There are two types of cough: dry and productive. When you cough and mucus or phlegm is expelled, then it is a productive cough. A dry cough, on the other hand, can be caused by a random tickle, allergy, or dry air. There are natural remedies that can be used to relieve a cough.
Home Remedies for a Persistent and Dry Cough
1. A Spoonful of Honey
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), honey is considered as a potential demulcent for cough treatment. Honey is a viscous fluid that contains complex compositions of vitamins, trace elements, carbohydrates, flavonoids, and free amino acids. It also possesses certain compounds that act as antioxidants. Honey also has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.
To help reduce coughing spells in children who are 2 years old and above, honey can be taken in small amounts at bedtime. It has been found that honey can be more effective when it comes to calming a cough compared to over-the-counter cough suppressants, such as dextromethorphan. Moreover, drinking water with a small amount of honey has been found to reduce the frequency of coughing in adults, especially those who have developed a chronic cough after being ill.
2. Licorice Root Tea
Licorice soothes the airways and eases congestion by thinning the mucus. It is both a demulcent and an expectorant. If there is any inflammation that is irritating the throat, then that can be eased by licorice. It is most effective due to one of its components called glycyrrhizin.
Compared to sucrose, it is much sweeter, and an enzyme called 11 beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase is inhibited by this. The access of glucocorticoid to steroid receptors is regulated by this enzyme. Thus, the process of conversion of cortisol to cortisone is slowed down. The inflammation is also reduced by increasing the effect of cortisol.
It is best to steer clear of licorice roots if you are already on steroids or have any kidney problems. To make licorice root tea, boil water and place licorice roots in a mug. Add the boiling water to the mug and cover it. Let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Drink licorice root tea twice a day.
3. Gargling with Salt Water
This is one of the most popular remedies for sore throats. The discomfort caused by coughing can be eased by salt water. Through the process of osmosis, it helps ease a sore throat. The concentration of salt is higher in the mucous membrane. To balance out everything, the water flows out of the cells.
Thus, when the water goes out, the swelling is reduced along with other discomforts. If your cough is accompanied by inflamed tissues, then you can benefit from this remedy. Expelling phlegm also becomes easier through this natural remedy.
To gargle salt water, you will need to thoroughly dissolve some salt in lukewarm water. Gargle for 15 seconds and then spit. After you are done, rinse with plain water. Do this remedy until you feel better.
Steaming is effective when it comes to congestion, cough, or cold. It immediately loosens mucus and phlegm. To get wonderful health benefits, you can add various essential oils to your steam water. While you breathe in the steam, you inhale the health benefits of essential oils, which possess antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
For cough, you can add eucalyptus and tea tree oil since it opens the airways and soothes them. It also fights against bacteria and viruses. For steam inhalation, you need to boil water. Pour boiled water into a medium-sized heatproof bowl and let it cool for 30-60 seconds before adding the essential oils. Quickly stir the mixture to release the vapors. Lean over in a comfortable position to inhale the steam. Cover your head with a towel, so that the steam gets trapped and does not escape. Do this remedy 2-3 times a day for 5-10 minutes to achieve relief.
5. Thyme Tea
Thyme has been used for many centuries for the treatment of cough. It has antimicrobial properties and it opens up the airways by relaxing the trachea and bronchi. It reduces cough and provides comfort. To make thyme tea, prepare two teaspoons of crushed leaves in a cup of boiling water. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes before straining. You can also add honey or lemon for added flavor. Have thyme tea just before bedtime.
6. Pepper and Honey
The world’s most traded spice is black pepper. It can work wonders for cough with a lot of mucus and congestion. It helps to expel all the junk from the nose. Honey has antibacterial properties. Use fresh black pepper if possible. To make this remedy, add honey and black pepper to a mug of boiled water and cover it. Stir the mixture to disperse the pepper flakes. Allow it to steep for 10 minutes before drinking. You can have this drink twice a day to help loosen the mucus.
7. Ginger Peppermint Syrup
Ginger is a natural expectorant since it helps loosens and expels mucus. If you experience dry cough, ginger can also reduce the trigger that happens at the back of the throat. An irritating and tickly cough is relieved by peppermint. To make this remedy, chop some ginger and add it in a glass of water. You can also add peppermint.
Boil the mixture and let it simmer on low flame. Wait until the liquid has been reduced to half. Now cool it and add honey. Keep this mixture in a bottle and after every few hours, have a tablespoon of it. You can keep it in a refrigerator for three weeks.
8. Stay Hydrated
If you have a cold or a cough, the best thing to do is to stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water and keep your throat lubricated. Try some warm water with honey and lemon since honey is a natural antiseptic and will soothe your throat. Postnasal drip can also cause a cough. When the drainage from the nose drips into the back of your throat, coughing can happen.
Mucus can also be thinned out by drinking plenty of fluids. Instead of hot water, drink warm water since it can rehydrate the throat. If you drink hot water, the inflamed tissues may get irritated.
Other Natural Remedies for a Dry Cough
- Anise tea with cinnamon
- Honey and cinnamon
- Pineapple juice with honey, ginger, cayenne pepper, and salt
- Grape juice with honey
- Oregano tea
Homemade Cough Syrup
You can make a natural cough syrup instead of buying OTC cough medications.
- Herbal cough syrup - Combine licorice, fennel, cinnamon, orange peel, ginger root, and elm bark into a pot of water. Boil the mixture until it is reduced in half. Strain it and add honey to it.
- Onion-based cough syrup - Onion is very effective for cough since it can break up phlegm. Extract onion juice and mix it with honey. Wait for a few hours before taking this cough syrup.
- Elderberry syrup - Elderberry can calm a cough. If your stomach is sensitive, you can have this syrup since it is gentle on the stomach. Combine its juice with honey and add cinnamon sticks. This mixture can be boiled for 10 minutes.
Don’t just pick up what you always use
Self-medication is a common way of wrongly treating cough, colds, and flu. There could be 3-4 different medications that might not suit you or may be inappropriate for you. Take paracetamol if you have a headache. Use a cough mixture if you have a chesty cough. Other medications for cough include:
- Decongestants - These medications are available in the form of pills, liquids, and nasal sprays. Do not use a decongestant for more than three days to avoid having a rebound congestion.
- Antihistamines - Antihistamines are particularly effective during allergy season. If your cough is due to an allergic reaction, then it can be effectively treated using antihistamines.
- Cough suppressants - Contain ingredients, such as menthol, eucalyptus, camphor, and dextromethorphan to help relieve a cough. These medications can provide temporary relief and will not cure the condition.
- Antibiotics - These medications treat bacterial infections and are not effective against viruses.