Although there may not be much research behind many home remedies, they stick around because they tend to work. Many old wives tales for coughs are great at offering relief. Here are a few home remedies for coughs.
Dry Cough Remedies
Dry coughs are nonproductive coughs that occur most often with viral infections like the common cold or the flu. They leave your throat dry, sore, and in much need of relief. Honey is a great remedy for a dry cough. It has natural antimicrobial properties and it’s sticky, allowing it to form a soothing coat on your throat. A cup of hot tea with honey and lemon will offer more than just the benefits of honey. Juice from a lemon (the real deal, not artificial juice) gives you a great boost of vitamin C, which is crucial in the early stages of illness. The heat and steam from the tea are also soothing, and keeping your throat moist can help prevent the coughing.
Additionally, you can make your own cough syrup from home. Mix ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper, ¼ teaspoon powdered ginger, 3 tablespoons each raw honey from your area (it contains the pollens most likely to affect you), raw apple cider vinegar, and boiling water. Once cooled, store the cough syrup in a glass container. Take 1-2 tablespoons as needed -- without the worries of taking it too many times in 24 hours like an over the counter cough syrup.
Wet Cough Remedies
A wet cough is one when coughing brings up mucus and/or phlegm. This type of cough is more likely due to bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma, COPD, and other bacterial or chronic conditions. The sinuses produce mucus to filter out bacteria, while the air passages create phlegm, which is what gets coughed up more often. The science behind chicken soup makes it a great choice for a wet cough. The hot liquid provides much needed moisture and soothing. Combined with the spices, it helps with congestion and breaks down phlegm so you can cough it up.
Alternatively, mucus is often produced as a result of extremely dry sinuses. A spray saline nasal spray during the day and in the evening can help moisten up your sinuses. Allergies can also cause excess mucus, as it attempts to get rid of pollens. For allergies, a neti pot can work wonders. Frequent use of such a flush can reduce allergens like mold or pollen that take up residence in your sinuses.
The use of steam and aromatherapy can also be a great help to expectorate that phlegm. Running a humidifier at night can provide extra moisture into a house sucked dry by the frequent running of a heater. You can also steam up your shower for some release, as steam naturally breaks up phlegm and mucus. Alternatively, take to the kitchen. Boil a pot of water, then pour it into a bowl. After a minute or so of cooling time, add a few drops of tea tree, a few drops of eucalyptus, and even a drop or two of spearmint or peppermint essential oils. Get as close to the steam as you can without burning yourself, and inhale deeply for 5-10 minutes. You can drape a towel over your head and the bowl to hold the steam in, creating a sauna-like atmosphere. If you don’t have access to boiling water, you can drip one drop of eucalyptus and one drop of mint into your hands, rub them together, and cup your nose, inhaling deeply for several minutes. Wash your hands carefully after, as essential oils can irritate the skin and eyes.