A cough, whether temporary or persistent, is often a miserable thing to deal with — even painful at times, depending on the severity of the cough and the underlying condition causing it. Many people suffering from a cough have a difficult time sleeping, as coughing throughout the night keeps them awake and interrupts the rest their bodies so desperately need to heal.
As winter approaches, so does flu season, along with the many colds and viruses that are passed around in schools and workplaces. That means someone in your family is likely to come down with a nasty cough over the next few months, if not all of you. The problem is that opinions are mixed on the effectiveness of traditional over-the-counter cough remedies, and these medications are generally not indicated for children under six years of age. Plus, it’s not always convenient to take medications that may make you drowsy, particularly if you have to go to school or work during the day.
The solution? As it turns out, there are many natural remedies that are quite effective at soothing coughs. We rounded up 50 natural cough remedies you can use at home for some much-needed relief next time you’re suffering through a seemingly endless cold with a nasty cough. Keep in mind that these tips are not intended to replace the advice of a healthcare professional, and a cough can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, particularly if it persists beyond a few weeks. When in doubt, always consult the advice of a licensed healthcare practitioner. However, if you are bothered by a nagging or persistent cough that’s keeping you up at night, these tips provide easy, natural ways to get some quick relief.
Looking for a specific type of natural cough remedy? Use these links to jump to each section:
- Natural Cough Remedies with Honey
- Natural Teas for Alleviating a Cough
- DIY Natural Cough Syrup Recipes
- Other Natural and Home Cough Remedies
1. Honey is a time-tested remedy for sore throats, but it’s also an excellent cough suppressant. "Honey is a time-honored remedy for a sore throat. According to a 2007 study, it can also relieve coughs more effectively than over-the-counter medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant."
"You can create your own remedy at home by mixing honey with herbal tea, or warm water and lemon. The honey does the soothing, while lemon juice can help with congestion." – Zohra Ashpari, The Best Natural Cough Remedies, Healthline.com; Twitter: @Healthline
2. Darker types of honey, such as buckwheat, is rich in antioxidants and can be more effective as a cough suppressant. "Recent studies show that honey is better than cough medicine for relieving coughs and helping a sick child sleep better. ‘Honey is safe for children age 1 and older, and kids are happy to take it because it tastes good,’ says researcher Ian Paul, MD, a member of the AAP’s clinical pharmacology and therapeutics committee. Dark honeys, such as buckwheat, may work best because they’re higher in antioxidants. Give half a teaspoon to children ages 1 to 5 years and one teaspoon to kids ages 6 to 11. But never give honey to babies younger than 1; they can get botulism from bacteria in it." – Jeannette Moninger, All Natural Cold & Cough Remedies, Parents.com; Twitter: @parentsmagazine
3. Honey and cinnamon are an excellent combination for a natural cough remedy, as both have anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties. "Pour some honey in a small container ( I used an 8 ounce mason jar) and mix in some cinnamon to taste. Take one spoonful as needed to quiet cough. Both cinnamon and honey are anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and the honey coats and soothes the throat." – Laurie Neverman, 12 Home Remedies for Coughs, Common Sense Homesteading; Twitter: @CommonSenseIdea
4. Honey, lemon juice, and coconut oil are another possible natural cough remedy combination. "Honey: Honey has powerful anti-viral and anti-microbial properties! In clinical studies, honey has shown to be just as effective in alleviating coughs as over the counter cough medicine. Honey is also known to help alleviate allergies. According to this article, taking a few teaspoons of local raw honey a day prior to pollen season can be effective in boosting your immunity to pollen!"
"Lemon Juice: Lemon juice is often used in home remedies for a good reason! It is known to help boost the immune system and also has antiviral and antibacterial properties. I personally like to drink lemon juice when I have a stuffy nose. It helps to clear my sinuses so I can breathe better."
"Coconut Oil: Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants and contains lauric acid, which is antibacterial and antiviral. Coconut oil can be used to help prevent colds by boosting the immune system. Once the cold is set in, coconut oil can help reduce the length of sickness and can be quite soothing when added to warm honey-lemon water or tea."
"Mix these three ingredients together and you have yourself a super immune boosting syrup that will help alleviate coughs and sore throats!" – Tiffany, a.k.a. Coconut Mama, Honey and Lemon Cough Syrup with Coconut Oil, Coconut Mama; Twitter: @CoconutMama
5. Honey, lemon, and flax is another effective combination for alleviating a nagging cough. "When you boil flaxseeds in water, you will get a thick gooey substance that helps you to ease the bronchial tracts. Honey and lemon are known to be natural antibiotics that help you to ease the inflammation. Thus when you add honey and lemon with the boiled flaxseeds water, then you get a natural antibiotic for your cough and cold problems." – Khabir Southwick, 5 Natural Cough Remedies, Curejoy; Twitter: @Curejoy
6. Warm milk and honey is effective for relieving coughs for some people, but milk also has a reputation for making phlegm thicker and more irritating. The verdict? Try it for yourself and see if this natural combination helps or hinders you. "According to the folks at the venerable Mayo Clinic, ‘while drinking milk does not cause your body to make more phlegm (mucous), drinking milk may make phlegm thicker and more irritating to your throat than it would normally be.’ Yet a traditional folk cure claims that sipping a cup of warm milk and honey will temper an irritating cough. So know your body, and govern it accordingly with milk and other dairy products." – Catharine Kaufman, Kitchen Shrink: Dr. Mom’s natural cough remedies, La Jolla Light; Twitter: @lajollalight
7. Try some licorice root tea. "Licorice root is both an expectorant and demulcent, simultaneously soothing your airways while loosening and thinning mucous, easing congestion. It can also ease any inflammation that may be irritating your throat. Its main constituent, glycyrrhizin, is responsible for most of its effects. 30-50 times sweeter than sucrose (table sugar), it inhibits an enzyme 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (how would like you to write that on a name tag?) This enzyme regulates access of glucocorticoid (a steroid hormone) to steroid receptors, ultimately slowing the conversion of cortisol to cortisone. This increases the effect of cortisol and reducing inflammation. If you are on steroids, or have any problems with your kidneys, it is best to steer clear of licorice root."
You will need…
- 2 tablespoons of dried licorice root
- 8 ounces of fresh water
Directions: Bring water to a boil and place the licorice root in a mug. Cover with water and steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink the entire cup up to 2 times daily.” – Claire Goodall, 7 Natural Cough Remedies for Persistent & Dry Coughs, Everyday Roots
8. The herb turmeric can be helpful to ease a cough. "The herb turmeric has a therapeutic effect on coughs," particularly a dry cough.
- Heat half a cup of water in a boiling pot. Add one teaspoon turmeric powder, and one teaspoon black pepper. You may also add cinnamon sticks. Boil this for about two to three minutes. Add one tablespoon of honey. Drink this daily until the condition improves.
- Alternatively, make an herbal tea by adding one teaspoon of turmeric powder and one teaspoon of carom seeds to a cup of water, and boil it until water reduces to one-half cup. Add some honey and drink this herbal solution two to three times a day.
- Another way to use turmeric is to roast turmeric root and grind it into a smooth powder. Mix it with water and honey, and drink it twice a day.” – Home Remedies For Cough, Top 10 Home Remedies; Twitter: @10homeremedies
9. Ginger’s anti-inflammatory properties can leave a cleansing effect on your respiratory system. "Why it helps: Ginger is a natural analgesic, and that’s why it’s a common ingredient in cough syrups and lozenges. It helps soothe irritation and scratchiness caused by sore throat. It also has anti-inflammatory properties and leaves a cleansing effect on your respiratory system."
"How to apply: Cut a ginger into small pieces and crush them completely. Add it to water and start boiling. Once cooled off, you should take it at least thrice a day for dry cough relief."
"Besides, rubbing your chest with ginger oil or chewing ginger slices are among the simplest home remedies for dry cough." – Top 10 Home Remedies for Dry Cough That Will Give You Instant Relief, EnkiVillage; Twitter: @EnkiVillage
10. Pepper tea can provide relief for a nighttime cough. "To suppress a night cough, put 1 teaspoon black pepper and 1 teaspoon sugar into a mug. Pour in boiling water and let steep. The pepper will settle to the bottom. Sip, as needed." – Natural Remedies: Cough Relief, The Old Farmer’s Almanac; Twitter: @almanac
11. Garlic tea is both an immune enhancer and cough remedy. "A well-known immune system strengthener, garlic shines as an antibacterial and antiviral herb for fighting colds, coughs and the flu. One of the best ways to take advantage of garlic’s healing properties is by drinking fresh garlic tea. Sweetened with a little raw honey, it’s delicious and helps to heal what ails you. Peel 2 to 3 cloves of fresh garlic and lightly crush them with the side of a wide knife blade. Add them to 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for another 15 minutes. Strain the garlic and allow the tea to cool to mouth temperature. Add raw honey, a tiny pinch of cayenne pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice. Drink as much as desired." – JB Bardot, The five best home remedies for colds, coughs and the flu, Natural News; Twitter: @HealthRanger
12. Peppermint contains menthol, making peppermint tea a great choice for thinning and loosening mucus from the lungs. "Peppermint, an herb widely used to treat coughs and other cold symptoms, contains menthol, which thins mucus and helps loosen it from your lungs. The University of Maryland Medical Center recommends using peppermint to treat wet and dry coughs at home. For the best results, make a soothing peppermint tea by steeping 1 tsp. dried peppermint leaves in 1 cup boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes. Strain the spent herbs from the liquid, sweeten with honey if desired, and drink up to three cups daily when plagued with a cough." – Willow Sidhe, Natural, Homemade Cough Remedies & Suppressants, Livestrong; Twitter: @LIVESTRONG_COM
13. Hyssop is a lesser-known herb to many, but it has some powerful properties that make hyssop tea a great choice for cough relief. "Hyssop: This member of the mint family can loosen phlegm and soothe mucus membranes. Infuse ¼ ounce of hyssop into boiling water to make a soothing tea." – Susan Melgren, Natural Home Remedies for a Cough, Mother Earth Living; Twitter: @mthrearthliving
14. If the taste of standard cough syrup wrinkles your nose, you might want to try this all-natural, DIY pineapple cough syrup. What you will need:
- 2 thick slices of fresh pineapple, peel removed, but core intact (about two good cups)
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (omit or reduce for children)
- a thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced or rough chopped
- juice of 1 lemon
- Give the pineapple a rough chop, including the core, which is not only edible but particularly healthy.
- Blend everything up in a blender or food processor until smooth.
- Use as is, or push the mixture through a mesh strainer to get a smoother syrup.
- Keep in the refrigerator and take as needed.
Notes: Do not give anything with honey to children under 1 year old. If you have a persistent cough, seek medical attention. Recipe slightly adapted from fitlife.tv. – Sue, All Natural DIY Pineapple Cough Syrup, The View from Great Island
15. Elderberry and plantain cough syrup can offer relief through elderberry’s effectiveness for relaxing bronchial spasms and plantain’s known use as a cough remedy. "If you’ve ever taken a natural cough syrup, it has no doubt contained elderberry as a main ingredient. Elder flowers relax bronchial spasms, making them very useful for treating upper respiratory infections. Fresh elderberries, combined with plantain, make an effective cough syrup. (Recipe below.)"
"Cautions: Flowers are the mildest part of the plant and the safest for children. Leaves, roots, seeds, and berries of the raw plant contain cyanide-producing compounds and should not be consumed without cooking properly."
"In addition to using some of my favorite essential oils when someone in our house has a cough, I like to bring out this plantain elder syrup."
"As mentioned above, elder is great for relaxing bronchial spasms, and I like to use the flowers and berries to get the benefits of the different parts of the plant. I like to add plantain leaf, because it’s also well-known for treating coughs. It soothes the throat and prevents excess coughing. The first time I used this for a cough, I noticed that the tickle in my throat was gone almost immediately."
DIY Plantain Elder Cough Syrup
- 4 cups water
- 1⁄4 cup dried elderberries
- 2 tbsp dried elder flowers – optional
- 2 tbsp dried plantain leaf
- 1⁄2 cup honey
- Place water, plantain, elder flowers and elderberries in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down and let simmer for fifteen minutes.
- Place in the oven or cover and let steep for an additional two hours. Strain the infused water from the herbs and put your infusion back into the pan (go ahead and compost those herbs).
- Turn the stove on low and let it simmer uncovered, reducing by half.
- Remove the pan from heat and allow it to cool for a bit. Add the honey while it is still warm so that it dissolves nicely.
Tips for storage: You can store your concoction in a labeled glass jar in your refrigerator. It keeps for about 3 months (the honey acts as a natural preservative).
"Instructions for use: This simple cough syrup can be taken at the first sign of a cough. Adults, use 1 tablespoon every 2-3 hours. Children under six, use 1 teaspoon every 2-3 hours." – Nina Nelson, How To Make Your Own Natural Cough Syrup, DIYNatural; Twitter: @DIYNatural
16. This natural cough syrup uses ingredients that are generally easy to find, and the prepared syrup can be stored for up to two months in the refrigerator. While honey is a key ingredient in this recipe, the author notes that maple syrup can be used as a substitute for children under one year of age. “Honey naturally soothes cough by itself. In fact, I’ve heard of doctors recommending a spoonful of honey to children (over a year) for cough. Ginger is naturally anti-inflammatory and has an expectorant action. Chamomile soothes muscles, making it useful in relieving the 'tickle' in the throat, plus it promotes restful sleep. Marshmallow Root has one of the highest mucilaginous contents of all herbs and coats and soothes the throat. Cinnamon helps boost immune system and improve taste."
“The combination of herbs helps sooth the throat to ease coughing and promote restful sleep. I only use this remedy on children over 1 year of age due to the honey, though you can substitute maple syrup in place of honey."
- 1 quart of filtered water
- 1/4 cup ginger Root (fresh grated or dried)
- 1/4 cup chamomile Flowers
- 1/4 cup marshmallow Root
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 cup honey
- Pour the water into a medium saucepan and add the dried herbs.
- Bring to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
- Simmer until the volume is reduced by about half. (You will need 1 cup of liquid after herbs are strained off)
- Pour through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove herbs (compost the herbs!).
- While liquid is still warm (not boiling) mix with lemon juice and honey and stir well.
- Store in airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months.
"Notes: I give 1 teaspoon to children and 1 tablespoon to adults as needed for symptoms." – Katie, a.k.a. Wellness Mama, Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe, Wellness Mama; Twitter: @WellnessMama
17. Mix a batch of honey, onion, and garlic syrup. "The mixture: Combine a half-cup of honey and a half-cup of water. Add in one whole chopped onion and one chopped clove of garlic. Add a dash of sage, thyme or oregano and allow to steep overnight at room temperature. Strain and use the liquid as a cough syrup. Store in your refrigerator."
"Why it works: Honey, onion and garlic are all naturally antimicrobial, says Dr. Solomonian. ‘Honey also acts as a demulcent, meaning it relaxes the cough reflex and soothes the throat.’ Not cooking the mixture helps preserve the full antimicrobial properties of the onions and garlic, which lose some of their potency when heated. Finally, herbs like sage, thyme or oregano add even more antimicrobial benefits."
"Tip: If you can’t wait overnight for your syrup to steep, simmer the mixture for five to 10 minutes until the onions soften. Although you’ll lose some antimicrobial properties, you will get some relief before heading to bed." – Morella Aguirre, 3 homemade cough remedies, Best Health; Twitter: @besthealthmag
18. Honey combined with a few other ingredients known to relieve a cough is a powerful remedy. "The powerful ingredients in this remedy are common everyday items: ginger, cayenne, cider vinegar and honey. Yet they work together to create a potent remedy for cold symptoms. It’s definitely worth trying before turning to the medicine cabinet once again this winter."
"Updated to add: I’ve been making this Homemade Cough Remedy for so long now, all three of my kids request it anytime they start coughing. The serving size (or dosage) will vary depending on the person. My 9 and 11 year old sons take a tablespoon without a problem, my 5 year old takes a teaspoon. A full tablespoon works great for me and my husband."
Homemade Cough Remedy
recipe adapted from Good Food Matters
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (preferably Bragg’s, if available)
- 2 tablespoons honey (locally produced raw honey is best, if available)
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
"Place all the ingredients in a small jar and shake to combine. Leave at room temperature for a few days or place in the refrigerator for longer storage. Shake well each time, before using. The spices will not dissolve into the liquid. It will not be a thick syrup, it should remain watery. Take as needed and have a happy and healthy new year!" – Mary Younkin, Homemade Cough Remedy, Bare Feet in the Kitchen; Twitter: @BarefeetKitchen
19. This ginger, lime, and thyme natural cough syrup recipe is both tasty and effective. "Every winter I get a hacking cough that I believe is brought on by the damp moisture in the air here in Virginia and seems to hang on until spring. I’ve been to our family physician who prescribes me cough medicine with Codeine and basically says just let it run its course. Other years I just drink RobitussinDM by the bottle full until the cough goes away. This year I decided I was done with conventional cough medicines and would make my own, which let me to this recipe from Reformation Acres where I found the inspiration for my version – Ginger Lime Thyme Homemade Cough Syrup."
"Since I didn’t have any lemons, I substituted a lime instead and also added some fresh ginger. I decided to increase the amount of honey as well, to make the syrup a bit thicker. The resulting cough syrup not only tastes yummy and only takes a few minutes to make, but also works – and I won’t worry about swigging unnatural ingredients for the next several weeks as my body slowly works its way through this."
Ginger Lime Thyme Homemade Cough Syrup
- 1 lime, sliced thin
- 3/4 cup honey (raw, organic and local is best, but any kind is fine)
- Generous handful of fresh thyme (I grow thyme on the windowsill through the winter, read how HERE)
- Fresh ginger, sliced ( I used about 1″)
- 2 cups water
Place the lime in a pint canning jar or other glass container, pour the honey over the top and set aside. Soaking in the honey will draw the lime juice out, but just to be sure I poked the lime slices a bit with a wooden skewer to allow even more juice to escape.
In a small saucepan, bring the thyme and ginger slices to a boil in the water and then reduce to a simmer. Cook for a few minutes uncovered until the liquid is reduced to about half, leaving you one cup. Remove from the heat and let cool. Strain the liquid into your pint jar (your chickens will love the discarded thyme and ginger slices!) and stir or whisk well to combine. And that’s it.
"Store your cough syrup in the refrigerator (it will keep for 3-4 weeks) and take a tablespoonful throughout the day as needed, especially before bedtime. Shake the jar up each time to redistribute the ingredients." – Lisa Steele, Ginger Lime Thyme Homemade Cough Syrup Recipe, Fresh Eggs Daily; Twitter: @FreshEggsDaily
20. Adults with an annoying cough may get some relief from this bourbon cough syrup, which both eases coughs and makes it easier to sleep. Bourbon Cough Syrup for Grownups
- 2 ounces bourbon whisky
- 1/2 lemon, juiced (about 2 ounces)
- 2-4 ounces water (optional)
- 1 tablespoon honey
Mix the bourbon, lemon juice, and water (if using) in a tumbler or mug and heat in the microwave for about 45 seconds. (You can also do this on the stovetop in a little saucepan.) Take out and add the honey. Whisk to combine, then microwave for another 45 seconds.
“If you’re sick, it’s best not to drink this too hot; a good warm temperature is better. Take it to bed and nurse it slowly with a book in the other hand. Sleep well!” – Faith Durand, Recipe: Bourbon Cough Syrup for Grownups, The Kitchn; Twitter: @TheKitchn
21. Studies have shown pineapple to be five times more effective than cough syrups sold in pharmacies at reducing mucus in patients with tuberculosis. “According to scientific reports, the juice from this tropical fruit has efficient effect and relieves cough, eliminates mucus and even relieves the symptoms in patients diagnosed with tuberculosis."
"The results of a medical case showed that pineapple extract is five times more efficient in reducing the mucus compared to the syrups sold in pharmacies, and patients recover almost five times faster."
“Another case showed that pineapple juice, honey, chili pepper and salt combination stimulate the elimination of the mucus from the lungs in patients diagnosed with tuberculosis. It is proven that pineapple relieves every type of cough, especially dry cough."
“Pineapple contains two powerful substances which give its efficiency. It contains bromelain, an enzyme that fights inflammations and helps in the food digestion."
“Pineapple contains large amounts of manganese which participates in the formation of connective tissue and improves the nerve function. The combination of these two factors relieves the cough and eliminates the mucus from the lungs."
“In addition to this, pineapple is an excellent source of vitamin C, and this vitamin has multiple effect: strengthens the immune system and destroys free radicals, which provides better function of the airways."
“Scientists confirmed that pineapple not only relieves cough, but also relieves the symptoms of arthritis, regulate the blood pressure and has certain anti-cancer properties."
Pineapple Cough Recipe
- 1 cup of fresh pineapple juice
- ¼ cup of fresh lemon juice
- 1 piece of ginger (about 3 inches)
- 1 Tbsp raw honey
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- Combine all ingredients
- Take ¼ cup, 2-3 x/day and repeat recipe daily until cough is gone” – Drew Canole, Pineapple Juice Is 5 Times More Effective Than Cough Syrup, FitLife.tv; Twitter: @drewcanole
22. For a tickled cough, extracts of spruce and pine shoots make an effective syrup that both calms inflammation and soothes the tickling sensation causing you to cough. “Similar to the dry cough, a tickly cough in your throat can linger for months, and often occurs during the daytime. Although it generally feels dry and scratchy, this type of cough sometimes feels like mucus is dripping down the back of your throat or that there is a lump when you swallow."
“That post nasal drip would normally go unnoticed, but an increased inflammation of upper airways in response to allergies or polluted air, can make your throat extra sensitive to mucus."
“Remedy: Antibiotics won’t help a tickled cough because it is not a bacterial infection. The best treatment is herbal. Extracts of spruce and pine shoots make a great syrup that can calm inflammation and soothe the tickle in your throat.” – Michelle Toole, 3 Types of Coughs and the Natural Remedies to Treat Them, Healthy Holistic Living; Twitter: @natureheals
23. Ginger and peppermint are an excellent combination for a chronic cough-relieving syrup. “This excellent chronic cough remedy is very easy to prepare. All you need to do is to add one tablespoon of dried peppermint and three tablespoons of chopped ginger in four cups of water. Boil the mixture for a while and gradually reduce the heat. Simmer the mixture until you get half of the amount you’ve used. Strain It and add it in one cup of honey. Use one tablespoon of this syrup few times a day in order to ease the chronic cough.” – Bobby, 25 Bronchospasm Natural Cures To Get Rid of Chronic Cough, Health and Love Page; Twitter: @HealthAndLovePa
24. Stay hydrated. “An upper respiratory tract infection like a cold or flu causes postnasal drip. Extra secretions trickle down the back of your throat, irritating it and sometimes causing a cough," Mosnaim says.
“Drinking fluids helps to thin out the mucus in postnasal drip," says Kenneth DeVault, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.
“Drinking liquids also helps to keep mucous membranes moist. This is particularly helpful in winter, when houses tend to be dry, another cause of cough, he says.” – Joanna Broder, Cough Relief: How to Lose a Bad Cough, WebMD; Twitter: @WebMD
25. A fresh lemon, sprinkled with black pepper and salt, is a fast-acting cough remedy. “This isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is a commonly used folk remedy: Quarter a fresh lemon, sprinkle it with lots of black pepper and salt, and suck on it for quick relief.” – 6 Natural Cough Remedies, Reader’s Digest; Twitter: @readersdigest
26. Take a hot shower. “Crank up the hot water, close the windows and turn off the exhaust fan. Steam can be a cough’s worst enemy, and thus, your best friend. Steam works to soothe the airways and loosen sinus congestion and phlegm in your throat and lungs. (Although take note, WebMD warns that steam may exacerbate coughs caused by asthma.)” – Melissa Breyer, 10 natural cough remedies, Mother Nature Network; Twitter: @MotherNatureNet
27. Onions are a home cough remedy that’s quite popular in France and Spain. “Many people start to cry the minute they begin chopping up an onion. The strong vapor an onion emits when cut could help stop coughing, says Russell. Before you go to bed, cut an onion into quarters and leave it on a plate at your bedside. Although using onions may sound like nothing more than an old wives’ tale, Russell says it’s quite popular in Spain and France, adding that this home remedy for cough is safe for children and babies.” – Madeline Vann, MPH, Stop That Cough!, Everyday Health; Twitter: @EverydayHealth
28. Vaporubs can provide cough relief and help you sleep better as a result. “According to a study at the Penn State College of Medicine, children above 2 years of age had symptomatic relief and could sleep better after applying vaporubs. While the exact reason how vaporubs work remains a mystery, the ingredients such as menthol, camphor and eucalyptus may have a role in relieving congestion.” – Anusuya Suresh, Top 10 home remedies for cough to get instant relief, The Health Site; Twitter: @HealthSite4U
29. If your child is suffering from a cough, try a pediatric tuina massage. “In traditional Chinese medicine, we use ancient massage and acupressure techniques to treat cough not matter what type it is: wet, dry, hacking or croupy. Tuina massage techniques work by stimulating the body to heal itself. There are 6 main massage and acupressure techniques that can stop cough while also boosting the immune system. It only takes minutes to do, yet it can make a HUGE difference to speed recovery.
“One powerful technique for treating cough is a tuina massage called a ‘spinal roll.’ The spinal roll is great for treating cough and chest congestion when focused on the upper back. Click here to learn how to do a tuina spinal roll for cough in the free video. This massage works well on its own and I would recommend you do it two or three times daily. However, you can strengthen its effect when you can combine with the other five massage techniques."
“On it’s own, the spinal roll is a very versatile massage. It can be used as part of a massage routine to treat many different problems including cough, asthma, digestive issues, sleep problems, anxiety, and bedwetting. You can strengthen the effects of the spinal roll by combining it with other massage techniques for each specific condition."
“Parents can do the massage on their children at home and no special training is required to get excellent results. Its safe, effective and can be used at any age. The best part is, kids love it, it feels great and it makes them feel better.” – Robin Green, L.Ac. MTCM, 7 Ways to Calm a Cough Your Pediatrician Won’t Tell You About, Kids Love Acupuncture; Twitter: @acupuncturekids
30. Running a cool-mist humidifier can help alleviate a nagging cough, especially for children. “Run a cool-mist humidifier for a night in your child’s room. It will keep the airways of the tot moist and clear. Open the windows in the morning to let humid air go out of the room, otherwise, it may result in the growth of molds.” – 22 Home Remedies for Cough in Kids, Home Remedy Shop; Twitter: @homeremedyshop
31. A detox bath with magnesium can help to alleviate all kinds of acute illnesses, and magnesium offers muscle relaxing properties that can help to alleviate a cough. “Clearing toxins from the body helps with all acute illnesses when tolerated. Not only will a detox bath help your child to detoxify, but the magnesium will relax muscles to ease the cough and the steam from the bath will also help with congestion. Read my post on detox baths for kids for more information.” – Heather Haynes, MA, Natural Remedies for Croup and Cough, Kula Mama; Twitter: @kulamama
32. Anyone can create their own natural or herbal cough remedy recipes. The basic ways to take a natural cough remedy are:
“Tincture treatment: Soak herbs in high-proof, drinkable grain alcohol for a few days to eight weeks in an air-tight container. Then strain the liquid, producing a condensed herbal extract, or infusion."
“Herbal teas: Generally, combine 2 tablespoons of an herb with 1 cup of warm water."
“Capsules: These usually contain about a one-half teaspoon of a powdered herb encased in non-gelatin, vegetarian materials made from plant cellulose (the main part of plant cell walls and vegetable fibers, such as cotton)."
“Lozenges: Also known as a cough drop, this is a tablet that slowly dissolves in your mouth.
“But beware: Don’t take any herbal supplements when pregnant or breastfeeding without an okay from your physician, who also should determine whether those herbs may cause an allergic reaction."
“Also, avoid using herbal remedies for more than three weeks, warns naturopathic specialist Jessica Rose Siani, N.D., of Newport Integrative Health in Costa Mesa, Calif.” – Diane Wedner, Natural Cough Remedies That Really Work, Lifescript; Twitter: @Lifescript
33. Eucalyptus can be used in a variety of ways to alleviate a cough. “Eucalyptus is one of the common ingredients in many medications such as lozenges, cough syrups, and ointments. It has great healing power, especially for cold related symptoms like coughs. If your respiratory tract is congested, rubbing some eucalyptus oil on the chest and nose can help to clear mucus secretions. The oil has a distinct essence that unblocks nasal congestion and you can use it in baths as well to soothe an irritated respiratory tract."
“Eucalyptus also contains cineole, an active ingredient that relieves coughs just as an expectorant drug would. It’s not safe to ingest the oil, but the dried leaves may be used to make tea. Keep in mind though that eucalyptus should not be used by patients with asthma, low blood pressure, kidney disease, or liver issues.” – 20+ Best Home Remedies to Get Rid of a Cough Fast Naturally, Beyond Disease
34. Eating grapes seems far too simple a technique for suppressing a cough, but it turns out that doing just that can actually provide relief. “Eating grapes can help relieve annoying lung conditions. They also act as an effective expectorant, which allows you to get rid of sticky phlegm. Try making grape juice yourself (instead of buying it boxed from the grocery store) and mix it with some honey before you drink it.” – Mike Barrett, Home Remedies for Cough – 8 Ways to Treat Cough Naturally, Natural Society; Twitter: @naturalsociety
35. Red clover tops offer immune-boosting and body-cleansing properties. This herb can be used in various ways to help alleviate cough symptoms. “Used for centuries to help cleanse the body and boost the immune system, red clover has long been used to treat bronchitis and other upper respiratory infections. An warming expectorant, red clover is known to help relieve chest congestion and syrup is a really simple and easy cough syrup that works really well! In the heat of the moment, if you do not have all the herbs and ingredients to make the other syrup, this one will do in a flash!” – Christina Anthis, a.k.a. The Hippy Homemaker, Soothe a Nasty Cough With Homemade Cough Syrup, The Hippy Homemaker; Twitter: @HippyHomemak3r
36. The NHS (in the U.K.) has officially recognized that there is little evidence supporting the efficacy of over-the-counter medicinal cough syrups. "Cough medicines are a waste of money because the medical evidence behind them is so ‘weak’, a top doctor has warned."
"As temperatures fall across the country and winter draws in, growing numbers of people are getting coughs and colds."
"Cough medicines can cost between £3 and £5 for a small bottle, and the huge industry is worth millions of pounds annually to drug firms."
"However, one expert said there was ‘no evidence’ to suggest cough medicines actually work."
“And the NHS officially recommends opting for ‘a homemade cough remedy containing honey and lemon’ instead.” – Andrew Gregory, Cough medicine is a waste of money: NHS recommends homemade honey and lemon remedy instead, The Mirror; Twitter: @DailyMirror
37. Try this all-natural, homemade vapor rub. “We are constantly doing a lot to support our healthy immune systems. We eat fermented foods, take cod liver oil and elderberry syrup, eat lots of green veggies and take Juice Plus."
“Awhile back, I was on the hunt for a salve to support our healthy respiratory systems that I could make at home. I found lots of recipes online so I figured it was something I should try out."
“For my family, to support a healthy respiratory system, I put this homemade vapor rub on our feet at night, covered with socks. Love it!"
- 5 tbsp.extra virgin coconut oil
- 1 tbsp. evening primrose oil or other carrier oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil
- 2 tablespoons beeswax
- 8 – 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 15 – 20 drops rosemary essential oil
- In a small pan, melt the coconut oil and evening primrose oil.
- Add the beeswax, chopped up (or in granules) and stir until melted.
- Add the essential oils and stir to combine.
- Pour into a 4-oz. glass jar and allow to cool.
Notes: I store mine in the medicine cabinet, instead of the fridge, because I want it soft enough to spread on tiny feet.
38. Zinc lozenges provide soothing, natural cough relief. “Zinc lozenges can soothe a cough, but be careful not to buy commercial cough drops that contain sugar – which actually irritate a cough. Vitamin A, vitamin C with bioflavonoids, vitamin E and folic acid are all useful nutrients to combat a cough – make sure that your daily multivitamin includes them. Eat immune system-boosting foods such as garlic, oregano, green tea, ginger and red bell peppers to keep your body strong.” – Shilo Urban, 4 Ways to Cure Your Cough Naturally, Organic Authority; Twitter: @OrganicAuthorit
39. Pepper irritates the sinuses to stimulate the flow of mucus, which can reduce coughing due to post-nasal drip. “Pepper can irritate the sinuses and stimulate the flow of mucus, thereby clearing the nasal passages of any blockages that could aggravate wet coughs. Make a paste containing 1 teaspoon of black pepper and 1 tablespoon of honey (you can substitute with ghee as well). Add some water and boil the solution for about 15 minutes.Let it cool down a bit (until it turns lukewarm) and then sip it at regular intervals throughout the day for extended relief from wet cough and its symptoms. Alternatively, you can try heating some black pepper in a vessel and inhale the fumes. This would also stimulate the sinuses and effectively clear the mucus blockages.” – Sivakumaran, 9 Top Home Remedies for Wet Cough, Search Home Remedy; Twitter: @searchremedy
40. It turns out there’s really something behind that whole chicken soup thing. “Grandma was right when she prescribed a cup of chicken soup for a cold-and the good news is, whether it’s homemade or store bought makes no difference. The steam helps loosen congestion and the broth hydrates. Studies have also found that the chicken and other ingredients in the soup actually have an anti-inflammatory effect-a very good thing, since inflammation causes coughs and stuffed-up noses.” – Carol Josel, 12 Natural Cold Remedies for Kids, Care.com; Twitter: @CareDotCom
41. A simple salt water gargle a few times a day can ease a nagging cough, as well as a sore throat.
Salt Water Gargle
Salt water helps to draw the excess fluids from the inflamed areas in the throat to reduce the cough. Gargling helps to remove irritants in the throat and thins the mucus.
- 2 teaspoon of salt
- A glass of warm water
- Mix the salt in a glass of warm water
- Use this as a mouthwash to gargle your mouth
- It reduces the soreness in your throat and then cough
- Do it for 3 – 4 times a day to get rid of the sore throat and cough” – Rajee, 21 DIY Home Remedies for Cough, Home Remedies for Life
42. Use essential oils known for relieving congestion and/or cough in a room diffuser. This is especially helpful for infants (newborn to six months of age) for whom few other options exist for relieving the symptoms of colds and coughs. “There are quite a few essential oils that can aid in relieving congestion. You can either put some in a room diffuser, or put a few drops in your pot of water. Remember, never use any essential oil directly on baby. The essential oils that are good to diffuse to help with congestion are: Cedarwood, Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lemon, Melaleuca (ericifolia), Peppermint, Rosemary, Sandalwood, and Thyme.10 Add some lavender to help baby relax…Essential Oils good for coughs are: Eucalyptus, Lemon, Marjoram, Ravensara, Rosewood, Sandalwood, and Thyme.” – Dionna Ford, 32 Natural Remedies for Colds, Congestion, Coughs, and Fevers in Infants (Newborn to 6 Months), Code Name: Mama; Twitter: @CodeNameMama
43. For a dry cough, sugar can be an effective natural remedy. "Curiously, sugar is also an effective home remedy for dry cough. However, in most cases, it is only added to sweeten herbal mixtures. The best kinds of sugar to use are the organic, unrefined ones."
"A folk remedy for dry cough recommends sucking a cube of raw sugar. Another odd sugar remedy recommends eating a teaspoon of butter after sprinkling a few grains of sugar on it."
"Yet another sugar remedy involves taking a teaspoon of Malabar nut with the sweetener early in the morning."
"Besides sugar, chocolate is also another odd dry cough remedy. For this purpose, dark chocolate is recommended since it contains the highest proportion of theobromine."
"Theobromine is an alkaloid found in chocolate. It is chemically similar to caffeine but unlike caffeine, it is known for its ability to suppress cough."
"50 – 100 g of dark chocolate is the recommended dose of this luxurious dry cough remedy." – Brad Chase, Natural Treatment for Dry Coughing, Progressive Health
44. Sometimes, the most effective way to get rid of an illness causing a nagging cough, such as bronchitis, are intuitive and simple: fluids, rest, and sucking on hard candy to moisturize your throat. "Most persistent coughs are caused by bronchitis, a virus that won’t respond to drugs, finds a recent Virginia Commonwealth University study. Still, roughly 75% of patients are prescribed antibiotics–possibly because distinguishing acute bronchitis (which lasts up to 3 weeks) from treatable bacterial infections like pneumonia can be difficult, the researchers explain."
"Make sure your doc considers all options, including natural remedies: Drink water to help loosen mucus, suck on hard candy to moisturize your throat, and rest so your body can heal." – Lisa Fields, Cure a Cough the Natural Way, Prevention; Twitter: @PreventionMag
45. Eat some spicy foods to thin and loosen mucus. "Try eating hot chili peppers, horseradish or other spicy foods. They will help loosen mucus." – Health Conditions: Coughs, Health911
46. Don’t forget the probiotics. "Probiotics is great in nutrient and it brings several health benefits for you. Probiotics might not reduce cough immediately, but it can balance gastrointestinal flora, which is a bacterial in intestines. In addition, probiotics can improve immune system, as well as reduce flu and cold." – Lien Nguyen, 28 natural home remedies for cough for kids and adults, VKool; Twitter: @vkoolcom
47. For babies under one year old, who cannot be given honey and also cannot have traditional medications intended to relieve cold and cough symptoms, a warm bath with a few drops of the right essential oils can provide some relief. "Give the child a warm bath with essential oils of Eucalyptus, Sage, or Rosemary." – Dr. Marcel Hernandez, ND, as quoted by Mare Pulido in Natural Remedies for Coughs in Babies, Holistic Mamas; Twitter: @HolisticMamas
48. Oregano oil and eucalyptus oil are great choices to reduce inflammation and reduce coughing due to bronchitis. Oregano oil is one of the strongest natural antibiotics on the planet. With its incredible antioxidant capacity, oregano oil can be used to treat bronchitis makes it the go-to solution for flu prevention and natural bronchitis treatment. The active ingredient in this herb is carvacrol, a phenol anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory that eases chest congestion and eradicates disease.
"You can take oregano oil in capsule form (250 milligrams 2 times per day until symptoms subside) or liquid form. In liquid form, use 5-10 drops of pure oregano oil in a four-ounce glass of water twice per day until symptoms subside. Always use a straw to drink pure oregano oil even in water as the pure oil can burn your lips."
"Eucalyptus oil is another natural treatment for bronchitis that can be used to open up inflamed airways. Though eucalyptus oil isn’t mean to be taken internally, you can put 5-10 drops in a hot bath and breathe in the steam to relieve chest congestion. Alternatively, you can mix eucalyptus oil with olive, neem or coconut oil and rub it on your chest and throat for quick relief. Eucalyptus contains cineole, a powerful antiseptic that makes it a good remedy to have around during cold and flu season." – Jaime A. Heidel, Natural Treatments for Bronchitis, Mother Earth Twitter: @MotherEarthNews
49. Make this simple almond paste to alleviate a chronic cough or coughing fit. "Soak 8-9 almonds in water overnight. Next day, peel and grind them. Then, add some sugar and butter in the mixture and have one or two teaspoons of this paste several times in a day to stop Coughing Fits." – Home Remedies For Coughing Fits, Speedy Remedies
50. An herbal face steam is both soothing and effective, and it uses herbs you probably already have around the kitchen. "This remedy is great, especially for respiratory illnesses. In a large (2 gallon) pot, bring a few cups of water to a boil. When water boils, turn off heat and add a couple tablespoons each of rosemary, thyme and oregano. Stir well, cover for up to five minutes, and remove lid. Drape a towel over the head and lean over the pot, breathing in the steam. This will help loosen congestion and kill any bacteria that has accumulated in the lungs or respiratory track." – Katie, 7 Natural Cold and Flu Remedies, Everyday Paleo; Twitter: @everydaypaleo