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7 Best Home Remedies For Cough

Coughing is a common reaction to the respiratory system trying to expel harmful microbes, dust or irritants from the body. It’s a natural reflex that protects your lungs, but as you know, it can be extremely irritating, obnoxious and even painful. Coughing can also keep you up at night and impact your quality of life until it finally goes away.

It’s no wonder a cough is one of the most common reasons why people seek medical attention. And when there’s no effective cure in sight, people often turn to natural home remedies for cough that don’t make it necessary to turn to medications or over-the-counter cough syrups.


1. Immune-Boosting Foods

When you can’t seem to get rid of a cough, there are a few foods that can help to thin mucus, soothe your muscles, reduce inflammation and boost your immune system. Here’s a quick rundown of the foods that serve as home remedies for a cough:

Water: Start by drinking plenty of water throughout the day — about 8 to 16 ounces every 2 hours. This will help to thin the mucus that’s building up in your airways and causing you to cough.

• Bone broth: Sipping on real bone broth can help to support your immunity, thin mucus in your airways, soothe your muscles and promote detoxification. When your cough is caused by exposure to toxins, chemicals, pesticides or artificial ingredients that are causing an inflammatory reaction, consuming bone broth can be helpful in removing those substances from your body.

• Raw garlic: Allicin, a compound found in garlic, is known for its ability to kill the microorganisms that are responsible respiratory infections that can lead to coughing. Raw garlic has antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties, so adding it to your diet as a natural cough remedy can be beneficial in helping you to kick the infection.

• Ginger tea: Drinking ginger tea when you have a cough can help to boost your immune system and fight the infection that’s causing the symptom. Ginger root benefits come from its powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, which makes it a go-to when dealing with respiratory tract infections.

• Probiotic foods: One possible side effect of not having enough probiotics is frequent colds and coughs, which is because probiotics are responsible for supporting your immune system. To fight your cough, try eating probiotic foods like cultured vegetables, like sauerkraut and kimchi, coconut kefir, apple cider vinegar, miso and kombucha.

In an effort to reduce inflammation and mucus production, avoid consuming sweetened beverages, fruit juices, sugary foods, chocolate, processed foods and conventional dairy products when you have a cough. Instead of drinking juice or sweetened drinks, choose whole fruits and vegetables instead, which are much higher in vitamin C and will help to boost your immune function.


2. Vitamin C

Vitamin C can be used as a home remedy for cough because it supports your immune system and boosts your white blood cells. Research conducted in Norway indicates that vitamin C, which serves as an important antioxidant, may help to reduce cough and wheezing in smokers who have high levels of oxidative stress.

A recent study found that vitamin C may help to alleviate or prevent infections that are caused by bacteria and viruses. It can shorten the duration of colds and may even be used as a natural remedy for pneumonia.

3. Zinc Lozenges

Zinc is commonly used as an over-the-counter remedy for fighting symptoms of the common cold, including coughing. According to research published in the Journal of American Pharmacists Association, zinc can reduce the duration and severity of cold symptoms when administered within 24 hours of their onset. It was also suggested in this scientific overview of zinc efficacy that it may exert an antiviral effect and interfere with the molecular process that causes the buildup of mucus and bacteria in your nasal passages.

4. Honey

Research shows that honey has antimicrobial effects and it may be beneficial for treating a cough and cold. Honey works to relieve irritation, reduce inflammation and increase cytokine release. It also provides immune-boosting antioxidants.

You can use raw honey or manuka honey to relieve conditions that cause a cough, like viral and bacterial infections, and allergies. Honey also helps to improve sleep, so it can be useful when you’re having trouble getting the rest you need because of your cough. Take 1–2 tablespoons of raw or manuka honey a day until your symptoms go away. You can also add honey to lemon or chamomile tea, but wait until the water is warm enough to drink before you add the honey.


5. Essential Oils

Essential oils work as great home remedies for cough because many of them contain antibacterial and antiviral compounds. Plus, some oils can help to loosen your mucus, relax the muscles of your respiratory system and allow more oxygen to reach your lungs. Some of the best essential oils for cough are eucalyptus, peppermint and lemon.

Eucalyptus oil contains cineole, which has antiseptic properties. It also works as an expectorant, which helps to loosen your mucus so that it can be expelled more easily. If you are coughing so much that you can’t catch your breath, applying eucalyptus oil can help to dilate your blood vessels and allow more oxygen to get into your lungs — making it easier to breathe.

Peppermint oil has a cooling effect, which can help to unclog your nasal passages. It can also be used to relieve a scratchy throat that’s common when you have a dry cough. You can diffuse 5 drops at home or apply 2–3 drops topically to your chest, temples and back of neck. It’s safe to use peppermint oil alone or you can combine it with equal parts carrier oil to cover a bigger surface area of your skin.

Lemon essential oil is great for promoting detoxification, helping to cleanse your body of the toxins that are making you cough. It also has anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties, so it can be used to cleanse your home and fight infections. You can diffuse lemon oil, combine it with coconut oil and apply it topically to your neck, or use it to make your own homemade cough syrup, which is made with a combination of essential oils (like frankincense and peppermint) and honey.


6. Massage and Percussion

A systematic review and meta-analysis published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine indicates that massage therapy has a significant positive effect on children who suffer from a cough due to asthma. Massage also appears to greatly improve pulmonary function, helping to open up the your airways, and get air to and from your lungs.

Massage therapy benefits your health because it involves the manual manipulation of your soft body tissue and muscular tissue. This helps to improve the function of your lymphatic system and boosts your immunity.

7. Steam Inhalation

Inhaling humidified air, whether it’s cold or warm, has been shown to work as a h0me remedy for cough because it helps to enhance the drainage of congested airways. This can be particularly helpful for children who are coughing throughout the night and need relief in order to sleep.