If you’re suffering from a cough, it can be frustrating and painful. You’re willing to do just about anything to find relief. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural cough suppressants that you can try right now in your own home. Best of all, none of these remedies have the side effects you'd usually find in over the counter cough medicines. So, if you’re looking for how to get rid of a cough, you may want to try some of these.
Natural Cough Suppressants
If you’re wondering how to stop coughing, these homemade cough remedies may be helpful to you.
Spoonful of Honey
Honey is both antibacterial and antiviral, so it can be a helpful way to treat your cough. Since honey is so thick and sticky, it also works as a natural cough suppressant.
Take a teaspoon full of honey as needed to relieve your cough symptoms.
Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root has been used for thousands of years to treat various ailments and it’s one of the best natural remedies for a pesky cough. Today, it’s still used to treat things like oral pain, colds, and coughs. Here’s how to make a tasty cup of licorice root tea:
- 1 tsp dried licorice root
- 5oz boiling water
Once your water has reached a boil, remove it from the heat and add the licorice root. Let steep for 5 minutes and then strain the tea into a cup. Discard the licorice root. Sweeten with raw honey if desired.
Gargle Salt Water
Gargling salt water is an age-old remedy that can help ease your cough symptoms. It’s easy and effective.
- 1 tsp salt
- 8oz warm water
Combine the salt and water and stir until the salt dissolves. Take a mouthful of this mixture and gargle, then spit it out. Repeat this process until you’ve finished the glass.
Honey & Cinnamon
This tasty and helpful remedy is useful for everybody, and it’s especially great if you have small children. Taken at the first sign of a cold, many people swear this remedy completely neutralizes their symptoms within a few hours.
- 4 tbsp. raw honey
- 1 tbsp. powdered cinnamon
Mix the two ingredients together and refrigerate. Take a teaspoon full at the first sign of a cough.
A hot, steamy shower can work wonders if you’re suffering from a cough. Steam helps to flush out mucus, and it can also moisturize dry nasal passages. Keep in mind that if your cough is related to asthma, you’ll want to avoid steam as it can exacerbate your symptoms.
Have a Cup of Thyme Tea
Thyme helps to relax the muscles that are associated with coughing, and it’s a natural anti-inflammatory which makes it a helpful addition to your routine if you’re looking to stop a cough.
- 2 tsp crushed thyme leaves
- 8oz boiling water
Bring the water to a boil and remove from the heat. Add the crushed thyme leaves and steep for 5-10 minutes. Strain the leaves out of your tea and pour into a cup. Add a bit of honey or sugar and enjoy.
Pepper & Honey
We already know that honey is one of the best natural cough suppressants. What you may not know is that pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow. Together, they make an effective treatment for a wet cough.
- 2 tbsp. honey
- 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
- 8oz boiling water
Bring your water to a boil and remove from heat. Add the honey and black pepper and stir until the honey dissolves. Let the mixture steep for 5-10 minutes and then drink it.
Ginger is a powerful natural cough remedy that’s sure to help ease your cold symptoms. It’s a natural anti-inflammatory, and it also kills rhinoviruses, which are responsible for causing colds.
- 1 1” long piece of fresh ginger
- 8 oz. boiling water
- 1 tsp honey
As you’re bringing the water to a boil, clean and prepare your ginger. You can slice it into tiny pieces, or grate it. Once your water has reached a boil, remove it from the heat and add the ginger. Let it steep for 5-10 minutes and strain. Add honey to taste and enjoy.
Peppermint is practically anti-everything. It’s antispasmodic, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral and antiviral. Peppermint essential oil is useful for managing a cough, and it also makes a delicious tea. To make peppermint tea, follow this recipe
- 1 tsp dried peppermint leaves
- 8 oz. boiling water
Bring your water to a boil, then remove it from heat and add your peppermint leaves. Allow the tea to steep for 5-10 minutes and then strain the leaves. Sweeten with honey if you like, and enjoy.
File this one under preventative maintenance. While probiotics won’t necessarily help with your cold and cough now, they can be very helpful in preventing symptoms from sprouting up in the future. The probiotic strain Lactobacillus acidophilus is most useful in preventing coughs and colds.
You can find bromelain in the stems and juice of pineapple. While some studies disagree, many people believe that the enzymes found in bromelain make it one of the best cough suppressants. Bromelain is widely available in pill form at your local vitamin shop if you’d like to give it a shot for your cough.
These fluffy and delicious campfire treats can also help to ease the pain of a sore throat and treat a cough, as well! For centuries, marshmallow root tea has been used as a home remedy for cough. Here’s how you can make your own.
- 2 tsp powdered marshmallow root
- 8 oz. boiling water
Bring your water to a boil and remove from heat. Next, add the powdered marshmallow root and stir until it’s dissolved. Add honey to taste and enjoy.
Honey with Coffee
It may seem strange, but a recent study revealed that honey and coffee together are a powerful way to fight a persistent cough. Here’s how you can make your own honey coffee cough medicine.
- 125g honey (about 8 tablespoons)
- 2 tbsp. instant coffee
- 8 oz. hot water
Combine the honey and instant coffee and mix until you’ve achieved a thick paste. Dissolve 1 tablespoon of this mixture in 8oz of hot water and drink 3 times per day.
Vodka or Brandy
If you’re over the age of 21, your old friend alcohol can help treat your cough! You’ve probably noticed that most cough medicines contain alcohol. Alcohol is anti-bacterial and serves as a counter-irritant in your throat.
Next time you’re suffering from a cough, have a shot of vodka or brandy and see if that doesn’t help to bring you relief.
Homemade Vapor Rub
Vapor rub is a great way to clear sinuses and alleviate some of the symptoms associated with a cough or cold. You can make an all-natural vapor rub at home with this simple recipe.
- ½ cup coconut oil
- 2 tbsp. beeswax
- 20 drops eucalyptus essential oil
- 20 drops peppermint essential oil
Heat the beeswax and coconut oil in a double burner until combined. If you don’t have a double burner, you can mimic this process with a bit of ingenuity. Pour boiling water into a Pyrex baking pan and place a bowl with the beeswax and coconut oil into the pan. The heat from the boiling water outside the bowl will melt the two ingredients, allowing you to combine them. Once these two ingredients are combined, add the essential oils and transfer to a jar or container. Let the mixture cool and then use as needed to treat cough, cold and congestion symptoms.
Wild Cherry Bark Extract
Wild cherry bark extract has long been prized for its ability to reduce or eliminate a chronic cough. You can steep the wild cherry bark in hot water to create a tea. But, wild cherry bark extract is perhaps even more effective.
You can find wild cherry bark extract at most health food and vitamin stores. It’s typically available in 1-4 oz. bottles. Taken throughout the day, wild cherry bark extract is a proven remedy for reducing or eliminating a cough.
Lots of Water
If you’re suffering from a cough, drinking more water can be a helpful way to alleviate your symptoms. Drinking water helps ease congestion and postnasal drip, which can exasperate a cough. It also moistens dry throats and can improve the productivity of your cough as well.
Elderberries are an amazing fruit that helps to boost your immune system. Taken at the first sign of a cold or cough, elderberry can help boost your immune response and stop sickness dead in its tracks. This homemade syrup is a helpful way to reduce your cough symptoms now while providing your immune system with the boost it needs to fight off the cold and flu.
- 3 oz dried elderberries
- 24 oz. filtered water
- 2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
- 1 cup raw honey
- 1 tsp cinnamon
Combine the water, ginger, elderberries and cinnamon in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Next, reduce the heat and allow it to simmer for up to an hour until the liquid in the pan is reduced by about half. Strain the mixture into a large container and allow it to cool. Once it’s cool, add the honey and mix until it’s thoroughly combined. Store your syrup in the refrigerator and take 1 tbsp. daily for an immunity boost. If you’re already experiencing cold, cough or flu symptoms, up the dosage to 3 times per day.
Slippery elm is another great way to coat your throat to treat a cough. It’s available as a powder, in lozenges and teas and as the slippery elm bark itself. Here’s an easy recipe for slippery elm tea.
- 1 tbsp. slippery elm bark
- 8 oz. boiling water
Steep the elm bark in the boiling water for 5-10 minutes. Next, remove the bark and add honey or sugar to your liking and enjoy.
Believe it or not, relieving a cough can be as simple as getting some fresh air. Cold air helps to ease the inflammation and swelling of the throat which can reduce the symptoms of a cough.
Milk and Butter
If your cough is dry, milk and butter can be a helpful way to reduce or eliminate your symptoms. The fat and oil from the butter and milk help to coat the throat and ease cough symptoms.
- 8 oz. whole milk
- 2 tbsp. sweet or unsalted butter
Warm the milk and butter on the stove until the butter has melted completely into the milk. Pour the mixture into a glass and drink. Be careful not to heat this mixture to a boil as it will spoil the milk. Also, you’ll want to avoid using 2% or fat-free milk as it isn’t thick enough to coat the throat.
Hot Mustard or Wasabi
Some like it hot, and if you’re one of those people, this remedy may be a good one for you. Chinese hot mustard or wasabi can clear the sinuses in a hurry, and it also helps to ease congestion and calm coughs. Feel free to apply them liberally to food, or just eat a small spoonful straight, if you’re particularly daring.
Cause of Coughing in Adults
For adults, several different factors both internal and external can cause a cough. A dry cough is typically associated with most of the causes below. A wet cough is typically associated with cold or flu viruses. Some of the most likely culprits include:
- Upper respiratory infections
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Pneumonia or Bronchitis
- Acid reflux
- Post nasal drip
How to Prevent Coughing
It can be nearly impossible to prevent a cough, especially if you’re already suffering from one. However, there are some steps you can take to try and prevent a cough.
- Support your immune system by taking good care of yourself
- Make sure you have plenty of Vitamin C in your diet
- Wash your hands frequently, especially during the winter
- Avoid contact with people who are sick if possible
- Avoid overly dry air, especially during the winter
- Drink plenty of liquids
- Avoid irritants like fragrances, candles, dust, and second-hand smoke
- Elevate your head with an extra pillow at night
- Make sure your bedding is clean
When to Call the Doctor
Sometimes, your cough may be too severe to handle on your own. Consult with a doctor if:
- You are coughing up greenish-yellow phlegm.
- You’re running a fever.
- You’re suffering from shortness of breath.
- You are experiencing chest pain.
- Your cough is part of a larger set of symptoms.