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Coughs are spasmodic irritations of the throat and bronchial passages that have wide variations in depth, severity and frequency. Where there is an infection and the body is trying to expectorate purulent mucus, a cough should never be suppressed but assisted in this function. However, debilitating coughs can be exhausting whatever the type; even a tickle which is unproductive can prevent sleep so some help must be sought. In the run up to the cough, cold and flu season, the focus should be on preparing the immune system and on prevention. One of the best ways to achieve this is with regular and correct hand washing at least 6 times a day. This will ensure few opportunities for viruses and bacteria to transfer on contact.
Foods & herbs for the home
- For a dry, hacking cough with little mucus, consume a lot of raw fruits and juices which will encourage more watery mucus that is easier to shift. To hot water add Onion & Horseradish Concentrate which will warm and 'liquefy' the mucus making it easier to remove when you cough.
- If you produce a lot of pale mucus and suffer congestion, avoid cold fruits and juices and drink warming liquids like garlic and onion soups. Onion & Horseradish Concentrate will bring heat to the circulation as well.
- Herbal teas can provide support and are hydrating drinks that do not add burden to your system in the way that caffeine can do. Breathe & Clear Herbal Tea is both fresh and uplifting.
- Remove wheat and dairy products from your diet while you are unwell because these foods are frequent triggers for excessive mucus production.
- Rest and sleep are two important regenerating activities that may be difficult to achieve with a night-time cough. Assist sleep by eliminating all caffeine drinks and substituting calming herbs such as Evening Peace Herbal Tea.
- As a preventative measure in winter drink homemade or purchased elderberry and elderflower syrup – it encourages perspiration and provides valuable vitamins and minerals. Plan ahead: in June cover elderflowers in vegetable glycerine and keep warm and covered to allow them to macerate. In autumn do likewise with the elderberries and keep well covered. Strain after a week and put in a dark bottle that has been labelled. Take 1 tsp or more at a time diluted in spring water.
- For vulnerable populations it is best to prepare for the season with simple immune-boosting herbs taken early, such as Echinacea Tincture which holds a popular place in preventative management.
- Extra humidity will help your lungs to expand and relax and this can encourage the removal of extra mucus during the acute phase. Use a facial steam bath with essential oils that are warming such as Benzoin, Camphor or White Pine.
- Maintain a clean environment in your home by using products with essential oils that are gentle and highly effective against viruses and bacteria.
- Learn about ways that you can prevent viral and bacterial lung infections by reading Dr Richard Schulze’s book "Healing Colds & Flu Naturally".
- A foot bath of hot water with mustard powder added to it is a great way of heating and sweating which can encourage the body to more speedily remove impurities and toxins. However the individual must be naturally strong; this should certainly not be used if they are underweight or weak.
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