A cough, one of the most frequent cardiorespiratory symptoms, is a voluntary or natural body reflex to clear the airways. Certain parts of the respiratory system, especially the bronchi and trachea, are particularly sensitive to foreign matter and may trigger coughing.
Pressure in the lungs can build up to 100 mm Hg, explosively expelling air at up to 100 mph. This clears matter from the mucous lining.
Coughs vary from mild to barking and come in two general forms: productive and nonproductive. Productive coughs are those which produce fluid or mucus, and are often caused by lung infections. Nonproductive coughs do not bring up fluid or mucus.
Persistent coughs are those which last for two or more weeks. If this occurs without other respiratory symptoms, disease of another organ is indicated. A cough may be an early sign of congestive heart failure.
The cough reflex is essential to life and therefore should only be suppressed with care since it serves the vital function of clearing the airways. This is especially true of those with chronic lung disease.
Treatment includes cough suppressants which inhibit the cough center in the brain and expectorants which ease the discharge of mucus from the respiratory tract.
Cold Strep throat Influenza Sore throat
Laryngitis Bronchitis Croup Broncheolitis Tracheitis
Pneumonia Lung abscess
Dirt Nasal drip Icy air Insufficient moisture Inhaling food into airway
Aortic aneurysms Pulmonary neoplasms Pulmonary edema Mediastinal tumors Atelectasis Bronchiogenic carcinoma Bronchial asthma Granulomatous endobronchial involvement Foreign bodies Acute or chronic interstitial fibrosis
Irritating gases Chemical fumes Cigarette smoking Occupational lung disorders
Very hot or cold air
Signs & Symptoms
A cough is itself a symptom of another condition. Sometimes coughs are preceded by an itchy throat, but they are always characterized by the rapid expulsion of air from the lungs.
Structure & Function: Immune System Support
No specific recommendations are given.
Several authorities have recommended bee propolis, for example, while honey has traditionally been used to sweeten many other cough preparations.
Garlic, an age old remedy, is now available in the more palatable (to some people) form of capsules, without any after effects.
No diet is specifically prescribed for coughs by the American Dietetics Association.
Barring any underlying health condition, a general healthful diet, such as a Dietary Goals Diet should be followed to provide all the nutrients necessary for building a sound and disease-resistant body.
The addition of fluids, such as tea - black, cola drinks, or fruit juices to the diet will thin the mucus secretion and aid in expectoration.
1. Croupy - Aconitum Napellus tinct. 15C - use hourly for 4 doses
2. Cold air reaction cough (any part of the body exposed to cold) - Hepar sulphuris calcareum .
3. Cold breath reaction cough (every breath) - Rum. crispus tinct. .
4. Dry, Hacking -
Thuja occidentalis 30C or Lachesis mutus tinct. - 30C.
(Nux vomica is also suggested)
5. Hard cough - Causticum
[Hard & Tickling - Phosphorus]
6. Loose cough -
a. Bryonia alba tinct. - (chest pain).
b. Antimonium tartaricum tinct. - rattle, little output - 30C
7. Spasmodic - Ipecacuanha.
8. Tickling - Belladonna tinct. - 30C
[Hard & Tickling - Phosphorus]
9. Violent Cough - Aconitum Napellus tinct.
10. Warm air cough (green catarrh) - Pulsatilla nigricans.
11. Whooping - Drosera rotundifolia tinct. - 6C.
Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.
X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency
Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.
Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.
Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.
Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.
Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.
Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.
Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.
Calc. Phos. clear expectorant with albuminous (egg white) content; Calc. Sulf. loose expectorant with matter, sometimes treaked with blood; Ferr. Phos. First stage, dry, tickling cough no expectorant; Kali Mur. loud, noisy, spasmodic cough; Kali Sulf. Croupy cough, rattling of mucus in chest; Mag. Phos. paroxysms of dry coughing, relieved by hot drinks; Nat. Mur. clear, watery expectorant (also from eyes, nose or mouth); Nat. Sulf. thick, ropy, green expectorant; Silicea chronic cough, yellow-green expectorant;
Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.
Echinacea and Goldenseal have become so popular that wild harvesting has almost exhausted supplies.
The antitussive effect of Licorice Root has been compared to that of codeine.
Marshmallow root is recommended for a "dry" cough.
Myrtle is a major cough prescription in Germany, where it enjoys annual sales in excess of $25 million. Ivy is only slightly less popular, with sales just under $20 million.
Onion provides a simple kitchen remedy. It may be combined with honey and made into a syrup.
Slippery Elm may be used as a spray or gargle.
Wild Cherry helps to suppress a cough.
Coltsfoot (Tussilago farfara), whose botanical name Tussilago means "cough dispeller", is not surprisingly another very popular cough remedy.
Herbalist David Hoffmann recommends a cough tea made of equal parts of mullein, coltsfoot, and licorice.
Red clover is an expectorant and anti-spasmodic especially good for children (over the age of 2) with whooping cough.
Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
Hoffmann, D: The New Holistic Herbal. Element, 1983. Third edition 1990.
Inoue, H et al., Inhibitory effect of glycyrrhetinic acid derivatives on lipoxygenase and prostaglanding synthetase. Chem. & Pharm. Bull. 1986, 34:901.
Aromatherapy - Essential Oils
Angelica Essence Aniseed Essence, Chamomile Essence, Cypress Essence, Eucalyptus Essence, Geranium Essence, Ginger Essence, Hyssop Essence, Lavender Essence, Lemon Essence, Rose Essence, Sandalwood Essence.
Related Health Conditions
Abscess Influenza Aneurysm Laryngitis Asthma Neoplasm Bronchiolitis Pneumonia Bronchitis Smoking Cold Sore throat Croup Strep throat Edema Tumor Infection
Bland, Jeffrey. Nutraerobics. San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1983.
Bland, Jeffrey. Medical Applications of Clinical Nutrition. New Canaan, Conn.: Keats, 1983.
Chang AB et al., Airway hyperresponsiveness and cough-receptor sensitivity in children with recurrent cough. Am J Respir Crit Care Med, 1997 Jun, 155:6, 1935-9.
Chasroff, I.J. & J.W. Ellis. 1983. Family Medical Guide, William Morrow & Company Inc., Pub. 594 pp.
Dales RE et al., Parental reporting of childrens' coughing is biased. Eur J Epidemiol, 1997 Jul, 13:5, 541-5.
Gilron-I et al: Contralateral lung soiling following laser resection of a bronchial tumor.. J-Cardiothorac-Vasc-Anesth. 1994 Oct; 8(5): 567-9.
Guyton, A. C. 1976. Textbook Of Medical Physiology 5th ed. Saunders Pub Co., Philadelphia. 1194 pp.
Hamilton, H. K. ed. 1982. Professional Guide To Diseases Intermed Communications Inc. pub, Springfield, Massachusetts. 1323 pp.
Heikkila-AM et al: Use of medication during pregnancy--a prospective cohort study on use and policy of prescribing.. Ann-Chir-Gynaecol-Suppl. 1994; 208: 80-3.
Humphrey JH et al., Impact of neonatal vitamin A supplementation on infant morbidity and mortality. J Pediatr, 1996 Apr, 128:4, 489-96.
Laukka-MA. et al: Gastroesophageal reflux and chronic cough: which comes first? J-Clin-Gastroenterol. 1994 Sep; 19(2): 100-4.
Maier-SE et al: Brain and cerebrospinal fluid motion: real-time quantification with M-mode MR imaging. Radiology. 1994 Nov; 193(2): 477-83.
Morice-AH et al: Effect of inhaled menthol on citric acid induced cough in normal subjectsThorax. 1994 Oct; 49(10): 1024-6.
Petersdorf, R.G. & R.D. Adams. 1983. Harrison's Principles Of Internal Medicine. 10th ed. McGraw Hill Pub Co., New York. 2212
Rickli-H et al: A Severe inflammatory upper airway stenosis in ulcerative colitis. Eur-Respir-J. 1994 Oct; 7(10): 1899-902.
Sempertegui F et al., Effects of short-term zinc supplementation on cellular immunity, respiratory symptoms, and growth of malnourished Equadorian children. Eur J Clin Nutr, 1996 Jan, 50:1, 42-6.
Subak-Sharpe, G.J. 1984. The Physician's Manual For Patients. Times Books Pub, New York. 607 pp.
Zaman K et al., Association between nutritional status, cell-mediated immune status and acute lower respiratory infections in Bangladeshi children. Eur J Clin Nutr, 1996 May, 50:5, 309-14.
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