A cough is the body's protective reflex, an attempt to eliminate foreign objects from the respiratory tract.

A cold will often cause swelling and irritation in the throat and upper airways, and the brain perceives this swelling as an object, which it tries to expel by coughing.

Dry, tickly coughs that do not produce phlegm are known as non-productive coughs. If mucus is brought up, the cough is described as productive.

In general, a cough suppressant will help to dampen down the irritation of a tickly, non-productive cough.

If the cough is productive however, you need an expectorant to help bring up the excess mucus in the airways.

Troublesome coughs often indicate difficulty eliminating mucus.

Ivy is an example of a herb which exerts an expectorant action on the chest. Expectorants thin and loosen mucus from the respiratory tract, encouraging its expulsion.

Ivy also has antispasmodic properties, which help to prevent and relieve coughing spasms.

Thyme is another useful herb. It contains an oil called 'thymol' which helps to disinfect the airways, relaxing bronchial spasm and reducing the thickness of mucus. Thyme can be  particularly helpful for hacking coughs and catarrh.

The A.Vogel Ivy-Thyme Complex from Bioforce combines both ivy and thyme to help reduce the irritation of a productive cough without actually suppressing it.

It also contains liquorice, an old favourite widely recognised for its expectorant and anti-spasmodic properties, and is sugar-free.

Dilute 15 drops in a little water two to three times a day. The complex is also suitable for children over the age of two,
simply adjust the dose accordingly.

If your symptoms persist or you cough up blood, you must consult your GP.

For more information please contact your local health store.