Believe it or not, coughing is actually a good thing. It’s your body’s way of clearing your airways in response to an irritant. But coughing can also keep you up at night and make you unhappy with sometimes it feels like it will never go away.
If you’re having trouble getting rid of a cough, here’s the good news: Most go away on their own without treatment. Meanwhile, there are several natural cough remedies who have proven themselves.
Here are some tips for stopping coughing fits, many of which are probably already in your kitchen or medicine cabinet.
- 1 1 Take honey, it is a natural cough suppressant
- 2 2 Suck on lozenges or hard candy to stimulate saliva
- 3 3 Drink fluids to stay hydrated and boost your immune system
- 4 4 Gargling can make your cough go away faster
- 5 5 Use a humidifier
- 6 6 Cut an onion to ease your cough (so they say)
- 7 7 Use Over-The-Counter Cough Medicines If Nothing Else Works
1 Take honey, it is a natural cough suppressant
If you enjoy the taste of honey, you’re in luck. Warm liquids containing honey can soothe and treat coughs for short periods. Use plain hot water or your favorite hot tea. Add honey and lemon (lemon is just for taste).
Spoon honey is another inexpensive cough remedy with proven benefits. In a study published in the journal Pediatric Clinics of North America, children 2 years and older with upper respiratory tract infections that lead to coughing were given up to 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime. Not only did honey reduce nighttime coughing, but it also improved sleep. Another study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that honey had modest benefits in reducing nighttime cough in children aged 2 to 18 years. But never give honey to children under one year old.
2 Suck on lozenges or hard candy to stimulate saliva
Lozenges and hard candies help stimulate saliva or increase secretions in the mouth. It works particularly well as cough remedy dried. There isn’t much scientific evidence to back up herbal lozenges like those that contain zinc, vitamin C, and echinacea. But they can have occasional benefits.
3 Drink fluids to stay hydrated and boost your immune system
Drinking liquids of all kinds, especially hot ones, such as hot water, soup, and tea, is another good cough remedy. Many people who cough tend to become dehydrated. Along with hydration, fluids also help the immune system fight the source of the infection or virus that may be causing the cough. Also, drinking hot water helps relieve sore throat which is common with a cough.
4 Gargling can make your cough go away faster
Do you have table salt at home? Go ahead, add some to warm water and gargle with it. In a small study published in theAmerican Journal of Preventive Medicine, the simple act of gargling with water tended to weaken the symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections and even prevent infections from occurring in the first place. In a pilot study published in January 2019 in Scientific Reports, gargling with warm salt water (along with nasal irrigation) was also shown to have some benefits in improving cold symptoms and reducing the duration symptoms like cough.
5 Use a humidifier
If you’ve ever noticed that your cough or stuffiness gets better when you take a hot bath or shower, then you know the value of humidity in easing cold symptoms. You can create this simple cough remedy at home by taking a hot shower or using a cool mist humidifier. Humidifiers add moisture to the air, and cool mist humidifiers can help relieve coughs and congestion from colds. Remember to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for keeping your humidifier clean and preventing the growth of bacteria and mold.
6 Cut an onion to ease your cough (so they say)
Many people start crying as soon as they start chopping an onion. But while there are no studies to back this up, some people swear that the strong “steam” an onion gives off when cut helps relieve a cough. Before going to bed, cut an onion into wedges and leave it on a plate on your bedside table or at the foot of the bed. Although the use of onions may seem like an old wives’ tale, it is quite a popular practice in Spain.
7 Use Over-The-Counter Cough Medicines If Nothing Else Works
If you’ve tried other cough remedies and are planning to stock cough and cold products in your medicine cabinet, read the labels first. Studies have shown that products containing dextromethorphan may be slightly better than placebo in helping to reduce cough. Products that contain pseudoephedrine can help stop postnasal drip from a virus or allergies and can also reduce coughing. But these drugs have their limitations: Dextromethorphan is not safe for children under 5 years old. Pseudoephedrine tends to increase blood pressure and heart rate.