One of the peskiest symptoms of many minor ailments is a cough, especially a dry cough. In many cases, a dry cough can be more irritating and last longer than you would expect. Following is a look at some of the most-recommended supplements that could be taken to treat a dry cough.
What Can Lead to a Dry Cough?
A dry cough can be inconvenient, and even very frustrating. Not only is coughing uncomfortable, but a dry cough is also unproductive in that it does not produce mucus. No mucus (or "phlegm") is produced because there is none present in the airways. A dry cough can also be frustrating because of a persistent tickling sensation in the throat which often accompanies it, as well as soreness.
So what can cause a dry cough? One primary cause is asthma, which is a condition causing constriction of the airways. Another is experiencing a viral infection. Some viruses can cause a dry cough to linger for multiple weeks after other symptoms subside. Bronchitis and pneumonia both can cause a dry cough, as well.
Alternatively, a dry cough could manifest as a symptom of a more serious underlying condition. Such conditions include cystic fibrosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and sleep apnea. If you suspect that you or a family member has a dry cough and could be at risk for one of these diseases, speak to your healthcare provider. Lastly, a dry cough can result from smoking.
Remedies for a Dry Cough
There are steps you can take to combat a dry cough. First, it is essential to drink a generous amount of fluids, preferably purified water, to stay hydrated. Other helpful measures would include sucking on a cough drop and using a humidifier.
Many common OTC cough meds are not very effective for treating a dry cough. However, a variety of supplements have qualities and certain bodily effects that could combat a dry cough. Here are some of the better-known remedies.
Capsaicin is the substance in chili peppers which gives them their hot, spicy flavor. Capsaicin has been shown to also work against a chronic cough. Taking an oral capsaicin tablet is an easy and oft-preferred way to consume capsaicin because it is concentrated, and there is no spicy effect on the taste buds. A supplement containing cayenne (a type of chili pepper) can provide capsaicin.
Ginger root could help work against a dry cough, because it is an effective supplement for respiratory tract infections. Ginger root has prominent antiviral, antibacterial, and even antifungal properties. Because many cases of dry cough are due to a respiratory infection, ginger root could potentially make a big difference in prevention.
Turmeric has antiviral and antibacterial properties that could work against infections that cause dry cough. While directly treating a short-term cough is not an oft-recommended use of turmeric, that herb could help reduce coughing in those whose cough is due to asthma.
Vitamin C defends against cough by bolstering the immune system and white blood cell count, thereby combatting both viral and bacterial infections. However, it has another application as well: Vitamin C could specifically reduce coughing (and wheezing) in smokers whose bodies are undergoing oxidative stress.
Eucalyptus oil added to steam and inhaled could help reduce a dry cough. While a dry cough is most typically dry because there is no mucus to expel, this is not always the case. Eucalyptus could help expel what little mucus could be present, that is causing the cough. It can also help you sleep through the night if coughing has kept you awake.
Don't go through a dry coughing spell without remedying it if you are able. The above remedies could effectively prevent, or reduce the duration, of a dry cough. Talk to your healthcare provider about how you might benefit from these or any other remedies he or she can recommend.