Top 6 Best Natural Cough Remedies

The Best Natural Cough Remedies

Coughs that nag you all day long are bad enough. But when it keeps you awake all night, you can feel downright awful. How can you calm it down so you can get the sleep you need?

You’re in luck. There are plenty of treatments for nighttime coughs that can help. Most of the time, home remedies or over-the-counter (OTC) treatments can work wonders. But if those don’t help, your doctor can prescribe a stronger cough medicine that includes something to make you drowsy.


1. Probiotics

Probiotics are microorganisms that can provide a host of health benefits. While they don’t relieve a cough directly, they do help to balance your gastrointestinal flora. Gastrointestinal flora are the bacteria that live in your intestines.

This balance can support immune system function throughout the body. Evidence also suggests that Lactobacillus, a bacterium in dairy, can reduce the likelihood of a cold or flu and sensitivity to certain allergens, such as pollen.

2. Bromelain

You don’t usually think of pineapple as a cough remedy, but that’s probably because you’ve never heard of bromelain. There’s evidence to suggest that bromelain — an enzyme found only in the stem and fruit of pineapples — can help suppress coughs as well as loosen the mucus in your throat. To enjoy the most benefits of pineapple and bromelain, eat a slice of pineapple or drink 3.5 ounces of fresh pineapple juice three times a day.

There are also claims that it can help relieve sinusitis and allergy-based sinus issues, which can contribute to coughs and mucus. However, there is insufficient evidence to support this. It’s also sometimes used to treat inflammation and swelling.


3. Peppermint

Peppermint leaves are well known for their healing properties. Menthol in peppermint soothes the throat and acts as a decongestant, helping to break down mucus. You can benefit by drinking peppermint tea or by inhaling peppermint vapors from a steam bath. To make a steam bath, add 3 or 4 drops of peppermint oil for every 150 milliliters of hot water. Drape a towel over your head, and take deep breaths directly above the water.


4. Marshmallow

Marshmallow is made from Althaea officinalis, a perennial that flowers in summer. The leaves and roots of the herb have been used since ancient times to treat sore throats and suppress coughs. There are no well-controlled studies to support these claims, but the herb is generally considered safe.

The marshmallow herb contains mucilage, which coats the throat and soothes irritation.

Today, you can get marshmallow root as tea or in capsule form. The warm tea can be soothing to a cough that’s accompanied by a sore throat. Marshmallow root is not recommended for children.

5. Salt and water gargle

While the remedy may seem relatively simple, a salt and water gargle can help soothe a scratchy throat that causes you to cough. Mixing 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water can help to relieve irritation.

Note that children under age 6 aren’t especially good at gargling. It’s best to try other remedies for this age group.

6. Brew black pepper tea for a wet cough

This home remedy is rooted in two very different traditions: New England folk medicine and traditional Chinese medicine. The rationale behind it is that black pepper stimulates circulation and mucus flow; honey is a natural cough suppressant and mild antibiotic. To make the tea, place 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper and 2 tablespoons of honey in a cup. Fill with boiling water and let steep, covered, for 15 minutes. Strain and sip as needed. This remedy works best on coughs that produce mucus and isn’t suitable for dry coughs.

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