A chesty cough can come in one of two forms.
One is productive, where you cough up phlegm or mucous. The other is unproductive, there is no mucous when you cough. Both types of coughing can be persistent and irritating when they last for a long time.
There are a few different conditions that can result in this type of cough including cold, influenza, bronchitis, and asthma.
Holistic Treatment Aims
In managing a chesty cough, it is important to address the cause, but also modify what is done to the person’s specific presentation. The following treatment aims to help to address the illness but also to reduce the severity of symptoms; they include:
- Supporting immune system function
- Reducing inflammation and infection
- Ease excessive cough
- Clear mucous secretions and improve clearing of mucous from the lungs
- Reduce excessive mucous production
Classes of Herbs for Chesty Cough
Chesty coughs can be eased using herbs, the most beneficial herbs have the following actions:
- Immune-enhancing herbs: modulate and stimulate the immune system. It can also balance immune system activity.
- Antibacterial: elicit an immune response specifically against bacteria.
- Antiviral: trigger an immune response that is targeted against viruses.
- Mucolytic: break down mucous so that it is not as thick and sticky, helping make it easier to eliminate mucous from the lungs.
- Anti-catarrhal: reduces the production of mucous or phlegm.
- Expectorant: helps to clear mucous from the lungs by either changing how thick the mucous is or improving the cough reflex.
- Antitussive: helps reduce the amount or severity of coughing.
- Demulcent: has a soothing effect on the mucous membrane.
Some of these herbal classes may seem to contradict each other as some are used to increase coughing while others are used to reduce coughing.
This is because it is important to clear the excess mucous from the lungs, but it is also important for the lungs to rest so that you can sleep. A day mix to help clear the system and a night mix to help relax the system is often used.
- Vitamin C: support the immune system, reduce inflammation, and reduce infection.
- Vitamin D: reduce lung inflammation and enhance innate defence mechanisms.
- Zinc: is essential in maintaining normal lung function and supporting immune system function.
- Magnesium: is a bronchodilator that helps reduce spasms and constrictions in respiratory muscles.