When you cough, you bring up phlegm that causes irritation and infections in your airways. But not when having a chronic cough, a persistent cough is a sign of disease in your body.
Treating a cough depends majorly on the cause, which may be cold and flu, smoking, or other factors that cause cough.
This article will guide you on the 14 effective home remedies for coughs in adults and children.
But before looking for cough home remedies, finding the root cause of your cough is important, because hacks caused by a lung clot or heart failure may not respond to natural cough remedies other than treating the root cause.
If your cough is caused by cold and flu (virus), these easy home remedies may help you. If smoking or allergies are the cause, quitting the cause will be the best solution.
14 effective home remedies for coughs
Initially, over-the-counter cough medicines were used to treat both children and adults cough.
But after recent studies that placed their side effects above benefits, more people now use natural cough remedies for colds or flu.
Below are the cough home remedies for adults and children.
Honey is a by-product of flower nectars and the upper aero-digestive tract of a honeybee. We use it in food and in traditional medicine to cure diseases, including cough.
A recent study to compare the efficacy of honey and other cough medicines in treating night coughs showed honey supremacy.
Taking 2.5ml of honey before sleep was more effective than over-the-counter cough drugs, but not for children under 1 year, to avoid infant botulism.
Turmeric is a medicinal plant with antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.
It contains curcumin, volatile oil, and other ingredients that help to cure diseases including cough.
Inhaling volatile oils from turmeric helps relieve cough, asthma, and other respiratory diseases. (1)
You can get turmeric volatile oil online, or from consuming the root.
Peppermint contains menthol, an effective decongestant that helps thin mucus.
It is also a good expectorant because it helps loosen phlegm and break up the cough.
Peppermint also has antimicrobial effects, anti-allergic, anti-diabetic, anti infertility, and other healing properties.
But should not be given to infants, adults can drink peppermint tea preferably before bed, to help reduce nightly coughs.
Ginger has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, it also contains ingredients like -gingerol, -gingerol, and -shogaol, which help to soothe coughs and asthma.
Asthma is known to cause chest and lung tightness, however, the recent use of ginger in asthma patients relieved the airway muscles by balancing the calcium ions within them.
5. Hot fluids
When you cough, your airways become dry and more irritant. However, it can be relieved by fluids.
Studies have shown that hot fluid relieves the symptoms of runny nose, sore throat, coughing, sneezing, tiredness, and cold, permanently.
While the same fluid at room temperature only reduced coughing, runny nose, and sneezing.
The study recommends the use of hot fluids when having a cough or other respiratory tract diseases.
Hot fluids include:
- Caffeine-free teas
- Herbal teas
- Warm juice, etc.
6. Use a humidifier
Dry air can provoke a dry cough. Humidifiers add more moisture to the air to ease congestion, coughs, and sore throats. (1)
You can run a humidifier in your bedroom if you have a cough, but always open your windows in the morning, to let go of the humidity to avoid mold formation.
7. Chicken soup
Chicken soup has anti-inflammatory properties that may soothe respiratory tract infections.
Taking the soup may relieve cough symptoms, congestion, and sore throat, studies revealed
8. Marshmallow root extract
Marshmallow root is a herb with lots of healing potential.
It has antimicrobial properties, antitussive, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, soothing, and others. (3)
A survey-based study also confirmed its effectiveness in relieving sore throats and irritations caused by a dry cough.
Marshmallow root is available as a dried herb or tea. Add boiling water to it and allow it to steep before drinking.
9. Gargle with saltwater
Saltwater gargling helps relieve sore throat and cough, It can also kill mouth bacteria. (4)
To prepare it, add one teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water, stir it and gargle at least 3 times a day.
10. A dietary change for GERD induced coughs
Heartburn (GERD) is one of the major causes of a persistent cough. If GERD causes you to cough, quit those foods that trigger it.
Foods that trigger heartburn include:
- Raw onions
- Black pepper
- Citrus fruit
- Garlic and
- Caffeinated drinks, and others.
11. Slippery elm
Slippery Elm is a herb used by native Americans to treat cough, sore throat, and gastrointestinal tract diseases.
It has mucilage as an active ingredient that helps to soothe a cough and sore throat.
A study on its efficacy showed rapid and temporary relief from sore throat pain. However, more studies are needed to confirm their potential.
You can take slippery elm by adding one teaspoon of the dried herb to a cup of hot water. Steep for about 15 minutes before drinking.
Capsaicin is an extract from chili pepper. It has analgesic and cough soothing properties. (5)
Capsaicin can be taken as a capsule or by making tea from it.
13. Make use of an air purifier
An air purifier can help sanitize airborne irritants in your home. They can also reduce allergins, which causes sore throat and cough.
14. Stay clean
Germs can easily spread through coughing. Staying clean will prevent their spread.
- Always cover your mouth when coughing and also wash your hand after.
- Keep your surroundings clean.
Persistent coughing can annoy, but with these effective home remedies, you will surely soothe it. Always see your doctor if your cough persists for over 3 weeks.
- Efficacy of cough suppressants in children. https://www.jpeds.com/article/S0022-3476(06)80031-4/pdf
- A Comparison of the Effect of Honey, dextromethorphan, and Diphenhydramine on Nightly Cough and Sleep Quality in Children and Their Parents https://www.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/acm.2009.0311
- Botulism: Prevention. cdc.gov/botulism/prevention.html
- Medicinal Potential Plants of Labiatae (Lamiaceae) Family: An Overview: http://docsdrive.com/pdfs/academicjournals/rjmp/2012/203-213.pdf
- Ternesten-Hasseus E., et al. (2015). Cough reduction using capsaicin. https://www.resmedjournal.com/article/S0954-6111(14)00389-8/fulltext