An Overview of Coughs

What Is Coughing?

A cough is quite simply your body’s response to irritation or inflammation that is found in a person’s larynx, lungs, throat, or bronchial tubes. When someone has a cough, it’s one of two basic types – dry and congested, and each of them has underlying causes which are different.

Types Of Coughs:

Congested Coughs – Causes

Some of the obvious things that cause coughs are flu, colds, bronchial infections, smoking, sinus congestion, and when someone has something caught in their throat. But a lot of people don’t know that heartburn can also cause coughing. For reasons unknown, heartburn causes about 10% of people who have a chronic cough to cause.  

Other kinds of irritants are pollen, chemicals, and dust. Some drugs, ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure, also cause side effects in about 21% of those who are taking those medications. Coughing can also mean that someone has asthma. The way that your cough sounds might be a clue as to what is causing it. Below you are going to find a list of cough sounds and their possible indicators.

  • Barking cough – croup or bronchitis
  • High pitched cough – narrowed airways and involved vocal cords
  • Wheezing cough – bronchitis and/or asthma
  • Gasping, loud cough accompanied by having a hard time getting air – whooping cough

Tips To Reduce Congested Coughing

  • Breath vaporizer, boiling water, or vaporizer steam. You will get moist air that is going to sooth your airways and loosen phlegm and sinus condition in your lungs and throat. If you add some eucalyptus oil, it’s going to help the process.
  • Elevate your head’s bed. This is going to allow your nasal passages and sinuses to drain a lot better without creating a tickle in the back of your throat.
  • Quit smoking. Passive smoke and other irritants, like chemicals, may be the cause of your cough. New carpeting, mattresses, paneling, and household cleaners are some of the things that can cause chemical irritants.
  • Drink a minimum eight glassfuls of water, of at least eight ounces each. This is important especially if you are coughing because you are sick. Water is the very best expectorant that is available and it’s going to help in thinning the mucus and loosening the cough.
  • Don’t use the expectorant cough medicines that are sold over the counter, because they are just going to suppress your symptoms without addressing the problem. If the cough has mucus, you want it out of your system, you don’t want to suppress it. Instead use one of the natural remedies found below.
  • Try eating spicy things like horseradish and chili peppers. They are going to help loosen the mucus.
  • If it’s during the winter and the air in the house is dry, get yourself a good cool mist vaporizer and a humidifier and use them in the bedroom. This is going to help in thinning the mucus. Make sure that you are cleaning the vaporizer thoroughly because it may harbor bacteria.
  • Drink some hot tea in order to help break up your mucus and open as well as moisten your airways.
  • Hard candy or cough drops is going to help with stopping the tickle for dry coughs, and it will help make the throat moist.
  • Avoid eating food that is going to increase mucus production, like fried foods, meat, and dairy foods.
  • Use hot packs on the chest and throat for a soothing affect.


Using inhaled steam is something that can be quite effective in loosening mucus as well as reducing the amount of irritation. In order to have control over the steam, bend over the pot of the water that is steaming with a towel placed to shield your head. Some of the following aromatherapy oils are good to try. When you inhale essential oils, it can stimulate the lungs to get rid of the phlegm.

  • Cypress – 3 drops of juniper and cypress, and 1 of ginger
  • Cedar – 3 cedar drops diluted in a teaspoon of oil, like sweet almond, jojoba, or olive, and massage this mixture into your chest three times daily. You can also put 10 to 15 drops into boiling water then inhale the resulting steam.
  • Eucalyptus – Add 3 drops to olive, jojoba, or sweet almond oil and rub into chest. You can also put 10 to 15 drops into boiling water then inhale the resulting steam.
  • Jasmine – Use this oil in an oil burner or you can put three drops on your handkerchief then inhale.
  • Myrrh – Add 3 drops to olive, jojoba, or sweet almond oil and rub the mixture into your chest a few times per day..
  • Peppermint Add 3 drops to olive, jojoba, or sweet almond oil and rub the mixture into your chest a few times per day. You can also add 10 to 15 drops to steaming water before inhaling vapors.
  • Pine – Placed in an oil burner, it can soothe your throat. It can also be placed on a cloth before being inhaled.
  • Thyme – 10 to 15 drops of this can be put in boiling water and you can inhale the resulting fumes. It can also be put in an infuser or onto a handkerchief. You can also massage this into your neck and chest. Combine 5 drops with a quarter cup of olive oil and use it on your body.


You can rub the area that is found below the big toe, going out in different directions when you first feel a cough. You can also hold your toes back and pressed on the area that is raised using your thumb. This is going to relieve congestion in the chest.


Vitamins A, E, and C are good with conditions that will cause a cough.

Folk Remedies For Congested Coughs

  • Aloe Vera – Mix some equal amounts of honey and aloe juice – this is good for a cough that is scratchy.
  • Angelica – Use either a leaf or root tincture or make it into a tea. This is an expectorant. If you’re pregnant, don’t use it.
  • Bee Balm – This is something that’s been used by Native Americans for coughs and colds. If you are using fresh bee balm, two teaspoons will be steeped in hot water. If it’s dried, use just one. It should be covered and steeped for four minutes. Sip this three times daily. It has antiseptic compounds that are able to heal the respiratory infections and to clear up nasal congestion.
  • Carrot Juice – Mix the carrot juice with some warm water and honey. Take a teaspoon of this a few times a day.
  • Cayenne Pepper – Mix one quarter to one half teaspoon in some water and gargle it, then swallow. Putting 15 to 20 drops of Tabasco sauce into juice or water is also a good option. The pepper will clear your congestion and draw some blood to your throat to fight the infection.
  • Chamomile tea – This soothes your throat
  • Garlic – Grate a clove or two of this and mix it with a teaspoonful of honey. Take this as needed.
  • Ginger – Use this to make tea and drink six ounces of it as needed a day.
  • Grape Juice – Mix with a teaspoonful of money
  • Honey – Mix the honey with lemon and take it as needed. This sooths the tickle and offers antibacterial properties as well. You can also boil an entire lemon. When the lemon is cool enough for you to touch, roll it on a hard surface, cut the lemon in half, and then squeeze the lemon juice into a full pint of some raw honey. Add a teaspoonful of glycerin, then take as you need it.
  • Horehound – These cough drops have been used for a long time to help quiet coughs. One of the compounds, which is marrubiin, stimulates the bronchial secretions as well as helping to break up your congestion.
  • Hyssop – Take 2 teaspoons of this dried and steep it in a cup of hot, boiling water. Cover it for no less than ten minutes, strain it, then drink it cool to use for expectorant purposes and hot for relieving congestion. The oils are good for respiratory problems that are mild and it contains the same thing as horehound.
  • Lime Juice – Mix some equal parts of honey and lime juice
  • Mullein – This sooths as well as relaxes the bronchial tubes and lungs, which is going to ease your cough. Use 25 to 30 drops of the tincture in a glass of boiling water 3 times daily.
  • Onion broth – Boil the onion 10 to 15 minutes, strain it, then drink the resulting broth three times a day. This is going to reduce congestion.
  • Onion juice – Combine a teaspoonful each of raw juice from an onion and honey, let the mixture stand from 3 to 4 hours, then take in doses that have been divided.
  • Sugar – Suck on raw sugar cubes
  • Tea – Drink tea made with either rosemary or peppermint
  • Thyme – Use 1 tablespoon dried, 2 tablespoons fresh and steep it in a boiling cup of water, covered, for 4 minutes. Strain the tea and drink it hot. It will relax your lungs and promote expectoration of the mucus. The oil in the thyme has antibacterial and antiseptic properties.

Dry Coughs – Causes

Dry coughs are raspy and don’t have any phlegm, and can be because of asthma, foreign matter, dust, pollution, smoking, or because of a previous sore throat. Something else that can cause a dry cough is a building which is climate controlled.

Cooling and heating systems make the air dry and therefore the membranes of a person’s respiratory system as well. Rapid changes in humidity and temperature when you enter the building are likely to add to the problems. Sneezing, runny noses, and chronic coughing may be what results. If you have to work in a building that is climate controlled, you shouldn’t drink or eat cold foods because they are going to affect the ability of your body to maintain the optimal temperature of your body. When it’s hot outside and the air conditioning is on, eat hot foods and drink hot liquids.  

When you’re in a heated building, drink your fluids at the temperature of the room. This is going to sooth your mucus membranes and make sure that your throat is moisturized.

Inhaling steam that has a pan with water and an essential oil which is mentioned earlier in the article will help with a dry cough.

Folk Remedies For Dry Coughs

  • Juice from Aloe Vera – Mix parts that are equal of honey and aloe vera, and take one or two tablespoons as you need them. This is good for a cough from smoking.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar – Sprinkle some of this on your pillow before you go to bed. Put a teaspoon or two into water and keep the glass on your bedside table for when you get that tickling sensation, then take a couple of swallows as you need to. It will dissolve the mucus as well as reduce the inflammation. Mix a half a cup of honey with 3 to 4 tablespoons. Take a tablespoon before you go to bed or when you are coughing, as well as throughout the day. Make sure you stir it very well before you take it.
  • Comfrey – This can be taken as a tea to treat dry coughs which are persistent. It shouldn’t be taken for a long time, though, because it can damage the liver.
  • Codonopsis root – Use a powder, decoction, or tincture for coughs that are chronic.
  • Garlic – Mince cover and put it into a bowl. Cover it with honey before covering with plastic wrap, then let it marinate during the night. When you wake up, take a tablespoon of it and use through the day if you need to.
  • Honey – Add honey to boiling water, then drink when you need it for soothing your throat.
  • Horehound Lozenges – Suck on to suppress dry coughs
  • Licorice root – Take five grams of this powdered with honey as many as three times per day. It can also be made into a decoction with half a teaspoon to a cup of water, taking three cups of it a day. But don’t use it if you suffer from high blood pressure.
  • Tea – Make tea from slippery elm, red clover, or wild cherry bark and use honey to sweeten it.
  • Zinc lozenges


  • Antimonium tart – Use this if it’s a rattling and loose cough and there is very little to no phlegm, and it hurts to breathe.
  • Bryonia – Use this when the cold’s in the chest and the cough is hard and dry
  • Drosera – Use for coughs that have a sound that is like whooping or there is vomiting
  • Ferrun phos – This is good for coughs that are hard and dry and that come with the tickle.

Signs Of Problematic Coughing

If you experience any of these conditions that accompany your cough, you need to see a doctor quickly because it may be an infection. You may also mean that you have something more serious.

  • It doesn’t get better after several days. This can cause a heart attack or fractured ribs.
  • You are coughing up bloody mucus or blood
  • The mucus is brown, green, or yellow and it doesn’t get better after a few days. This means an infection.
  • If you’re coughing for over three days for no reason that you know.

Other signs that there is a problem:

  • Coughing with having trouble breathing
  • Coughing with sharp chest pains
  • Fever that accompanies persistent cough, which could indicate a respiratory illness which is serious. If the fever is high and you can’t breathe well, it may be pneumonia.
  • Chest pain
  • Chills that are persistent
  • Night sweats that are excessive
  • Persistent cough with laryngitis that lasts for longer than 21 days.
  • Earache, tooth pain, sinus pain, headache, skin rash,



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