Over-the-counter cough syrups and cough drops only mask symptoms, and that means your cough could return at anytime.
Instead of hoping for the best, you can use holistic treatments that target the underlying cause of even the worst coughs.
Here are five of the best home remedies for cough:
Cough management requires a practical, comprehensive approach.
Here’s how to show your cough who’s boss.
Have you ever wondered what’s actually going on inside the body when you make that awful coughing sound?
Here’s what’s really happening:
Coughing happens when you need to expel an irritant or cope with symptoms of a respiratory infection.
Acute coughing is coughing that lasts less than three weeks.
This includes brief coughing fits and reactions to short-term respiratory infections.
Acute coughs are typically “dry,” meaning there’s no mucus in the airway.
Chronic coughing, however, is coughing that lasts eight weeks or longer and requires professional medical intervention.
These coughs are typically “wet” and are characterized by heavy phlegm and mucus production as a response to inflammation in the lungs.
Common causes of chronic cough include:
Chronic coughing may also be caused by a reaction to certain medications like ACE inhibitors and beta-blockers, which can irritate nerve endings in the throat.
From therapeutic essential oils to immune-boosting foods, here are five of the top home remedies for cough:
Essential oils are extracted from the roots, stems, flowers, and leaves of various medicinal plants.
Most essential oils have a broad spectrum of antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, all of which can be ideal for fighting infection and treating the underlying causes of coughing.
Some essential oils, however, can also relax the muscles of the respiratory system and help expel mucus.
Here’s what the research has to say about essential oils for cough:
By mixing 1-2 drops of essential oil with half a teaspoon of coconut oil, you can make your own DIY vapor rub.
Apply it to the chest and back of the neck for fast-acting relief.
Raw honey’s immune-boosting antioxidants and antimicrobial effects may reduce cough symptoms.
According to a 2011 meta-analysis, researchers think that raw honey may treat coughs by reducing inflammation and relieving irritation.
In a 2007 study published in The Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, honey was tested against the cough-suppressing medication dextromethorphan in children with nighttime coughing.
The honey group experienced a greater reduction in coughing than the dextromethorphan group.
To make your own DIY honey elixir, mix 1-2 teaspoons of raw honey in a cup of warm water with a few drops of lemon juice.
However, do not give raw honey to children under one year of age due to the risk of infant botulism.
Marshmallow root extract has long been used in Germany as a main ingredient in natural cough remedies.
It has a high mucilage content, which eases coughing by coating the throat with a thick, gluey substance.
Here’s what the research has to say about marshmallow root for cough:
In order to be fully cough-resistant, you’ll have to drink plenty of fluids.
Studies show that staying hydrated is essential to the treatment of coughs.
Not only is hydration critical to overall health, but it may also soften mucosal secretions and help clear the airway.
According to a 2008 human study published in the journal Rhinology, hot water and other warm drinks may be most effective.
Researchers concluded that, “A hot, tasty drink is a beneficial treatment for relief of most symptoms of common cold and flu.”
Eating immune-boosting foods is just as important as staying hydrated.
Here are some of the best foods for supporting immunity, reducing inflammation, and thinning mucus:
As you seek to improve your intake of the right foods, you’ll also want to avoid pro-inflammatory foods like gluten, sugar, soda, fruit juice, dairy, hydrogenated oils, and processed foods.
If your nasal passages are congested, irritation from nasal drip can make your cough worse. If this is the case, you may want to try using a neti pot, which can flush out irritants and thin the mucus.
If you experience persistent coughing for longer than eight weeks, we recommend seeing a doctor for medical advice and treatment. At-home remedies are a great way to alleviate common cold or flu symptoms, but more serious complications may arise that require professional treatment.