What is the home remedy for coughing?

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Cough is a very common ailment that people get. It may be because of upper respiratory tract infection or sometimes it may precede an infection.  It is one of the most common complaints in children. More than anything else the sleepless nights the child and the parents spend because of cough is a wearisome experience (1).

When an irritant enters your throat or airways the nerves send signal to the brain that something is irritating in the airway.  The brain then sends instructions to the muscles of the abdomen and chest to cough and push out the air and along with it the irritant (2).

Most of the time cough resolves by itself in a few days or a couple of weeks. But if the cough is accompanied by fever, pain in the chest, discoloured phlegm, breathlessness, difficulty in swallowing, losing weight or any other symptom there is a chance that there may be an underlying disorder which needs medical attention (3). Consulting a doctor is a must. If you have a persistent cough for more than a couple of weeks also you need to see a doctor.

Home remedies for cough

Most of the cough medicines are to manage the symptoms and do not cure the underlying cause. Many people do not like to take medicines to reduce cough but would like to try and manage the cough with home or natural remedies. If it is not a symptom of an underlying disorder usually cough can be managed with home remedies till it subsides and the person gets better.

Here are some home remedies or things you can do to manage cough (1, 2)


Pasteurised honey can be used to give relief from cough but not for children below one year. Honey may contain dormant endospores of Clostridium botulinum which may cause harm. It is therefore better to use pasteurized honey but do not give for children below one year (1).

Half a tsp of pasteurized honey in a single dose before bed for children above one year can be given (1). An adult can take one tsp of honey to loosen cough (2).


Drink plenty of fluids to manage cough. Taking fluids can help thin the mucus in the throat. Take ginger tea, juices, soups and broth. But do not make it hot or spicy that will irritate the throat.


Place a humidifier in the room or take a steamy shower which helps manage the cough.

Lemon and honey

Have lemon tea or tea with honey or lemon juice with honey it will soothe your throat and ease cough

Gargling with salt water

Add a pinch of salt to warm water and gargle, it soothes the irritated throat and gives comfort. Children may not be able to gargle.

Warm water

Sipping warm water helps soothe the irritated throat.

Avoid smoking

Do not smoke or be around anyone who is smoking.

Healthy food

It is important to take a healthy balanced diet to get over the infection if that is what is causing you to have cough. Sometimes acid reflux also may be the reason for cough. If acid reflux is the reason for cough eat small meals, do not go to bed immediately after eating, do not eat spicy food or any food which aggravates acid reflux.

Final word

Cough is a very common ailment and it is usually resolved in a few days or a couple of weeks. The home remedies can help you manage cough. But if there are any other symptoms or it is persisting then you will need medical attention.



  1. Goldman R. D. (2014) Honey for treatment of cough in children, Canadian family physician Medecin de famille canadien. Vol. 60(12).https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4264806/
  2. Mayo Clinic (2019). Cough.https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/cough/basics/definition/sym-20050846
  3. National Health Services (2017). https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/cough/

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