As the seasons change, many individuals often find themselves grappling with various health issues such as viruses that cause colds and coughs, allergic reactions, and more. Research has shown a significant correlation between these seasonal changes and an increase in specific illnesses. A study published in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health indicates that mortality rates from certain diseases show seasonal variations, with respiratory illnesses peaking during the winter months.
These commonplace illnesses, while not life-threatening, can prove to be quite uncomfortable and disruptive, particularly for those leading busy lives. Being under the weather, coupled with persistent coughing, can significantly affect one’s work routine and overall productivity. A study published in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine reports that seasonal flu results in substantial losses in work productivity due to illness-related absenteeism.
The Power of Teas in Providing Comfort and Relief
For those seeking immediate relief from these discomforts, adopting a holistic approach can often prove to be highly effective. One such approach is the use of teas to alleviate symptoms like a sore throat and constant coughing. The warmth of the tea soothes the throat, while certain herbs and spices used in these concoctions can help suppress coughs and boost the immune system.
10 Best Teas That Help Relieve Cough Symptoms
Let’s delve into a list of the top ten teas and tea combinations that aid in providing cough relief.
Peppermint tea is a potent cough suppressant due to the presence of menthol. This compound can soothe a sore throat and act as a decongestant, providing relief from the discomfort associated with a cough. A study discovered that menthol can relax bronchial muscles and enhance airflow to the lungs, making it easier to breathe during a bout of cold or cough (source).
To make peppermint tea, combine 1-2 teaspoons of dried peppermint leaves in a cup of boiling water. Allow the leaves to steep in the water for about 10 minutes to allow the menthol to fully infuse into the water. After steeping, strain the leaves before drinking the tea.
Chamomile, a herb known for its calming properties, can also help with coughs. A study published in Molecular Medicine Reports suggested that chamomile possesses both anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties, which help to reduce inflammation and relax the muscles of the throat, respectively (source).
To make chamomile tea, steep a chamomile tea bag or one tablespoon of dried chamomile flowers in hot water for about 10 minutes. The resulting tea is a soothing tea that can alleviate throat irritation and coughing.
Ginger is a natural anti-inflammatory that can help relieve throat irritation and swelling. According to a study published in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine, ginger has the potential to modulate the immune response, thereby aiding in the quick recovery from a cold or cough.
To make ginger tea, slice fresh ginger and steep it in boiling water for about 10 minutes. The spicy and warm nature of ginger makes this tea a soothing remedy for coughs and colds.
Echinacea is a potent immune system booster that can help you get rid of a cold faster. A study published in The Lancet Infectious Diseases indicated that echinacea could potentially reduce the chances of developing a common cold by up to 58%.
You can make echinacea tea by steeping either a tea bag or one tablespoon of dried echinacea in boiling water for around 15 minutes. This herbal tea is not only tasty, but it is also good for your respiratory health.
Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root, known for its sweet flavor, can soothe a sore throat and eliminate phlegm. A study in Phytotherapy Research found that licorice root extract has potent antiviral effects, making it effective in treating viral infections like the common cold.
To prepare licorice root tea, steep about one teaspoon of chopped licorice root in one cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. This sweet and soothing tea can provide relief from coughing and throat irritation right away.
Turmeric tea is a wonderful health-boosting infusion that’s rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. The primary active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, has been shown to have strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties, which can provide relief from a dry cough and sore throat. It also helps to strengthen the immune system and protect the liver.
To make turmeric tea, heat water and add a teaspoon of turmeric powder. Allow it to simmer for about 10 minutes to extract the most curcumin. Strain before drinking if necessary.
Both honey and lemon are excellent for soothing a sore throat. Honey acts as a natural cough suppressant, while lemon, with its citric acid, helps to break up mucus and soothe a sore throat. Simply add a tablespoon of honey and the juice of half a lemon to a cup of hot water to make this tea. Drink while it is still warm and the honey is dissolved.
Thyme is useful for treating chest and respiratory issues, such as coughs. Its essential oil contains thymol, a natural cough suppressant. Thyme can help relax the muscles of the trachea and bronchi, and open up the airways, making breathing easier. To make thyme tea, steep fresh or dried thyme leaves in boiling water for 10 minutes, then strain before drinking.
Green tea is packed with antioxidants that can boost your immune system and help your body fight off a cold. These antioxidants, especially epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), can protect cells and reduce inflammation in the body. Plus, it can soothe a sore throat and relieve congestion. To prepare, steep a green tea bag or loose leaves in hot water for 3-5 minutes, then strain before drinking.
Elderberry has been used for centuries to treat respiratory illnesses such as flu and colds. It’s rich in antioxidants and vitamins that can boost your immune system. Furthermore, elderberries may help reduce inflammation, reduce stress, and protect your heart. To make elderberry tea, steep dried elderberries in water for 15 minutes before straining.
Key Considerations When Preparing Soothing Teas for Cough Relief
Quality of Ingredients: Always use high-quality, organic ingredients whenever possible. This ensures that you are getting the most health benefits and flavor out of your tea.
Water Temperature: Different teas necessitate varying water temperatures. To avoid bitterness, green tea should be steeped in hot, but not boiling, water.
Steeping Time: Oversteeping can produce a bitter flavor. Follow the steeping-time recommendations for each type of tea.
Freshness: Use fresh ingredients where possible. Fresh ginger, for example, will have a more potent flavor than dried.
Proportions: Be mindful of the proportions of tea to water. Too much tea can result in a very strong or bitter flavor.
Additives: While honey and lemon are common additives that can enhance the flavor and health benefits of your tea, avoid adding too much sugar or artificial sweeteners, which can detract from the health benefits.
Straining: Properly strain your tea to avoid consuming any leaves or particles.
Storage: Store your tea ingredients properly to maintain their freshness and potency.
Consultation: Consult a healthcare professional before introducing new types of tea to your diet if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or taking medication.
Moderation: Even healthy beverages like tea should be consumed in moderation. Drinking too much of certain teas may lead to unwanted side effects.
Hygiene: Ensure that all utensils, pots, and cups used in preparing the tea are clean.
Do Not Reuse: Do not reuse tea leaves or other ingredients from a previous brew.
Avoid waiting: Drink the tea while it’s still warm for the best experience. Letting it sit for too long may alter the taste and reduce the potency of its medicinal properties.
The Benefits of Tea for Cough Alleviation
Incorporating these soothing teas into your routine can provide a natural and comforting way to alleviate cough and cold symptoms. Each offers a unique blend of therapeutic properties, from the potent antioxidant benefits of green tea and turmeric to the calming effects of chamomile and honey-lemon tea. Other teas like licorice root, elderberry, and echinacea offer antiviral and immune-boosting properties that can help shorten the duration of a cold.
However, it’s essential to remember that while these teas can offer some relief, they are not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. Always consult a healthcare professional if your symptoms persist or worsen, or if you have other health concerns. Stay hydrated and healthy while enjoying the natural goodness of these beneficial brews.