A cough is a protective reflex of the body. It is repetitive, sudden, and aims to clear the airways from irritants, foreign particles, microbes, and fluids. While it can be a normal physiological reflex, repetitive coughing can indicate that there is an underlying disease. From an evolutionary perspective, coughing benefits the pathogens as the hosts helps spread the microbes to other potential hosts.
Coughing can occur due to an underlying infection, choking, smoking, air pollution, asthma, gastroesophageal reflux disease, lung tumors, and bronchitis. While coughing does not usually cause pain, it can be a debilitating symptom as it can interrupt sleep and affect work and school performance. Severe cases of coughing can cause a sore throat, chest pain, and rib pain.
Coughs can generally be divided into wet and dry coughs. Wet coughs occur when the cough is productive or brings up mucus. Dry coughs refer to coughs that do not bring up mucus. Patients with a dry cough often describe a tickle in the back of the throat. Some causes of dry coughs include upper respiratory infections, croup, sinusitis, asthma, and laryngitis. Although there are medications available, there are also some home remedies that can be beneficial for a dry cough.
Home Remedy #1: Honey
Honey is a sweet and viscous substance produced by bees through the collection of flower nectar. Through other additional processes such as enzymatic activity, water evaporation, and regurgitation, honey is made and stored in honeycombs, which can be collected for human consumption. The sweetness of honey can be attributed to the presence of fructose and glucose.
Honey is thought to have antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties as most microorganisms are unable to grow in honey. Honey that is sealed keeps well, even after many years. Traditionally, honey has been used to treat burns and wounds. For a cough, it helps soothe the irritated and inflamed throat, which reduces coughing.