Childhood coughs

Coughs and colds affect everyone, young and old. But at least an adult can tell you what’s wrong. Young children just suffer, some more silently than others.

Here are some natural remedies that will help little ones recover from a nasty cough, so they, and the rest of the house, can sleep peacefully through the night. These remedies will help bigger people with coughs too.

Coughing often means there is mucus in the lungs. Mucus is an excellent breeding ground for bacteria, so it’s better out of the body than in. Stepone is to water down the mucus. Sounds absolutely charming, I know, but mucus that is thick and sticky is more difficult to cough up than thin and watery. While we’re talking mucus, the clearer the colour of the mucus, the better, with more chance of a bacterial infection being present if the mucus is dark yellow or green. Drinking plenty of fluids will keep the mucus watery. Stick to juices, water, hot Ribena (yum!) or tea made with honey and sliced ginger root, rather than milky drinks which may add to the mucus factor. Ice cream and yoghurt are also out for a few days. Your patient needs to drink six or seven glasses of fluid (water, juice or tea) a day. Soups are another good way of getting fluids into them. Chicken noodle of course!

An old-fashioned cough remedy that really works is chopping up two dessertspoons of fresh thyme (fresh is best because it contains more essential oils), a teensy knob of ginger (chopped), one clove of garlic (crushed). Put ingredients in a small bowl or cup, and fill with 3 centimetres of honey. Put cup in basin of hot water over night. In the morning, heat again (either put cup in microwave or sink of hot water) Strain, and feed your coughing child a teaspoon of the honey mixture every four hours. Another effective cough remedy is made in a similar fashion with
an onion. Place a horizontally sliced onion (red, brown or white) on a saucer, between every slice spread some honey. Leave honeyed onion in a warm place overnight, and give one teaspoon of the resulting liquid every four hours.

There are various herbs that work well for coughs for youngsters over the age of five; these include; licorice (not the allsort variety), mullein, wild cherry, echinacea and marshmallow (not the pink and white ones). These herbs are available in cough mixture form from health food shops. Childrens dosage is usually written on the label. Constant coughing means the tiny airways of the lungs are in spasm. The tissue salt Mag phos, is very good for this, and can be taken every couple of hours, in a little water or under the tongue.

Before bed, rub some Vicks onto your childs chest. Then swing them onto their tummy, with head and shoulders slightly lower than the rest of the body (perhaps over a couple of pillows). Have a hankie handy and gently pound (with loose fists) over their upper back for a minute or two. This will dislodge mucus from the bottom of the lungs, to circumvent a middle of the night coughing spectacular. A steam humidifier at night will keep moist the mucous membranes lining the nose, sinuses and lungs. Add a teaspoon of vicks or a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the top
part of the humidifier.

Hopefully, by using some of these old-fashioned natural remedies, you will calm your childs cough quickly and quietly.