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10 natural remedies for treating a cough

Although coughs have a role in cleaning out irritants and infections from the body, a persistent cough can be irritating and troublesome. 
Often, natural remedies are used to get relief but be sure the source and brand of the natural or herbal remedy is authentic. Also, if the natural remedy takes away the effect of your prescription drugs, then it is time to replace that particular natural remedy with another that does not lessen the effect of your medicines.

Here are 10 natural remedies that will give you relief from an annoying cough:

Honey tea

According to research, honey provides significant relief for coughing. Mix 2 teaspoons of honey with warm water or herbal tea and drink this mixture once or twice a day. However, honey should not be given to children below one year of age. 


Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties that can relax membranes in the airways and thus reduce coughing, ease an asthmatic cough, and relieve nausea and pain.

Add 20–40 grams of fresh ginger slices to a cup of hot water. Allow the liquid to stand for a few minutes before drinking. A little bit of honey or lemon juice will improve the taste. There you go. Your soothing ginger brew is ready. 


When you have a cough you need to stay hydrated by drinking warm fluids or liquids at room temperature. Fluids are required to soothe a sore throat and stop the cough. 
Choose from:
  • clear broths
  • herbal decaffeinated
  • black tea warm
  • water 
  • warm fruit juices


Steam is good for alleviating wet cough. After taking a hot shower wait for the bathroom to fill with steam. Stay in this steam for a few minutes to let your symptoms subside. 

Alternatively, take a large bowl. Fill it with hot water. Add an essential oil like eucalyptus or rosemary which is known to relieve congestion. Place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl. The towel traps the steam which you need to inhale. Try to inhale for 5 minutes at a stretch but if the steam feels too hot on the skin, take a break and inhale again after some time. Repeat the process till the water cools down. 

Marshmallow root

Marshmallow root is a herb that has been used as cough treatment for ages. It contains a high concentration of mucilage, a thick glue-like substance which provides relief from cough by coating the throat. 

You can purchase Marshmallow root either as a dry herb or as bagged tea packets. You can add hot water to either and then allow it to cool before drinking it or drink it immediately. The longer the root soaks in the water, the more mucilage you will get. Side effects of drinking this herb water may be an upset stomach which can be controlled by drinking fluids.

Salt-water gargle

Salt water brings down the amount of phlegm and mucus in the back of the throat, thereby reducing the need to cough. 

Stir half a teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water into a smooth mixture. Cool the mixture slightly and then gargle. Allow the mixture to act at the back of the throat for a few moments before spitting it out. Keep gargling several times a day until the cough improves.


Bromelain is an enzyme found in abundance at the core of a pineapple but is better absorbed in the body as a supplement. The enzyme has anti-inflammatory and mucolytic properties meaning that it can break down mucus and remove it from the body. However, Bromelain can cause allergies in some people. Also, Bromelain may not be the right choice for people who are taking a blood thinner or certain antibiotics. So always consult a doctor before deciding.


Antioxidants in thyme make it a suitable remedy for treating cough, sore throat and bronchitis. You can either take a cough syrup that contains thyme or drink thyme tea. Add 2 tsp of dried thyme to a cup of hot water. Soak for 10 minutes, strain and then drink. 

Dietary changes for acid reflux

Since acid reflux commonly causes coughing, it may be wise to avoid common triggers for acid reflux such as:
  • alcohol
  • caffeine
  • chocolate
  • citrus foods 
  • fried and fatty foods 
  • garlic and onions 
  • mint 
  • spices and spicy foods
  • tomatoes and tomato-based products

Slippery elm

Slippery elm has traditionally been used by Native Americans to treat cough. Just like Marshmallow root, silvery elm also contains a lot of mucilage, which is soothing for a sore throat. 

You can make Slippery elm tea by soaking 1 tsp of the dried herb in hot water. Soak for 10 minutes before you drink the tea. Slippery elm is available in both powder and capsule form. However, it can interfere with the absorption of other medications. 

N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

NAC is a supplement that comes from the amino acid L-cysteine. Taking a daily dose may prove to be effective in lessening the frequency and severity of a wet cough by reducing mucus in the airways. NAC has also been found to be effective in treating chronic bronchitis.

However, NAC can cause severe side effects, including hives, swelling, fever, and breathing difficulties. Hence, it is advisable to consult a doctor before taking this supplement. 


Probiotics do not directly relieve a cough. What they do is to boost the immune system by balancing the bacteria in the gut. A superior immune system can, in turn, fight off infections or allergens that may be causing the cough. 

You can buy probiotics off the shelf at health and drug stores or include probiotic-rich foods in your diet such as:
  • miso soup 
  • natural yogurt 
  • kimchi, and
  • sauerkraut

The Mini Air Purifier

The Mini Air Purifier protects you from allergens and harmful bacteria and viruses. It purifies your room with an Ultraviolet Disinfection System that has a sterilization rate of 99.99%. It has an auto-sense filter for indoor smoke and odor control. It is certified by EPA, CARB, FCC, and UL. 

It has the H13 true HEPA Filtration System that traps 99.97% of airborne particles 0.3 microns in size. Moreover, you can add your favorite essential oil to the sponge at the bottom of the machine.