Spring can be a tough time. It doesn’t seem like we transition easily from winter into warm weather here in Ohio. We do it in fits and starts. One day it is warm and sunny and the next it is chilly and rainy. The back and forth of the weather makes it incredibly easy to get a good, strong cold in the head or chest.
Home Remedies for Congestion and Cough
This spring it seems like everyone is running around with a similar cough. I don’t tend to worry about a cough that sounds productive, however, if it is a hard cough or there is a rattling in the chest it is important to work on a resolution. Most of what I’m hearing among my family and friends is a non-productive cough that seems to be the result of hard, dry phlegm that is stuck at the very bottom of the lungs.
This winter was long and cold. There was less illness during the cold months because people weren’t going out very much. Unfortunately, this meant they were staying inside in the heated, dry air. When we forget to compensate for this dryness we actually become dehydrated by the very air we breathe.
A cold that comes out of this situation is one where our mucus is very sticky and hard to get out. There are a number of things to do in this case. Hydration is number one. The more water you take in while sick, the thinner and more easily moved your mucus will be.
As it is spring, there are some weeding chores you may be doing while you hack and cough. So here are two recipes to make use of the plants you would be throwing away anyway:
Plantain Tea for Congestion
- 2-3 tablespoons fresh picked plantain leaf (Plantago lanceolata or Plantago major)*
- 1 cup boiling water
- Cut or tear the leaves of your plantain and place them in a cup.
- Pour boiling water over the leaves and cover your cup with something solid.
- Steep for 10-15 minutes and drink warm.
*Be sure to pick enough plantain so you can drink this three times a day until your cough stops.
You can power-pack this tea by adding some of the other weeds you’ve pulled. Among the best would be chickweed (Stellaria media), gill-over-the-ground (Glechoma hederecea) or violet (Viola spp.).
Garlic Mustard Compress
Garlic mustard (Alliaria petiolata) is a hated plant and is being rooted out of wild places all over our area even as I write this. Many have discovered its culinary applications and have brought it into their kitchens to steam or make into delicious pesto.
If you are coughing as you pull this one from your yard, you should try the following remedy. The garlic mustard compress is a deep heating application that will help to break up congestion.
Ingredients & Supplies
- 1 good handful of garlic mustard
- 1 large strip of old cotton or flannel cloth
- heating pad
- plastic grocery bag
- Put the garlic mustard in a blender or food processor and blend until it is a mushy mess.
- You will want to be somewhere where you can comfortably be on your stomach for at least half an hour. Spread the blended garlic mustard onto your cloth, then fold the other side of the cloth over the mass of plant mess. Have a family member or friend place it on your back between your shoulder blades. They will then want to cover it with the plastic grocery bag and finally add the heating pad.
- You might alternate the compress between chest and back, but definitely focus on the back as a priority.
- You can compost the garlic mustard after you are done and pick more for your next compress.
Are you dealing with a cough or congestion this spring? Are you using natural means to clear it up? Share below!