There is little in the world more annoying than a bad cough.
It can rear its ugly head at night, keeping you awake, whether it’s you that has the cough, your partner coughing next to you, or one of your children coughing the night away.
There’s the big, hacking, mucous-filled cough that feels like you are coughing up a lung and the dry, annoying tickly cough, which catches you by surprise and, more often than not, results in a strategic leg cross every time so as to avoid a little wee escaping out as well.
So we thought we’d find some home remedies for the common cough, just to give everyone a good night’s rest (and dry knickers!)!
Here are 10 easy home remedies for coughs to help with a dry cough and to soothe the tickle in the throat. Some are expectorants for chesty coughs to bring up the mucous and irritants causing the cough.
The next time you have a dry tickle or a mucousy rattle, try one of these home remedies. You may just have your perfect cough remedy sitting in your kitchen cupboard!
Made into a drink, licorice serves as both an expectorant (to break up mucous) and a demulcent (to soothe) for irritated and inflamed throats. Choose the real licorice that has ‘licorice mass’ on its label. You need to cover the licorice in boiling water in a mug and let it steep for 24 hours. Add a little honey to sweeten, then sip the drink throughout the day.
Seeing as you’re not out to be kissing anyone whilst your full of a bad cough, try some garlic! It’s full of antibiotic and antiviral properties. Plus, garlic is also an expectorant, so it helps you cough up the mucous hanging out in your lungs. Experts say to eat the garlic raw for its full benefits, but most people cannot do this. You can add liberal amounts to your cooking, a little to some plain yoghurt, some slices to a salad, or make up a simple garlic broth to sip.
Tried and true, honey is the ultimate home remedy for coughs. It soothes the throat and acts as an expectorant and is easy to prepare and to take. Just place a tablespoon of honey into a cup of hot water, wait to cool slightly, and sip.
Steep some thyme by crushing 2 teaspoons then put all of it in a cup of boiling water. The thyme acts as a relaxant for the throat muscles and reduces inflammation.
5. Black Pepper
Not one for the kids, pepper acts as an irritant in a good way, stimulating the circulation and the flow of mucous in the airways and sinuses. Place 1 teaspoon into a cup of boiling water and add a teaspoon of honey to sweeten then sip slowly (not suitable for dry coughs).
Definitely not for the faint-hearted but for those looking for quick relief! Cut a lemon in half and sprinkle with some black pepper and salt. Suck on the lemon quickly and with force to soothe the throat and clear the nose. A bit like Strepsils, but without the price tag!
7. Chicken Soup
Scientists have tried but just can’t quite work out what it is about chicken soup that soothes a cold and cough. The only proven benefit is that genuine chicken soup made from chicken broth contains cysteine, which thins phlegm. Steer clear of commercially prepared chicken soup as they contain large amounts of sodium, which can dehydrate. Serve hot as the steam helps soothe irritated mucous membranes and air passageways.
8. A Hot Shower/Steam
Nothing makes you feel better when you are all choked up with snot and an annoying cough than a nice hot shower or face steam. The steam flushes out mucous, and it moisturises dry, irritated sinuses. If you can, add some drops of eucalyptus oil or Vicks VapoRub to the hot water as it acts as both decongestant and expectorant.
9. More Fluids
Drinking more fluids, whether they be tea or water, is beneficial to a cough as it thins out the mucous and keeps membranes moist, which decreases the need to cough.
10. Dark Chocolate
As if we needed an excuse to eat more chocolate when we are feeling less than 100%! The theobromine content in dark chocolate may indeed be the most effective and safest cough suppressant, with this substance outperforming codeine (a known cough suppressant) in a recent study. The theobromine works directly on the nerve that is responsible for triggering the coughing reflex.
What are your home remedies for coughs?
Note: Persistent coughing should always be checked by your doctor to determine whether you have any serious underlying medical conditions.
If you become concerned about any symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention. We have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice.
SAHM takes no responsibility for any illness, injury or death caused by misuse of this information. All information provided is correct at time of publication.