Cough and catarrh are mechanisms the body uses to get rid of irritants and infections, but they can be annoying and can cause discomfort. There are different causes of cough and catarrh such as infections and allergies; and the best way to treat these depends on the cause.
For people who prefer to use natural/home remedies to treat or soothe their cough and catarrh, there are several remedies that you can use to improve the condition, and most of them have been proven to be effective.
Catarrh is an accumulation of mucus in the nose, throat and airway. Catarrh is usually caused by the immune system’s reaction to an infection or irritation, which causes the lining of your nose and throat to become inflamed or swollen and produce mucus.
it mostly affects the nose, throat or sinuses resulting to a
• runny, stuffy or blocked nose
• reduced sense of taste and smell
• itchy throat and persistent cough
What causes catarrh?
Catarrh can be triggered by:
• Viral infection such as common cold and flu
• allergic rhinitis, which is the inflammation of the nose caused by an allergen such as pollen and dust.
• non-allergic rhinitis occurs when the nose is inflamed but not as a result of any allergic reaction
• nasal polyps: a soft, painless growth in the nose.
• Environmental factors such as a change in weather or being in an environment where there are irritants such as fumes or smoke can trigger catarrh.
• Hormonal changes: changes in hormones that may occur due to puberty, pregnancy, or as a result of using oral contraceptives may trigger catarrh.
A cough is an action the body takes when the airways are irritated to clear or get rid of substances irritating the airways.
The causes of cough can be divided into two:
1. Infection, which includes;
• Viral upper respiratory tract infections such as common cold
• Sinus infections.
• Acute bronchitis
• Whooping cough.
2. Other causes of cough include:
• Flare-ups of chronic conditions such as chronic bronchitis.
• Environmental irritants such as smoke, chemicals and dust.
Home Remedies for Cough and Catarrh
Here are some of the home remedies you can use to relieve your cough and catarrh:
• Honey tea: taking a tablespoon of honey once or twice daily or adding honey into warm water or tea can help soothe cough by coating the lining of the throat.
A study carried out with 105 subjects aged 2 to 18 with nocturnal night cough associated with upper respiratory tract infections revealed that honey provides more significant relief from coughing than dextromethorphan.
Honey should not be given to children below the age of 1.
• Pineapple: pineapple contains bromelain, an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties abundant in the core of pineapple fruits. Bromelain has mucolytic properties meaning it can break down and remove mucus from the body. Aside from taking pineapples, bromelain supplements are also available over the counter.
• Ginger and ginger tea: ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, which may help relieve dry/asthmatic cough, according to a study. The anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can help relax the airways, which relieves cough. Cooking with ginger or brewing it into an herbal tea can strengthen and relax your respiratory tract, which can help to alleviate cough. To brew a cup of ginger tea, add 20 to 40g of a fresh ginger slice into a cup of hot water and steep for a few minutes. You can also add honey to improve the taste and further relieve the cough.
• Stay hydrated: cough and catarrh can make you dehydrated. A study reveals that taking fluids at room temperature or hot beverages can help to provide immediate relief for sneezing, cough and catarrh.
Taking fluids like tea, warm water, fruit juice, and chicken soup can help to keep you hydrated, soothe your throat, break up congestions and boost your immune system to fight infection.
• Steam: breathing in some steam can help to loosen up the mucus. You can also add menthol or eucalyptus oil to the hot water.
• Gargling warm salt water: this home remedy is simple and affordable. Just add some salt into warm water and gargle with it for about 30 seconds.
• Thyme: aside from its use for culinary purposes, thyme can be used medicinally as a home remedy to alleviate cough and catarrh as it has antibacterial and antiviral properties. It contains thymol and carvacrol, which acts as expectorants and antispasmodics. A study carried out on people with acute bronchitis reveals that a cough syrup consisting of thyme and ivy leaves is more effective in relieving cough than placebo syrup
• Pepper: eating spicy food containing capsaicin such as chili pepper can help reduce nasal congestion, cough, and catarrh, which are a result of allergies or rhinitis.
If you intend to use natural/home remedies for cough and catarrh, note that they may interfere with other medications, resulting in unwanted side effects.
It is also essential to seek medical advice if the cough and catarrh persist for more than a few weeks, if it is severe or if it is accompanied by:
• Tiredness or weakness
• A foul-smelling yellow or green phlegm
Cough and catarrh becomes a medical emergency if you have:
• Difficulty in breathing
• Chest pain
• Coughing up blood
Cough and catarrh are triggered by different factors and can affect adults and children.
Typically, both cough and catarrh do go away on their own after a few days to a few weeks. The symptoms can be alleviated by using home remedies such as gargling with saline water, taking more fluids and herbal teas made of ginger, honey or thyme.
In the case of a chronic or persistent cough and catarrh that does not seem to be improving but is getting worse, See a Doctor a doctor to determine the underlying cause and get proper treatment.