On cutting the coughs

Sore throat bringing down your energy way too often? Follow these simple home remedies to get relief, advise Bharat & Shalan Savur.

Common cold and cough are probably what cause more distress than most other ailments in a majority of people. While it might be a small problem, most people find it rather boggling, as it brings down their regular momentum. The good thing is that common cold and cough are ailments that can be easily treated at home.

The next time you get a sore throat, cough, or lose your voice, follow these natural remedies:

n Infection and re-infection are your prime enemies. Throw out your toothbrush at the first warning tickle in the throat. This stems the progress of a sore throat and even rids you of the problem because there’s no more bacteria (accumulated on the old bristle) slipping into your throat. And if you’re already hoarse, get a new toothbrush again as you recover. Wisdom from the dentist’s chair: buy a new toothbrush every month.

n Watch your food intake. Have fibre-rich oats with warm milk for breakfast. You could add berries to it. When you lie down, the acid reflux from the stomach rises to your throat and inflames its soft tissues. So, avoid overeating; say no to fried and heavy foods. Keep dinner light, yet heartily fulfilling - warm rice-dal or nourishing stews. Avoidable heavy foods are wheat, mutton, cheese. Light foods are barley, rice, chicken, skimmed milk, oats and corn-rotis.

n Be careful if dining out. Re-heated oil aggravates the throat. For this reason, it’s best to order dosas, pav bhaji and other foods cooked in butter, when at a restaurant. They can’t recycle butter. Sandwiches, soups, idlis are good options, too.

n A sound sleep at night is the immune system’s delight. Before going to bed, boil half a teaspoon cumin seeds in one cup of water and drink immediately. The hot brew soothes the throat and aids digestion. This, in turn, prevents the cough and sleep disruption.

n To further strengthen the immune system, have a vitamin-C tablet daily. Increase it to two (1-0-1) at the onset of a cold; and three (1-1-1), if you’re already sick. Consume natural vitamin-C sources such as citrus fruits - oranges, sweet lime, lemons and grapes, to name a few. Tomatoes, potatoes and strawberries are also good options.

n You could ask your pharmacist to help you get a throat paint. It is highly effective in curbing sore throat. All you need to do is put a cotton onto a sterilised thin wooden stick or twig, and soak it in the throat paint solution, and dab it directly on the insides of your throat.

n Keep taking lots of warm fluids. Drink hot herbal tea four times a day. Drink hot soups. You could also add one cup of crushed anise seeds to one cup of hot water, and flavour it with garlic, cinnamon and honey, and drink this concoction three times a day.

n Make a curry with fennel leaves and consume with rice. Or add the leaves to a clear soup, and drink hot. Also, mushrooms are known to boost immunity. So have a soothing mushroom soup for dinner; you could mix different kinds of mushrooms if you want to.

n One golden no-brainer is, of course, salt-water gargling. Add a tablespoon of salt to a glass of hot water and gargle four times a day, preferably after meals. If the salt is too much to take in, you could consider adding a little honey to make it easier on your tongue. But just remember to spit it out; don’t drink it!

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