Home remedies for coughs have been used for centuries as a natural way to relieve the discomfort of a persistent cough. While coughs can be a symptom of a more serious underlying condition, such as bronchitis or pneumonia, they can also be caused by a cold or allergies.
In this article, we’ll explore various home remedies for coughs that can help soothe the throat, relieve congestion and promote healing.
From herbal teas to steam therapy, there are many remedies that can be easily prepared at home with natural ingredients.
Whether you prefer a warm cup of honey and lemon or steam inhalation with essential oils, there is a home remedy for coughs that can provide relief without the need for prescription drugs.
I. What causes a cough?
Coughing is a reflex action of the body to defend itself against bacteria or viruses and expel mucus or a pathogen. Coughing can have various causes.
The causes of coughing can be classified into two broad categories: acute coughs and chronic coughs.
Acute coughs are usually caused by viral infections such as the common cold, flu, or respiratory infection.
Chronic coughs can be caused by more serious underlying conditions such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), or lung cancer.
Other causes of cough include smoking or exposure to second-hand smoke, air pollution, and allergies to dust, pollen, or other irritants.
In some cases, medications such as ACE inhibitors or beta-blockers can cause a persistent cough.
II. 29 home remedies for coughs
There are several natural remedies that can help relieve cough symptoms.
It is important to note that these remedies can help relieve symptoms, but are not a substitute for medical treatment.
If your cough persists or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, shortness of breath, or chest pain, you should consult a doctor.
1. Hot drinks
Coughing often occurs when the throat is affected by an irritation. Dust, pollen, or smoke can cause coughing.
Therefore, drinking hot beverages often helps to soothe the cough, while helping to remove the harmful elements that cause it.
2. Water vapor
Steam is an effective way to relieve your cough, as it can clear the mucus from your throat.
Heat up some water and lean over it with a cloth over your head to direct the steam towards your face. By inhaling the steam, you will hydrate your throat and allow the elimination of bacteria.
3. Licorice Root
Licorice root relieves coughs and gastroesophageal reflux. You can brew between 15 and 30 g of licorice root in a liter of water and consume the decoction.
Do not consume licorice for more than a few weeks, as it may improve your blood pressure.
Honey is very useful in case of a cough. You can take it as is, by taking a spoonful of honey when you start coughing.
Honey will soothe your irritations because it is a humectant, and if your dry cough has caused you wounds, the properties of honey will help you heal. Honey can also be taken diluted in a cup of warm water.
Bromelain is a compound found in many types of foods, an enzyme that is very effective against coughs.
It is found in pineapples in particular, so you can take pineapple juice to calm your cough. But because of its high sugar content, do not do it if you are diabetic.
Probiotics can reduce the occurrence of cold and cough symptoms. They have the ability to work on fever, cold, cough, or runny nose when taken daily.
Probiotics help to improve the immune system, which is very useful during the winter.
7. Drink fluids
When you have a cough, it’s always a good idea to take a liquid, such as water. Don’t hesitate to take a glass of water when your cough starts, it will help to soothe it. Drinking soup or tea is another option. Choose lukewarm or flat drinks.
Put ginger roots in hot water and let them steep for many minutes. Once this is done, drink the liquid, to which you can mix a little honey. Ginger calms dry cough and is a natural anti-inflammatory.
9. Eucalyptus oil
You can use eucalyptus oil by mixing 1 drop of EO with 4 drops of vegetable oil. With the mixture, massage your chest or throat.
You can do this 3 times a day. The heat generated by this oil will clear the bronchial tubes and help you breathe better.
10. Use a humidifier
A humidifier is a way to keep your room moist. The moisture will keep your throat hydrated.
This is a great way to help with nighttime coughs, especially during the nights and during the winter.
11. Peppermint leaves
To decongest the respiratory tract with peppermint leaves, make an infusion with 3 to 6 g of leaves in 150 ml of water.
You can take it several times a day. Another option is to inhale peppermint EO by putting 4 drops in hot water.
12. Gargle with salt water
Liquids are great for dry or wet coughs. For this, gargling with salt water is a good way to wash away your cough.
The salt water will help you get rid of the bacteria that may be causing your cough.
Brew a teaspoon of thyme in a cup of simmering water for 10 minutes. Drink this tea to relieve your cough.
Not only is the hot drink useful, but thyme is a plant with antiseptic properties. Adding honey to it will improve the effects of this infusion.
Mix in a teapot a teaspoon of elderberry with 1 teaspoon of lime, one of peppermint, and one of yarrow. Once 60 cl of boiling water is poured over the herbs, leave to infuse for 10 to 15 minutes.
Drink several times a day a cup of this preparation with a little honey.
15. Marshmallow root
You can use marshmallows to treat your cough. All you have to do is brew 2 teaspoons of the plant in the equivalent of a cup of hot water.
You can take up to 3 cups of this tea every day until the symptoms disappear.
Capsaicin is an element found in many hot peppers and spicy foods. It has the ability to reduce coughing, especially in people with rhinitis or allergies because it strengthens the respiratory system.
So you can turn to nasal sprays containing capsaicin for relief.
17. Neti pot
A Neti Pot is very useful for unclogging your nostrils. Tilt your head to the side, insert the spout of the Neti Pot into the top nostril, and gently pour the salt water inside, until the liquid comes out of the other nostril, into a basin that you have placed underneath.
Ask your doctor for advice before using a neti pot.
18. Cough drops
Cough drops are available in pharmacies. They have a cough suppressant effect and calm the irritation in the throat.
They are available from different laboratories. Remember to ask a health professional for advice on how to obtain them.
Marjoram can be used as an essential oil to calm coughs. You need to put between 10 and 12 drops in a container with warm water.
Breathing in the vapors of this mixture will relieve your cough.
Turmeric is a natural spice that is useful against inflammation and improves the immune system.
You can make a mixture of turmeric powder and honey, and pour hot water over it. Drink this as an herbal tea to soothe your cough, or act in case of a cold.
To fight your cough, you can either chew raw garlic or make syrup from it. Garlic syrup is made by cleaning and peeling 50 cloves of garlic.
Put the garlic in 250 ml of boiling water and let it infuse for several minutes. Add 50 g of honey, and let it cook while stirring until it resembles syrup.
Take a spoonful 3 times a day to fight your cough.
22. Slippery elm
You can take slippery elm to overcome your stomach ailments, as well as your persistent cough. It is an herb, which can be taken orally in the form of capsules.
The action of elm on acid reflux prevents the coughing that this type of pathology can cause.
23. N-acetylcysteine (NAC)
NAC is a product that, once consumed, is transformed into cysteine in the body. This product acts as an antioxidant, and for some years it has been studied for its action against the flu. NAC can also act in case of bronchitis and fight against fatty coughs.
24. Masala Tchaï tea
Masala Tchai tea is made of multiple herbs and spices that help to strengthen your immune system. To make it, mix 8 cloves with 1 piece of ginger, 8 green cardamom pods, and 4 black peppercorns.
Boil all of these in 500 ml of water, and add loose black tea when the water starts to boil. Let it steep for 10 minutes, strain, and drink.
25. Diet to avoid acid reflux
Coughing can be caused by acid reflux. For this, consume certain foods to avoid this condition. You should eat fish, seafood, legumes, and lean cheeses.
Onions contain elements that can make the mucus rise and expectorate it. Cut up some onions and put them over a water bath with half a cup of honey.
Simmer in a closed jar for 2 hours. Every two hours, take a teaspoon of this syrup.
27. Use an air purifier
An air purifier can be combined with a humidifier to reduce the impact of allergens and germs that cause coughing.
By making the air more humid, mucus will be easier to clear from the throat and body.
28. Try to get some sleep
Coughing is very often related to a medical condition, such as a cold or flu. Getting some sleep can help you recover, especially because resting helps your immune system regenerate. Resting can give you relief from a sore throat.
Menthol is able to help you with coughs, as it is able to clear the bronchial tubes. You can rub your chest or back with menthol if you are affected by a cough. Menthol is made from eucalyptus and is a powerful decongestant.
III. How to prevent coughing
Practicing good hygiene is one of the most effective ways to prevent coughing. This includes frequent hand washing with soap and water, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze.
Another important factor in preventing coughs is maintaining a healthy lifestyle. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a balanced diet rich in nutrients, staying hydrated, and exercising regularly.
These habits can help boost your immune system and reduce your risk of developing respiratory infections that can lead to coughing.
Also, staying hydrated can help you avoid coughing. Drinking fluids will help to eliminate bacteria in the throat. You should also avoid or protect yourself in smoky or polluted areas.
IV. Other questions about home remedies for coughs
1. How to stop a dry cough at night?
Drink something warm, as keeping your throat moist will help you get rid of your nighttime cough. If possible, use a humidifier.
You can also take a spoonful of honey to soothe your throat. Honey can also be mixed with warm water and lemon.
2. What does it mean when you can’t stop coughing?
There are many reasons why you may have a persistent cough. For example, an allergic attack can cause a nonstop cough, especially when you are around the allergens that are causing your condition.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease can also cause a persistent cough. This is also the case if you have asthma.
All of this is even more pronounced in people who smoke, as smoking is one of the causes of coughs and sore throats.
3. Why is my cough worse at night?
It is possible that your cough is a result of rhinitis. Lying down can make it worse because lying down can increase the amount of nasal discharge in the back of the throat.
This discharge can be the cause of your cough. For this reason, if you have a persistent nighttime cough, elevate your head. This will help you breathe better.
4. What is the best medicine for a severe cough?
Cough syrups are the most common medicines used to treat a severe, persistent cough. They have the ability to work quickly to soothe a cough, especially one that keeps you awake.
You can also use a natural mixture, putting honey and lemon in a cup of hot water. Apart from these remedies, it is important to know the origin of your cough to be able to cure it.
5. Can lemon reduce cough?
Lemon is a food that is frequently used to fight coughs and colds. First of all, like all citrus fruits, lemons are rich in vitamin C. It, therefore, helps to strengthen the body’s immune system.
You can squeeze a lemon in a cup of hot water, and add a teaspoon of honey. Drinking this mixture will help you overcome your persistent cough.
6. What foods relieve coughs?
There are various foods that can provide relief from a cough. For example, chicken soups can be taken when you cough. You can also take citrus fruits, rich in vitamin C.
Liquids are other products to take in case of a cough because they allow for hydrating the throat. This way, it is easier for bacteria and germs to be eliminated from the body.
7. What drinks help with coughs?
Water is one drink you can drink to fight coughs. You can also take hot drinks, such as tea.
Different teas can help you, such as mint tea or an infusion with spices like turmeric or ginger. Drinking natural citrus juices is another option.
8. Which fruit is best for coughs?
Lemon is the most commonly recommended fruit for coughs. You can take it diluted with warm water, and even add honey. Lemon contains vitamin C, which makes it an excellent fruit to help the body fight viruses, especially in cold weather.
9. Does Vicks help fight coughs?
Vicks contain eucalyptus and can help with coughs. Putting Vicks on the soles of your feet or on your chest will help you breathe easier and clear your airways.
10. Is milk good for coughs?
Adding a spoonful of honey and the juice of a lemon to a cup of warm milk can help with your cough. It will work on your cough, especially if you take it before you go to bed.
11. Can coughing damage your lungs?
A persistent cough is a symptom of disease, and it can affect your lungs. Coughing can be a sign that your lungs are damaged, and that you have breathing problems, such as asthma.
12. Can I drink coffee when I cough?
Drinking coffee when you cough is not necessarily a good idea. You should know that when your sinuses or airways are affected, caffeine can cause mucus to thicken. So it’s not the right drink to drink in these cases.