Christmas might be over but the cold and flu season is here to stay, at least for another couple of months. With outbreaks of flu continuing to pester the nation, I imagine many of you will have felt a dry, tickly irritation sensation in your throat and found yourself persistently coughing. In some cases, an irritating cough can linger long after all other symptoms have subsided. So what can you do about it?
Well the good news is that there are plenty of natural remedies that can help to ease a cough, from traditional home remedies to gentle herbal supplements.
1 – Get plenty of rest
It doesn’t matter whether you’re running around after your family or anxious about your impending workload, the point is that many of us don’t take enough time to recuperate, choosing to dive back into our normal routines at short notice.
However, forcing yourself to be active when you should be resting can make your immune system vulnerable to secondary infections, which, guess what, may mean you have to take even more time out from your usual responsibilities. Not to mention, it’s unlikely your co-workers will thank you for your generosity when it comes to sharing your germs with them.
Instead, try to rest at home and create a comfortable environment to recover in. Don’t feel guilty for taking some time out or prioritising your own needs first!
2 – Support your immune system
If your cough is lingering after a nasty bout of the cold or flu then your immune system may need some support. Getting plenty of rest is a good first step but it’s important you consider factors such as your stress levels and diet. Stress and anxiety can weaken your immune system unnecessarily and make you feel even more fatigued while your diet can be a vital support tool.
Eating plenty of fruit and veg will ensure that your body is getting all the nutrients it needs during this difficult time so colourful soups and super-green smoothies should be a priority! Vitamin C is particularly important for your immune system, so you might want to consider a supplement, like A.Vogel’s Nature C Tablets which are completely vegan-friendly and provide a natural form of vitamin C that’s easily absorbed by your digestive system.
However, when it comes to herbal remedies, you can’t beat Echinaforce. Another A.Vogel remedy that utilises Echinacea, a herb traditionally associated with immune support (research has even indicated that it may be effective for decreasing the severity of cold symptoms!). You can take Echinaforce in tablet or tincture form, as well as a hot drink, although I’d personally recommend tincture as it’s more readily absorbed!
3 – Drink plenty of fluids
Dehydration is never good news, particularly for your immune system so try to keep hydrated. Drinking plenty of plain water will even help to thin out excess mucus which will help to relieve your cough symptoms. Water is also a good idea if you’re in an environment where the central heating is cranked up. All of that hot, dry air will irritate your mucus membranes, which may make your cough worse.
It’s also thought that drinking a hot drink before bed may help you if you experience a cough during the night. Honey and lemon is an old classic – the honey helps to soothe any inflammation while the lemon provides a good dose of vitamin C! However, other de-caffeinated herbal teas might also help to relax you before bed. Pukka’s Night Time blend offers a calming infusion of lavender, oat flower and valerian, to help you unwind before bedtime.
4 – Think about your environment
As I mentioned earlier, if you have a persistent cough you really need to consider your environment. Since it’s the middle of winter, most of you probably have your central heating cranked up to max – not that I can blame you! However, this influx of dry, hot air isn’t doing your mucus membranes any favours so it might be time to consider adding some humidity to environment.
This is where a humidifier comes into the picture, however, some care will be required. Air that is too damp can be just as detrimental as dry air, not to mention that if you don’t clean your humidifier properly, they can become the perfect breeding ground for mould, which you’re then pumping into the air surrounding you – yuck!
Smoking, as most of you are probably aware, won’t be doing any wonders for your cough, even if it is just second hand smoke. You might also want to consider how you sleep at night too. Sometimes lying down at night can cause mucus to flow backwards and forwards, irritating your throat. Elevating your head with a couple of extra pillows might help to alleviate this problem.
5 – Try some cough remedies
Cough remedies can be a great weapon to have in your arsenal for arming you against coughs, whether they’re dry and irritating or chesty. In instances of a dry, persistently tickly cough, I’d turn to A.Vogel’s Cough Spray.Containing extracts of mullein and marshmallow (not to be confused with the stuff you have with your hot chocolate!) this spray helps to protect your throat by creating a protective film. It also reduces irritation in the tissues and membranes, providing rapid relief.
What if you have a chesty cough? Don’t worry. A.Vogel have got you covered with their fantastic Bronchoforce Chesty Cough Oral Drops. Infused with soothing liquorice root and a combination of ivy and thyme, it helps to lift mucus from the respiratory tract, making it easier for your body to expel it. Just be careful though, Bronchoforce may not be suitable if you suffer from asthma or are using another product that already contains liquorice!