Coughing is an attempt by the body to dislodge and expel some irritating or obstructing matter from the chest or throat and consists of reflex action of the respiratory muscles accompanied by a blast of air. Demulcent and expectorant herbs help to loosen and break up the offending substance (if it is mucus), so it can then be expelled. Even the most bothersome cough can be helped by drinking a little warm water mixed with one tablespoon of lemon juice and one tablespoon of honey. Antispasmodic herbs are necessary to treat spasmodic coughs since this kind involves irritation of a nerve, which then activates the coughing reflex.
Single Herbs: Ma Huang, Gumweed, Licorice root, Slippery Elm (lozenges), Marshmallow, Mullein, Comfrey (demulcents and expectorants); Lobelia Extract (antispasmodic and expectorant), Wild Cherry bark.
Nutritional Supplements: Vitamin A (20,000 – 50,000 IU), Vitamin B Complex (25-50 mg), Vitamin C (3000 – 5000 mg), Calcium (20 mg).
Two Chinese cough syrups of note are African Sea Coconut and Pie Pa Koa. Sea coconut is excellent for most colds and coughs. Pie Pa Koa is excellent for dry coughs but not when mucus is runny. Elderberry syrup has also been found to be good.