About the Illness

Coughing is not a sickness in itself, but a sign of many different sicknesses that can affect the throat, lungs, or bronchi (the network of air tubes going into the lungs).
Coughing is the body's way of cleaning the breathing system and getting rid of phlegm (mucus with pus) and germs in the throat or lungs. If you have a cough you should find out what is causing it and treat the cause.




Common Symptoms

Dry cough with little or no phlegm:
Cold or flu, measles, worms (when they pass through the lungs).
Cough with much or little phlegm:
Asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia.
Cough with a wheeze or whoop and trouble breathing:
Asthma, whooping cough, something stuck in throat.
Chronic or persistent cough:
Asthma, chronic bronchitis, tuberculosis.
Coughing up blood:
Pneumonia (yellow, green or blood-streaked phlegm), tuberculosis, severe worm infection.




Children's Issues

N/A



Important Information

You should seek professional help immediately if:

  • Your cough is worsening and treatments don't help, especially if it lasts more than 14 days.
  • You are coughing blood.
  • Your cough is accompanied by high temperature and cold shivers.
  • Your cough is accompanied by breathing difficulties.
  • Your cough is accompanied by tiredness and loss of appetite (you may have TB).




Herbal Therapy

Loosen the mucus by drinking one of the following hot teas as often as you like throughout the day:
Lemon Leaf Tea Boil a few leaves in water and drink.             



Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:Kids
Lemon & Ginger Tea Cut 1 whole lemon and 1 piece of ginger root. Cut both into pieces and bring to the boil. Allow to cool to lukewarm, add 2 tbsp honey.


Tea/Decoction
 
This is a good method for extracting substances from thick leaves, roots or bark.  
  • Boil 1 handful of plant material together with 1 ltr of water for about 20 minutes.  
  • Try to use a clay pot or stainless steel saucepan. Do NOT use aluminium saucepans as they can react adversely with the medicine.
  • Prepare a fresh decoction every day.  
  • If you need to sweeten the decoction, use honey instead of sugar because honey has more medicinal value than sugar.

[Tea/Decoction]
Good for:Careful for kids
Spiced Tea Take ginger, black pepper corn, cloves and cinnamon and bring to the boil. Then add tea leaves, honey and a small amount of milk to taste.


Infusion
 
  • Boil water and pour over herbs.  
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes.  
  • Filter through a clean cloth and use within 1 day.

[Infusion]
Good for:Careful for kids
Ginger, Garlic, Lemon & Cinnamon Infusion Add crushed ginger and garlic, cinnamon, honey and a whole lemon cut into pieces to boiling water. Allow to sit for a minute or so before drinking.         


Infusion
 
  • Boil water and pour over herbs.  
  • Leave for 5-10 minutes.  
  • Filter through a clean cloth and use within 1 day.

[Infusion]
Good for:Careful for kids
Try relieving the strain from coughing by taking steam inhalations twice a day.
Eucalyptus Place a handful of fresh leaves in a saucepan of boiling water. Inhale the steam OR use eucalyptus oil extract in boiling water and inhale the steam.             
Clematis hirsuta Prepare as above.                         
Zanthoxylum chalybeum Prepare as above.



Steam Inhalation
 
  • Boil the medicinal herbs in a pot, or add a few drops of medicinal oil to a pot of boiling water.  
  • Sit the patient on a chair or at the edge of the bed and place the pot at their feet.  
  • Cover the entire head and body with a sheet or blanket with the pot inside it.  
  • Let the patient take deep slow breaths to inhale the medicinal steam.  
  • Reheat or add more medicine as needed.  
  • Babies and small children should be placed under the sheet with the care giver and allowed to breathe just a few breaths. Then take them out and let them breathe fresh air for a minute or so before putting them back under the sheet for another few breaths.

[Steam Inhalation]
Good for:All
You can also relieve coughing with one of the following cough syrups:
Maize Cob Ash Filtrate Take 1 tbsp filtrate 3x daily (10-16 yrs: 1 tbsp 3x daily; up to 10 yrs: 1 tsp 3x daily).



Ash Filtrate
 
  • Take a clean 1 ltr tin and pierce the bottom with several small holes.
  • Half fill the tin with ash and then push down so it is compact.
  • Place the tin on top of another clean container (at least 1 ltr).
  • Fill the tin with water all the way to the top and allow it to filter through the ash into the container underneath.
  • Once all the water is gone, fill the container to the top again and allow the refill to filter through.
  • Throw the ash away. If you need more filtrate, start again with a fresh supply of ash.

[Ash Filtrate]
Good for:Kids
Lemon with Filtrate Cut a whole lemon into pieces then boil in a filtrate made from banana/bean ash. Take 1 tbsp 3x daily (All children: 1 tsp 3x daily).


Ash Filtrate
 
  • Take a clean 1 ltr tin and pierce the bottom with several small holes.
  • Half fill the tin with ash and then push down so it is compact.
  • Place the tin on top of another clean container (at least 1 ltr).
  • Fill the tin with water all the way to the top and allow it to filter through the ash into the container underneath.
  • Once all the water is gone, fill the container to the top again and allow the refill to filter through.
  • Throw the ash away. If you need more filtrate, start again with a fresh supply of ash.

[Ash Filtrate]
Good for:Kids

Food and Nutrition Advice

  • Drink lots of warm water and liquids. This loosens mucus better than any medicine.
  • Avoid all mucus-forming foods (dairy products, eggs and wheat).
  • Avoid omena, maize and sugary foods which make coughs worse.
  • Eat foods that will loosen the mucus (spinach, horseradish and red pepper).




Body Work and General Advice

You can try this breathing technique to help relieve a coughing fit:

  • Sit up straight, fold/cross your arms, holding your elbows with the opposite hand; hold your arms out in front of you at breast height; hold your breath and then start breathing again. This will stop shallow breathing and help you breathe deeply instead.