Cough is not a disease actually; it is a symptom of any kind of obstruction in the respiratory tract. Coughs can originate in the pharynx, bronchial tubes, trachea and the pleura lining of the lungs.
In Ayurveda, coughing is known as Kaasa roga. It is predominantly an effect of the vitiation of the vata dosha. But the pitta and the kapha doshas can also cause coughs. Based on the causative factor, there are five types of coughs – vataja, pittaja, kaphaja, kshataja and kshayaja.
Vataja cough is dry and hacking in nature. There is little phlegm observed. Side symptoms are headache and pain in the chest. In pittaja cough, there is yellow sputum which may sometimes have streaks of blood in it. Other symptoms like fever, excessive thirst and burning sensation in the mouth and the pharynx are also felt. In kaphaja cough, there is a thick mucus discharge, which is slimy and white in color. This cough makes the whole body feel heavy.
Kshataja cough is vata vitiation to the extreme limit. There is dyspnoea and blood in the sputum. Kshayaja cough is a very serious kind of cough in which pus is observed in the sputum.
(1) Useful Herbs in the Treatment of Cough
– Bay Berry (Myrica nagi) The bay berry is very effective in curing throat congestions which causes the coughs. It can even cure coughs that are caused due to chronic bronchitis. Its bark is the effective part which is to be taken in the form of a powder.
– Belleric Myroblan (Terminalia belerica) The fruit of the belleric myroblan has excellent curative powers in the treatment of coughs caused due to catarrh.
– Betel (Piper betle) Betel leaves when crushed, made into paste with water and applied externally on the chest have amazing effects in the treatment of coughs.
– Butea (Butea monosperma) Butea leaves can treat congested and inflamed throats. They are effective in the treatment of coughs and sore throats. The leaves are boiled in water. This solution is used as a mouthwash to get the desired effects. Coughs caused due to septic and sore throats are treated in this manner.
– Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) Cloves can reduce the irritation of the throat. Cloves are more effective if the coughs are produced due to inflammation of the pharynx.
– Euphorbia (Euphorbia hirta) Euphorbia is a very potent medicine in the treatment of all kinds of cough. It enjoys a special position in Indian herbology in treating the coughs caused due to colds, asthma and bronchitis.
– Fenugreek (Trigonella foenum graecum) Fenugreek seeds are effective in the removal of coughs that are associated with sore throats. The seeds are boiled in water for half an hour and this water is used to take gargles.
– Garlic (Allium sativum) Garlic is an excellent remedy for whooping cough. The syrup of two to three pieces of garlic must be taken two to three times a day in the case of whooping cough. If the symptoms still persist, or if it is a severe cough, then the dosage must be increased.
– Henna (Lawsonia inermis) Henna is a definite remedy for sore throat and the related cough problems.
(2) Dietary Treatments for Cough
– Cold foods must be avoided as these can aggravate the throat further. Water that is drunk normally also must be warmed a little before drinking.
– Use old rice in the diet. Wheat can also be used beneficially.
– Do not consumer any fruits or vegetables that can cause excessive cooling of the body. Foods like cucumbers, green bananas, papayas, watermelons and oranges must be strictly avoided.
– Fennel seeds are effective in the treatment of cough. These must be taken along with figs for better results.
(3) Ayurvedic Treatment for Cough
– Ayurvedic doctors prescribe slightly different kinds of medicines depending on which type of cough is observed. a) If the cough is of vataja type, then kanakasava or kantakaryavaleha are prescribed. b) If the cough is of pittaja type, then sitopaladi choorna is preferred in conjunction with chandansava or vasarishta. Vasavaleha and matulungadi avaleha may also be prescribed. b) If the cough is of kaphaja type, then trikatu, triphala, guggulu and shilajit are the drugs of choice.
(4) Home Medications
– The pulp of the fruit of the belleric myroblan is mixed with long pepper, salt and honey. This is to be taken once a day.
– Clove oil mixed with garlic and honey helps to eliminate spasmodic coughs which are produced in tuberculosis, asthma and bronchitis. This mixture must be taken every night before going to bed.
– Prepare an extract of ginger. Sweeten this with honey. Take this in a teaspoonful quantity three to four times a day. There will be confirmed positive results.
– Prepare a mixture of extract of tulsi (holy basil) leaves with ginger and honey. This is better than the above method for the treatment of coughs. This mixture must be taken if the cough is severe, and is caused due to some serious ailment such as 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 relieve cough and the feeling of irritation in the throat.
– A very simple way to stop coughs in the night is to place three to four pieces of long pepper in the mouth. Chew them slightly so that their extract oozes into the mouth. As long as the peppers remain in the mouth, the urge to cough will be suppressed and you will get a restful sleep at night.
– Figs are known to clear the buildup of phlegm in the chest cavity. This brings about an elimination of cough.
– Make a powder of cardamom and dissolved it in water. Take this thrice in a day. This will keep all types of cough at bay.