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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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Last Updated on August 15, 2018

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

7 Amazing Things That Will Happen When You Do Plank Every Day

Bodyweight exercises are gaining ground in the fitness world due to the practicality and simplicity of getting in shape using your own body weight. Planks are one form of bodyweight exercises that will never go out of fashion. Planks are one of the most effective exercises you can do. Why? Because they require a small time investment on your part, and offer the chance to achieve substantial results in a relatively short span of time.

Video Summary

Why is it important to train up our core strength?

There are numerous sites and blogs which detail ways to build your core muscles or core strength. Often though, these sites neglect to explain what your core muscles actually are, and why building them is important.

This is quite surprising, as core muscles are quite easy to explain. Your core muscles are a series of muscles in your midsection, and are used in most forms of movement. Though they aren’t housed in your arms or legs, your core muscles can help transfer force from one limb to another, or are used in addition to muscles in your arms or legs to increase their effectiveness. As such a strong core will make a big improvement on your ability to move and exercise further.

Also they are great for helping other muscles in your midsection such as your abdominal muscles. Your abdominal muscles are important for supporting your back and spinal column, and as such are important aids in preventing injuries. However for them to be most effective you need to spend a lot of time developing your core muscles.

In short, planking exercises can make a huge improvement in your muscles down your whole body. Making them a hugely effective exercise to perform.

One Exercise, multiple benefits

There are few forms of exercise as effective at building your core as planking exercises. However, planking exercises benefit far more than just your core strength.

By holding yourself in the position for a planking exercise, you’ll notice that your biceps, neck, and shoulder muscles are also being tested and strained. This this encouraging their buildup and development. This is great news if you like to do press ups, developed shoulder muscles will have a big impact on your press up performance.

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When planking, you are holding yourself up through your arms and biceps and so by holding a planking position, your arm muscles are being toned and developed. Making planking a great alternative exercise to other forms of bicep developing exercises.

Moving down your midsection, successful plank exercises actually develop the muscles in your butt! These muscles tend to be ignored by a lot of exercises, so this is another great benefit of plank exercises.

In much the same way as you develop your biceps and arm muscles, holding the planking position helps develop the muscles in your thighs too.

What is even better is that planking exercises don’t take much time at all. In fact you should probably only spend about ten minutes max per day in the planking exercise.

What will happen when you start doing planks every day

    1. You’ll improve core definition and performance: 

    Planks are an ideal exercise for the abdominal muscles exactly because they engage all major core muscle groups including the transverse abdominus, the rectus abdominusthe external oblique muscle, and the glutes. The importance of strengthening each muscle group cannot be underestimated either, for all of these groups serve their own purpose. If you strengthen these muscle groups you will notice:

    • Transverse abdominis: increased ability to lift heavier weights.
    • Rectus adbominis: improved sports performance, particularly with jumping. This muscle group is also responsible for giving you the renowned six pack look.
    • Oblique muscles: improved capacity for stable side-bending and waist-twisting
    • Glutes: a supported back and a strong, shapely booty.

    2. You’ll decrease your risk of injury in the back and spinal column

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      Doing planks is a type of exercise that allow you to build muscle while also making sure that you are not putting too much pressure on your spine or hips. According to the American Council on Exercise, doing planks regularly not only significantly reduces back pain but it also strengthens your muscles and ensures a strong support for your entire back, especially in the areas around your upper back.

      Check out this article if you would like to find out about how doing planks on different surfaces can impact the effectiveness of this exercise in strengthening your core.

      3. You’ll experience an increased boost to your overall metabolism

        Planking is an excellent way of challenging your entire body because doing them every day will burn more calories than other traditional abdominal exercises, such as crunches or sit-ups. The muscles you strengthen by doing this exercise on a day-to-day basis will ensure that you burn more energy even when sedentary. This is especially important if you are spending the majority of your day sitting in front of a computer. Also, making it a daily 10- to 1 minute home exercise before or after work will not only provide an enhanced metabolic rate but it will also ensure that that metabolic rate remains high all day long, (yes, even while you are asleep).

        4. You’ll significantly improve your posture

          Planking exercises have a great impact and improvement on your posture. This is great news as a strong posture brings with it a huge number of fantastic benefits .

          A good posture keeps your bones and joins in the correct alignment which means both your bones and joints will be better maintained and more healthy, but also means the overall effectiveness of your muscles will be improved.

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          A good posture will ensure your back or spine is in the correct position and so you will suffer less back pain.

          On top of everything, someone with good posture looks better, healthier, and more confident.

          5. You’ll improve overall balance

            Have you ever felt that when you tried standing on one leg, you couldn’t stand up straight for more than a couple of seconds? It’s not because you were drunk- unless you happened to be at the time!-  but rather, it’s because your abdominal muscles weren’t strong enough to give you the balance you needed. Through improving your balance by doing side planks and planks with extensions you will boost your performance in every kind of sporting activity.

            6. You’ll become more flexible than ever before

              Flexibility is a key benefit of doing planks regularly, for this form of exercise expands and stretches all your posterior muscle groups – shouldersshoulder blades, and collarbone – while also stretching your hamstrings, arches of your feet, and toes. With a side plank added in to the mix, you can also work on your oblique muscles. This will provide you with further benefits when it comes to hyper-extending your toes, a movement that is crucial for supporting your body’s weight.

              7. You’ll witness mental benefits

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                Plank exercises have a particular effect on our nerves, making them an excellent means of improving overall mood. How? Well, they stretch out muscle groups that contribute to stress and tension in the body. Just think about it: you are sitting in your chair, at home or at work, all day long; your thigh muscles get tight, your legs get heavy due to being bent for several hours; and tension develops in your shoulders due to being forced to slump forward all day. These are all circumstances that put too stress on the muscles and nerves. The good news is that planks not only calm your brain, but they can also treat anxiety and symptoms of depression– but only if you make it part of your daily routine.

                How to hold a plank position

                1. Get into pushup position on the floor.
                2. Now bend your elbows 90 degrees and rest your weight on your forearms.
                3. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending.
                4. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor.
                5. Hold the position for as long as you can.
                6. Remember to breathe. Inhale and exhale slowly and steadily.
                7. When your form begins to suffer, pull the plug. You’re only benefiting from the plank by actually doing the plank.

                Watch the video if you have any doubt!

                Here is a great infographic that shows the best plank variation exercises to evenly target all abdominal muscle groups:

                  How to improve your plank time gradually

                  1. Start with the easier variation if needed. You can start with a bent-knee plank if you can’t perform a regular plank yet. If you can hold a plank for more than two minutes with ease, you can move on to these tougher variations.
                  2. Practise every day. Space your planking exercise throughout the day and do 3-4 times every day. Try to hold the position 10 seconds longer each time.
                  3. Perform other body-weight exercises at the same time. Push-up and squat will improve your core strength too.

                  Are you ready to devote 5-10 minutes of your day, every day, to stay fit, healthy and, most importantly, strong as a bull? Then jump in and make doing plank exercises a part of your life.

                  Who Should Be Cautious Doing The Plank?

                  You need to be cautious doing Planking exercises if any of these risks apply to you:

                  • Prolapse
                  • After prolapse surgery
                  • Pelvic pain conditions
                  • Weak or poorly functioning pelvic floor muscles
                  • Previous childbirth
                  • Overweight

                  Choose an alternative pelvic floor abdominal exercise or consult your doctor before performing plank regularly.

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