Day: March 1, 2011

Herbs for Cough

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Despite the nasty sound, coughing is actually a vital bodily function.

Without noticing, we probably cough once or twice every hour to clear our throats and air passages of debris.

Coughing is troublesome only when an environmental substance or an illness makes you hack uncontrollably.

Coughs can be dry and nonproductive, meaning they bring up no fluids or sputum; or they can be wet and productive, expelling mucus and the germs or irritants it contains.

Herbal Remedies For Cough

COLTSFOOT Relieves congestion.

ECHINACEA Has antibacterial and antiviral properties useful for shortening duration of illness and preventing infection.

LOBELIA Used to soothe a dry, hacking cough.

LUNGWORT Used for cough accompanied by diarrhea.

MARSHMALLOW ROOT Soothes the throat and eases a dry, hacking cough.

MULLEIN Tea is given to children at first sign of cough.

PEPPERMINT Tea is used to suppress cough reflex.

REISHI Extract eases cough from colds & asthma.

SLIPPERY ELM BARK Coats throat to propvide a soothing effect to soft tissue.

WILD CHERRY BARK SYRUP An effective expectorant. Use as directed.

A chronic cough that doesn’t clear up can be a sign of more serious conditions. See your health care practitioner.


1. Herbal Remedies ~ Echinacea

Echinacea augustifolia,echinacea purpurea
(Composite Family)

This plant is native to Northern America, and was used extensively by Great Plains Indian tribes.

Active compounds: Caffeic acid derivatives, polyacetylenes, alkylamides polysaccharides essential oils, flavonoids, and glycoproteins.

Some of the most common uses of this herb are immune system stimulation and theprevention of infections. It appears to have antiviral properties due to the stimulation of interferon-like effects. It has been shown to increase phagocytosis and promote respiratory cellular activity. Several constituents, including alkylamides, chicoric acids and related glycosides produce a non-specific immune response. This herb appears to increase lymphocyte activity by stimulating the release of tumor necrosis factor.

Traditionally this herb has been used to boost the immune system, promote healing and reduce inflammation. It has been useful in treating acne, cancer, chronic fatigue, colds, coughs, ear infections, influenza, parasitic infections and strep throat. It is sometimes used along side chemotherapy during the treatment of colorectal and hepatocellular cancer.

*note from editor: This is one of the herbs I prepare in large quantities so it’s always on hand. I buy the organic dried roots and make up enough tincture to last all winter. I take it – or give it to family members at the first signs of imbalance. I have found this herb to be a good herbal ally for children. Glycerin-based tinctures are very effective in lowering fevers, fighting infections and boosting overall immunity. My neighbor makes an echinacea tincture with fennel seed added and it has such a nice flavor even the kids like it!

Parts used:Dried rhizomes and roots are used for making supplements. This herb is usually available as a tea and in tincture or capsule form.

CAUTIONS: Use Echinacea with caution if you have an allergy to ragweed or plants in the sunflower family.


2. Marshmallow Root
Althaea officinalis (Mallow Family)

This herb is an ingredient in many cough syrups and preparations for urinary tract disorders.

It is also useful for coughs, laryngitis, Crohn’s disease, peptic ulcer, eczema, masititis and psoriasis.

Taken as a warm infusion, the leaves treat cystitis and frequent urination.

The demulcent quality of this plant relieves coughs, bronchial asthma, bronchial congestion, and pleurisy.

The flowers, crushed fresh or in a warm infusion, are applied to help soothe inflamed skin.

The root is used in an ointment for boils and abscesses, and in a mouthwash for inflammation.

Marshmallow Root is available as liquid extracts, tinctures, and powders, as well as in creams.

3. Mullein

Mullein Verbascum densiflorum
(Spinach Family)

Mullein is an old-time remedy for bronchitis and dry, unproductive coughs.

The leaves and flowers are used to reduce mucous and expel phlegm. Mullein is valued for its ability to loosen mucus and move it out of the body making it a valuable ally for lung problems.

Mullein has also been used to treat lymphatic congestion and as an anti-spasmodic and astringent herb.

A popular remedy for treating respiratory ailments such as asthma, coughs and bronchitis.

This herb is also used to clear congestion, soothe sore throats, and control diarrhea.

It can be used topically to soothe hemorrhoids and treat cuts & scrapes.

The infused oil is used to treat earaches. The oil is warmed and placed in the ear on a peice of cotton.

Leaves are used medicinally in oils, teas and compresses.

CAUTIONS: Seeds are toxic and should be avoided.

4. Herbal Remedies ~ Peppermint

Peppermint Mentha piperita
(Mint Family)

A well-known digestive aid, this herb has also been used to treat coughs, colds, and fever as well as colic, food allergies, indigestion, nausea, gallstones, headaches and irritable bowel syndrome.

Both cooling and warming, taken internally peppermint induces heat and improves the circulation. It also disperses blood to the surface of the body which causes sweating. For this reason it is often useful in treating chills and fevers, colds and flu.

It also has an astringent and decongestant action helps relieve stuffiness and congestion.

Peppermint makes a good general tonic to recharge vital energy and dispel lethargy.

Taken internally, this herb produces a cooling and numbing effect which extends to the respiratory tract. This same effect is also apparent on the skin.

Peppermint has an analgesic effect. The essential oil is often added to lotions, creams and salves to ease inflamed joints in arthritis and gout, for headaches, neuralgia, sciatica and general aches and pains.

Internally, peppermint has a soothing effect, calming anxiety and tension and relieving pain and spasm.

It can be used for menstrual pain, asthma and insomnia.

In the digestive tract it relaxes smooth muscle and reduces inflammation, relieving the pain and spasms of colic, flatulence, heartburn, indigestion, hiccups, nausea, vomiting and motion sickness. This herb contains tannins which help protect the gut lining from irritation and infection and make it useful for treating diarrhea, constipation, Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis.

The bitters stimulate and cleanse the liver and gallbladder, helping to prevent gallstones.

The volatile oils have an antiseptic action, and are antibacterial, antiparasitic, antifungal and antiviral.

Peppermint is easy to grow and is available in teas, oils and menthol lozenges.

*From the editor: During times of extreme nausea when nothing can be kept down, try putting a bit of salve under the nostrils and over the salve apply a tiny drop of essential oil of peppermint on each side. (The salve keeps the oil from stinging the delicate area under the nose.) I find that inhaling the vapors stops the nausea fast so at least water can be taken to avoid dehydration.

5. Herbal Remedies ~ Reishi

Reishi Ganoderma lucidum (Button Mushroom Family)

This herb has been used in traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years as an overall tonic to boost energy, promote longevity and combat stress.

It is an adaptogen and immune stimulant useful in treating cirrhosis of the liver, bronchitis, high blood pressure and yeast infections.

This herb has shown promising results in cancer treatment as well. It stimulates the body’s production of interleukin-2, which fights several types of cancer, and it contains compounds called ganoderic acids, which act against liver cancer. Reishi counteracts the suppression of red and white blood cells that can result from cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan, Neosar) treatment by stimulating the creation of protein in the bone marrow.

Another use for this herb is in the treatment of fibroids (uterine myomas). Reishi keeps the uterine lining from making both basic fibroblast growth factor (bFGF), a chemical that promotes fibroid growth, and histamine, a chemical that causes inflammation.

These mushrooms are available in supermarkets for culinary usage. They are used medicinally in teas, tablets, syrups and tinctures.

CAUTIONS: Avoid if you have allergies to mushrooms or molds.

6. Herbal Remedies ~ Slippery Elm

Slippery Elm Ulmus rubra (elm family)

The mucilage in this herb makes it a soothing, healing remedy for indigestion, sore throats, irritable bowel, Crohn’s disease, wounds, burns, and itchy, irritated skin. It is very soothing to the stomach lining and is sometimes made into a gruel and offered to colicky babes. The bark is used medicinally as a tea, as a powder mixed in water as a poultice and added to cooking.

It not only has a most soothing and healing action on all the parts it comes in contact with, but in addition possesses as much nutrition as is contained in oatmeal, and when made into gruel forms a wholesome and sustaining food for infants and invalids. It forms the basis of many patent foods.

Slippery Elm Food is generally made by mixing a teaspoonful of the powder into a thin and perfectly smooth paste with cold water and then pouring on a pint of boiling water, steadily stirring meanwhile. It can, if desired, be flavored with cinnamon, nutmeg or lemon rind.

This makes an excellent drink in cases of irritation of the mucous membrane of the stomach and intestines, and taken at night will induce sleep.

My source:


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