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Cough Remedies

Last Modified on Nov 20, 2015

Coughing is a natural reflex to help clear out foreign particles, irritants, and secretions from our lungs and airways, an autonomic response also known as tussis. The forced and sometimes violent exhalation can be voluntary as well as reflexive, since coughing is useful for moving and clearing out anything disturbing our breathing from the respiratory system.

Here on Earth Clinic we have a number of quite popular home remedies and natural cures for coughs as determined by our readers. We have received numerous positive reports about the use of apple cider vinegar, onions, hydrogen peroxide, garlic, and even menthol rubs to cure a cough. We are always interested in hearing about what you use to combat coughs and colds, and would love to hear about what you try or use regularly. If you have a remedy that isn't listed here, please feel welcomed to share it with us!

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Most Popular Coughs Remedies:

Apple Cider Vinegar57
Hydrogen Peroxide5
Green Tea With Jasmine4
Flaxseed Tea4
Alicia's Red Onion Recipe4

User Reviews

Natural Cures

Alicia's Red Onion Recipe
  User Ratings

Posted by Alicia Martines (Asheville, NC) on 07/31/2009

[YEA]  Red Onion. I am from Mexico, and my mother recommended me a red onion home made syrup for nagging coughs.

My first son had a times a cough that would never really go away. My second son was an extremely premature baby and therefore with "weak" immature lungs. I used this homemade syrup after trying everything, including various homeopathic formulas.

The original syrup calls for sugar but I have replaced it with honey or stevia. The onion has to be RED onion and I give it to my children either as lung strengthener or as medicine qwhen they do have a cough or cold.

1 big red onion washed and peeled.
sweetener (brown sugar, stevia, honey)

Cut the onion HORIZONTALLY in slices. Start at the base of the onion. Lay the newly cut base and place base in a bowl. Add a layer of the stevia or honey in here. GO easy as you have many layers to go and the sweetener from the top layers will eventually sip through the bottom layers
Repeat until the whole onion has been cut and reconstructed on the bowl.

Let it rest for at least 15 hrs at room temperature. I do it overnight.
Next day I have a bowl with about half a glass of "syrup". Children like the sweet taste. It doesn't taste like onion at all.

I hope you find this remedy as "miraculous" as I have!

Replied by Mary
Lesburg, Fl

[YEA]   I found your Red Onion recipe for coughs to be very effective.I did however, modify slightly. I took 1/4 of a Red Onion and 1/2 cup of Honey and blended them together into a puree and strained the puree through a wire strainer. It seems to work fine. Another thing that helped stop my cough was to buy a bottle of ____ from my local pharmacy and took as directed.
Replied by Silver Nissan
North Yorkshire, Uk

I have been having a cough for past 6 weeks with varying intensity. To start with it was phlegmy and then turned to a non producing spasmic cough. I have had a course of antibiotics. I was getting fed up with all and then I tried some remedies recommended in EC. Took almond butter with honey, turmeric and honey in warm milk, ginger and honey in warm water, pulped ginger in hot water, thyme leaves in hot water, sugar and honey in layered red onion slices and drinking the juice and finally leaving sliced onion at the bedside table. Now my cough turned into green phlegmy cough. What is the best way to get rid of it? some suggestions, please. Many Thanks, SILVER NISSAN
Replied by Terese
Terranora, Nsw, Australia

Hi, I tried the red onion recipe and whilst I dont cough as much, I still have a crackling sound when I breathe out and feels tight around my chest. I had a cold several weeks ago which cleared up but the cough stayed. I feel ok, started on ACV & baking soda a week ago, mini protocol two days ago, am feeling not as good as a couple of days ago, but I think that is detox going on. Any advice on the chest complaint.
Replied by Gavin
Manganui, Northland, New Zealand

Re the crackling breath... Garlic and cayenne should clear it up in a couple of days. You will cough some stuff up and that should be that.
Replied by Terese
Terranora, Nsw Australia

Hi Gavin, Thanks for the info, how much of the cayenne and garlic do you take? I find that raw garlic gives me indigestion.
Replied by Gavin
Manganui, Northland, New Zealand

Ive been chopping up three cloves of garlic. Same amount of ginger and giving it a fry in the wok just briefly in virgin olive oil.. Then frying a slice of bread then an egg... Then press about a third of a teaspoon of cayenne into the fried bread on a corner.. and putting some egg yoke over it straight away and eating. The ginger has nothing to do with the crackily throut issue but.. The ginger really does act like a cortico steroid without any side effects for stopping back pain... (The actual recipe for backpain is ginger tumeric and cayenne) and need a full week to clear up any pain... but as far as the Throat and lung issue goes The cayenne alone will do it in no time.
Replied by Josey
Las Vegas

[YEA]   I have had a nonproductive cough for about 2 weeks. I tried the red onion and honey this morning and I feel like new! Just a little cough left but not bad at all. Thank you Earthclinic (again! ) and thank you Alicia for the recipe. This is a keeper and I will use it everytime a cough comes up.
Replied by Deborah
Prescott, Az

[YEA]   Fantastic remedy. I made it this week for my husband who had a nagging cough after a week-long illness, and at the same time recommended it to a friend with a 12-year old daughter who had been coughing for 3 weeks.

Both my husband and my friend's daughter a) loved the taste of the recipe and b) had excellent and fast results from it.

My friend actually wrote me the morning after her daughter's first dose; it had been the first night in 3 weeks that both she and her daughter slept through the night due to a complete cessation of coughing. She was absolutely thrilled and continued to give it to her daughter in the days to follow with great results.

Excellent and highly recommended remedy!

Replied by Marion
Las Vegas, Nv

You're not suppose to give infants honey. FYI with love.

  User Ratings

Posted by Nicole (Virginia) on 06/13/2015

[YEA]  My daughter and I both had a bad cold/cough and were driving to the store to buy some remedies to help stop our constant cough. I always keep raw almonds in the car and noticed that once I started snacking on them my coughing immediately stopped. After 10 min I pointed this out to my daughter (who was still coughing) wondering if the almonds were having some affect on my throat or lungs (maybe the fat soothes or coats the throat? not sure). I gave her a handful to eat and her cough also stopped immediately. This is after a few hours of constant coughing. I'd would say it worked faster than a cough drop and the lasting affects were about the same length of time as cough drops...but without all the chemicals, dyes, sugars...

Posted by Adamo (Toronto, Ontario, Canada) on 01/30/2010

[YEA]  Here's something that works for me. For relief of dry coughs, take one teaspoon of organic almond paste or butter. You can add a half teaspoon of honey if you like. Have as often as needed but 3-4 times a day is usually sufficient.

Replied by Kay
In The Valley, Ca

Chrissy, do you have any idea why it works? Did you read about it somewhere, or did you just fall upon it by accident? I'm curious to know. Thanks for sharing!
Replied by Carly
Duluth, Mn, Usa

The almonds are high in magnesium which helps lung function. :)

Anise Seed Tincture for Nonproductive Cough
  User Ratings

Posted by Brigitte (Houston, Texas) on 01/11/2008

[YEA]  re: anise seed tincture for treatment of nonproductive coughs. A nonproductive cough is another name for a dry cough which does nothing to move phlem from the throat and lumgs. This is often a precursor to a more serious ailment like pneumonia. It is of the utmost importance that you remove the excessive phlem from your system. I have found that the best expectorant that I can find is made by placing five tablespoons anise seeds into 1 cup of rum. I take no more than 2 teaspoons of this as needed to induce a cough which allows for the mucus to be removed from the body. A note to nursing mothers who have problems with milk production; a good side affect of anise is that it increases milk production in lactating mothers. I know this for a fact as my last child was born when I was 40 and I had problems producing milk sufficient to meet my child's needs. Be cognisant of the fact that you do not want to over do it with alcohol if you are nursing as this would be counter productive to the health and well being of the child who depends on you for nourishment. I used an anise tea when I was nursing it works well for increasing milk production.

Replied by David
Houston, Texas

On the Anise Seed remedy for cough, it does not state how to use. It only states "the best expectorant that I can find is made by placing five tablespoons anise seeds into 1 cup of rum. I take no more than 2 teaspoons of this as needed to induce a cough which allows for the mucus to be removed from the body."

My question is, do I let the anise soak in the rum for a certain amt of time before then taking the 2 tsp of it as needed? If you could be more specific I'd greatly appreciate it.

Thank you.

Replied by Terri
Boulder, Colorado

To David from Houston. I googled this and the recipe is 5 tablespoons anise seed in one pint of rum. Let it age for two weeks. Is this how you are doing your tincture??

Apple Cider Vinegar
  User Ratings

Posted by Jill (Illinois) on 06/19/2014

[YEA]  I've had a head/chest cold for a week now. I've gone thru about four boxes of kleenex. Last nite I tried 2 Tablespoons of Apple Cider Vinegar and 1 Tablespoon of honey. I stirred it up to dissolve the honey. I choked it down and it was brutal but it seemed to have worked. Probably within in an hour it suppressed the cough. I slept thru the nite. This am I'm coughing so I will try it again. Still gonna take my Mucinex.

Replied by Jill
Illinois, US

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]   This am I went out and bought some cayenne pepper, ground ginger, and buckwheat honey. I mixed it up with ACV to make a cough syrup. It's helping the cough a little bit but my nose stopped running this afternoon. I just took a teaspoon of the honey and then I'll do the syrup before bed.
Replied by Lily
Nashville, TN

[SIDE EFFECTS]   I couldn't eat much when I woke because stomach was sensitive but a little ACV and honey in water made me more nauseous and stopped the cough just a little, but it came back within a 1/2 an hour.

Replied by Jill
Chicago, IL

When I use that concoction it makes me slightly nauseous. I stand for a min debating if I have to make a beeline for the bathroom but I never have. You can take it as often as you want to.

Posted by Mey (Leb) on 02/07/2014

My 4 years old daughter have cold and coughing since three weeks, she is really bad, I visited a lot of doctors and she took a lot of medication, but it ls not stoping, can I try the Apple Cider Vinegar steam for her? Please need answer

Replied by Mama To Many Donate

Tennessee, Usa

Dear Mey,

I am so sorry your little one has been sick with a cough for so long.

I have never tried the vinegar steam. I would worry a bit that it might sting the eyes. Perhaps someone else has tried and would be able to advise on that.

We have dealt with many coughs and I can share some things that work very well.

Garlic Salve is easy to make and works so very well.

Garlic Salve

  • 1/3 c. Coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cloves peeled garlic
  • 5 or so drops of lavender oil

"Pour everything into a blender and mix until smooth. Strain off the bits of garlic, and store the liquid in a wide-mouth glass jar in the fridge. It will solidify as it cools. If your child has super sensitive skin, you might try adding more coconut oil and olive oil.

Apply liberally to the chest, back, and bottoms of feet (covered with socks) at least four times a day, and as often as every couple of hours, as needed. This isn't something that you can overdose on, so don't be afraid to use too much. If it doesn't seem to be working, use more! "

Rachel Weaver, the creator of this recipe, has used this to treat babies with pneumonia. She uses it like an anti-biotic, except it is also anti-viral. (She will say to use it every two hours if you are treating pneumonia. )

If you do not have coconut oil, just substitute more olive oil for the coconut oil. You can skip the lavender if you don't have it. The garlic is the most important thing, it just must be diluted in the olive oil.

We have also used the steam method with just kitchen spices. We boil 2 cups of water and add 1/4 teaspoon of the following: garlic, onion, clove, cinnamon, caraway seeds, thyme and sage. You can leave out something if you do not have it. I put the pot on a chair on a potholder and the child on a couch. I put the rungs of the chair between the pot and child, so they are less likely to get burned. Then I drape a sheet over the child and the chair with the pot. It is a little steam tent. This can be done as often as needed. The spices are helpful in killing germs

You can steam and do the garlic salve if you like. Do avoid dairy while getting over a cough.

I hope your little one is better soon!

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Katherine
Western Slope, CO

[YEA]   AMAZING! I mixed up the coconut oil, olive oil, 9 cloves of garlic, 4 capsules of oregano oil & some tender leaves of lavender and applied to neck, chest and bottoms of feet before bed. I coughed some which woke me, but I did not cough up buckets of phlegm!! I actually slept most of the night; first time in 5 nights!! Thanks Mama to Many, can't wait to pass this on!
Replied by Mama to Many Donate


Dear Katherine,

Thanks for sharing your success story! I have added some oregano to my garlic remedy, but never fresh lavender. Great idea! When I add oregano to the garlic, it smells like pizza, so I call it the pizza treatment! :)

~Mama to Many~

Posted by Yolanda (Texas) on 10/05/2013

[YEA]  Wow, just took the apple cider vinegar with a little lemon and a squeeze of honey and my cough stopped almost immediately. This stuff is really great.

Posted by Jeanette (Houston, Tx, Usa) on 06/04/2013

[YEA]  I've been coughing for almost a year. Tried every cough syrup on the market and even gone to see four different doctors and still no cure. Well, I left for Maryland on May 28, 2013 and found a cure. A young lady there told me to try Organic ACV with the Mother. You can find it at any Whole Foods Market or Sprouts Market. I mixed 1-Tablespoon with 1-16.9 oz of water at room temperature and slowly sipped until all gone and guess what.... Coughing has completely stopped. I guess the right type of ACV makes the world of difference. Give it one more try before giving up.

Posted by Kl (Coughville, Ct) on 04/02/2013

[YEA]  My slight head cold turned into a nasty watery cough. Plus I lost my voice off and on throughout the day. Although I felt completely fine, people at work treated me like I was dying and I knew my coughing was distracting them.

Over the counter medicine did nothing for my congestion - seemingly turning everything into what felt like glue in my sinuses.

After checking out the site, I tried Apple Cider Vinegar (ACV). It really did the trick. However, I wish it didn't taste horrible to me.

I started with 1 Tablespoon ACV, 1 Tablespoon honey, 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, 2 Tablespoons water. Drinking it like a "shot" wasn't so bad, but it didn't seem to keep the cough away very long.

Next, in the evening I tried 2 Tablespoons ACV, 1 Tablespoon honey, in a small glass of warm water. No coughing at all during the night. Woohoo!

At 7am this morning, I took the same 2 Tablespoons ACV with honey in a glass of water. It worked until it seemingly wore off at 11am. Then it felt like I was drowning in phelegm. Thankfully it was (sorry to be gross) now the consistency of saliva I was coughing up. When I was first sicker and not using the ACV, it was a yellow mucus. So I know I'm getting better even when I have to cough a little. I'm just not 100% yet.

Once I got home from work and drank another 2 Tablespoons ACV 1 Tablespoon honey mixture in water, the coughing and "drowning in water" feeling is completely gone.

Posted by Liz (Ojai, Ca) on 01/28/2013

Hello. I have a terrible cough and the flu. The fever broke finally but I am coughing like crazy. I am insulin resisant and should not use honey. Has anyone had success without the use of honey? Is this just used for taste or is there a medicinal purpose for the honey [in the apple cider vinegar cough remedy]?

Replied by Leesha
<3, Ca

Stumbled across this post while doing research. I'm sure you're healthy by now (I hope!! ) but just wanted to mention for future, check out glycemic difference between raw honey and processed ("regular") honey. It's pretty astonishing. Don't know if that's helpful for you, but just in case, wanted to pass it along.

PS. I believe the honey in this recipe is mostly for taste, though in its raw form it does have healing properties.

Posted by Kim (Smalltown, Fl) on 11/26/2012

[YEA]  I was willing to try anything at this time of night (half past midnight). Tried the Apple Cider Vinegarwith honey and warm water. About 20 minutes after drinking it, I coughed up phelm and have not coughed in almost one hour.

Posted by Marbrill (Brooklyn, Ny/usa) on 10/12/2012

[YEA]  Just tried Apple Cider Vinegar, a pinch of cayenne, honey, lemon and hot water. I cannot believe it. It didn't work immediately but now, 10 minutes later, my cough is much calmer and my throat doesn't hurt as much. I am going to make a base of this, and add hot water and sip throughout the day. I'll also take zinc and garlic and I'll report back!

Posted by Akgirl (Kenny Lake, Alaska) on 04/24/2012

[YEA]  I live in a remote area of Alaska so I do not have immediate access to many organic remedies. After suffering from a persistent, wet cough for days, I read everyone's posts here. I decided to try the remedies with simple, store bought ingrediants that I had on hand. 2 teaspoonsApple Cider Vinegar, 2 teaspoonsLemon Juice, 1 tsp Honey in a cup of Green Tea ~ It WORKED! I haven't coughed in several hours now! Thank you so much for the tips!

Posted by Maypeacebewithall (Singapore) on 10/20/2011

[BETTER BUT NOT CURED]  I was coughing real badly until to the point of nearly vomitting. I couldn't sleep at night as the cough kept me awake. I am coughing almost the whole day with maybe around half an hour break in between or less. It's like almost non-stop coughing. I cough till my stomach muscles ache. I was desparate for relief and tried many remedies including those mentioned in Earthclinc like cayenne pepper, putting menthol rub on my soles, etc but all these yield only temporary relief. Yesterday night, I prayed for help in desperation and I suddenly thought of the apple cider vinegar mentioned in Earthclinic. I took 2 teaspoons mixed with water and went to bed and I did not even cough once in the night. I slept through the night soundly! There was still some coughing when I woke up this morning but I am at least 50% better. Thank you, Earthclinic and to the readers who contributed to their experiences!

Posted by Gina Jessica (Paranaque City, Manila) on 07/19/2011

[YEA]  Thank you Earth Clinic for your very helpful and health friendly website. Everytime I have cough I no longer take western medicines since I found this site. The _____s Apple cider vinegar mixed with honey and crushed garlic is very effective to cure cough and colds. Very soothing drink!!!

Replied by Hhk
Washington, Dc

I had bronchitis, laryngitis, and chronic coughing that starts around the evening. I mean nonstop coughing, couldn't sleep, sit, or make it stop, it was very difficult. Doubled my prescription cough medication for help, no effect, the cough persisted.

Fresh out of ACV, had no choice but to try using regular vinegar bought from organic store. Mixed 1cup boiling water, ~1 generous tsp organic honey, ~3tsp vinegar, and drank it like a hot tea. The relief was instantaneous. It made the cough go away. Look forward to drinking more to help my recovery.

P.S. Then I read about the difference between ACV and regular vinegar @