Another option is saline nasal spray — and all you need is the saline (aka salt). You don’t need sprays with other drugs such as oxymetazoline (Afrin), phenylephrine (Sudafed), or xylometazoline (Triaminic), advises Gustavo Ferrer, M.D., a Florida pulmonologist and author of “Cough Cures: The Complete Guide to the Best Natural Remedies and Over-the-Counter Drugs for Acute and Chronic Coughs.”
Growing up in Cuba, Ferrer learned herbal treatments from his grandmother, regarded as a healer in her village. While attending medical school there in the early 1990s, he learned that even his professors were secretly turning to their herbalist grandmothers for relief.
Ferrer’s secrets for how to stop a cough include:
Lemon and manukah honey. Mix a tablespoon of honey with the juice of half a lemon in a cup of boiled water. Manukah honey, which comes from New Zealand, has antimicrobial powers, but other raw honey will work, says Ferrer. Drink your potion at bedtime and in the morning. There is mixed evidence of the effectiveness of ordinary honey for treating coughs. Manukah honey has been shown to stop viruses from reproducing in test tubes.
Dark chocolate. Chocolate with at least 65 percent cocoa contains a cough suppressant called theobromine and also caffeine, so don’t eat it late. You can eat a square up to three times a day.
Beet or pineapple juice. Both prompt your body to bring up extra mucus and open up the bronchial passages. Drink a half cup up to three times a day.
Elderberry syrup. This syrup works as an expectorant and appears to fight the cold virus. A 2016 study found that it cut the number of colds and their length in air travelers, compared to placebo. Take it up to three times a day, with water, if you prefer.
Coughs lasting longer than three weeks — or if you have a lasting fever, shortness of breath, wheezing, thick and greenish-yellowish phlegm, or blood in you cough — are reasons to go to a doctor in person.
March 20, 2020
Janet O’Dell, RN