Today we will introduce you to the most effective home remedies for cough. There is a list of 14 of them everyone effective and natural.
Coughing can be caused by a variety of factors, but the most common culprits are bacterial and viral illnesses (like pneumonia, influenza, or a cold), allergies, a runny nose, heartburn, and asthma.
Often coughing is worse at night, usually due to the position you’re in, as lying down can lead to more congestion and worsen heartburn.
Sleeping with your head raised by pillows can help, as can trying one of the natural remedies ahead right before bed.
What’s the difference between a dry cough and a wet cough?
A dry cough is pretty much exactly what it sounds like, and might be in reaction to a dry, itchy, scratchy throat or other irritation.
A wet cough, meaning one that brings up mucus or other fluids, is typically caused by a virus like the cold or flu.
Viruses can last up to a month—much longer than many people think.
Unfortunately, antibiotics won’t treat coughs themselves, but there’s still plenty you can do to make yourself cough less, and make your coughing less painful.
“Many coughs simply take time to go away,” says Cindy Uypitching, MD, a family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanente Canyon Country Medical Offices in Santa Clarita, California.
“Most doctors will suggest you try natural home remedies for cough first, and there are several that can help make you more comfortable when you’re sick.”
Home Remedies For Cough
People use a range of natural remedies to try to treat a persistent cough. Here, we look at 14 of these remedies in more detail.
Ginger may ease a dry or asthmatic cough, as it has anti-inflammatory properties. It may also relieve nausea and pain.
One study suggests that some anti-inflammatory compounds in ginger can relax membranes in the airways, which could reduce coughing.
The researchers mainly studied the effects of ginger on human cells and animals, so more research is necessary.
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.
Be aware that, in some cases, ginger tea can cause stomach upset or heartburn.
According to some research, honey may relieve coughs.
A study on treatments for nighttime coughing in children compared dark honey with the cough-suppressing medication dextromethorphan and with no treatment.
The researchers reported that honey provided the most significant relief from coughing, followed by dextromethorphan.
Although the benefits of honey over dextromethorphan were small, parents rated honey most favorably of all three interventions.
To use honey to treat a cough, mix 2 teaspoons (tsp) with warm water or an herbal tea. Drink this mixture once or twice a day. Do not give honey to children under 1 year of age.
Staying hydrated is vital for those with a cough or cold. Drinking liquids at room temperature can alleviate cough, runny nose, and sneezing.
However, people with additional symptoms of a cold or flu may benefit from warming up their beverages. Hot beverages alleviate even more symptoms, including a sore throat, chills, and fatigue.
Hot beverages that may be comforting include:
- clear broths
- herbal teas
- decaffeinated black tea
- warm water
- warm fruit juices
A wet cough, which is one that produces mucus or phlegm, may improve with 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.
Alternatively, make a steam bowl. To do this, fill a large bowl with hot water.
Add herbs or essential oils, such as eucalyptus or rosemary, which may also relieve decongestion. Lean over the bowl and place a towel over the head.
This traps the steam. Inhale the vapors for 5 minutes. If the steam feels hot on the skin, discontinue until the skin cools down.
People with a wet cough or chest congestion may also wish to follow the recommendations of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood InstituteTrusted Source (NHLBI) and use a cool-mist humidifier or steam vaporizer in their home.
5. Marshmallow root
Marshmallow root is an herb that has a long history of use as a treatment for coughs and sore throats.
The herb can ease irritation resulting from coughing because of its high mucilage content. Mucilage is a thick, gluey substance that coats the throat.
One small study revealed that an herbal cough syrup containing marshmallow root, along with thyme and ivy, effectively relieved coughs resulting from common colds and respiratory tract infections.
After 12 days of taking the syrup, 90 percent of the participants rated their effectiveness as good or very good.
Marshmallow root is also available as a dried herb or a bagged tea. Add hot water to either and then drink it immediately or allow it to cool first.
The longer the marshmallow root steeps in the water, the more mucilage will be in the drink.
Side effects can include stomach upset, but it may be possible to counter this by drinking extra fluids.
Marshmallow root is available online and it can be bought here.
6. Salt-water gargle
This simple remedy is one of the most effective for treating a sore throat and wet cough.
Saltwater reduces phlegm and mucus in the back of the throat which can lessen the need to cough.
Stir half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water until it dissolves.
Allow the solution to cool slightly before using it to gargle.
Let the mixture sit at the back of the throat for a few moments before spitting it out. Gargle with salt water several times each day until the cough improves.
Avoid giving saltwater to younger children as they may not be able to gargle properly, and swallowing salt water can be dangerous.
Pineapples contain bromelain, which may help to treat a cough.
Bromelain is an enzyme that comes from pineapples. It is most plentiful in the core of the fruit.
Bromelain has anti-inflammatory properties and may also have mucolytic properties, which means that it can break down mucus and remove them from the body.
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 cough. However, it is best to speak with a doctor before trying any new supplements.
It is possible to be allergic to bromelain, and this herb can also cause side effects and interact with medications. People who take blood thinners or specific antibiotics should not take bromelain.
Thyme has both culinary and medicinal uses and is a common remedy for a cough, a sore throat, bronchitis, and digestive issues.
One study found that a cough syrup consisting of thyme and ivy leaves relieved coughing more effectively and more rapidly than a placebo syrup in people with acute bronchitis.
Antioxidants in the plant may be responsible for its benefits.
To treat coughs using thyme, look for a cough syrup that contains this herb. Alternatively, make a thyme tea by adding 2 tsp of dried thyme to a cup of hot water. Steep for 10 minutes before straining and drinking.
9. Dietary changes for acid reflux
Acid reflux 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.
Every individual may have different reflux triggers that they need to avoid.
People who are unsure of what causes their reflux can begin by eliminating the most common triggers from their diet and monitoring their symptoms.
The foods and beverages that most commonly trigger acid reflux include:
- citrus foods
- fried and fatty foods
- garlic and onions
- spices and spicy foods
- tomatoes and tomato-based products
10. Slippery elm
Native Americans traditionally used slippery elm bark to treat coughing and digestive issues.
Slippery elm is similar to marshmallow root as it contains a high level of mucilage, which helps to soothe a sore throat and cough.
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.
11. N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
NAC is a supplement that comes from the amino acid L-cysteine.
Taking a daily dose may lessen the frequency and severity of a wet cough by reducing mucus in the airways.
A meta-analysis of 13 studies suggests that NAC can significantly and consistently reduce symptoms in people with chronic bronchitis.
Chronic bronchitis is a prolonged inflammation of the airways that causes mucous build-up, a cough, and other symptoms.
The researchers suggest a daily dose of 600 milligrams (mg) of NAC for people without airway obstruction, and up to 1,200 mg where there is an obstruction.
NAC can have severe side effects, including hives, swelling, fever, and difficulty breathing. Anyone considering this approach should speak to a doctor first.
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.
One type of probiotic, a bacteria called Lactobacillus, provides a modest benefit in preventing the common cold.
Foods rich in probiotics:
- miso soup
- natural yogurt
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.
This herb, more commonly known as frankincense, has been used for centuries to treat coughs, particularly those that come from inflammation of the lungs or other areas.
Its potent anti-inflammatory compounds can help both in soothing a cough and fighting the oral pathogens that can cause them.
Dissolving Boswellia in hot water and inhaling the steam helped reduce coughing from asthma and bronchitis,
The idea that eating or drinking dairy products causes increased mucus and coughing is a myth, nor does it worsen a cough from an existing cold, according to research published in The American Review of Respiratory Disease.
But many people associate dairy with congestion because milk has a similar texture and viscosity to mucus which can make it feel like it’s sticking in your throat, according to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy.
If you have a dry cough and are craving something creamy to coat your throat and ease the scratchiness, but want a thinner texture, almond or coconut milk is a good replacement.
Tips to help prevent a cold
It is not always possible to avoid getting a cough, but the following tips can reduce the risk:
- Avoiding contact with people who are sick: Maintain a safe distance from people who have a head cold, flu, or a cough.
- Washing hands regularly: Use soap and warm water to remove bacteria and viruses from the skin. Teach children how to wash their hands properly. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer outside the home when necessary.
- Using disinfectant: When a family member is ill, clean the kitchen and bathroom regularly with a disinfectant.
- Wash bedding, towels, and soft toys on a hot wash.
- Staying hydrated: Drink enough water, herbal teas, and other beverages to avoid dehydration.
- Reducing stress: Stress affects the immune system and increases the risk of getting sick. To alleviate stress, a person can exercise regularly, meditate, do deep breathing, and try progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
- Getting enough sleep: Aim to sleep for 7–9 hours each night to stay fit and healthy.
- Taking immune-boosting supplements: Consider taking zinc, vitamin C, and probiotics during cold and flu season to keep illness at bay.
- Allergy symptoms can sometimes mimic those of a cold. Reduce allergy flare-ups by avoiding triggers such as pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold. See a doctor about getting allergy shots or medications.
Conclusion: These home remedies for cough can help you to eliminate the annoying cough naturally without taking medications.
They are all very effective but you can choose one of them and start using it until the cough is gone and some days after that.
If the symptoms are getting worse seek medical help.