Ten natural cough remedies

10 natural treatments for a cough
Many people with Sjogren's develop a cough because of dryness in the air passages. 

Sjogren's is a systemic disease and treatment for a dry cough caused by SS should be treated by a medication/treatment that treats the whole body.

Many people, for a variety of reasons, do not fare well on these medications and choose to try complementary treatments. Here are 10 natural cough remedies (which were reviewed by a doctor):

1. Honey tea: mix 2 teaspoons (tsp) with warm water or an herbal tea. Drink this mixture once or twice a day.

2. Ginger: Brew up a soothing ginger tea by adding 20–40 grams (g) of fresh ginger slices to a cup of hot water. Allow to steep for a few minutes before drinking. Add honey or lemon juice to improve the taste and further soothe a cough.

3. Warm Fluids: beverages that may be comforting include:
  • clear broths
  • herbal teas
  • decaffeinated black tea
  • warm water
  • warm fruit juices
4. Steam: Take a hot shower or bath and allow the bathroom to fill with steam. Stay in this steam for a few minutes until symptoms subside. Drink a glass of water afterward to cool down and prevent dehydration.

5. Marshmallow root: Add hot water to either dried herb or a bagged marshmallow root tea and then drink it immediately or allow it to cool first.
Marshmallow root is available to purchase in health stores or online.
6. Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties. Some people drink pineapple juice daily to reduce mucus in the throat and suppress coughing. However, there may not be enough bromelain in the juice to relieve symptoms.
Bromelain supplements are available and may be more effective at relieving a cough. However, it is best to speak with a doctor before trying any new supplements. People who take blood thinners or specific antibiotics should not take bromelain.
7. Thyme is a common remedy for a cough, a sore throat, and digestive issues. To treat coughs using thyme, look for a cough syrup that contains this herb. Alternatively, make thyme tea by adding 2 tsp of dried thyme to a cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes before straining and drinking.
8. Dietary changes for acid reflux which is a common cause of a cough. Avoiding foods that can trigger acid reflux is one of the best ways to manage this condition and reduce the cough that accompanies it.
The foods and beverages that most commonly trigger acid reflux include:
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • chocolate
  • citrus foods
  • fried and fatty foods
  • garlic and onions
  • mint
  • spices and spicy foods
  • tomatoes and tomato-based products

9. Slippery elm

Make slippery elm tea by adding 1 tsp of the dried herb to a cup of hot water. Steep for at least 10 minutes before drinking. It is important to note that slippery elm can interfere with the absorption of medications.
Slippery elm is available in powder and capsule form in health stores and online.

10. Probiotics

Probiotics do not directly relieve a cough, but they may boost the immune system by balancing the bacteria in the gut.
A superior immune system can help to fight off infections or allergens that may be causing the cough.
Supplements containing Lactobacillus and other probiotics are available at health stores and drug stores.
Some foods are also naturally rich in probiotics, including:
  • miso soup
  • natural yogurt
  • kimchi
  • sauerkraut
However, the number and diversity of probiotic units in foods can vary greatly. It may be best to take probiotic supplements in addition to eating probiotic-rich foods.
To read the full article with the reasons why these things are recommended please visit Medical News Today


New Sjogren's study: Epigenetically quantified immune cells in salivary glands of Sjögren’s syndrome patients

New study of Epigenetically quantified immune cells in salivary glands of Sjögren’s syndrome patients

Sofie L.M. Blokland, Fréderique M. van Vliet-Moret, Maarten R. Hillen, Aridaman Pandit, Roel Goldschmeding, Aike A. Kruize, Gerben Bouma, André van Maurik, Sven Olek, Ulrich Hoffmueller, Joel A.G. van Roon, Timothy R.D.J. Radstake, Epigenetically quantified immune cells in salivary glands of Sjögren’s syndrome patients: a novel tool that detects robust correlations of T follicular helper cells with immunopathology, Rheumatology, July 2019
My Understanding of this Study

In this study, researchers tested epigenetic cell counting (ECC).

ECC is a way of measuring inflammation that may help in diagnosing people with Sjogren's syndrome (SS). It could also help with monitoring symptoms of the disease.

The main benefits of epigenetic cell counting are that:
  • samples can be stored for longer than other biological molecules.
  • smaller samples are needed.
  • a large amount of cell specific biomarkers can be identified

    The researchers did ECC on salivary biopsy samples of 57 people with dry mouth including those with primary Sjögren’s syndrome, secondary Sjögren’s syndrome, and some with undiagnosed SS.

    Using computer algorithms, researchers created patient groups based on the information collected from these salivary cells. This clearly showed the identified types and subsets, some of which were:
  • people with severe disease who had high amounts of T follicular helper cells
  • undiagnosed SS samples showing fewer B- and T-cells
  • patients with SS who had many kindsof cells

    The study was small and further larger studies are needed to confirm these results and define the best markers that ECC can measure.

    The researchers suggested that ECC could be used, on its own or in combination with other methods, to “aid in diagnostics, prognostics and monitoring of therapy responses in clinical trials in the future.”  
Abstract of Study

To investigate whether epigenetic cell counting represents a novel method to quantify immune cells in salivary glands of patients with different forms of Sjögren’s and sicca syndrome and to capture immunopathology and potentially aid in diagnosis.
DNA from frozen salivary gland tissue sections of sicca patients was used for bisulphite conversion of demethylated DNA cytosine residues, followed by cell-specific quantitative PCR to calculate cell percentages in relation to total tissue cell numbers as quantified by housekeeping gene demethylation. The percentages of epigenetically quantified cells were correlated to RNA expression of matched salivary gland tissue and histological and clinical parameters.
The percentages of epigenetically quantified CD3, CD4, CD8, T follicular helper (Tfh) cells, FoxP3+ regulatory T cells and B cells were significantly increased in the salivary glands of patients with SS. Unsupervised clustering using these percentages identified patient subsets with an increased lymphocytic focus score and local B cell hyperactivity and classifies patients different from conventional classification criteria. In particular, Tfh cells were shown to strongly correlate with the expression of CXCL13, lymphocytic focus scores, local B cell hyperactivity and anti-SSA positivity.
Epigenetic cell counting is a promising novel tool to objectively and easily quantify immune cells in the labial salivary gland of sicca patients, with a relatively small amount of tissue needed. In view of the potential of this technique to include a huge number of (cell-specific) biomarkers, this opens up new standardized ways of salivary gland analysis with high relevance for patient classification, understanding of immunopathology and monitoring of drug responses in clinical trials.


Sjögren's syndrome affects more than exocrine glands!

Sjögren's syndrome (SS) is a common immune disease that mainly
affects the exocrine glands. That's what we usually read! But we sufferers know that it affects many, many other parts of the body.

What exactly though is an exocrine gland? These are glands that secrete a substance out through a duct. They include the salivary glands, sweat glands and glands within the gastrointestinal tract, which is the stomach and intestines. The exocrine glands are the "glands of external secretion." (medicinenet)

Xerostomia is the medical term for dry mouth. But it is so much more:
  • reduced saliva 
  • tooth decay 
  • dental erosion 
  • difficulty wearing dentures
  • oral thrush  
  • altered taste sensation 
  • altered sense of smell 
  • burning or tingling sensation in the mouth
  • deep grooves in tongue 
  • difficulty swallowing and chewing 
  • dry, sore, and cracked lips and corners of the mouth 
  • mouth soreness 
  • dry throat 
  • dry cough 
Keratoconjuctivitis sicca is the condition of having dry eyes. Symptoms include:
  • eye irritation 
  • redness 
  • discharge
  • easily fatigued eyes
  • blurred vision
  • scarring of the cornea may occur without treatment
  • pressure behind the eye
  • excess tearing
SS can involve many other organs including:
  • lung (interstitial lung disease)
  • kidney (renal tubular acidosis and hypokalemia)
  • nerve (peripheral neuropathy) 
  • vessel (vasculitis, Raynaud's phenomenon)
  • bladder (interstitial cystitis)
  • lymph node (lymphadenopathy)
  • liver (autoimmune hepatitis)
  • pancreas (pancreatitis) 
  • GI (reflux esophagitis, peptic ulcer)


New evidence in treating eye dryness in Sjogren's Syndrome

evidence in treating eye dryness in Sjogren's Syndrome

Emerging evidence suggests that B cell and co-stimulatory targeted therapy may be used in the future to treat eye dryness symptoms in Sjogren's Syndrome.
Recent developments in the understanding of SS show that eye dryness is associated with:
  • dysfunction of the lacrimal glands
  • changes in the tear composition
  • abnormalities in chemicals secreted by nerve cells
"There is good evidence for the use of topical artificial tears, antiinflammatories and Cyclosporine, and oral Pilocarpine and Cevimeline in controlling the symptoms of ocular dryness associated with SS." See Reference below.
eye dryness in Sjogren's Syndrome

CONCLUSIONS OF THE RESEARCH:  Conventional DMARDs are not particularly effective in treating the symptoms of dryness in the eyes in Sjogren's Syndrome (SS). These drugs are commonly prescribed for SS. Emerging evidence suggests that B cell and co-stimulatory targeted therapy may play a role in the future.

B cell activation

B cell depletion has been associated with improvement in many (but not all) conditions associated with autoantibody production.

B cell targeted therapy for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) was developed with the objective of removing B cell clones responsible for the production of pathogenic autoantibodies. [1]. This has not been achieved yet but B cell depletion therapy has been found to have a major impact on RA in the short term.

This post is my attempts to simplify medical research into Sjogren's Syndrome so that people with SS can understand: Here is the REFERENCE: Advances in the treatment of ocular dryness associated with Sjögren׳s syndrome. PubMed June 2015 Ciurtin C, Ostas A, Cojocaru VM, Walsh SB, Isenberg DA.

Find out more about DMARD's: what they are and specific ones.

What are DMARDs?

DMARDs are disease-modifying anti rheumatic drugs. In layman language - drugs that help with rheumatic diseases, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA), ankylosing spondylitis, and psoriatic arthritis and Sjogren's Syndrome.
These drugs not only treat arthritis symptoms of inflammation, but they also can slow down progressive joint destruction.

Azathioprine tablets, taken by  Samir

DMARDs include:
  • Azathioprine (Imuran)
  • Biologics (Actemra, Cimzia, Enbrel, Humira, Kineret, Orencia, Remicade, Rituxan, Simponi)
  • Cyclophosphamide (Cytoxan)
  • Cyclosporine (Neoral)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • Leflunomide (Arava)
  • Methotrexate (Rheumatrex, Trexall)
  • Sulfasalazine (Azulfidine)
  • Tofacitinib (Xeljanz)


Fact of the week: Sjogren's syndrome often accompanies other immune system diseases

Sjogren’s syndrome and other immune-system disorders

Sjogren’s syndrome often accompanies other immune-system disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus and hashimoto's thyroid.

We did a small informal survey on facebook asking Sjogren's sufferers if they had other autoimmune conditions as well as Sjogren's. Seventeen women responded. This is what they said:
4 had Hashimoto's thyroiditis, an underactive thyroid condition.
1 had Graves disease, an overactive thyroid condition.
3 had a type of myositis.
4 had Rheumatoid Arthritis RA.
3 had Lupus.
2 had Celiac disease.
1 had Diabetes.
2 had Scleroderma.
1 had Ankolysing Spondylitis AS.
6 had Raynaud's disease.

6 women had 3 or more autoimmune conditions. Some mentioned other conditions that were not immune related diseases.


Thoughts on gluten free diet and Sjogren's Syndrome

 gluten free diet and Sjogren's Syndrome

Here you will find an interesting case history published in the Journal of Gluten Sensitivity • Autumn 2011 and at the bottom some links to gluten free recipes.

The following is a patient case history from the clinic of Alexander R. Shikhman, MD, PhD, FACR :

A 28 year old woman was seen in our clinic due to her complaints of longstanding irritable bowel syndrome and recent onset of eye dryness. Her initial presentation included abdominal pain, bloating and irregular bowel movements. She was seen by several gastroenterologists and underwent several upper endoscopies and colonoscopies with mucosal biopsies which were non-diagnostic. Her lab test results showed positive IgG antigliadin antibodies and she was told that "this is a common finding among healthy people, and is not indicative of any illnesses." She was seen by her ophthalmologist and prescribed with contact lenses which she could not wear due to significant eye discomfort and irritation. Further eye examination showed that she had diminished tear production and was referred to our clinic to rule out Sjogren's syndrome.

Upon physical examination in our clinic the patient not only demonstrated profound eye dryness but also showed evidence of dry mouth, fissured tongue and patchy areas ofthrush as well as very dry skin. A sonographic evaluation of her major salivary glands was suspicious for moderately advanced Sjogren's syndrome. Her laboratory test results showed: positive anti-SSAI Ro antibodies, elevated serum immunoglobulin G, low neutrophil count as well as low levels of vitamin D and fenitin (a serum marker of iron storage state). Also, the patient was found to have positive serum IgG and salivary IgA anti-gliadin antibodies as well as positive HLA 002 (a molecular marker associated with gluten intolerance).

Based on a combination of clinical history, physical findings and laboratory test results, the patient was diagnosed with gluten intolerance and Sjogren's syndrome. In addition to the aforementioned tests, the patient underwent food intolerance testing based on serum IgG4 antibodies which showed not only gluten but also cow's casein intolerance. Her treatment options included a traditional route of therapy based on drugs or an integrative approach based on dietary modifications and food supplements. She opted for the integrative approach and started a gluten-free and dairy-free diet as well as iron glycinate, vitamin D, specific probiotics and digestive enzymes.

After the first month on the diet and supplements, she reported a remarkable improvement of her irritable bowel symptoms and in three months, she started noticing an improvement of the dryness. Laboratory tests performed six months after initiation of the therapy showed normalization of the IgG level, disappearance of anti-SSA/Ro antibodies and a slightly suppressed neutrophil count. Through following the prescribed diet and supplements she is now symptom free.

Melissa at gluten free for good has great recipes and wisdom if you are following this dietary path.

Melissa says "The gluten-free diet is the medical protocol for celiac disease. Why not for all autoimmune diseases? Gluten causes inflammation. Decreasing inflammation via diet and lifestyle should be the first step in reducing the impact of the disease, so it makes sense to eliminate gluten.
Apparently Venus is on a vegan diet to combat her symptoms. There are rumors she’s dabbling in the gluten-free diet as well."

Melissa is author of The Gluten-Free Edge

more on gluten free and Sjogren's Syndrome
one-pot roasted salmon, rice and vegetables
Do you have Sjögren’s and celiac disease or celiac intolerance?
What do you think? Should people with autoimmune conditions follow a gluten-free diet?
Have you tried a gluten free diet to help your Sjögren’s Syndrome?


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Join in with us for Sjogren's Awareness month this April

Sjogren's Awareness month is April

What can you do to help spread Sjogren's Awareness?
If you are on facebook please join us there for giveaways, games and information about Sjogren's that you can share. There will also be many opportunities for you to share your story.

If you are on PINTEREST maybe you could share some of our blog posts.
If you are on twitter please share some of our posts.
Helping others hear about Sjogren's Syndrome and understand about it is the beginning of community awareness and the first step in getting more research into the disease.


Personal stories about Sjogren's Syndrome

This was posted on the blog and we get so many stories here I thought it would be very worthwhile to share some of them:

I was diagnosed at the age of 2, very uncommon, and I am now 24.
The past couple years I have been developing more problems and discovering different symptoms connected with my SS.
Last year I had a lung biopsy and am now taking an inhaler as needed. I started seeing my Rheumatoid specialist at the age of 14 and it was discovered that I had rheumatoid fluid in all my joints. The fluid has decreased but pain is reoccurring.

The most common symptoms I have are: chronic arthritic pain as well as inflammation in my periodic/salivary glands. I have changed my diet and am now trying to be gluten free. Gluten causes inflammation, which SS can tend to be associated with. I have only been gluten free for a few months, however, I do see a difference in how I feel overall.

I am glad I discovered this blog. I find it interesting reading other's experience with SS since I've never met anyone else with this disorder considering it is very rare at my age.

Celebrities with Sjogren's Syndrome

celebrities with Sjogren's syndrome
Nina Rawls
Here Nina Rawls, who is widow of singer Lou Rawls, reveals her fight with Sjogren’s Syndrome.

Nina Rawls has Secondary Sjogren’s Syndrome, meaning it occurs in the presence of another connective tissue autoimmune disease, in her case it is lupus,also known as SLE

With my finding, I am now an advocate for Sjogren’s syndrome awareness, early diagnosis and treatment.  
I’m learning that although there is no cure for the syndrome, there are treatments that can greatly improve my troubling symptoms and will prevent further complications,” concludes Rawls.  
“I’m hoping a greater awareness of the syndrome will push others to be more pro-active in talking with their doctors and dentists about their symptoms and gain potential treatment options.”

From PR Web where you can read the full story.

Read more about Secondary and Primary Sjogren’s Syndrome
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