Chris D. Meletis, N.D.
Cough is the most common presenting symptom seen in a general family practice. Clinically, a cough is almost always merely a symptom of an underlying condition. It is important to look beyond the cough to treat the cause and, hence, achieve maximal relief.
Cough is a normal protective mechanism for clearing the airway of secretions, irritants, and foreign materials. Air expulsion in excess of 500 miles per hour has been recorded during a coughing episode. The emphasis when treating a cough is to help the body expectorate more efficiently and lessen undue irritation, thus, lessening the need to cough.
Among the leading causes of coughs are colds, bronchitis, pneumonia, allergies, and asthma. Coughs are also induced by drugs, nonspecific upperrespiratory-tract irritations, infections, and environmental triggers. Because coughs can also be symptomatic of other conditions, such as respiratory cancers, congestive heart failure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, unremitting coughs must always be investigated further.
Whether a cough is caused by viral or bacterial infection or by another condition, many of the same natural medicine interventions can be beneficial in alleviating the discomfort.