Cough is not really a disease; it is a symptom of any type of obstruction in the airways. Coughs can originate in the pharynx, bronchi, trachea, and the pleural lining of the lungs.

In Ayurveda, cough is known as Kaasa roga. It is effectively an effect of the vata dosha vice. But the pitta and kapha doshas can also cause coughing. According to the causal factor, there are five types of cough: vataja, pittaja, kaphaja, kshataja and kshayaja.

Vataja cough is dry and hacking in nature. Little phlegm is observed. Secondary symptoms are headache and chest pain. In pittaja cough, there is yellow sputum which can sometimes have streaks of blood. Other symptoms like fever, excessive thirst and burning sensation in the mouth and pharynx are also felt. In kaphaja cough, there is a thick, slimy, white-colored mucous discharge. This cough makes the whole body feel heavy.

Kshataja’s cough is vata’s vice to the extreme limit. There is dyspnea and blood in the sputum. Kshayaja cough is a very severe type of cough in which pus is seen in the sputum.

(1) Useful herbs in the treatment of cough

– Laurel berry (Myrica nagi) Laurel berry is very effective in curing throat congestion that causes cough. It can even cure cough caused by chronic bronchitis. Its bark is the effective part that is taken in powder form.

– Belleric Myroblan (Terminalia belerica) The fruit of the belleric myroblan has excellent healing powers in the treatment of cough caused by catarrh.

– Betel (Piper betle) Betel leaves when crushed, made into a paste with water and applied externally to the chest have amazing effects in treating cough.

– Butea (Butea monosperma) Butea leaves can treat congested and inflamed throats. They are effective in treating cough and sore throat. The leaves are boiled in water. This solution is used as a mouthwash to achieve the desired effects. Cough caused by septic and sore throats is treated in this way.

– Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) Clove can reduce throat irritation. Clove is most effective if the cough is caused by inflammation of the pharynx.

– Euphorbia (Euphorbia hirta) Euphorbia is a very powerful medicine in the treatment of all types of cough. It enjoys a special position in Indian herbology in the treatment of cough caused by colds, asthma and bronchitis.

– Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) Fenugreek seeds are effective in eliminating cough associated with sore throats. The seeds are boiled in water for half an hour and this water is used for gargling.

– Garlic (Allium sativum) Garlic is an excellent remedy for whooping cough. Syrup of two to three pieces of garlic should be taken two to three times a day in case of whooping cough. If symptoms still persist, or if it is a severe cough, then the dose should be increased.

– Henna (Lawsonia inermis) Henna is an ultimate remedy for sore throat and related cough problems.

(2) Dietary treatments for cough

– Cold foods should be avoided as these can further aggravate the throat. Normal drinking water should also be warmed up a bit before drinking.

– Use old rice in the diet. Wheat can also be used beneficially.

– Do not consume any fruit or vegetables that can cause excessive cooling of the body. Foods like cucumbers, green bananas, papayas, watermelons and oranges should be strictly avoided.

– Fennel seeds are effective in treating cough. These should be taken along with figs for best results.

(3) Ayurvedic treatment for cough

– Ayurvedic doctors prescribe slightly different types of medicine depending on the type of cough observed. a) If the cough is vataja type, kanakasava or kantakaryavaleha are prescribed. b) If the cough is pittaja type then sitopaladi choorna is preferred along with chandansava or vasarishta. Vasavaleha and matulungadi avaleha can also be prescribed. b) If the cough is of the kaphaja type, then trikatu, triphala, guggulu and shilajit are the drugs of choice.

(4) Home medicines

– The pulp of the fruit of the belleric myroblan is mixed with long pepper, salt and honey. This should be taken once a day.

– Clove oil mixed with garlic and honey helps eliminate spasmodic cough that occurs in tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis. This mixture should be taken every night before going to bed.

– Prepare a ginger extract. Sweeten this with honey. Take this in a teaspoon amount three to four times a day. There will be confirmed positive results.

– Prepare a mixture of extract of tulsi leaves (holy basil) with ginger and honey. This is better than the previous method for treating cough. This mixture should be taken if the cough is severe and is caused by some serious ailment like tuberculosis, bronchitis, etc.

– Make a decoction of licorice in honey. Consume this decoction so that it makes good contact with the inner lining of the throat. This will ease the cough and sore throat.

– A very simple way to stop a cough at night is to place three to four pieces of long pepper in your mouth. Chew them lightly so that their extract oozes into your mouth. As long as the peppers remain in your mouth, the urge to cough will be suppressed and you will have a restful sleep at night.

– Figs are known to remove the accumulation of phlegm in the chest cavity. This causes an elimination of cough.

– Make a cardamom powder and dissolve it in water. Take this three times in a day. This will keep all kinds of coughs at bay.

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