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Homemade Cough Remedies

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.

Young woman coughing into her hand.
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January 20, 2011 Flag

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

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September 1, 2009 Flag
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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

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December 3, 20090 found this helpful

The sure way to stop coughing is to turn on shower, hot water, let steam up bathroom, sit for 15 min, It will stop the cough. Got this tip from a nurse, when my then 5 year old granddaughter was coughing and would not stop. Called the hospital, and I was told to do this. It really worked. Put her to bed, she never coughed the whole night.

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December 4, 20090 found this helpful

My 18 month old daughter had a chronic cough for months. The doctors gave us so many different times of medicine and nothing worked. She would stay up all night coughing and crying. One day I decided to do research on home remedies, I noticed that a lot of people used honey so one night, she was crying and absolutely miserable and of course I wasn't getting any sleep, i decided to give her a tsp of honey, within 2 hours she fell asleep and didn't cough for the rest of the night! The 6 month cough finally came to an end!

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February 6, 20100 found this helpful

My three year old son had been coughing alot in bed. I had heard from a friend and my dad about rubbing Vicks on the feet and then putting on socks. I tried it and no kidding it worked! After about 15 minutes or so, coughing stopped. He slept through the night without a single cough.

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April 14, 20100 found this helpful

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.

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January 30, 2013 Flag
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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

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January 31, 20130 found this helpful

There are a number of reasons he may be coughing. The only way to offer a remedy is to find the cause. Is he a smoker? Does he have allergies, and if so, what is he allergic to? In the meantime, hot water with lemon will help to clear mucus from the throat. No sugar! Make sure he is getting enough water, it helps his body thin the mucus so he will be able to cough it up easier. Have his lungs, throat, and sinuses checked. A Neti Pot can also help.

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February 1, 20130 found this helpful

Do be sure and check all the suggestions in the previous response. It does sound like allergies or smoker's cough. Be sure he has a really thorough exam as my husband had a cough for years, was not a smoker, but they finally diagnosed him with having lung cancer. Do not wait to have this checked out.

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February 1, 20130 found this helpful

Sounds like post-nasal drip, possibly from allergy. Does he smoke, or someone else? Once a day,for about 3 days make a bouillon with Knorr cubes.Use about a 1/3 cube, add chopped fresh garlic, red pepper flakes and any herbs you have like oregano, basil, rosemary.Sprinkle with black pepper. Make it with boiling water so it's really hot. Use 3 cloves garlic. After it's steeped, squeeze in half a lemon juice.Strain or let settle. Drink while it's as hot as coffee. The spicier the better. It should clear his sinuses and throat in about 1/2 hour. I wouldn't recommend it every day because it is salty.

Believe it or not, I just learned after decades of ignorance, that a sip of water [sip, not drink] will stop a cough, sometimes 2 or 3 needed. Just like that.

Then, begins the hard part....what is causing the phlem? Household chemical, something at work, detergent, dust mites [old rug, old furniture?],food allergy?Smoke, furnace filters not being cleaned often enough, oil heat [diesel causes lots of breathing problems]. Something is causing that allergic reaction. Pollen? I have a grandson who has pollen reactions every year. Allergy shots help.

Saline solution spray? Got to be careful about contaminating the bottle though. Have it at Dollar Tree.

For pain of sore muscles I'd like to recommend to all Absorbine patches [red packet] at the Dollar Tree to everyone.

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February 4, 20130 found this helpful

Have his doctor check him for cystic fibrosis.

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September 8, 2009 Flag
3 found this helpful

If you get any cough while you are sleeping, try to wash your throat with any salt water. You can make salt water that adding 1 teaspoon of salt with 1/2 a glass of water. Also salt reacts against germs. It gives immediate relief and you can continue your sleep without disturbances. This has been experienced by my family and friends.

By butterfly20 from Bahrain

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February 6, 2012 Flag
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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:

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:

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

Home Remedies:


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 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.


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.

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September 1, 2009 Flag
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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. Please help.

By Sheetal from Hyderabad, AP


Homemade Cough Remedies

One thing that is typically used is honey, but please be careful with this since his cough is caused by allergies. Bees make honey from the plants that may be causing his allergies, and giving him too much may cause a serious reaction. If you choose to use it, build up the amount very gradually over a period of time. Use raw honey native to where you live. If he can tolerate it, it will help him build a tolerance to what he is allergic to, similar to getting allergy shots. It is a folk cure for hay fever and known to work, but must be begun cautiously. Again, if too much is taken in the beginning, he may have a major reaction. (04/05/2009)

By susanmajp

Homemade Cough Remedies

I should have posted this the first time, but have you cut out all dairy products? Dairy products cause mucus to build up in the body, causing coughs. Some people have a harder time dealing with it than others. Try to quit eating and drinking all dairy products for a couple of weeks and see if that helps.

When my son was younger, we had to cut way back on dairy all the time and totally cut it out anytime he got sick. We also gave him cod liver oil to help build his immunities. He went from being sick all the time to playing outside constantly. Today he's 27 years old and still takes the cod liver oil. New studies show how effective fish oils can be. (04/05/2009)

By susanmajp

Homemade Cough Remedies

This helps our great granddaughter, she is 5. But it also helps DH, my daughter, and I. Rub Vick's (it now comes in a grease-less tube and the new baby Vick's has a pink lid. I like it myself.) on the bottoms of his feet, put clean socks on over that. It will help to lay down with him to get him to stop crying. That may help him to sleep also.

Our neighbor is a pediatric nurse practitioner, she told me to take a cup of milk and warm (as hot as he can stand it) it with a spoonful of honey in it. Let the boy sip it to help his cough. I hope this helps. (04/05/2009)

By Great Granny Vi

Homemade Cough Remedies

If you've only tried one allergy medicine, then I would tell the doctor and ask him to prescribe/suggest something else. The Dr. should know it didn't work anyway, so that it can be noted on your son's chart.

You can also find homeopathic remedies at a natural foods/health-food store or on-line. One good place to start is: (04/05/2009)

By Maryeileen

Homemade Cough Remedies

An old-fashioned cough medicine would be honey and lemon. The honey coats the throat. I'm not sure what the lemon does but people used to always pair them up so there must be some benefit aside from the vitamin C. Another way to go might be to use a saline (salt) solution nasal spray. There are no side effects and the saline solution may prevent some of the irritants from adhering to the nasal membranes. (04/18/2009)

By Goldie2

Homemade Cough Remedies

The honey and lemon treatment is great and most kids will drink it. I want to just suggest that if this persists, have your child tested for asthma. When my oldest daughter was 2, she would have bad bouts of coughing. I thought she had a cold, but it would not go away! Her doctor diagnosed her with having bronchial asthma. This can cause chronic coughing fits. Crying makes it worse because they are already having problems getting enough air. Check it out just to be safe. (04/25/2009)

By bizzymom

Homemade Cough Remedies

Buckwheat honey is the way to go. My 3 1/2-year-old son has been suffering w/ a cough for 6 months. I was told it was possible asthma, allergies, some combination thereof. He was on Singulair, Claritin, Pulmicort nebulizers, and I found myself still very dissatisfied. Like most parents, I don't want my kid on daily medication if I can help it. 2 weeks ago, I found myself reading these posts and willing to try just about anything.

I tried the Vick's on the feet (no success), then went on to honey. I worked him up to 1 tbsp of honey twice a day (locally-made stuff) and it worked. I haven't yet weaned him from the Claritin, but his cough has lessened dramatically even from what it was with the Claritin alone (which was the one drug I couldn't get away from. Off the Claritin, coughing all night!).

We talked to our pediatrician this a.m. and he said honey is great because not only does it reduce inflammation, but it also increases the ciliary action in the lungs. However, he said I should switch to the Buckwheat variety instead of locally made. I highly recommend this to anyone whose kid is suffering through a really bad cold or even if they're like mine and have this unexplained chronic cough. (09/01/2009)

By alibreen

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April 2, 2009 Flag
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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


Homemade Cough Remedies

To answer your question, it is Jim Beam Rock and Rye Whiskey. Make up a tea using a tea bag, honey, fresh lemon, and rock and rye. Heat it as hot as you can stand it and drink it as fast as you can, then get under the covers. It really helps stop the night coughing. (06/10/2008)

By Butterfly

Homemade Cough Remedies

A spoon of honey melted into warm lemonade with a tsp of sugar. Clears that cough right up and cheap and soothing. I have it all the time. Tastes nice too. (07/06/2008)


Homemade Cough Remedies

A guaranteed cure to stop coughing is to rub Vick's salve on the bottom of your feet (while laying down, or in bed), then put socks on over you feet. It won't be long and the cough will disappear. I'm not sure how it works, but it does. Now you won't have to worry about your child's cough anymore. (08/02/2008)

By Bill R

Homemade Cough Remedies

Take 1 tsp of honey with 1 tsp of brandy, heat and have in the night before sleeping. This works for kids as well as adults. Also you can boil 1/2 cup coca-cola and drink it 3 times a day. (08/18/2008)

By Suresh A

Homemade cough remedy

When I was a small girl and had laryngitis, my mother's Mennonite maid made a syrup from onion, sugar and I think some honey. I took a spoonful or so and my voice came back to normal in no time at all. A miracle.

By Jeanne C

Homemade Cough Remedies

Warm milk, honey, and rock candy (09/24/2008)

By jasmine

Homemade Cough Remedies

Mix Aloe Gel, honey, 1/4 onion and Lime in a blender. Drink a large tablespoon every 2 hrs. Make some green tea with lime, drink it hot. Vapor rub in chest, back, and feet and you will sleep like a baby. For those of you hooked on the whiskey and rum, be careful if you have a fever with dehydration, lots of orange juice with pulp is the best. Do not drink milk if you have a cough. (10/04/2008)

By Jesus

Homemade Cough Remedies

Scroll to Patricia and her husband's Grandma. Wet, cold washcloth on the neck, hand towel around it and I'm telling you that stuff works! My girl (7) was hacking away the 2nd night in a row. My husband, a medic, of course tried the OTC and to no avail. 15, yes, 15 minutes after I tried this, as a last resort before going to squeezed lemon, honey, thyme and all the other good stuff. IT WORKED! 90 min later and she is still asleep, not a beep out of her. I am so grateful! Thanks so much for another great remedy that was delivered from the past. (11/12/2008)

By sparklestoo

Homemade Cough Remedies

Very good one. My hubby got the flu after taking the flu shot & got Claritin from the Dr. I made him this; 1/3 cup of lemon juice,1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Mix well in a 16 oz water bottle, finish filling it with water. Drink as needed day & night, good luck. (11/30/2008)

By kffrmw88

Homemade Cough Remedies

Mexican people use this, and it's very effective: my child and I had a very loud cough in 2007 winter. Our neighbor (an old Mexican lady) told us to boil 2 cinnamon sticks and then serve in a cup with lime juice (not lemon) and drink it hot! That remedy works. I use it every time. (12/24/2008)

By jimmy.

Homemade Cough Remedies

You should not give honey to any child under the age of two. (12/27/2008)

By me

Homemade Cough Remedies

My 8 year old son has had a hacking cough for 3 days. After giving him the maximum dose of cough medicine with no relief, I tried Patricia's recipe from her husband's grandmother (scroll down). I placed a cold wet cloth on his throat and covered it with a dry towel. He stopped coughing instantly and has not coughed once since. Amazing! (12/28/2008)

By Lynn

Homemade Cough Remedies

I am absolutely amazed at the results of Patricia's remedy! I've had a chesty, congested cough for about two days now. Tonight, none of my prescribed meds worked at all. So about an hour ago, in desperation, I crawled out of bed and Googled HERBAL REMEDIES. ha ha. I ended up eating some honey, but the cough still lingered. In even more hopeless desperation, I tried Patricia's remedy as a last resort, and it works. By gum, Does it work. I'm amazed. Patricia, I owe a good nights sleep to you! (01/08/2009)

By Caitlin

Homemade Cough Remedies

Patricia's remedy doesn't work for everyone. Tried it on my 7 year old and she's coughing worse than ever. Different strokes for different folks. (01/14/2009)

By compubuff

Homemade Cough Remedies

My 7 year old started coughing earlier this evening and I tried to have him sip hot water with a little sugar, honey and lemon but he didn't want to drink it. So I just put a tablespoon of honey and a few drops of lemon juice mixed in and had him swallow it in one spoonful and here we are about 15 minutes later and no cough! It really did work immediately. I didn't have fresh lemon so I had to use the sour juice in the container that is shaped like a lemon, but it worked. At least now he can get some sleep. (01/31/2009)

By Tara

Homemade Cough Remedies

My mom has been coughing for the past 2 weeks, turns out that she has pneumonia. The doctors have her on about 4 different prescriptions, and they all work fairly well. But at night, it's really bad, she can't lay down or she will start coughing. She has tried some of the home remedies and they have worked pretty well, but I am desperately seeking help from anyone who is willing to give me some. So thanks to everyone who has posted some of your own home remedies, I will be making a list of some of the ones she should try. Thank you so much!

If you can help me, you can E-mail me at SaraMuFFin88 at(@) AOL dot(.)com
(sorry my E-mail address looks kind of weird, but I was following the directions for putting your E-mail on this comment thing.) (02/02/2009)

By Sara From WI.

Homemade Cough Remedies

In warm milk, add turmeric powder and salt, drink it right before going to bed at night. Let it sit, do not drink water for couple hours. It works and it's safe. (02/12/2009)

By pinal

Homemade Cough Remedies

(Submitted via email)

Mr. Boston Rock and Rye. I bought it at my local liquor store. This is the drink with the rock candy in it.
Tammy. (02/14/2009)

By Sally_Admin

Homemade Cough Remedies

I have been reading the comments and suggestions concerning the coughing regarding specifically 6-7 year olds. I tried the spoonful of honey first. I'm waiting 15 min. Not working yet. Okay on to the next, cold wash cloth on neck with towel over it..okay I'm waiting to see, it's a no go. I think this is weird but I'm desperate. Baby chest rub on her feet with socks...waiting, 10 min. later, thank you Jesus! Poor thing, I know she was going to start coughing blood any moment from how hard she was coughing. Oh, I forgot to say that before all of this I gave her a teaspoon of prescription cough syrup that of course did not work. 15 mins, still nothing from the bedroom. All is well. Thanks to all! (02/17/2009)

By Lori

Homemade Cough Remedies

The mixture of 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp cider vinegar, and 2 tbsp water is the best remedy I've found. Just made it for my son (it's 3am) who has been coughing every night for weeks now. Tonight was the worst. Within minutes of taking 2 tsp of this mixture he was asleep. He wouldn't let me rub the Vick's on his feet, though I know it works quite well. And we did not want to use OTC commercial products. HURRAY! (02/19/2009)

By Cathy, AZ

Homemade Cough Remedies

It's a miracle, thank you thank you. My 2 year old grandson has had a bad cough for two days now and has had no sleep from coughing so bad. My daughter and I just tried the remedy of putting Vick's Vapor rub on the bottom of his little feet and covering them with socks. To our amazement he stopped coughing within 15 minutes and has finally fallen asleep. What a wonderful and safe remedy. (02/21/2009)

By Suzanne

Homemade Cough Remedies

A lot of great ideas! Just a note, never, ever give little children raw honey (under 1-2 years). Raw honey often contains botulism bacteria. The levels are quite low so that an older person's natural intestinal bacteria wipe them out before they cause harm. But babies haven't developed their natural flora yet and can't protect themselves.

By Paige

Homemade Cough Remedies

I've had a horrible and constant cough for about a week. I tried a tsp of sugar, a big glob of honey and a few squeezes of a fresh lemon and poured boiling water over. I'm sitting here 10 minutes later not coughing at all and I think I've found my new favorite drink. It tastes so yummy. (02/25/2009)

By Kait

Homemade Cough Remedies

When I was a child, we were pretty poor. My parents always got the generic version of Vick's and smeared it on a long tube sock. They safety-pinned it to my neck, like a scarf. When I woke up, I almost always never had the symptoms. This worked for cough and cold (and especially chest congestion). This also ensures your child won't get any Vick's in his or her eyes or mouth through the night. (03/04/2009)

By cortneyh

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June 4, 2008 Flag
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Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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May 6, 2008 Flag
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Health & Beauty Home RemediesNovember 9, 2011
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