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It has happened to everybody. You, or somebody in your family, is coughing most of the night. This is especially troubling when it is a child. Is there something you can do between cough syrup and a hospital? The following approaches are worth a try. 

 1. As an alternative to patent or prescription cough medicines, herbal remedies deserve consideration. COLTSFOOT herb (Tussilago farfara) leaves made into a tea forms one of the best cough medicines I know of. You can buy dried coltsfoot at any herb store and at many health food stores. It is not expensive and has a low likelihood of side effects with occasional use.

However, coltsfoot is not for use during pregnancy or nursing. For full cautionary information, I recommend a library or internet search for "coltsfoot herb toxicity." and are especially good.)

My checking many years worth of comprehensive annual reports of the American Association of Poison Control Centers, a nation-wide database, failed to find a single death from coltsfoot. That dose not mean that all herbals are always perfectly safe. They are not. In my opinion, proper, temporary use of herbals is not nearly as dangerous as the drugs doctors employ in their place. I invite you to make up your own mind, and urge you to work with your doctor.

As for us, we use a tablespoon or two of herb to each mug of hot water. For an adult, several mugs full can even stop the cough of pneumonia. I know, because I had pneumonia and was sick as a dog... a constantly coughing dog, that is. Prescription cough medicine WITH CODEINE did not touch it. Three mugs of coltsfoot tea eliminated coughing for hours. It is the only cough remedy we ever needed in our house. 

 2. Cough is generally a symptom of some other problem in the body. It is wise to "pull the rug out from under" the cough by helping the rest of the body get well. Healthy bodies do not cough. Whether it is a cold, flu, bronchitis, or pneumonia, strengthening one's immune system with Vitamin C can only help. 

I've written elsewhere about how to treat illness with vitamin C. A simple reminder: "Take enough C to be symptom free, whatever the amount might be." That is usually just under the amount that would result in loose bowels. 

When my daughter was four years old, she had a VERY bad cough. We endured it for two nights while doing everything doctors suggest. Yes, she had strict bed rest. Yes, she even had codeine cough syrup. Yes, she still was coughing after 48 hours of this and yes, I'd had enough. While my wife escaped to go bowling, I was sufficiently sick of sickness to start my daughter on a teaspoon (about 4,000 milligrams) of vitamin C crystals in juice every hour.  When my wife returned, the cough was gone. We continued to give this little girl vitamin C for the rest of the day, and she remained quiet and comfortable. She had a total of 36,000 mg of "C" since about 1 PM. 

During the night the cough came back. We got up, gave her a teaspoon of vitamin C, and everyone was shortly asleep once again. The next morning, the cough was back again, and we met it with vitamin C every hour. We kept that cough down by keeping her "C" up.  It worked. 

I tell you this to let you know that I've been there too. Those all-night battles for a sick child are really tough. Vitamin C and coltsfoot are tough, too. When you use them, they really work. 

And everybody sleeps much better. 


Andrew Saul is the author of the books FIRE YOUR DOCTOR! How to be Independently Healthy (reader reviews at ) and DOCTOR YOURSELF: Natural Healing that Works. (reviewed at )

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Andrew W. Saul


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