Natural Health: Herbal Teas for Coughs

When a nagging cough from a cold or flu just won’t let go, a steaming cup of herbal tea can bring relief. Medicinal herbs have properties that can soothe a dry cough or break up congestion and promote a productive cough. You can find dried herbs in bulk at health food stores, or you can order them online at Mountain Rose Herbs and other suppliers.

Herbal teas are easy and quick to prepare: place a teaspoon of dried herb in a cup and fill the cup with just-boiled water. Cover the cup and let the tea brew for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the leaves, add honey or other natural sweetener, and enjoy. Breathe in the steam between sips for a relaxing, healing cup of tea.

Here are some herbs that are good for coughs:

Horehound (Marrubium vulgare) — This traditional cough remedy has a long history of use. It has expectorant properties — due to its marrubin and marrubinic acid content —  that break up congestion so that a nagging cough is more productive. This tea may actually promote coughing for a while, but after the congestion is cleared, the coughing will subside. Horehound has a rather bitter flavor, so you will definitely want to add honey or other sweetener!

Mullein (Verbascum thapsus) — Another popular herb for coughs, mullein has antibacterial and expectorant properties. The mild, sweet-tasting leaves have tiny hairs, so you will need to strain the tea through a coffee filter before you drink it. To clear sinus congestion that may be contributing to your cough, you can also add the dried leaves to hot water and breathe in the steam.

Licorice Root (Glycyrrhiza glabra) — This herb adds flavor and cough suppressant properties to cough syrups and cough drops. You can brew a flavorful, sweet tea from the dried root, or combine the root in a tea with other herbs. People with high blood pressure should not use this herb for long periods of time, as it can increase blood pressure.

Plantain (Plantago major) —  Plantain has demulcent and mucilaginous properties, which means that it contains a soothing, coating gelatinous substance. It also contain antioxidants that support the immune system. You can prepare a soothing tea from the leaves or seeds.

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) — Chances are you already have this culinary herb in your spice cabinet! The volatile oil known as thymol gives thyme its antiseptic, antibiotic and expectorant properties. Thyme is a wonderful remedy for most types of coughs, and it makes a delicious hot tea.

There are many more herbs that help to relieve coughs. You may want to read some herbal reference books — often found at your local health food store — and learn more about the healing properties of plants.

Enjoy a cup of tea and breathe easy!



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