Natural Remedies for Coughing: 12 Products That Actually Work

a child coughing who could benefit with a home remedy Publish to Pinterest photographic stock by pinstock/Getty Images

Coughs can be uncomfortable, but there are some natural remedies that might help.

Remember though, the FDA doesn't keep tabs on herbs and supplements, so there's a chance you're getting low-quality products or even impurities if you use them.

Those interested in treating their cough with natural products should investigate their sources and brands. Additionally, they need to be aware that some herbal supplements and medications can interact, leading to potentially dangerous side effects.

Before starting any supplement regimen, a person should check in with their doctor.

Furthermore, a person should visit a doctor if they are experiencing:

Numerous home remedies are given a try in an effort to alleviate a persistent cough.

Some of the following treatments may help some people, but it's important to keep in mind that the evidence for their effectiveness is weak.

This means that not everyone who tries the treatments will experience positive results.

1. Honey

Scientists have found that honey may help with coughs.

Honey was studied for its potential to alleviate coughs caused by upper respiratory infections in a meta-analysis published in 2021.

Both in terms of calming the cough and reducing the need for antibiotics, honey was found to perform better than standard care.

Researchers in 2021 compared honey to the commonly used cough suppressant dextromethorphan.

The study participants found that both honey and dextromethorphan were effective in reducing coughing. In one trial, honey performed slightly better than dextromethorphan, while in another, it performed similarly.

A spoonful of honey can be taken orally, or it can be mixed into a hot beverage like herbal tea.

2. Ginger

Since ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, it may help with a dry or asthmatic cough. It could possibly help with pain and nausea as well.

The effects of ginger on coughs have only been studied in a small number of dated studies. Traditional Asian medicine relies on a variety of natural substances, including ginger, as shown in a 2015 study that compared 10 such substances.

Ginger, along with other remedies such as honey, was found by the researchers to have played a significant role in traditional medicine for centuries.

However, they did note that their study could serve as a jumping-off point for future studies investigating natural remedies for coughs, so that the long history of use isn't the only implication.

For flavor and health, ginger is frequently used in cooking and as a tea additive. They should be aware that ginger tea can cause stomach upset and heartburn in some people.

thirdly, hot liquids

While there is a dearth of recent studies on the topic, one study from 2008 suggested that consuming liquids at room temperature could help reduce symptoms of a cold, such as a cough, a runny nose, and sneezing

To alleviate additional cold or flu symptoms, warming beverages may be helpful. Hot beverages, according to the same study, also reduce other symptoms, like a sore throat, chills, and fatigue.

A hot drink brought instant and sustained relief from the symptoms.

Some soothing hot drinks include:

  • broths that can clearly be seen through
  • medicinal teas
  • caffeine-free black tea
  • warm water
  • juices of warm fruits

4. Steam

Steam can be helpful for a wet cough, or one that causes mucus or phlegm to form.

This technique requires the user to take a hot shower or bath and let the steam fill the room. For best results, they should spend several minutes in the steam room here. Afterward, they can cool down and avoid dehydration by drinking a glass of water.

It's also possible to prepare a steam bowl. For this purpose, one must:

  1. Pour some hot water into a big bowl.
  2. Try some eucalyptus or rosemary essential oil or herbs. They might help with congestion if used properly.
  3. Then, drape a towel over your head and lean over the bowl. This prevents the steam from escaping, making it safe for inhalation.
  4. Allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes of steam inhalation.

One or two sessions of steaming per day may be beneficial.

There is some evidence that steam can alleviate cough and other symptoms, but this is not universally accepted. A 2017 study, for instance, found that steaming did not significantly alleviate common cold symptoms.

A. Marshmallow root

Traditional remedies for coughs and sore throats have included the use of marshmallow root.

The high mucilage content of the herb can soothe irritation caused by coughing. A sticky, thick substance known as mucilage lines the inside of the mouth and the back of the throat.

Coughs caused by the common cold and other respiratory infections were found to be effectively relieved by an herbal cough syrup containing marshmallow root, along with thyme and ivy, in one older, small study.

After 12 days of treatment, 90% of subjects considered the syrup to be either good or very good.

Marshmallow root extract was found to have a coating effect in a study conducted in 2020.

Researchers discovered that the root extract has antioxidative and anti-inflammatory properties, and it was just as effective as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug diclofenac in relieving pain and inflammation. For this study, in vitro procedures were used.

For those who prefer their teas in a more traditional form, dried marshmallow root and bagged teas are both readily accessible. Either should be reconstituted with hot water and consumed immediately or allowed to cool before consumption. The more mucilage is extracted from the marshmallow root, the thicker the resulting beverage.

One potential adverse effect is nausea, which could be mitigated by taking in more fluids.

You can get some marshmallow root at any health food store or even online.

6. a rinse in salt water

Gargling with saltwater has been used to treat a sore throat and other cold symptoms for centuries. It has the potential to break up mucus and ease discomfort.

In any case, it's not likely to aid in lowering viral load.

Different antiseptic mouthwashes were evaluated in a 2021 study for their ability to stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Several store-bought products were found to reduce viral load, while a laboratory-made saltwater solution did not.

A saltwater gargle can be prepared by:

  1. Combine a half teaspoon of salt with a cup of hot water and stir until the salt is dissolved.
  2. The solution should be allowed to cool slightly before being used to gargle.
  3. Just let the concoction rest at the base of your tongue for a few minutes before spitting it out.
  4. Repeat as needed multiple times daily until the cough subsides.

Gargling with saltwater is not recommended for children or people with high blood pressure.

7.1 Bromelain

Bromelain is a pineapple-derived proteolytic enzyme. The pulp of the fruit is where you will find the most of it.

This substance can reduce inflammation and may also be mucolytic, meaning it can dissolve mucus so it can be expelled from the body.

Daily consumption of pineapple juice by some can help lessen phlegm in the respiratory tract and quiet coughing. But the juice might not have enough bromelain to help with the pain.

Coughs can be alleviated with the help of bromelain supplements, which may be more effective than traditional treatments. Individuals should consult a medical professional prior to beginning any new supplement regimen.

An allergy to bromelain is possible, and the substance also has the potential to cause side effects and interact with medications. Bromelain shouldn't be taken by people on certain antibiotics or blood-thinning medications.

8. Thyme

Thyme is a versatile herb that can be used in the kitchen or as a medicine to treat a variety of health problems, including coughs, sore throats, bronchitis, and gastrointestinal problems.

Researchers concluded in a 2015 meta-analysis that there is substantial evidence that thyme preparations help people with cough symptoms.

However, they also emphasized the need for more research to prove its overall efficacy.

Recent research from 2021 found that people who took drops containing both thyme and ivy saw significant improvement in their bronchitis symptoms, cough, and quality of life.

And they found that using the drops was generally safe for people.

People who want to use thyme to treat their coughs can do so by seeking out a cough syrup made with the herb.

Modifications to your diet may help with acid reflux.

Having acid reflux is a common cause of coughing. One of the most effective ways to manage this condition and lessen the accompanying cough is to avoid foods that can trigger acid reflux.

Avoiding your personal list of reflux triggers is essential. For those who have no idea what sets off their reflux, changing their diet and keeping close tabs on their symptoms is a good place to start.

Many different kinds of food and drinks can cause acid reflux, but the most common ones are:

Slippery elm

Slippery elm bark was traditionally used by Native Americans to treat respiratory and gastrointestinal problems, such as coughing and indigestion.

Like marshmallow root, slippery elm has a high mucilage content that can ease a sore throat and cough.

Slippery elm tea is prepared by steeping 1 teaspoon of the dried herb in a cup of hot water for at least 10 minutes.

Warning: Slippery elm may reduce the effectiveness of some medications; consult your doctor before using it in a tea or supplement.

Powdered and capsuled forms of slippery elm can be purchased from health food stores and pharmacies.

Eleventh, N-acetylcysteine (NAC)

L-cysteine, from which NAC is derived, is an amino acid. Regular use may reduce mucus production in the respiratory tract, which in turn may reduce the frequency and intensity of a wet cough.

N-acetylcysteine (NAC) has been shown in a meta-analysis of 13 studies to significantly and consistently alleviate symptoms of chronic bronchitis.

Mucus buildup, a persistent cough, and other symptoms are all caused by chronic bronchitis, which is a long-term inflammation of the airways.

Researchers recommend a daily dose of 600 mg of NAC for those without airway obstruction and up to 1,200 mg in cases of airway obstruction.

Hives, swelling, fever, and trouble breathing are just some of the severe side effects of NAC. Anyone thinking about trying this should consult a medical professional first.

Added yeasts and bacteria, or probiotics

Although probiotics do not work immediately on the cough, they may improve immunity by restoring a healthy flora to the digestive tract.

Infections, which may be the source of the cough, can be fought off with the help of a robust immune system.

An older study from 2013 found that the probiotic containing the bacteria Lactobacillus was mildly effective in preventing the common cold.

Another meta-analysis from 2016 found that probiotics helped lower the frequency of respiratory tract infections in children, which may have a knock-on effect of reducing coughing.

Health food stores and pharmacies both stock probiotic supplements, including Lactobacillus.

Probiotics can also be found in abundance in certain foods that are not processed.

  • miso soup
  • raw yogurt
  • kimchi
  • sauerkraut

Though the variety and number of probiotic units in foods can vary greatly Probiotic-rich foods are great, but you may also want to consider taking a supplement.

Although it's not always possible, the following measures can lessen your likelihood of contracting a cold or other respiratory infection that could result in a cough:

  • It's best to keep your distance from anyone who might have a contagious illness, such as someone who has a cough, a cold, or the flu.
  • By regularly washing their hands with soap and warm water, people can reduce their risk of contracting infectious diseases. Children can learn proper hand hygiene from their parents and caregivers. When away from home, an individual can use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Disinfecting: When a family member is sick, it is important to regularly disinfect the kitchen and bathroom and to wash all bedding, towels, and soft toys in hot water.
  • Preventing dehydration is as simple as consuming enough fluids, such as water, herbal teas, and other beverages.
  • Reducing stress is important because it has a negative effect on the immune system and can lead to illness. The stress-relieving effects of regular exercise, meditation, deep breathing, and progressive muscle relaxation can all help.
  • As part of a healthy self-care routine, getting a good night's rest is essential.
  • Supplementing with zinc, vitamin C, and probiotics are all options for those looking to strengthen their immune systems before cold and flu season hits. A visit to the doctor is warranted before beginning any new supplement regimen.

Symptoms of allergies often resemble those of the common cold. By avoiding things like pollen, dust mites, animal dander, and mold, an allergy sufferer can lessen the severity of their symptoms. Additionally, a trip to the doctor for allergy shots or medication is highly recommended.

A person suffering from a cold or other respiratory infection may seek speedier treatment. Some of the aforementioned treatments, like honey or steam, may have an instantaneous effect, while others, like the ones listed above, take longer to take effect.

Coughing can be alleviated in a number of other ways, and these may be two of them for some people.

  • taking in hot liquids like soup and tea
  • Staying away from milk and other dairy products
  • Keeping sober
  • taking deep sips of steamy shower water or humidified air

Cough drops and medicines containing dextromethorphan, available without a prescription, may also help. This can help calm a hacking cough.

Indirectly or directly, several natural remedies may help relieve a person's cough.

Many of them have some basis in science, but that doesn't mean they'll work for everyone. Another consideration is that the safety of natural remedies cannot be guaranteed.

Before trying any new supplements or home remedies, people who are taking medications or who are living with certain health conditions should consult with a doctor.

This article is best read in Spanish.

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