Herbal Health Information on Persistent Coughs

I will not see someone with a persistent cough unless it has been first investigated by the orthodox profession, because of the implications a persistent cough might have.

However if it has been diagnosed as having no known cause then it is well worth treating a persistent cough with herbal medicine as there are several herbs that have an excellent cleansing action on the lungs and respiratory system.

Persisting irritating coughs may have several causes


Dry throat


Excess stomach acid

The respiratory system is very vulnerable to external irritants and the first course of action is to protect it from the external environment.

Marshmallow is the herb that does this. We saw the marshmallow on the Cuckmere river walk growing in profusion on the river bank and in the treatment of IBS. It is high in mucilage which coats and protects mucous membranes. The marshmallow leaf is used for the protection of the lungs.

The lungs are just an open space and it is difficult to cleanse a space, but any herb that contains a volatile oil (evaporates on warming) will clean the lungs.

Garlic must come top of the list for this, as it is anti bacterial, antiviral, stimulates the immune system has an anti histamine type action is antispasmodic and an expectorant (helps to cough up gunk). Wow! There you have all you could ever want in one plant to treat most lung infections and irritations.

Thyme, which we saw on our walk on the downs video, is another excellent herb for coughs. It has very strongly anti bacterial and viral properties and the active ingredient is in the Volatile oil breathed out through the lungs, cleansing the airspaces and the linings on the way through

An allergic cough needs to be treated by a professional as the herb of choice for this is Ephedra, a restricted practitioner only herb.

Eyebright and horsetail tone all mucous membrane linings and Horsetail, which I will be showing you in one of my future walks is high in Silica which helps with tissue healing and strengthening in all mucous membranes.

It is always worth reducing dairy intake if you have a persistent cough as dairy is Catarrh forming which may cause aggravation in the whole respiratory system. Whilst we are on the subject of diet (you notice I tried to slip it in quietly), to heal any body tissue you must have a good intake of Vitamin C and Zinc. Vitamin C from any fruit or Veg and Zinc from pumpkin seeds, peas and oats.

Persistent coughs usually respond well to herbal medicine so it is worth visiting a qualified medical herbalist to help get it treated. For my clinic details, please click here or on the tab at the top of page.

Linda Bostock

Medical Herbalist

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