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Homemade Cough Remedies

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Young woman coughing into her hand.

You can develop a cough in conjunction with a cold or flu or even as the result of allergies. There are a plethora of medicines you can buy at the pharmacy, but often a homemade remedy will work just as well. This is a guide about homemade cough remedies.

Solutions: Homemade Cough Remedies

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Tip: Vicks VapoRub Cough Remedy

Some of you may already know this, but believe it or not this really works. Whenever I have a cough, I put Vicks on the soles of my feet and then put socks on. My cough stops. Yes, it really does. If you don't believe me, try it on yourself or someone in your family. Good luck, and no coughing.

By logcabinlady from Woodland Hills, UT

Article: Homemade Cough Remedies

Woman CoughingColds, coughs and sore throats are among the most common seasonal complaints. Although coughing sounds unhealthy, it is actually the body's highly effective way of keeping our lungs and airways clear. Coughing flushes out mucus when we've caught colds and helps us to catch our breath when food or drink goes down the wrong pipe. Unfortunately, many of today's over-the-counter cough medications serve to hinder our body's natural ability to eliminate toxins. For example, nose drops dry up nasal secretions - our body's way of excreting germ-laden mucus. Cough syrups suppress our cough - another natural way of getting rid of toxins and clearing air passages. Homemade cough remedies are designed to offer short-term relief of uncomfortable symptoms, without interfering with your body's natural ability to heal itself. They should always be used in conjunction with medical care and with your doctor's approval.

When to See Your Doctor:

Because coughs can also be a sign of a more serious underlying condition, you should seek medical attention immediately if:

  • Your cough is accompanied by shortness of breath.
  • You cough up phlegm tinged with blood.
  • Your phlegm is very thick and won't come up easily.
  • A persistent, hacking cough is accompanied by fever, wheezing sounds, weakness and lethargy, difficulty breathing, and/or chest pain develops.
  • Your cough lasts for more than one week.

Avoid Mucus Producing Foods:

Certain foods can aggravate your cough by stimulating mucus production. If you are suffering from a cough, avoid the following foods:

  • Cow's milk, cream, butter and cheese.
  • Roasted peanuts.
  • Excessive amounts of oranges and orange juice (more than 1 per week for children).
  • Bananas.
  • Foods high in sugar and fat.

Foods that help with the reduction of mucus include garlic, onions, watercress, horseradish, and mustard.

Home Remedies:

Acupressure:

The application of pressure on specific points on the body can help control certain symptoms. Acupressure (similar to the concept of acupuncture, but without needles) on the chest can help relax the body and relieve coughing. Just below your throat, there are two protrusions of the left and right sides of your collar bone. Using the middle fingers of both hands, apply pressure to depression points directly below these protrusions. Continue pressing on these points for a few minutes until your cough subsides.

Ayurveda:

Ayurveda is India's traditional, natural system of medicine. Practiced for over 5,000 years, it provides an integrated approach to preventing illness through natural therapies. If your cough is accompanied by a hoarse voice, mix 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper into 1 teaspoon of ghee of clarified butter (see recipe below), and take the mixture on a full stomach. For a cough without hoarseness, mix 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper with 1 teaspoon of honey instead, also taking the mixture on a full stomach. Take the mixture appropriate for your symptoms, 3 times a day for 3 to 5 days.

Recipe for ghee:

  1. Melt two pounds of unsalted butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat.
  2. As soon as the butter begins to boil and foam, reduce the heat to a simmer. Keep the heated butter at a steady simmer until it is golden in color and no foam remains on top.
  3. Stir occasionally after the whitish curds sink to the bottom. When these curds turn light tan, the ghee is ready.
  4. Cool the mixture and strain it into a sterile quart jar. Discard the curds from the bottom, as they are almost pure cholesterol.

Herbal therapy:

Certain herbal teas, including eucalyptus, fenugreek, peppermint, anise and fennel, stop coughing by increasing saliva production, causing you to swallow more frequently and suppressing the cough reflex. To make a tea from one of these herbs, steep one to two teaspoons of the herb in a cup of boiling water for the appropriate amount of time:

Roots: steep for 15 minutes
Seeds: steep for 10 to 15 minutes
Leaves: steep for 3 to 10 minutes

After steeping for the appropriate time, strain the mixture to remove the dried herb, and let the tea cool to a drinkable temperature. Drink 3 to 4 cups a day, or if using a tea bag, follow the dosage recommended on the product.

Slippery elm is another anti-cough herb that stops the cough reflex by forming a protective and soothing layer around the irritated mucous membranes of your throat. Another remedy for dry coughs is to combine the juice from 3 garlic cloves with some honey and milk, and warm the mixture on the stove (do not boil). Take two teaspoons of the liquid in morning and evening. A few other anti-cough herbs, like horehound, are what herbalists call expectorants - herbs that thin the cough-causing mucus so that you can expectorate (spit) it out. You can find slippery elm teas and horehound lozenges, as well as the herbs listed above, in most health food stores.

Hydrotherapy:

Inhaling steam can help relieve throat irritation and loosens mucus in the lungs. Boil a pot of water on the stove and remove it from the heat. Let it cool long enough so active boiling is no longer taking place, plus an additional 1 to 2 minutes. (Caution: If the water is boiling or still too hot, you can scald your face and respiratory tract.) Hold your face 12 to 18 inches above the pot, and cover your head and shoulders with a towel to trap the stream. Inhale for up to 30 minutes. For a soothing effect, add a few drop of eucalyptus oil to the water. Other options include sleeping with a warm humidifier running or taking a steamy sauna.

By Ellen Brown

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Questions

Here are questions related to Homemade Cough Remedies.

Question: Remedy for Persistent Cough

My father has been suffering from cold and cough from 30 years with lots of phlegm. Due to the cough, my father is now having a pain in his chest and stomach. They did not find any types of problems, such as BP or blood sugar issues. Please can someone suggest a solution, any supplement, or syrup that might help.

By Geeta


Most Recent Answer

By Susan M.02/04/2013

Have his doctor check him for cystic fibrosis.

Question: Homemade Cough Remedies

I have nasal drainage and a bad cough, when I cough it gets to the point of choking. I can't get oxygen to the brain, what do I do?

By semi714 from Charleston, SC


Most Recent Answer

By Nelyr104/14/2010

For kids younger that 1 year old there is a type of honey you can use. its more like a syrup called "Karo" is corn syrup and it works like honey for babies I use it and it works great. My Daughter began with a very dry cough last night and I gave her the syrup with little lemon and she hasn't coughed since then. She's 9 months old.

Archives

Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the feedback that was provided then.

Archive: Homemade Cough Remedies

Looking for an old recipe for a cough remedy that has whiskey and rock candy but not sure what else if anything?

Zan from Charlotte, NC


RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

I remember my mom making that as child, but only remember the whiskey and seemed like she used horehound candy. Not sure what else went in it. (05/06/2008)

By theseamstress

RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

For a quick homemade remedy for cough, heat 1 can of Coke or generic cola and a handful of raisins. Sip a couple tablespoons while warm. Cheap and works well. (05/06/2008)

By Rader1

RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

We used to make up a "Hot Toddy" that was good for what "ales" ya. It's especially good for head colds & flu:

---> Squeeze one half of a fresh lemon into a large mug (that can take boiling water) then add one shot of Whiskey, Southern Comfort, or Rum. Next, fill remainder of mug with boiling water, then add a large "glop" of honey (about a Tablespoon or 2) and lastly, the magic ingredient: Sprinkle a bit of cayenne pepper on top & stir well.

Some folks add a stick of rock candy into this instead of, or with the honey, because you can suck on the rock candy like you would a cough drop.

This concoction may not heal you, but it'll sure make you feel better & help you sleep! It may or may not be the healthiest cough & cold recipe out there, but back in our great-grandparents day, this is all they had. There may be alcohol in it, but at least you can say there are no chemicals & it's "totally natural"!

* The Cayenne pepper makes your nose run, which really cleans out your sinuses so you'll be able to breathe freely for quite awhile & the Honey helps your throat feel better, the alcohol relaxes you & the Lemon cuts down on phlegm & gives you that extra Vitamin C we all need when we're sick... I also forgot to mention that I like to add hot tap water, beforehand to preheat the mug.

** Obviously, you'd not want to put any alcohol in this recipe when giving this recipe to children or those in recovery, or taking other meds. (05/06/2008)

By Cyinda

RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

Ginger tea sweetened with honey works for coughs. (05/06/2008)

By MartyD

RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

We had the really bad flu in January. Was desperate for something to stop the wrenching coughing. Allergic to honey and all my old remedies did not work. Got out an herb book. It recommended using thyme and oregano. In a cup of water I steeped 1 tbsp oregano and 1 tbsp thyme. Then added a tbsp vinegar and 1 heaping tbsp of brown sugar. It actually worked. Doesn't taste that great, but I did not care. (05/07/2008)

By Rainbowridergrma

RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

I have had a horrible cough for the last two days and have not been able to sleep. I had taken NyQuil, prescription cough syrup and cough drops. Then my husband talked to his 93 year old Grandmother and she said all I would need to do is put a cold wash cloth over my throat and then put a dry hand towel over it. So I tried this and it worked! I slept for 8 hours! She says that it creates steam in your body to help loosen the airways. (05/10/2008)

By Patricia

RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

I always go for nebulizer (Steam Mask) at Dr clinic. It works wonders and child goes to sleep. (05/22/2008)

By Azra

RE: Homemade Cough Remedies

Just use hard candied or rock candy. Put it in a "canning jar." Pour over the candy with some cheap whiskey, and shake. This may take about 4 days or more to dissolve, but that is all you do. It will taste like the old Vicks formula 44 that used to burn when it hit the chest. Works great! (06/03/2008)

By Carolyn

Archive: Homemade Cough Remedies

My son is 2 years old. I am looking for a homemade cough remedy. He coughs when he cries and he gets a cough during the day that can last about an hour. I took him to the doctor and he said it was allergies. He gave him medicine but it didn't work.

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