Generally speaking, coughing is perfectly normal. A cough can help to keep your throat clear from phlegm and other irritants.However, sustained coughing can be symptomatic of a number of conditions, such as an allergy, viral infection, or bacterial infection.Sometimes a cough isn’t due to anything related to your lungs,but may be due to something else. Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also cause a cough.
- Phlegm is more related to a disease than mucus, and can be troublesome for an individual to excrete from his body. Phlegm is a secretion in the human airway during a respiratory disease or inflammation.
- Phlegm usually contains mucus with virus, bacteria, other debris, and sloughed-off inflammatory cells. Once phlegm has been expectorated by a cough it becomes sputum
- Mucus is a normal protective layering around the airway, eye, nasal turbinate, and urogenital tract.
- Mucus is an adhesive viscoelastic gel produced in the airway by submucosal glands and goblet cells and is principally water.
- It also contains high-molecular weight mucous glycoproteins that form linear polymers.
Excessive Phlegm Creation
There are multiple factors that can contribute to an excess of phlegm in the throat or larynx.
- Vocal Abuse : Vocal Abuse is the misuse or overuse of a voice in an unhealthy fashion such as clearing the throat, yelling, screaming, talking loudly, or singing incorrectly.
- Clearing the Throat : Clearing the throat removes or loosens phlegm but the vocal cords hit together causing inflammation and therefore creating more phlegm.
- Yelling/screaming : Yelling and screaming both cause the vocal cords to hit against each other causing inflammation and phlegm.
- Nodules : Excessive yelling, screaming, and incorrect singing as well as other vocal abusive habits can cause vocal nodules.
- Smoking : Smoke is hot, dry, polluted air which dries out the vocal cords. With each breath of smoke taken in, the larynx is polluted with toxins that inhibit it from rehydrating, for about 3 hours. The vocal cords need a fair amount of lubrication and swell from inflammation when they do not have enough of it. When the vocal folds swell and are inflamed, phlegm is often created in an attempt to ease the dryness.
- Illness : During an illness like the flu, cold, and pneumonia, phlegm is created in excess in an attempt to get rid of the bacteria or viral particles within the body. A major illness associated with excess phlegm is acute bronchitis. A major symptom of acute bronchitis is an excess amount of phlegm and is usually caused by a viral infection, and bacterial infections, which are rare.
- Hay Fever, Asthma : In hay fever and asthma, inner lining of bronchioles become inflamed and create an excess amount of phlegm that can clog up air pathways.
Natural Remedies used to treat Cough
Honey is a time-honored remedy for a sore throat. According to one study, it can relieve coughs more effectively than over-the-counter medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant.
You can create your own remedy at home by mixing up to 2 teaspoons of honey with herbal tea or warm water and lemon. The honey does the soothing, while the lemon juice can help with congestion. You can also simply eat the honey by the spoonful or spread it on bread for a snack.
Probiotics are microorganisms that can provide a host of health benefits. While they don’t help in relieving cough directly,but they do help to balance your gastrointestinal flora. Gastrointestinal flora is the environment containing all the bacteria that lives in your intestines.
This balance can support your immune system functions throughout the body. Evidence also suggests that Lactobacillus, a bacterium in dairy, can reduce the likelihood of a cold or flu and sensitivity to certain allergens, such as pollen.
Fortified milk is a great source of Lactobacillus. You should be cautious, however, as a dairy may make phlegm inside you even thicker. You can also purchase probiotic supplements at health food stores and drug stores. Probiotics are also added to some yogurt types and are present in miso soup and sourdough breads.
You don’t usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy, but that’s probably because you’ve never heard of it. There’s evidence to suggest that bromelain — an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples — can help suppress coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. To enjoy the benefits of a pineapple and bromelain, eat a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.It can help relieve sinusitis and allergy-based sinus issues, which can contribute to coughs and mucus. It is also sometimes used to treat inflammation and swelling.
Peppermint leaves are well known for their healing properties. Menthol in peppermint soothes the throat and acts as a decongestant, helping to break down mucus. You can drink peppermint tea or inhale peppermint vapors from a steam bath. To make a steam bath, add 3 or 4 drops of peppermint oil for every 150 milliliters of hot water. Drape a towel over your head, and take deep breaths directly above the water.
Marshmallow is made from Althaea officinalis, a perennial that flowers in summer. The leaves and roots of the herb have been used since ancient times to treat sore throats and suppress coughs. There are no well-controlled studies to support these claims, but the herb is generally considered safe.
The marshmallow herb contains mucilage, which coats the throat and soothes irritation.The warm tea can be soothing to a cough that’s accompanied by a sore throat. Marshmallow root is not recommended for children.
Thyme is used by some for respiratory illnesses. One study suggests that the essence extracted from thyme leaves mixed with ivy can help relieve coughing as well as short-termbronchitis.The leaves contain compounds called flavonoids that relax the throat muscles involved in coughing and lessen the inflammation.
You can make thyme tea at home using 2 teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves and 1 cup of boiling water.
- Medicinal value of turmeric is due to the compound curcumin. There are three different curcuminoids present in turmeric they are diferuloylmethane, demethoxycurcumin and bisdemethoxycurcumin.
- Of the three diferuloylmethane is present in higher amounts and is responsible for the color and medicinal value of this herb. Curcumin serves as an anti-inflammatory agent and also possess anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties.
- These properties of turmeric aid in treatment of bacterial and viral infections such as cough and cold. The anti-inflammatory action of curcumin aids in relieving the chest congestion that develops in people suffering with chronic cough.
- Use of volatile oil extracted from turmeric for cough is also very promising in relieving cough by getting rid of phlegm.
- Ginger is often used to soothe sore throats and reduce coughing, especially those caused by the common cold. In fact, gingerlozenges and other medicinal products are commercially available. Another way ginger can be used to treat coughing, is to add a drop of ginger oil or a few slices of fresh ginger to a bowl of steaming water, which you can inhale so the aromatic vapors can soothe your sore throat.
- Ginger can be combined with hot water, lemon and honey to make an Ayurvedic tea specifically designed to treat a cough and the accompanying sore throat.
- Another recipe for Ginger Tea : Boil one cup of water in a pot on the stove along with 1/8 tsp. of fresh grated ginger and the squeezed juice of half a fresh lemon.After it comes to a boil, pour the contents into a cup and add 1 tbsp. of honey.
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