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The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Herbs With Nicky Treacy Kohler - Coughs

Thursday, 1 December 2005


Nicky will be talking about the five different categories of coughs and an herbal remedy for each cough.  Nicky will also give us the herbal alternative to using cough bottles, leaving you without the side effects!

What is a cough?
Coughing is a protective mechanism.  It's the body's way of expelling unwanted material from the lungs.  It is also a reflex action which can be caused by irritation in the airways caused by things like dust, smoke, gases or mucus.

There are a variety of different coughs some caused by social conditions such as smoking or pollution, others by simple respiratory infections.  Some coughs are caused by more serious respiratory infections such as asthma and bronchitis.  Some are dry, some wet and some productive meaning lots of mucous, others unproductive meaning irritable but no mucous.  The different forms of coughs, depend on bugs and pre-existing conditions.

Herb 1 - Carrageenmoss or Irish Moss
This is a solution to a dry cough. If associated with acid reflux (indigestion), this herb is perfect.
5 - 10 grams of Irish Moss
1 cup of water
. Put the moss into a saucepan
. Pour in the cup of water
. Simmer for 20 minutes
. It will turn into a jelly substance
Eat the teaspoon full.  You can also add to a vegetable soup or any soup, stew or casserole.  Those who are brave enough can eat a cupful a day to get rid of a dry cough.

Herb 2 - Onion
This is a solution to a wet cough.  It is a great antibiotic and antibacterial.
1 Glass Jar
1 Large Onion sliced
Brown Sugar
. Cut up the onion in slices
. Put a slice of onion in the jar
. Cover with brown sugar
. Put another slice in and cover with brown sugar
. Repeat this until all the onion is covered
. Leave in fridge overnight
. Strain off the syrup over the next few days

Herb 3 - Thyme
This is a solution to a stuck cough.  This works as an antiseptic.  The reason thyme is the best for a wet cough is because it is
. anti-microbial - helps prevent infection lodging in mucus
. antispasmodic - allows the bronchials to relax to let mucous come up
. expectorant - brings mucous up
. drying - it is an astringent herb; helps dry up the mucous

Herb 4 - Flaxseed
This is a solution to a bronchial cough which is an infection if the bronchi - the tube that takes air out of the lungs.  The best things here are to soothe the inflamed tissues and give anti-infective herbs.
A handful of Flaxseed
Boiling Water
A piece of Linen
. Take a handful of flaxseed
. Add some boiling water until it reaches the consistency of a thick paste
. Spread the paste 1 cm thick on the linen
. Leave the sides free from paste
. Apply as hot as possible to the chest
. Leave on for 2 hours and then remove
. Sponge the chest with warm water then dry well
. This is also great for pleurisy.