10 Natural Cough Remedies That Are Worth Trying
Got a nagging cough? Before you reach for an over-the-counter cough suppressant, try one of these natural treatments for a home cure.
Cough remedy: Steep some thyme
Thyme is an officially approved German cough treatment and remedy for upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough—for good reason: Those tiny leaves are packed with cough-suppressant compounds, making them effective natural cough remedies. Thyme flavonoids relax tracheal and ileal muscles, which are involved in coughing, and also reduce inflammation and headaches. For a homemade tea, mix 2 teaspoons crushed leaves in 1 cup boiling water, cover, then steep for 10 minutes and strain.
Cough remedy: Fight with flax, honey, and lemon
Boiling flaxseeds in water gives you a thick, gooey gel that eases throat and bronchial tract discomfort. Honey and lemon act as mild antibiotics and make this syrup super-soothing. 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: 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
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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
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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.
Cough remedy: Sip some warm milk
Another popular home cough suppressant is a cup of hot milk sweetened with honey. 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. 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. A review in Peaediatrics & Child Health found that drinking more fluids could potentially benefit a cough because not only is your body better hydrated, helping it function properly as it shakes the sickness, but it also softens secretions to ease the cough itself. Even without swallowing, fluids could help if you use these 16 natural gargles that ease a sore throat.
Cough remedy: Brew peppermint tea
Some research suggests that the menthol in vapor rubs and some cough drops acts as a decongestant and soothes the throat. Menthol is derived from peppermint and other types of mint, so try sipping a cup of warm peppermint tea as a DIY treatment.
Cough remedy: Turn on the humidifier
Dry air can irritate your mouth and throat, making you cough, which is why Cleveland Clinic recommends using a humidifier to add some moisture back and keep your airways 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.