Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Healthy Habits: Curing Cough

Gustavo Ferrer, MD FCCP, is a accomplished pulmonologist trained both in Cuba and the US, Founder of the Cleveland Clinic Florida Cough Center and President of Intensive Care Experts based in Weston, Fla.
An authority on respiratory ailments with more than 20 years experience, Dr. Ferrer grew up in a culture that effectively utilized herbal teas and folk remedies for coughs and colds. His new book, Cough Cures: The Best Natural Remedies and Over-the-Counter Drugs for Acute and Chronic Cough (Moxie Life Press, April 2016) challenges our Western mindset that over medicates.

I had a chance to interview him to learn more.

Why is it helpful to blend a variety of approaches to curing cough? 
A cough syndrome is usually associated with other symptoms such as mucus, phlegm, stuffy nose, sore throat etc. So, the best course of action is to combine two or three treatment options

What are some considerations when choosing the best treatment?
  1. Butterbur Extract: Clinical studies show that butterbur works effectively against allergic rhinitis. In two separate studies the herb worked as well as or better than medical drugs Flonase and Allegra.
  2. Grindelia: Various species of Grindelia contain flavonoids quercetin and luteolin, which are integral components of human health. They are used as expectorants to clear out mucus and as mild antispasmodics to inhibit histamine release. Grindelia also reduces inflammation in the nose, sinuses and throat.
  3. Propolis: Propolis lozenges or throat sprays are loaded with protective chemicals used by bees to keep their hives sterile. It’s a sticky resin exuded by trees to protect their buds against bacteria and fungus; bees gather it and use it in the hive as an anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiviral. My clients who cough because of a mold allergy, report that propolis can even be used in a special vaporizer to clear a living space of mold, germs and pollution, just as it does in the hive.
  4. HEPA Filter: Another way to keep your house free of allergens is by using a HEPA filters in your home. Studies show that using these filters leads to reduces airway hyperresponsiveness.
  5. Sinus Irrigation with a Xylitol Saline Solution: Sinus irrigation effectively rinses the sinuses of allergens, inhibiting their effect on the body and decreasing symptoms. Additional studies show saline with xylitol has an even greater effect to wash the nose. Irrigating the sinuses with a xylitol solution enhances the body’s defenses by pulling extra moisture out of swollen tissues and thinning the mucus. Thickened or encrusted mucus impedes the removal of contaminants whereas thinned mucus can easily move and dispose of allergens.

What is the difference between acute and chronic cough?
Acute Cough lasts less than 3 weeks and is usually associated with a viral infectious process (flu and common cold)
Chronic Cough lasts more than 3 weeks. It's usually associated with smoking, asthma, postnasal drip, acid reflux, and chronic lungs problems. 
While living in Cuba, Dr. Ferrer learned effective, natural medical treatments from his grandmother, who relied on herbs to cure patients in her role as the village healer. While attending medical school in his home country for internal and pulmonary medicine in the early 1990s, he discovered professors were also secretly turning to their herbalist grandmothers when they became ill.
In 1999, while working with the native peoples of Venezuela’s Orinoco River region, he was hired by the United Nations University to serve as the Director of Respiratory Research. He emigrated to the United States the following year, where he completed his residency at Texas Tech University and received a fellowship in Pulmonary and Critical Care at George Washington University. He joined the Cleveland Clinic Florida and led efforts to open centers of excellence for lung fibrosis and chronic cough.
Dr. Ferrer was appointed to the national steering committee for the COPD Alliance in 2011 and was invited to the White House to help shape end-of-life policies and practices in the Affordable Care Act. He left the Cleveland Clinic in 2013 to establish Intensive Care Experts, a practice dedicated to bringing high-quality medical advancements to acute care hospitals, long-term care hospitals, skilled nursing facilities and home-care patients. In December 2016, he was appointed as one of the board members for the NCQA’s Geriatric Measurement Advisory Panel. He continues to be actively involved in medical research for the advancement of medicine and patient care.
He has since received several prestigious awards, including: being listed among the Best Doctors in the US by U.S. News & World Report, Most Compassionate Doctor, Patients’ Choice Award, and multiple teaching awards. He has recently been featured by The Huffington post and Sirius/XM The Doctor's Channel.

1 comment:

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