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Treating cough

Making the right choice

Medication for cough relief is based on the two principles of protussive (cough-promoting or expectorant) and antitussive (cough-suppressant). When choosing the right remedy, patient-specific factors such as age, allergies or hypersensitivities must be taken into account.
Marta Campbell
06.10.2021  12:30 Uhr

Effervescent tablets or a granulate to dissolve can help to increase the amount of fluid drunk. Patients who complain of a scratchy throat apart from a cough are well advised to use a viscous syrup, juice or lozenges. Their ingredients leave a soothing film on the mucous membrane and relieve the symptoms locally.

For pregnant women, children or dry alcoholics, alcohol-free preparations or tablets are the sensible choice. People who suffer from hypersensitivity may not tolerate some herbal ingredients. For them, a chemical-synthetic remedy may be the better choice.

Phytopharmaceuticals work

Randomised controlled studies of numerous phytotherapeutics have shown that the duration and intensity of acute coughs in colds was reduced as compared to placebo. Preparations with ivy (such as with the ivy dry extract EA 575® in Prospan® cough syrup), cineol (main component of eucalyptus oil, among others, contained for example in Soledum® forte capsules), a mixed distillate of eucalyptus, sweet orange, myrtle and lemon oil l (as in the special distillate ELOM-080®, contained in GeloMyrtol® forte capsules) and Capeland pelargonium (as in the special extract EPs 7630®, contained in Umckaloabo® drops, juice and tablets) have been tried and tested accordingly. There is also good evidence for some combination preparations, for example with ivy and thyme (as in Bronchipret® juice TE) and primrose and thyme (as in Bronchipret® film tablets TP).

To relieve the irritation of the cough, PTA can also recommend phytopharmaceuticals containing mucilage, for example with Iceland moss or marshmallow root. They place a soothing layer of mucus on the cough receptors of the upper respiratory tract. An aqueous extract of Iceland moss in the form of pastilles soothes mucous membrane irritations inside the mouth and throat area. It is contained in tea preparations too. Mucilage from marshmallow root is also a balsam for the sore throat.

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