6 Natural Cough Remedies

Got a nagging cough? Before you reach for an over-the-counter solution, try one of these natural remedies.

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Steep some thyme to relieve a cough.

Thyme is an officially approved German treatment for coughs, upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough, with good reason: Those tiny leaves are packed with cough-relieving compounds. Thyme flavonoids relax tracheal and ileal muscles, which are involved in coughing, and also reduce inflammation. To make a tea, mix 2 teaspoons crushed leaves in 1 cup boiling water, cover, then steep for 10 minutes and strain.

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Fight a cough with flax, honey, and lemon.

Boiling flaxseeds in water gives you a thick, gooey gel that soothes the throat and the bronchial tract. Honey and lemon act as mild antibiotics, and make this syrup super-soothing. For this natural 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.

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Brew black pepper tea for a wet cough.

This natural 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 reliever 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.

Suck a lemon for fast-acting cough relief.

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.

Sip some warm milk to help a cough.

Another popular folk cure for a cough is to drink a cup of hot milk sweetened with honey.

Blend almonds to remedy a cough.

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 it for relief.

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