With flu season upon us, you may find yourself suffering from an awful cough and in search of home remedies. While cough medicine can seem like the best choice, you may be surprised to hear that there are natural remedies for cough that can be far more effective.
Coughing can be caused by a number of ailments, including the common cold and environmental pollutants. If you’re suffering from either of these, the natural remedies shared here may provide some relief.
If you’re experiencing a persistent dry cough with no other cold symptoms or obvious contributors, such as smoke or dust, then you may want to visit your physician to explore other causes. Diseases like GERD (acid reflux) or chronic heart conditions can also result in coughing as a natural reflex.
Natural Remedies for Cough
Nature always has a way of providing bountiful options when it comes to healing our bodies and fighting off illness. Rather than immediately reaching for over-the-counter medication, give the following natural remedies a try first:
This time-honored remedy has been shown to not only soothe the throat, but there is evidence that a couple teaspoons of honey at bedtime can suppress a cough as well. In fact, honey can be just as effective as a typical, over-the-counter suppressant. The honey can be taken alone, or it can be mixed into a cup of hot tea. Remember, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) do not recommend feeding honey to children younger than 1 year of age, as it can pose botulism risk.
Bromelain, an enzyme found in pineapples, has been found to help suppress cough and loosen mucus in your throat. To get the most out of this enzyme, try drinking a few glasses of pure pineapple juice or a eat a few pineapple slices per day.
3. Peppermint Tea
Drinking peppermint tea is a simple, yet effective home remedy you can use to make your cough more productive. The menthol in peppermint is known to be a decongestant that helps break down the mucus in your throat that causes cough.
4. Thyme Tea
Make a tea using thyme leaves and boiling water. Give the thyme a rough chop, then steep 2 teaspoons of the chopped leaves in 1 cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Because thyme leaves have flavinoid compounds, the resulting tea can help relax the throat muscles and any reduce inflammation that may be present there.
5. Salt and Water Gargle
While this isn’t the most pleasant natural remedy, a salt and water gargle can help soothe a scratchy throat that causes coughing. The salt will also help draw out a lot of the liquid from the throat tissues, helping you expel the virus from your body. Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup (8 oz.) of warm water, then gargle the mixture for best results.
Natural Remedies for Cough in Kids
Natural remedies generally tend to be safe for kids as well, but there are a few alternative remedies you can administer that kids may be more willing to try:
Not only does chicken soup help boost the immune system, but it’s a tasty option for soothing the throat and thinning out thick mucus. If your child can handle a little bit of spice, trying adding some pepper to the soup for better results.
Very Cold or Hot Juice
Very cold or hot liquids are great at breaking down mucus in the throat. While the hot liquids may feel more soothing, it might be easier to give a child cold juice to drink, as it eliminates any chances of them burning their tongue. The juice will also help your child stay hydrated during their illness.
Frozen Berries or Ice
The frozen fruit and ice can be sucked on as relief for a scratchy throat and ease coughing. You can also make popsicles with fruit juice and have your child suck on those.
Cough During Pregnancy
Having a cough during pregnancy can be tricky to deal with, as you want to minimize the amount of medication you’re taking to prevent any harm to the baby. Natural remedies are an excellent option for pregnant women, so trying any of the above suggestions is recommended.
A couple of extra tips you may want to try are to add a humidifier to your home to circulate more moisture into the air, as well as doubling up your pillows to keep your head elevated while you sleep. The extra height from the pillows will help keep any post-nasal drip at bay and give you a more restful night.
Persistent Dry Cough
When to see a doctor depends on the duration of your cough and the other symptoms you have experienced. It is common to have a persistent dry cough after having a cold. Cold symptoms tend to go away in a few days, while irritated airways are left sensitive in the aftermath. If your cough is lasting more than several weeks, then you may want to visit your physician to get it checked out.
If you never experienced other cold symptoms, then you could have underlying health conditions such as asthma or allergies that may need to be examined by your physician. You should seek medical care if your cough doesn’t seem to be related to any other obvious conditions, or if you or your child are experiencing a severe fever or shortness of breath.