Patients who have a perpetual cough and congestion because of allergies or infection should consider taking an herbal expectorant to relieve their symptoms. An herbal expectorant is a natural remedy that is ingested to loosen the mucus that is causing the cough. After the mucus is loosened by the herbal expectorant, it is efficiently expulsed from the body through coughing and sneezing. Herbal expectorants usually are taken as a serum, a pill or a tea and can be purchased at most health food stores and some pharmacies.
Licorice root is one of the most common herbal expectorants. Licorice root comes in capsule, tablet and liquid extract form. Licorice root's expectorant effect is especially useful in treating irritating coughs, asthma and chest infections.
Ginger also can be used as an herbal expectorant. Ginger becomes more effective if it is ingested as a tea, which can be purchased at most grocery stores or can be made at home by soaking a peeled, fresh ginger root in a cup or glass of hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. The root should be removed from the water before the tea is consumed. A teaspoon of honey can be added to the ginger tea in order to improve the taste, and the honey helps to soothe the throat as the mucus is expectorated during coughing.
Mullein leaf also is a popular herbal expectorant. Like ginger, mullein leaf is more effective when taken as a tea. Mullein tea is made from the flowers and leaf of the mullein plant. The tea is a beneficial remedy for bronchitis, sore throat, tonsillitis, dry coughs and hoarseness. Mullein tea, also known as mullein leaf tea, is sold in individual tea bags and can be purchased at most pharmacies and health food stores.
If any adverse effects are felt while an herbal expectorant is being taken, a medical professional should be contacted immediately. It also is a good idea for a healthcare professional to be consulted before any herbal treatment is started. A medical professional will be able determine any underlying conditions that could lead to side effects and can prescribe the best course of treatment.