A cough can be caused by a host of ailments ranging from allergic reactions to serious infections. Millions of Americans suffer from a persistent cough and many feel its effects when they catch the common cold. If you have a cough that’s making you uncomfortable, you’ve come to the right place for a solution.
From boiling water for tea to taking cough drops, there are many natural solutions for a productive cough. Read on to discover our favorite home remedies for soothing a cough.
The Best 7 Home Remedies For Cough
1. Boost Your Immune System
One of the best ways to stay healthy and fight off infections is to boost immunity. When your immune system is working properly, it can fight off infections and the common cold that cause symptoms such as cough. A healthy immune system means reduced severity and shortened duration of illnesses.
One of the best things you can do to increase immunity is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and replenish essential vitamins and minerals with fortified beverages. If you have a cough, drinking warm water can help to reduce pain and soothe the cough reflex.
Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise can also boost immunity. Choose foods that are rich sources of protein, vitamins, and minerals. Berries are great sources of antioxidants while leafy greens and fruits contain vitamin C that can boost immunity. Raw honey, black pepper, and lemon juice are also great additions to meals when you want to boost immune health.
2. Drink Tea
Drinking tea is a great way to increase immune health since many herbal teas such as ginger tea contain antioxidants and compounds that aid human health. Tea can also help to alleviate cough symptoms by soothing throat muscles and easing congestion.
Eucalyptus tea can help to alleviate chest congestion and make breathing easier (1). Peppermint tea is another great choice for respiratory tract infections that cause chronic cough. Peppermint contains menthol, an ingredient that research shows may improve cough and eliminate harmful bacteria (2). Marshmallow root tea may also help to reduce coughing fits according to two small studies (3).
Add a dash of raw honey to your tea to boost the cough suppressant effects. Research published in 2007 showed that buckwheat honey decreased cough symptoms more effectively than dextromethorphan — a common cough medication (4).
3. Pain Medications
A hacking cough can cause severe sore throat pain. Coughing may also cause abdominal pain since coughing causes muscles to contract repeatedly in an attempt to ease chest congestion. You can take over-the-counter (OTC) pain medications such as ibuprofen to help ease pain symptoms associated with a cough.
4. Cough Medications
Cough syrups are often the first thing people reach for when treating a cough. There are a few different types of cough medicines: antitussives and expectorants. Antitussives work to inhibit the reflex that causes cough while expectorants loosen secretions that are causing congestion.
The distinction between the two types of cough medicines is important when treating a cough. If you have a dry cough, it’s best to take an antitussive since these medications help to stop the cough. If your cough is the result of your body trying to expel mucus and built-up congestion, it’s better to take an expectorant.
Additionally, there are antihistamines and decongestants that can help soothe a wet cough caused by hay fever or the common cold. Antihistamines prevent the production of histamine — a compound that causes an increase in congestion. Decongestants work to alleviate congestion by decreasing inflammation in blood vessels and improving circulation.
5. Cough Drops
Cough drops are available in medicated options and holistic alternatives. Both options are a great way to soothe a cough and ease symptoms associated with the common cold. Cough drops often contain antibacterial and antiviral ingredients such as eucalyptus and peppermint that work to open up airways by decreasing inflammation.
Cough drops also work to stimulate the production of saliva and moisture, which helps to quiet a dry cough. Cough drops also contain ingredients with anti-inflammatory properties that work to decrease inflammation in a way similar to decongestants. Cough drops have few side effects, making them a great choice for health-conscious individuals.
6. Increase Moisture
Taking a hot bath or a hot shower can help to ease a productive cough by increasing moisture and decreasing inflammation. You can add a few drops of essential oils to the water to maximize the cough suppressant effects.
You can also choose to do a facial steam bath to help ease nasal congestion that accompanies a cough. Simply bring a pot of water to a boil and remove from heat. Cover your face and neck with a towel, lean over the hot water, and breathe in the steam deeply.
A humidifier can help ease nighttime coughing by keeping the air moist. Make sure to clean out your humidifier regularly to prevent the buildup of bacteria and fungi.
7. Salt Water Gargle
Gargling with salt water is a common trick used to treat the pain of a sore throat. Saline also helps to eliminate mucus and chest congestion that can cause a cough in the first place. You can find premixed saline solutions or saline packets at your local American drug store or mix your own at home. Simply add a teaspoon of salt to a small glass of warm water and stir until dissolved.
Clear Cough Fast
These natural remedies can help to alleviate a cough so you can get back to the things that matter most. Natural cough remedies don’t cure viral infections of bacterial infections that caused a cough in the first place. Instead, these cough remedies are useful in treating the symptoms of dry and wet cough while making recovery more comfortable.
The FDA does not approve the use of herbs and spices in the treatment of any infections. Always seek medical advice from a qualified healthcare professional before treating symptoms at home. Chronic cough, persistent cough, and recurrent respiratory infections may be a sign of serious disease and should be evaluated by your doctor. For minor cough and discomfort, use these natural cough and cold remedies to feel better fast.