Everything started once upon a time. Smart viruses and bacteria understood that animal breath was a great, cheap way to travel from body to body. When assaulted, the breathing passages would generate a powerful injection of air to kick the invaders out. Straight to another host! Moreover, they would produce mucus to trap the unwelcome guests.
Therefore coughing is a defense mechanism of our body, part of a healing process involving our immune system, which works perfectly against the most common causes of coughing (flu, sinusitis or acute bronchitis) without the need for antibiotics.
Since coughing is a natural protective reflex, suppressing it might be counter-productive, even though we are used to take over-the-counter medicines, like syrups and tablets.
In truth, there is little evidence that the active ingredients of these medicines are effective against coughing. On the contrary, recent researches say that a teaspoon of honey works just as well.
So, as all of this will fade away naturally, what can we naturally do to help this process and feel better?
Drink a lot!
It lessens the sore throat, but it also makes mucus more fluid and therefore easier to expel. Drinking water is sufficient, click here to know what is better for you to drink.
Humidifies the air.
When the air is dry, a sore throat can be annoying.
Boil some water and use the steam to melt and drain the mucus in your nose. The water should not be too hot, otherwise it will burn the mucous membranes.
Wash your nose with saline solution, if the cough is due to cold. It is a cheap and effective solution that works like fumigations.
To prepare the saline solution, mix 240 ml lukewarm distilled water (or boiled tap water), 2,5 g salt, 2,5 g baking soda.
Sugar and candies
You don’t need a balsamic candy, in truth any candy will do, just like a homemade syrup: the viscosity of sugar soothes the mucous membranes and stimulates salivation which keeps the throat moist.
A spoon of honey, also in some hot milk or tea, has many benefits. Honey soothes mucous membranes to lessen the soar throat, calms the cough and helps to sleep.
“Just a spoonful of honey…” may Mary Poppins sing to her ill children. Grandma’s remedies usually confirm their efficacy scientifically. The effect of some honey is comparable, if not better, than dextromethorphan, which is an active ingredient used as couch suppressant in many syrups.
Children can get benefit from honey, especially because over-the-counter medicines usually are not suitable for them. Unfortunately children younger than one year of age can’t eat honey, because of the possible presence of spores of a bacterium, Clostridium Botulinum, which may become toxin in the young instestinal flora of babies.