Natural Remedies for Coughing and COPD

Javeria Usmani

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June 28, 2022
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Are you in search of ways to manage coughing or COPD naturally? You can learn about some of the most beneficial methods below.

What Is a Natural Cough Remedy?

A natural cough remedy is a way to heal your cough without using medications. They can help relieve your symptoms without drugs, but, they can take a longer time in comparison with normal medications. You might have heard of certain natural ways to get relief from your COPD symptoms, but not all of them are backed up by science. Let's take a look at some of them that are.

Natural Remedies

Here are some changes you can make to your diet and environment that can help you improve your COPD and relieve symptoms relating to coughing.

1. Increase Intake of Antioxidants

Bananas, strawberries, blueberries

During normal bodily processes or in response to exposure to environmental toxins, such as tobacco smoke, the body produces free radicals. These are highly chemically reactive molecules that can cause cell damage if you have too many. 

Compounds or molecules that fight against free radicals are antioxidants. They can be synthetic or naturally occurring and reduce cell damage from free radicals. These compounds help decrease oxidative stress and improve lung function.

A 2012 article reviewing existing research on antioxidant therapy for COPD found that increasing your intake of antioxidants may help manage the condition.

According to an article in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the top ten foods with high antioxidant levels per serving are:

  • Blackberries
  • Walnuts
  • Strawberries
  • Artichokes
  • Cranberries
  • Coffee
  • Raspberries
  • Pecans
  • Blueberries
  • Cloves 

2. Use Supplements

Consumption of various supplements manages and supports COPD. Here are some options:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids – It lessens lung inflammation.
  • Vitamin A – A study finds that people ingesting Vit A in high quantities had a 52% lower rate of COPD.
  • Dietary Fiber – Increased intake of dietary fiber lowers COPD risk.
  • Vitamin C – As per the researchers, decreased levels of Vit C lead to chest wheezing, shortening of breath, and an increase in mucus quantities.
  • Vitamin D – Patients appear to be vitamin D deficient in this health condition. Ask your physician to suggest you a Vit D medicine if the test report indicates deficiency.
  • Vitamin E – A fat-soluble vitamin that works as an immune booster. It is effective for the repair of damaged vessels and cells.

This research paper Nutritional assessment and therapy in COPD: a European Respiratory Society statement shows the continuous use of vitamin E benefitting COPD. 

3. Utilize Essential Oils

Bottles of essential oil and flowers

Essential oils don’t just make your home smell nice – they can be a part of your treatment plan. They can work wonders in aiding regular breathing. They help to reduce mucus and clear the respiratory tract.

Essential oils should never be used neat – they can cause irritation when applied to the skin, burning, inflammation if swallowed, and damage to your kidneys and livers if consumed over a long period of time. The safest way to use essential oils is to diffuse them into the air and breath them in.

Research has shown the following essential oils can help a COPD- or cough-sufferer. Each essential oil name links to an article about its effects:

  • Eucalyptus – It fights against cough flare-ups and functions as a decongestant
  • Green chiretta – Lessens severity and frequency of coughing
  • Frankincense – It possesses a sweet smell, reduces coughing, and is antimicrobial
  • African geranium – It relieves coughing particularly well
  • Lavender – A particular chemical naturally found in lavender (linalyl acetate) prevents damage to blood vessels  from COPD-caused high blood pressure
  • Myrtol standardized – (a specific mix of eucalyptus, lemon, orange, and myrtle) – It helps clear mucus and has antioxidative properties

4. Natural Supplements

Natural plant-based treatments are generally a safe option, with fewer side effects than conventional medicine. Some plant-based remedies can act by slowing the progression of COPD and reducing lung inflammation. Taking these remedies can aid in the management of COPD and other issues with coughing.

You must tell your doctor before adding these to your daily routine, in case they interact with any of the other medications you are on.

  • Echinacea – When taken alongside the micronutrients zinc, selenium, and ascorbic acid
  • Asian ginseng – Increases oxygen processing capability of the lungs
  • Astragalus root – Reduces COPD-caused lung inflammation
  • Licorice root – Has anti-inflammatory properties
  • Thyme – Increases lung function
  • Red ginger – Improves overall lung strength
  • Red sageImproves exhalation
  • TurmericWhen taken alongside black pepper
  • Oregano The essential oil has antibacterial properties
  • Melatonin Helps protect against developing COPD
  • PeppermintHelps prevent the development of COPD

Can Homemade Remedies Interfere with Medications?

Pills, medicine and plants on a green surface

You must consult your health practitioner or doctor before starting a remedy for the first time. 

If you find yourself having any sort of negative reaction after introducing a new element to your diets, such as a rash, dizziness, or increased sweating, immediately stop taking it and contact your primary physician.

While herbal and homemade remedies are generally safe with little or no side effects, they can interact badly with other medication that you take. Red sage (Salvia miltiorrhiza), Chinese licorice (Glycyrrhiza uralensis), and ginseng (Panax ginseng and Angelica sinensis), in particular, are known to interact with many medications.

Warfarin, digoxin, and cephalosporins are drugs that commonly have interactions with herbs and natural remedies. Therefore, you should be especially mindful when taking herbal remedies with them. It is always best to discuss with your healthcare professional before using any remedies.

Possible herbal-medication interaction effects include:

  • Altering the speed that your body processes medication
  • Act as a blood thinner (e.g., garlic)
  • Increase skin sensitivity
  • Gut problems

 The interaction checker at drugs.com is very useful for checking potential interactions yourself before speaking to your primary care practitioner. 

Home Remedies for COPD Coughs

Coughs from COPD tend to be wet – in other words, they are productive, and mucus is brought up from the lungs. This means that natural home remedies for dry coughs (such as honey in warm water or drinking ginger tea) may not work.

Wet cough natural remedies, suitable for COPD, include:

  • Clove and thyme tea – Both of these herbs works wonder for upper respiratory tract infections; cloves are high in antioxidants, and thyme makes the lungs more efficient at expelling mucus. They also possess antimicrobial properties
  • Increase the amount of vitamin C in your diet – It supports your immunity, which is important to avoid further lung infections on top of COPD. Additionally, being vitamin C deficient is connected with wheezing more and increased phlegm production.. It may decrease the recovery time and fight viral infections. 
  • Vapor inhalation or a steam bathThe warm steam helps relax your lungs, improve mucus production and reduce coughing. Going to a sauna regularly also helps.

If you particularly struggle with coughing at night due to COPD, these additional actions may help:

  • Elevate your head while sleeping – It will prevent the mucus from pooling up at the back of your throat. 
  • Make use of a nasal saline spray – It cleans your airway passage from unwanted allergens, which will reduce coughing triggered by them
  • Gargle with saline water before sleep – It tends to lower the frequency of coughs and provides comfort to your throat. 

Conclusion

Natural remedies are generally easy to follow and usually low on budget. You may already have some of them in the house. 

However, some people are allergic to certain plants or other chemicals found in natural remedies. Additionally, natural remedies may interact with the medication you are already taking. Therefore, precautions must be taken and you must discuss with your doctors before trying any home remedies out.

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