October through March are the breeding grounds of upper respiratory infections and these all too often complicate into coughs. Coughs are not a bad thing; they are a logical attempt on the part of our body to expel virus and bacteria. Still, they do not feel great, and, to the sufferer, it is hard to appreciate the wisdom of our bodies when coughing plagues our days and keeps us from sleeping at night.
CVS or any chain pharmacy have lots of synthetic options for taming a cough--NyQuil and standard cough syrups line the white shelves of any convenient outlet. For some, taking these products seems to quell the symptoms. For others, there is no change. For others the ingestion of these products can perpetuate the condition. Many in the natural health field say that products such as these are the "nighttime sugar-laden, symptom masking, immunity compromising, hallucination inducing, weirdest-sleep-you've-ever-had-with-a-cold medicine," and attempt to break down the harmful ingredients in these products and its potential damage to the body's balance.
Whatever your stance on this debate may be, I can only speak personally as someone who is dealing with multiple illnesses and, as an immuno-compromised human, remedies such as Nyquil can be like pouring gasoline on a fire. As such, one of my goals on this journey has been to find natural remedies--from the earth, from tradition--to treat myself and my family.
For my toddler-aged daughter, one of my favorite cough remedies is honey. We use raw Manuka honey, and it is truly magical in a tiny body struggling to expel a virus. Honey has incredible properties as an antimicrobial (a natural antibiotic) and a mucosal-lining agent that can soften raw or irritated tissue. The NIH has a wonderful a wonderful study from 2011 on the medicinal powers of honey.
For now, while you are off becoming an expert on honey, here are a few ways we've used Mankua for our daughter's coughs and viruses:
- For dry coughs, we mix honey and a few organic grapes. We juice the grapes and then mix with honey in a pot, and simmer until we have a warm tea.
- For a nighttime cough, we've had success mixing honey with warm milk (we use raw milk from the farm--look for an upcoming post on this).
- Also for a nightmare cough, we've had great success mixing honey with warm spring water and slippery elm.
- For a cough that is persistent throughout the day, we have often mixed honey and fresh lemon juice in a glass of warm spring water, and taken this remedy three times a day.
These are great remedies for children, as they taste good and they provide instant relief, are from the earth, and provide inherent healing properties.