Home remedies for coughs

Coughing all night and all day can be quite annoying. You’re probably already tired from whatever infection or condition is causing your cough and you’d really like to get rid of that throat or chest pain. Cough medicines can work quite well, but they run out quite quickly and can only be used a limited number of times per day. So we’ve put together some home remedies that you can add on to your treatment to reduce coughing as well as the pain associated with it.

Before continuing, please note that this article does not constitute medical advice and you should see a doctor for a diagnosis and management plan for your cough. Ask your doctor about these remedies before trying them to ensure they do not interfere with your other medications.

Honey, lemon, and tea

This age-old recipe is based on the properties of honey and lemon, which are both good at reducing numbers of viruses and bacteria. They also have anti-inflammatory properties as well. The warm tea helps to loosen mucus, and depending on the type, it may have similar properties to the lemon and honey. Herbal or bush teas tend to be a bit more effective than Ceylon.

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Fresh ginger and tea

Ginger is a very effective way to relieve a sore throat and coughing. Its strong anti-inflammatory properties can provide relief for a few hours. Just as with the honey and lemon recipe, the type of tea can provide some extra helpful properties.

Eucalyptus and steam

You’ve got to be quite careful when using steam. For this method, dissolve some eucalyptus oil in a pint of hot water. Then place your head over the bowl with a towel over it. Don’t lean too close to the bowl or else you may burn. This method is commonly used to relieve sinusitis, but is also effective in relieving coughs (especially of the post-nasal variety). Breathe through your mouth if you want to relieve a sore throat.


Peppermint contains menthol, which provides a soothing feeling for a sore and scratchy throat. As with most herbs, it also contains anti-inflammatory and antiseptic compounds. Chew on some peppermint leaves (rinse your mouth out afterward) or drink some peppermint tea to get these effects.

Pineapple juice

Pineapple contains a protein called bromelain which breaks down other proteins such as those in mucus. Drink one or two glasses of fresh pineapple juice to reduce the mucus and cough. It’s not recommended to drink more than this as this may irritate your throat further.


Vinegar has good antiseptic properties and can assist in helping the throat to heal. It is more potent when drunk on its own, but this can taste quite unpleasant. Two or three tablespoons of any sort of vinegar a day can help to relieve throat pain and coughing.

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Salt water gargle

This is another old recipe that never fails. Gargling lukewarm salt water (1 teaspoon in 1 oz of water) two to three times a day helps to eliminate the organism causing the cough faster than the immune system can do alone.

Drink lots of water

Drinking lots of water is always recommended when you are sick. This is because your body needs the fluids to fight off the infection. But it also helps to thin the mucus that is causing the cough or irritation.

Chicken soup

This remedy is referred to as an old wife’s tale, perhaps because it doesn’t have any major direct effects on cough or cold symptoms. It is still however, one of the best meals to have when you are sick because it is packed with nutrients and its warmth helps to thin out mucus in the throat.

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