recovery. Drinking plenty of water can also loosen mucus and soothe an irritated throat.

How to use: Always keep a cool glass of water with you and drink whenever you can. Drinking herbal or lemon tea counts towards your water intake too and helps stop coughing.

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5. Garlic

It won’t win you any kissing contests but if you’re a fan of garlic and don’t mind the smelly breath it creates, then this could be a good remedy for your irritating cough. Again, garlic is antibacterial and contains antiviral properties. It’s most effective for dry cough due to the presence of an agent called allicin. It also acts as an expectorant so will help bring up any stubborn mucus.

How to use: You’ll be pleased to know that you don’t need to chomp on a clove of garlic for this to work. Add a few cloves to a glass of boiling water and allow them to infuse for 10 minutes. You can drink this straight or add a touch of honey to take away the garlicky taste.

6. Lemons

Along with honey, lemons are probably one of the well-known aids in cold and flu symptoms. In fact, lemons are quite the superfood contributing to all sorts of health benefits. In terms of a cough, its antibacterial properties help to calm soreness and together with honey makes the perfect taste combination.

How to use: The best way of using lemons is to combine a couple of tablespoons of fresh lemon juice with a good tablespoon of honey and stir well. You can always combine any of the other remedies in there with it for a cough-busting combination.

7. Peppermint

Peppermint leaves are well-known for their healing properties. The menthol acts as a decongestant that helps draw out the mucus and soothe the throat, relieving a dry cough.

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How to use: Always use fresh peppermint leaves to get the best goodness. Infuse them in boiling water to make peppermint tea or in a large bowl and use it inhale and steam to release the phlegm in the throat.

8. Steaming with essential oils

As well as using peppermint to steam with, essential oils can work wonders by loosening the mucus and phlegm in the throat. There are many different oils you can use but the most effective when relieving symptoms of coughs is eucalyptus. Along with tea tree oil, it contains anti-inflammatory healing properties which can help soothe inflamed tissue.

How to use: Pour boiling water into a large bowl and add a few drops of essential oil into the water. Leave to infuse for a minute or so and drape a clean towel over your head and shoulders. Take deep breathes directly over the water.

9. Ginger

Ginger is actually commonly found in cough medicines as it’s a natural analgesic which means it helps with pain relief. Its anti-inflammatory properties acts as a cleanser to the respiratory system and helps relieve that stubborn cough.

How to use: To help stop coughing and relieve a dry cough, cut up fresh ginger and add to mug of boiling water. Allow it to infuse for a few minutes. It’s recommended to drink this three times a day for a good effect.

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10. Oregano

Another herb that helps you to stop coughing is oregano. Used widely in the East, it helps with a variety of problems including aches and pains and digestive issues. Oregano is mostly used for bronchial coughs and acts as another expectorant releasing that unwanted phlegm.

How to use: Creating a tea by infusing fresh oregano leaves in boiling water is one way to use this herb. Oregano oil is also a great way to use this natural plant, if you can get your hands on it. A few drops under the tongue can relieve that hacking cough.

Featured photo credit: Breville USA at Flickr via flickr.com

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Jenny Marchal

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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