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11 Natural Remedies To Treat Cough

For many of us, a change in the season means the bouts of cough and cold are not too far. Hoarse voices, runny noses and even sore throats are something that are quite frequent and common. However, it may be quite inconvenient for us to visit the doctor every time we are suffering from cough or cold.

Though coughing is quite difficult to deal with at times, it is a necessary function that our body performs in order to get rid of the mucus from the lungs and the throat [1] .

Our body produces excess mucus in response to a threat. If germs enter our body through the mouth and the nose, our body starts producing more mucus in order to expel the germs [2] . The excess mucus sometimes gets deposited in the throat, causing the cough to get rid of it and clear the airways for breathing.

Coughing is a common problem and many over-the-counter products are available to deal with it. However, most of the medicines for cough make us quite drowsy and weak. Moreover, they only work towards subsiding the cough and do not solve the root cause of the problem. This is why a lot of us resort to home remedies to treat the issue. Along with no side effects, natural remedies work to resolve the root cause of the cough and help us get rid of it for good.

Natural Remedies To Treat Cough

1. Grapes

Grapes are said to be one of the most effective home remedies. Though your elders may advise you to stay away from fruits to cure cough, you can certainly gorge on some grapes. Its seeds are rich in antioxidants and proanthocyanidins which help clean up the lungs and expel mucus. A glass of grape juice with honey is an excellent cure to subside cough [3] .

2. Ginger

A home remedy used extensively for treating cough, ginger is anti-inflammatory and antibacterial and it can instantly cure a cough. The warm properties of ginger help relieve irritated throat, another major reason for cough [4] . 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger can be mixed with honey and consumed 3 times a day.

3. Betel leaves

A surprising natural ingredient to make it to the list, betel leaves are an excellent remedy for cough [5] . If your grandmother ever compels you to chew on some 'paan' leaves for cold, it may be wise to listen to her because betel leaves bring warmth to the chest and help soothe the throat, relieving you of any cough. If you are not a great fan of the taste, you can also grind the leaves to a paste and apply it on your chest.

4. Ajwain

Carom seeds are small but flavour-packed with many medicinal benefits. The warm properties of these seeds make them a perfect home remedy to cure cough [6] . Chewing on a few carom seeds or even boiling a teaspoon of carom seeds in water and drinking the tea will not only help you get rid of cough almost immediately but will also eliminate phlegm from the airways.

5. Tulsi

With its amazing antiseptic and analgesic properties, tulsi has the ability to cure a range of health problems including cough [7] . A tea made with tulsi leaves and 2-3 cloves will give you instant relief from cough and cold. It will also help eliminate phlegm and increase your immunity towards future infections.

6. Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice that is widely used in Indian cooking to impart a sweet barky flavour to the food. However, it also finds its way towards Ayurveda as a safe and effective remedy to cure cough [8] . It is rich in antioxidants and has immune-boosting properties that will help you fight even chronic cough. A pinch of cinnamon powder mixed with a tablespoon of honey in warm water if consumed first thing in the morning is known to keep the symptoms of cough and cold away.

7. Turmeric and black pepper tea

Some concoctions work better for cold than single ingredients. Both turmeric [9] and black pepper [10] have powerful antibacterial properties that fight against cough to give you fast relief. Turmeric is a natural ingredient that expels mucus and black pepper encourages circulation of the mucus, thereby giving you instant relief. Drinking a cup of warm tea with a pinch of turmeric and black pepper is a perfect cure for cough.

8. Ginger and honey tea

Ginger and honey [11] both help expel mucus and soothe an irritated throat. A tea made with 3-4 ginger pieces should be mixed with a teaspoon of honey and a few drops of lemon. This tea is refreshing and will make your recovery from cough, much easier.

9. Almonds

Almonds have long been used to cure cough, especially dry cough. It has a whole lot of phytochemicals and antioxidants that are easy to digest and gives you instant relief from a sore throat [12] . Soak almonds overnight. Peel them in the morning and grind them to paste. This paste can be consumed 2-3 times a day to get rid of cough.

10. Onions

Onions are known for their pungent flavour, but they are also power-packed with many vitamins minerals and antioxidants, and form an excellent natural remedy for cough [13] . Cut some onion and soak it overnight in drinking water. Consume 2 tablespoons of the water 3-4 times a day in order to get rid of cough.

11. Peppermint oil steam

Peppermint oil is known to relax the muscles of the throat, thereby helping you effectively get rid of your cough. It also helps reduce congestion in the lungs by eliminating phlegm [14] . Just add a few drops of peppermint essential oil in your steam and inhale the vapours. This can be done at night for effective results until the symptoms of the cough subside.

How To Make Natural Cough Drops At Home

If you are the one who gets frequently affected by cough and cold due to change in season or allergies, here is a simple recipe to prepare cough drops at home that will help you save a trip to the doctor every time. The ingredients are easily available at home.


  • 100 g raw and organic honey [11]
  • 100 ml coconut oil [15]
  • A pinch of cinnamon [8]


  • Take the coconut oil in a bowl and whip it until it becomes frothy.
  • Then, gradually add the honey and the cinnamon to make a fine paste of everything.
  • Pour the mixture into a small ice cube tray and freeze it for at least half an hour.
  • Store the drops in an airtight container. They can be stored for up to two months if refrigerated.

Tips To Prevent Cough

Though you cannot prevent yourself from being inflicted with cough, here are a few things you can do to avoid contracting it.

Include a lot of vitamin C in your diet: We cannot safeguard ourselves from germs at all times. But we certainly can decrease our chances of catching an infection. Vitamin C is important to build up our body's natural immunity which in turn will prevent you from falling sick more often [16] .

Reduce stress: A stressful lifestyle not only decreases your immunity and but also may make you fall prey to wrong habits that may lead you to compromise on your health [17] . So make sure, you indulge in a routine that will help you relax and stay stress-free.

Disinfect more often: Habits, like washing your hands and disinfecting regularly used surfaces like your office desk, can help you avoid catching the bad bugs. Carrying a sanitizer may be a wise thing to do if the flu is in the air.

When To See A Doctor

Though a common cough is nothing to worry about most of the times, it may be an underlying symptom of a certain health condition. If you are suffering from frequent bouts of cough that refuse to go away, you may want to get a thorough examination of its exact cause. Moreover, if you notice any of the symptoms below, it is advisable to get help from a doctor.

Chronic cough that doesn't subside for a week followed by green smelly phlegm.

  • Dehydration
  • If the cough is accompanied by a fever above 101 degrees for more than 3 days.
  • Extreme dizziness or weakness
  • Coughing up blood
  • Difficulty in breathing

The above symptoms need to be addressed by a doctor immediately. It is important to seek medical help at the right time in order to rule out the possibility of a serious illness.

View Article References
  1. [1] Farzan, S. (1990). Cough and sputum production. InClinical Methods: The History, Physical, and Laboratory Examinations. 3rd edition. Butterworths.
  2. [2] Shen, Y., Huang, S., Kang, J., Lin, J., Lai, K., Sun, Y., ... & Huang, K. (2018). Management of airway mucus hypersecretion in chronic airway inflammatory disease: Chinese expert consensus (English edition).International journal of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease,13, 399.
  3. [3] Leconte, S., Valentin, S., Dromelet, E., & De Jonghe, M. (2017). Prolonged Cough in Pediatric Population First Line Care, Belgian Guidelines.The open respiratory medicine journal,11, 54.
  4. [4] Bode, A. M., & Dong, Z. (2011). The amazing and mighty ginger.Herbal medicine: Biomolecular and clinical aspects,2.
  5. [5] Ghazali, N. A., Elmy, A., Yuen, L. C., Sani, N. Z., Das, S., Suhaimi, F., ... & Thent, Z. C. (2016). Piper betel leaves induces wound healing activity via proliferation of fibroblasts and reducing 11β hydroxysteriod dehydrogenase-1 expression in diabetic rat.Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine,7(4), 198-208.
  6. [6] Boskabady, M. H., Alitaneh, S., & Alavinezhad, A. (2014). Carum copticum L.: a herbal medicine with various pharmacological effects.BioMed research international,2014.
  7. [7] Cohen, M. M. (2014). Tulsi-Ocimum sanctum: A herb for all reasons.Journal of Ayurveda and integrative medicine,5(4), 251.
  8. [8] Rao, P. V., & Gan, S. H. (2014). Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant.Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2014.
  9. [9] Prasad, S., & Aggarwal, B. B. (2011). Turmeric, the golden spice. InHerbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition. CRC Press/Taylor & Francis.
  10. [10] Morice, A. H., McGarvey, L., & Pavord, I. (2006). Recommendations for the management of cough in adults.Thorax,61(suppl 1), i1-i24.
  11. [11] Goldman, R. D. (2014). Honey for treatment of cough in children.Canadian Family Physician,60(12), 1107-1110.
  12. [12] Biswas Roy, S., Ross, M. D., Madan, N., Abdelrazek, H., Edwards, R., Collum, E. S., ... & Panchabhai, T. S. (2018). Aspirated Almond Masquerading as an Obstructing Endobronchial Mass Suspicious for Lung Cancer.Case reports in pulmonology,2018.
  13. [13] Raal, A., Volmer, D., Soukand, R., Hratkevitš, S., & Kalle, R. (2013). Complementary treatment of the common cold and flu with medicinal plants–results from two samples of pharmacy customers in Estonia.PLoS One,8(3), e58642.
  14. [14] Eccles, R. (2005). Understanding the symptoms of the common cold and influenza.The Lancet infectious diseases,5(11), 718-725.
  15. [15] Arora, R., Chawla, R., Marwah, R., Arora, P., Sharma, R. K., Kaushik, V., ... & Bhardwaj, J. R. (2011). Potential of complementary and alternative medicine in preventive management of novel H1N1 flu (Swine flu) pandemic: thwarting potential disasters in the Bud.Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine,2011.
  16. [16] Omenaas, E., Fluge, Ø., Buist, A. S., Vollmer, W. M., & Gulsvik, A. (2003). Dietary vitamin C intake is inversely related to cough and wheeze in young smokers.Respiratory medicine,97(2), 134-142.
  17. [17] Vertigan, A. E. (2017). Somatic cough syndrome or psychogenic cough—what is the difference?.Journal of thoracic disease,9(3), 831.
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Story first published: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 16:45 [IST]