Natural cough remedies are a dime a dozen. And they’re a lot more effective than you think. In fact, according to the American College of Chest Physicians, many of the active ingredients in over-the-counter cough syrups are ineffective. (1)
Generally, over-the-counter medicine can help to suppress your symptoms, but that doesn’t necessarily give your body the nutrients it needs to heal and prevent it from happening in the first place. So before you start relying on over-the-counter cough suppressants, why not give one of these natural cough remedies a try!
The World Health Organization (WHO) lists honey as a demulcent, which makes it a great remedy for dry cough (2). For those who don’t know, a demulcent is the scientific term used to describe an ingredient that helps soothe irritated mucous membranes by forming a protective film.
There are many ways to use honey for cough relief. You can mix 1-2 teaspoons of honey with herbal tea or warm water and lemon.
But the simplest method remains taking a spoonful of honey 1-3 times a day as needed to control the dry cough. You can even take it before bed, if the coughing is affecting your sleep. (3)
While honey is a great home remedy for dry cough for both kids and adults, it should never be given to children under the age of 2 due to the risk of botulism.
2. Pineapple Juice
This tropical fruit is the only known source of natural bromelain. Typically found in higher concentration in the stem of the fruit, bromelain is an enzyme with anti-inflammatory properties. It’s often used to reduce swelling of the nose and sinuses. (4)
Drinking pineapple juice is especially useful against a productive cough because it can help your body cough up phlegm and mucus.
Here’s a simple pineapple juice cough mixture you’ll definitely want to try!
- 1 cup of fresh pineapple juice – preferably home juiced
- Half a lemon – peeled
- A small piece of ginger – 3 inches long
- 1 tablespoon of raw honey
- Half a teaspoon of hot cayenne pepper
Drop all the ingredients in your blender, and blitz! And you’ll soon be coughing up all the phlegm and mucus buildup in no time.
3. Licorice Root Tea
Both an expectorant and demulcent, licorice root is a 2-for-1 solution that will soothe your airways while helping loosen up and expel mucous.
- To make licorice root tea you’ll need:
- 2 tablespoons of dried licorice root
- 8 ounces of fresh water
- Bring water to a boil.
- Place your licorice root in a cup.
- Pour hot water over it and let it steep for 15-20 minutes.
- You can drink this natural cough remedy up to 2 times per day.
Note: Do not take licorice root if you are currently taking steroid medication or have severe kidney problems.
4. Thyme Tea
If you caught a bad cough because of bacteria or someone close to you had it, thyme tea is exactly what you need.
This medicinal herb has been around for centuries. According to History,
“When the Black Death struck in the late 1340s, millions of people turned to thyme for relief and protection.”
During those days, townfolks would burn large bundles of thyme to ward off the disease. Today, scientists know that thyme is a powerful antiseptic because of a natural compound called thymol.
Just to give you a better idea of how powerful this herb can be, thymol is widely used in mouthwash, hand sanitizer and acne medication. In Germany, thyme is an officially approved remedy for coughs, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough. (5)
Now that you know why thyme tea for cough relief works incredibly well, here’s how you can make your own at home.
- a handful of fresh thyme sprigs or 2 tablespoons dried thyme
- 8 ounces of fresh water
- Honey and/or lemon (optional)
- Lightly crush the thyme using a mortar and pestle, and then place in a mug.
- Cover with the boiling water and let it steep for 10-15 minutes.
- Strain the tea and add lemon or honey to taste before drinking.
- Make fresh thyme tea 2-3 times daily as needed.
5. Ginger Honey Lemon
It’s no secret that ginger would appear on this list. Often used to treat symptoms of colds and flu due to its decongestant properties, drinking ginger tea can help loosen and expel mucous from the lungs.
To enjoy this natural cough remedy, simply add 12-15 slices of fresh ginger in a pot with three cups of water. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to let it simmer for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been reduced by half. Strain and add 1 tablespoon of raw honey and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Enjoy!
6. Gargle Salt Water
Excessive coughing can lead to a sore throat. This popular home remedy is often used near the end of your bad cough as a way to help ease discomfort.
So why does gargling with salt water help a sore throat?
Gargling salt water works because of osmosis. In the presence of high levels of salt outside the cells of your mucous membranes, water will naturally move out of the cells until a new balance is reached. As water leaves the cells so does the swelling.
The gargle salt water remedy is perfect for dealing with a cough that comes with inflamed tissue. Using this will also help dislodge any phlegm that needs to be expelled.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your own salt water gargle:
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 8 ounces of warm water
- Mix the salt into warm water.
- Stir until it is thoroughly dissolved.
- Take a sip and gargle for 20-30 seconds.
- Spit and repeat until all the remaining salt water is used up.
- Rinse with regular water at the end of this treatment.
How To Avoid Coughing And Infecting Others
- Try to limit coming in contact with people who are sick or when you are sick.
- Always cover your nose and mouth whenever you cough or sneeze to avoid infecting others.
- Eat fruits and veggies that are high in water content to help you stay hydrated.
- Wash your hands with soap, especially after caring for someone who is sick.