Cough – How to become active yourself

Cough - How to become active yourself

What to do against cough? Medications such as cough suppressants or expectorants can help stop a cough. However, home remedies such as chest wraps, herbs, and alternative treatment methods such as acupressure are also used to treat coughs. In the following, we will introduce you to the remedies for coughing.

Treat cough – protect the respiratory tract

To stop coughing, you should first rest your airways:

  • Avoid anything that puts extra stress on the mucous membranes in your airways. Do not smoke or avoid smoky rooms.
  • Drink a lot, ideally about three litres of water or tea daily. This makes the bronchial mucus more fluid and makes it easier to cough up.
  • Ensure a pleasant room climate: Overheated and dry air is poison for your bronchial tubes – it is best to set up an air humidifier. Alternatively, you can hang up damp clothes.


Herbs work from the inside and outside.

With herbal teas, you kill two birds with one stone – you ensure sufficient fluid intake and use the healing power of herbs: 

  •  A tea with mallow blossoms or leaves or with buckhorn herb relieves the urge to cough. Tea made from nettle, liquorice, ginger, fennel or anise also has a soothing effect on coughs.
  • Prepare an infusion of eucalyptus leaves, elderberries, or thyme herb to loosen the mucus. Honey not only sweetens the tea but also reduces the mucus.

Medicinal herbs are available loose or ready-mixed in the pharmacy. There, you can also ask about the exact preparation.

Incidentally, you can also use eucalyptus oil externally for embrocations. Or you can take a warm bath with the essential oil; the vapours will soothe your airways. However, a bath with eucalyptus is unsuitable for children, as its vapours can lead to shortness of breath.

Wraps help with coughs.

Neck and chest wraps have already relieved coughing problems in our grandmothers’ generation.

Put on boiled, still warm, mashed potatoes for acute coughs or try the variant with chopped warmed onions. Cover your neck with a thin inner cloth, then place potatoes or onions on a tea towel and carefully wrap the mass around your neck. Another fabric keeps everything in place.

Hot, moist chest wraps help with chronic bronchitis; they loosen the mucus.


Homeopathy and acupressure for cough

Many homoeopathic remedies are recommended for coughs, for example, Bryonia alba (white bryony) for a gradually developing cough with stabbing chest pains, Cuprum metallicum (metallic copper) for prolonged coughing attacks, or Ipecacuanha (Ipecacuanha) for thick phlegm that cannot be coughed up.

Acupressure can also help with coughs. The relevant points, lungs 7, 8 and 9, are located on the side of the wrist, just below the ball of the thumb. Press one or more of these points as hard as you can stand for one to two minutes. If necessary, repeat the process after half an hour.

Cough medicines

There are several drugs for cough with different effects:

  • Cough suppressants  (antitussives) relieve dry, irritable cough symptoms and ensure a peaceful night. However, please do not take them for an extended period as they prevent the phlegm from being coughed up. Active ingredients are, for example, codeine, dextromethorphan or noscapine. There are also herbal preparations made from, for instance, coltsfoot, marshmallow, Icelandic moss or buckhorn.
  • Expectorant drugs (mucolytics) ensure the mucus can be coughed up more quickly. Well-known active ingredients are, for example, acetylcysteine, bromhexine or carbocisteine. Those who prefer an herbal remedy can prepare it with ivy, thyme, eucalyptus, or myrtle.

If there is a bacterial infection, your doctor will prescribe an antibiotic.

Cough – when to see the doctor?

To treat the cough, knowing the (usually harmless) cause and treating the underlying disease is essential. The symptoms typically disappear quickly if you actively support your body in healing.

You should consult a doctor if you have a cough in the following cases:

  • if you do not know why you are coughing
  • if you cough for more than two weeks
  • if you cough up greenish or yellowish sputum or blood
  • if you also get a high fever
  • if you have severe breathing difficulties


How to prevent cough?

Many diseases – including coughs – can be avoided if you keep your immune system fit and follow a few simple rules:

  1. Eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.
  2. Drink two to three litres daily.
  3. If possible, do not smoke.
  4. Strengthen your body with contrast showers or sauna sessions.
  5. Wash your hands frequently if you have been in contact with people with a cold.



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