As heavy rains continue across Bengaluru, the cough and cold season will continue.
However, these symptoms can often be alleviated by using natural ingredients in your kitchen. Here are five home remedies – recommended by city doctors – that can help relieve the common cold and cough. It’s important to note that these remedies may only help relieve symptoms temporarily. It’s important to see a doctor if symptoms return or last a long time.
gargling salt water
The simplest remedy of all – take a glass of warm water and add a pinch of salt. Gargle with it three to four times a day. When done consistently, gargling increases blood flow to the throat, supports the immune system, and in turn, leads to faster recovery. Salt water also helps to moisten your throat and loosen phlegm, which can help relieve a cough.
Ginger tea is another common but effective remedy for treating cough and cold symptoms. Packed with anti-inflammatory properties, scientific research shows that ginger is also a powerful antioxidant that helps the body flush out toxins.
“Instead of drinking plain water, you can soak ginger in warm water and drink it,” says Dr. Kavita Markhande, an Ayurvedic practitioner.
“Adding a few drops of lemon also helps. Ginger reduces mucus build-up, and since lemon is high in vitamin C, it’s a good choice for a cough,” she adds.
A rich source of energy and vitamins, raisins are also known for their antibacterial and immune-boosting properties.
The dried fruit also helps fight a dry cough, says Dr. Sanjay Hegde, general practitioner. “Raisins are a natural cough suppressant. Chewing raisins instead of other cough pills is more effective. Most lozenges contain menthol. While these help temporarily soothe the throat, they can also make the throat dry and make the cough worse,” he says.
Turmeric mixed with warm milk is an ancient remedy known to effectively treat coughs and colds.
The curcumin found in turmeric also helps in dissolving phlegm and improving chest congestion. “Turmeric can be mixed with hot water, and if you add a few drops of lemon, it can be drunk like an infusion. When taken early in the morning it is very beneficial as it is a great immunomodulator,” says GP Dr. Subash Chandra.
Honey, tulsi and long pepper paste
Honey has long been cited as a natural remedy for coughs and sore throats. dr Kavita says adding a pinch of long pepper and some tulsi leaf paste to honey makes it an effective medicine for coughs and colds.
“Honey is naturally expectorant and also antibacterial. It soothes the throat from irritation and pippali (long pepper) meanwhile reduces sore throat and relieves sore throat. It’s even good for a runny nose and allergies,” she says.