Smoker’s Cough: Symptoms, Ayurvedic Treatment, Medicines

Article by Prof. MS Krishnamurthy. MD (Ayu)., PhD.
Here are the easiest ways to overcome the most common complaint of smokers’cough complained by chain smokers or who smoke more or those who are habituated to it. 

Definition, cause

What is the definition of smokers cough?
It is the persistent cough found in the regular smokers. Even though it is common due to cigar it may be found in the individuals who puff Beedi (traditional cigar) too.

Why smokers develop this kind of cough?
The smoke contains several chemicals; these chemicals or their complex forms irritate the air passages including even the base of the lungs.

When a smoker breathes inside the puff of cigar these substances enter inside, but in turn the body tries itself to protect by forceful expulsion in the form of coughing.

Why morning cough is more in smokers?
Quite commonly ‘early morning’ cough of smokers happens due to several reasons-Importantly the cilia (hairlike projections lining in the airways) helps to beat outer and sweep harmful material out of the lungs.

Cigarette smoking decreases the sweeping action and hence some of the poisons in the smoke remain in the lungs. When a habituate of smoking sleeps, these cilia recover and begin working again.

Where as after waking up, the smoker coughs because the lungs are trying to clear away these poisons that built up the previous day. Many a time prolonged exposure to smoke leads to complete destruction of the ability of the cilia to function.

Thus the smoker’s lungs are even more exposed and susceptible than before, especially to bacteria and viruses in the air.

As early in the morning, for the first time they cough the incidences of repulsion or interaction between the cilia and the smoke chemicals are more morning cough is predominantly found.

Nature of cough

What is the nature of Smokers’ cough?
At first usually it is dry, but over a time period of 3-6 months it usually produces phlegm.

The phlegm may be clear, white, yellow, or even green or brown in color. The cough is usually worst upon awakening, and improves over rest of the active period of day time.

When one should be very serious about in case of Smokers’ cough?
When the cough of a smoker associated with the following features much alertness one should get and immediately it should be withdrawn by seeking the advice of the physicians and especially chest physicians.

They are-
Coughing up blood – If the person gets cough with blood—even a small amount on only a single occasion also needs immediate attention.
Hoarseness – the hoarseness of the voice that lasts for more than a week, or it is accompanied with typical cold features consultation of physician is mandatory.
Shortness of breath – the features like catching of the breath, difficulty to climb, exertional dyspnoea are the features suggestive of shortness of the breath which needs appointment of a physician
Wheezing –wheezing may suggest the complaint of asthma; as it is said “not all that wheezes are asthma.” It may require medical supervision.
Unexplained weight loss – as it may be due to systemic involvement doctor’s advice and proper medication will prevent one from the worst conditions.

Management of cough

How to manage the Smokers’ cough?
First line of management is avoiding or quitting the habit of smoking if not possible go for considerable decrease in the cigar habit.

Following ways will help one to overcome the complaint of Smokers’ cough-
Drink sufficient amount of warm water or milk (never take cold water/milk/beverage)
Mouth gargling with salt water or lemon juice added water will give immediate relief for a period of 30- 45 minutes. So this can be carried repeatedly as maximum as 10-12 times.
Chewing the Bhavana shunthi (an herbal product prepared by processing the ginger) 4-5 times a day gives soothing effect to the throat.
Spicy and oily food should be contraindicated for atleast 3-4 months.
Lemon tea is found worth in few of the individuals and especially lemon tea added with honey can also be taken twice or thrice a day.
Elevating head position while sleeping gives considerable benefit in few individuals.
All kind of exercise which helps in evacuation of the phlegm is useful. So one can get the training of expert Yoga teachers in this regard
Healthy diet will improve the health condition.
Involvement in few interesting habits will help you to avoid the root cause of smoking.

Ayurvedic home remedies

Home remedies: (Click on the remedy to read more about it). 

Ayurvedic formulations

Following formulations are used in Ayurveda while treating Smokers’ cough-
For chewing-
Khadiradi vati
Lavangadi vati
Eladi vati
Pooga vati
Sitopaladi choorna
Talisadi choorna
Vyoshadi vati etc

For internal administration-
Shwasakuthara rasa
Kaphaketu rasa
Lakshmivilasa rasa
Shwasananda gulika
Chukkum tippalyadi gulika
Chyavanaprasha avaleha
Agasthya rasayana
Dashamoola rasayana
Kooshmanda rasayana
Bharngi guda etc

Last drop
If you are a smoker and if you are coughing, it may be simple complaint of smokers’ cough or cough associated woth seasonal cold or allergic rhinitis.
But in few of the cases it may mislead you as well as the physician towards wrong diagnosis.Many a time it may mask the systemic disorders with the feature of cough too.As Smoking is not at all a good habit our request with you to please avoid it.
We are keen to keep yourself happy and your family too. Please write to us if you have made your mind to quit Smoking.

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