Got a nagging cough? Before you reach for a drugstore suppressant, try one of these home remedies for soothing cough symptoms.
Help For Your Hacks
If a cold, the flu, or the respiratory infection du jour (coronavirus, anyone?) has you coughing and you’d like it to stop, you’ve come to the right place. These natural remedies not only work and are doctor-approved, but you may already have them on hand. Here’s when it’s time to worry about a cough, by the way.
Cough Remedy: Steep Some Thyme
Thyme is not only useful for flavoring your poultry—it also serves as an impressive cough suppressant. “The volatile oils in the plant have an effect on the cough reflex, calming the tendency to cough,” explains Leslie Solomonian, a doctor of naturopathic medicine. It can be consumed as a tea by mixing 2 teaspoons of crushed leaves into 1 cup boiling water, covering it, steeping for 10 minutes and then straining, but Dr. Solomonian’s favorite way to use it as a cough remedy is to add it to honey and onion. Keep in mind you should never give honey to a baby under age one due to the risk of life-threatening infant botulism. Here are some home remedies for cough that are safe for kids.
Cough Remedy: Fight With Flax, Honey, And Lemon
Ground flax, when combined with a liquid, forms a mucus-like substance, which soothes the cough reflex, explains Dr. Solomonian. Honey has the same effect. “Lemon tends to cut mucus, so if the cause of the cough is post-nasal drip or tonsillitis, the lemon might alleviate that a bit,” she says. For this at-home remedy, boil 2 to 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds in 1 cup of water until the water becomes thick. Strain, then add 3 tablespoons each of honey and lemon juice. Take 1 tablespoon as needed for cough treatment. Learn about the 13 reasons your cold just won’t go away.
Cough Remedy: Suck A Lemon For Fast-Acting Cough Relief
This treatment isn’t for the faint of heart, but it is one of the more commonly used natural cough remedies. “Sucking on a lemon wedge juice helps cut through congestion,” explains Barbara Joy Jones, DO, GMC Primary Care-Peachtree Corners. “Lemon can help the body trying to break up mucus and get it out of your system.” Quarter a fresh lemon, sprinkle it with lots of black pepper and salt, and suck on it for quick relief.
Cough Remedy: Brew Black Pepper Tea For A Wet Cough
This home remedy is rooted in two very different traditions: New England folk medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. The rationale behind it is that black pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow; honey is a natural cough suppressant and mild antibiotic. To make the tea, place 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Fill with boiling water and let steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain and sip as needed. This remedy works best on coughs that produce mucus and isn’t suitable for dry coughs. Try these other ways to help you get over a cold quickly.
Cough Remedy: Sip Milk And Honey
Combine the natural cough remedies of milk and honey for a one-two-punch treatment. An Italian study found that mixing two teaspoons of honey into a third-cup of milk was just as effective as OTC medications dextromethorphan and levodropropizine in children—and presumably much tastier. Here are 21 more natural cold remedies that really work.
Cough Remedy: Blend Almonds
Some ancient traditions believe almonds help relieve bronchial problems, including coughs. They recommend blending a few teaspoons of finely ground almonds with a cup of orange juice and sipping as a natural cough treatment, notes Solomonian. Don’t miss these other things you should always eat when you have a cold.
Cough Remedy: Drink More Water
Downing plenty of water is one of the easiest natural cough remedies. One laboratory study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found that water was essential in helping individuals with a cough thin out sticky, lung mucus. In addition, water keeps you hydrated, which is beneficial for warding off any kind of illness.
Cough Remedy: Brew Peppermint Tea
“Peppermint essential oil can be inhaled for a soothing sensation on the muscles of the windpipe (bronchial muscles) which eases breathing and allows the person to relax,” explains Kac Young, PhD, doctor of naturopathy and clinical hypnotherapy and author of The Healing Art of Essential Oils. “Coughing is reduced and the body experiences physical relaxation in certain muscle groups.” Try steeping yourself a cup of warm peppermint tea as a DIY treatment. Check out these other amazing health benefits of peppermint.
Cough Remedy: Turn On The Humidifier
Dry air not only irritates your skin, but it can also cause dryness in your mouth and throat that makes you cough. This is why Joel Schlessinger, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, and RealSelf contributor recommends using a humidifier to add some moisture back and keep your airways (and your skin) happy. Just don’t go overboard—the EPA suggests keeping humidity between 30 and 50 percent because any damper than that could encourage mold and dust mites, and trigger asthma. If you don’t own a humidifier, try taking a steamy shower or pouring hot water into a bowl and breathing in the vapor. To stay healthy, don’t miss these 50 ways to avoid catching a cold this season.
- Allergologia et Immunopathologia: “Effect of multiple honey doses on non-specific acute cough in children. An open randomised study and literature review.”
- J.D. Zipkin, MD, of GoHealth Urgent Care.
- Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: “Roles of mucus adhesion and cohesion in cough clearance.”
- Kac Young, PhD, doctor of naturopathy and clinical hypnotherapy and author of The Healing Art of Essential Oils.
- Joel Schlessinger, MD, a board-certified dermatologist, and RealSelf contributor.
- United States Environmental Protection Agency: “Mold Course Chapter 2: Why and Where Mold Grows.”
- Leslie Solomonian, BSc, ND, Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine.
The watching, interacting, and participation of any kind with anything on this page does not constitute or initiate a doctor-patient relationship with Dr. Farrah™. None of the statements here have been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The products of Dr. Farrah™ are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. The information being provided should only be considered for education and entertainment purposes only. If you feel that anything you see or hear may be of value to you on this page or on any other medium of any kind associated with, showing, or quoting anything relating to Dr. Farrah™ in any way at any time, you are encouraged to and agree to consult with a licensed healthcare professional in your area to discuss it. If you feel that you’re having a healthcare emergency, seek medical attention immediately. The views expressed here are simply either the views and opinions of Dr. Farrah™ or others appearing and are protected under the first amendment.
Dr. Farrah™ is a highly experienced Licensed Medical Doctor certified in evidence-based clinical nutrition, not some enthusiast, formulator, or medium promoting the wild and unrestrained use of nutrition products for health issues without clinical experience and scientific evidence of therapeutic benefit. Dr. Farrah™ has personally and keenly studied everything she recommends, and more importantly, she’s closely observed the reactions and results in a clinical setting countless times over the course of her career involving the treatment of over 150,000 patients.
Dr. Farrah™ promotes evidence-based natural approaches to health, which means integrating her individual scientific and clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research. By individual clinical expertise, I refer to the proficiency and judgment that individual clinicians acquire through clinical experience and clinical practice.
Dr. Farrah™ does not make any representation or warranties with respect to the accuracy, applicability, fitness, or completeness of any multimedia content provided. Dr. Farrah™ does not warrant the performance, effectiveness, or applicability of any sites listed, linked, or referenced to, in, or by any multimedia content.
To be clear, the multimedia content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or seen in any website, video, image, or media of any kind. Dr. Farrah™ hereby disclaims any and all liability to any party for any direct, indirect, implied, punitive, special, incidental, or other consequential damages arising directly or indirectly from any use of the content, which is provided as is, and without warranties.