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Home Remedies for Cough

Until recently whooping cough was one of the most prevalent and alarming of childhood illnesses, not only because of its immediate and unpleasant effects but because of the far-reaching consequences it could have upon children’s health if they were not nursed and convalesced with care. It was not uncommon for youngsters to be left with damaged lungs and permanent vulnerability to infection. Small babies were and still are terribly at risk and if you have a child of school age in the same house as a baby and you know that whooping cough has been diagnosed in the area do your best to keep them separated. The first signs are a feverish cold and an unpleasant cough although the horrible whoop as they fight for air after a bout of violent coughing does not become apparent for about a week. Always seek professional advice.

It is apparent, by all the wise saws and saying which abound, that before the advent of antibiotics and immunization a great many children contracted whooping cough. One which appears the most truthful even in our enlightened age is that if whooping cough starts in the bud of the year it will last “til the leaves fall” or in other words if it has not gone before May it will stay throughout the summer and leave a child very vulnerable to infection for many years to come.

Because whooping cough is an illness which runs its course the wise women devised expedient methods of passing the buck. For example one remedy suggested that the child should be passed several times through a blackberry bush and no sound must be uttered by any of the parties present. The lack of success was then blamed on any cries that the victim made when impaled upon the brambles. The same expediency applied to using the hairs from the head of a child who had never seen its father or from the back of a donkey with singular markings which when tied into a bag and carried around the neck would effect an instant cure. Other hairy nostrums carried about the throat were live spiders and caterpillars which, as they died a lingering death, took the disease away with them. Two further sovereign remedies were a powder of fried mice and onions, dried and nicely ground, or a syrup of molasses and rose gall – larva it al! The thought of taking either must have speedily sorted out any malingerers.

One particular old – fashioned remedy which I can just remember from my own childhood was to take the patient to breathe the fumes exuded from the local gas works. These arose from the lime used in the purifying process in the days of coal gas and were particularly noxious although we were all assured that to live in the environs was very healthy. The smell of tar – which I like – also appeared to do the trick and some people even went so far as to tie a tarry rope necklace about the patient’s throat. Country children however fared far better than townies for they were placed in a byre with cattle or sheep in order that they might inhale their moist, sweet breath or maybe it was just that the calming presence of the contented beasts released them from fear and tension.

One of the worst aspects of whooping cough is the terrible panic that a small child can get into and which exacerbates the cough and makes it even more difficult for them to get their breath. All that you can do at this particular juncture is to sit them on your lap, leaving them plenty of space to breathe, holding a bowl in case they are sick and  wiping the face with a cool, fragrant cloth whilst giving them calm, constant reassurance. A mildly sedative herbal tea taken with plenty of honey three or four times a day will help to keep them calm.

Chamomile is most helpful as it is anti – spasmodic and can be given to very small children. So can lemon balm and catnip – 1 teaspoon for very small children graduating to 1 tablespoon or 1 small cup for older children. Make sure that they take plenty of liquids to drink but not milk which can make them sick, although goat’s milk is recommended during convalescence. Mare’s milk was also thought to be very nourishing but is a little difficult to acquire nowadays! Do not give them dry food to eat as this will irritate the throat but make sure that they have a regular daily intake of vitamin C to combat infection.

Any of the cough syrups given under Chest infections. Catarrhal Infections and Bronchitis, Particularly garlic and honey cabbage syrup or radish and honey, will help to ease the cough, whilst ‘rubs’ for the chest such as eucalyptus, essential oil of pine or cypress in almond oil, Olbas oil of garlic oil, together with many or the suggestions also to be found under Chest Infections, will case the respiratory passages and make the child feel more comfortable.

Soothing Solutions for Cough Relief and Home Remedies for Cough

  • Thyme Infuse 25g (1oz) of thyme in 600 ml (1 pint) of boiling water strain and take with honey; 1 tablespoon four times daily for older children and 1 teaspoon for babies. The same tea can be made with marjoram, mouse ear hawkweed (Hieracium pilosella which will reduce a fever), dried red clover flowers, lavender, honeysuckle flowers or elecampane which are all very mild and can be given as above to children of three years and upwards. One of the best home remedies for cough.
  • Lettuce Simmer 1 cleaned head of lettuce in 600 ml (1 pint) of water for 20 minutes. Drink the liquid three times a day.
  • Fizzy lemonade  This is helpful if drunk warm

Onion and Honey Syrup
450 g (11b) onions
225g (80z) garlic
600 ml (1 pint) sunflower oil
150 ml (1/4 pint) honey

Peel and finely slice the onions and garlic and put them in a covered dish with the oil. Cook slowly in a low oven until very soft. Strain well and add the remaining ingredients. Bottle and cork. Shake, before using. For children over two years old and up to four give 1 teaspoon three times daily. Increase the dose according to age. At one time 15g (1/2oz) of paregoric (a medicine consisting of opium, benzoic acid, camphor and anise oil) would have been added.

  • Prickly pear syrup Cut the leaves of 3 prickly pears into pieces (a feat in itself) and boil gently for half an hour. Strain and sweeten with unrefined sugar. Boil again until syrupy. One of the good home remedies for Cough.
  • Grape juice This is an excellent drink for sick children and it can also be used to great effect to cleanse the nose, throat and mouth.
  • Slippery elm  The powdered bark mixed with water and honey is both a food and a tonic.
  • Garlic Try and get the child to inhale the volatile vapours of slices of garlic trapped in boiling water. Do not cover the heads of very small children as it may frighten them.
  • Camphor and naptha crystals  To hang these around the neck in a small, thick cotton bag is an age – old remedy.
  • Rum  Rub the back of the patient with oil dark rum. Presumably the fumes alone are enough to induce sleep.  

Herbal Remedy for Cough

Holly Basil

Regular use of this remedy cures cold, cough, chronic or new catarrh, cold by birth, nausea, respiratory problem and pain in the eyes, high or low blood pressure, constipation, gas, hear disease, acidity, weakness of the kidneys, stones, deficiency of vitamin A or C and the diseases caused thereby, fever and skin diseases.

Buy Holy Basil (Tulsi) Supplements

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