Lately, many people I know seem to be having a bad cough. Maybe it’s because of the cool weather we’ve been having, or perhaps there’s a virus going around. Whatever the reason, a cough is certainly something no one wants to have.
Over the years, I’ve discovered a few home remedies that alleviate the coughing and congestion that come with this ailment. I prefer using these, sometimes, to taking cough medicines, which may have side effects. They’re especially helpful at night, when a cough seems to get worse. They have helped me and my family find relief from nighttime coughing.
Here, some down-home remedies to try:
Steep a tea bag (preferably one that’s caffeine-free) in a cup of boiling water for one to two minutes. Remove the tea bag. Add one tablespoon honey and one to two tablespoons lemon or calamansi juice. Sip the tea slowly while the liquid is still hot (but not burning hot). This is especially soothing at bedtime, but you can do it any time of the day (honey has been shown to have curative powers).
Dissolve one cough lozenge (such as Strepsils) in a cup of very hot water. Stir well before drinking. The medicinal ingredients in the lozenge seem to be more effective when drunk in liquid form (perhaps because they’re better absorbed) and help quiet persistent coughing.
In the absence of a cough lozenge, you can even use menthol candy. I’ve tried Fisherman’s Friend, Storck, and even Valda Pastilles (easily available in supermarkets, drugstores and groceries), and they’ve all helped somewhat. Preferably use candy that contains eucalyptus, which has medicinal properties. Dissolve the candy in a cup of very hot water. Stir well before drinking.
Someone posted this tip on Facebook, and it may well be worth a try, especially for children: Before sleeping, pat some Vicks VapoRub all over the soles of your feet (or your child’s feet). Cover the feet with socks. The person who posted this on FB says it works like magic to stop the coughing.
P.S. In addition, you may want to rub Vicks VapoRub on the chest and the back. It helps to relieve congestion and soothe the chest. Maybe it’s because Vicks contains camphor, menthol and eucalyptus oil.
And speaking of Vicks VapoRub, here’s another way it helps relieve cough and cold symptoms: Boil some water in a large pot. When the water is steaming, remove the pot from the stove and transfer to a table (put a trivet or a protective pad underneath the hot pot). Carefully put some Vicks VapoRub into the hot water and stir the liquid. Inhale the steam that emerges, but don’t get too close to the pot of hot water so your eyes don’t sting (you may also want to close your eyes when you do this, just make sure you have someone nearby to guide you). The steam helps to loosen the mucus in your chest and relieves congestion.
Here’s hoping we all get less coughs and less colds in the year 2014.
For more tips, recipes and stories, visit the author’s blog www.normachikiamco.com, and Facebook fan page www.facebook.com/normachikiamco. Follow on Twitter @NormaChikiamco.