Coughing is a reflex that acts as a defense mechanism. An irritation or obstruction in one of the breathing tubes triggers the mechanism, which creates a strong upward rush of air. This explosive movement forces the irritating or obstructing material out of the tube. Coughing also helps to aerate the lungs and reorganize the breathing mechanisms.
Coughing often accompanies viral or bacterial infections; these include colds, influenza, croup (harsh, barking cough in young children), laryngitis, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Other causes are a postnasal drip, often related to allergies-mucus from the nose drains into the breathing tubes, causing an irritating tickle.
Smoking cigarettes causes continual irritation of the tubes and is the number-one cause of coughs. In addition the mind-body doesn’t necessarily distinguish between a physical and an emotional or social irritant resulting in a cough.
In Ayurveda a dry cough is a sign of a vata imbalance, a cough accompanied by infection is associated with a pitta imbalance usually is accompanied by a fever, and a “productive” cough (mucus) is due to a kapha imbalance.
The yoga position known as Lion Pose is therapeutic for coughs. It’s helpful to rest, drink fluids, and try to cough up any phlegm; increasing the humidity in the room thins the mucus and makes it easier to expel-this is particularly essential treatment for children with the croup. Drinking hot tulsi tea with a shake of black pepper liquifies mucus. There are many Ayurvedic remedies used to treat coughs. The most commonly used are listed below.
Make sure you do not eat yogurt, ice cream or cheese when having coughing problem.
In addition to taking 1 teaspoon triphala mixed with 1/4 cup warm water at bedtime, you may take:
- For cough with chest pain: Drink Tulsi tea and Licorice tea. One cup of each twice a day.
- For chronic cough: Mix together 1/2 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon honey; take this mixture two or three times a day.
- For a dry (vata) cough: Mix equal parts fennel powder and rock candy; chew as needed. Or make a tea by combining 1 teaspoon fennel seeds with 1 cup hot water and let steep for 20 minutes; strain, add 1 teaspoon honey and 1/2 lemon and drink as needed.
- For a productive (kapha) cough: Boil together 1/2 teaspoon turmeric powder and 1 cup milk; drink at night.
- Taste: Sweet, bitter, and astringent tastes are soothing for coughs; these tastes are found in the summer churna.
- Smell: Use essential oils with sweet, warm, spicy aromas, particularly mint, eucalyptus, camphor, and fennel.
- Sight Yellow-green or blue-green are therapeutic for coughs.
- Hearing: Listen to raga music composed for the hours when you are most uncomfortable.
- Touch: Apply warm castor oil to the chest and back, massage in well, and cover with a warm compress.