Coughs - Editor's Choice

Over the years, Earth Clinic readers have sent us many reports about their treatments for Coughs. The editors at Earth Clinic consider the below posts to be some of the most helpful and informative and have named them 'Editor's Choice'. We hope that you will find this useful.

Coconut Oil

Posted by Dinee1 (Idaho) on 03/25/2018
5 out of 5 stars

Coconut Oil for Coughing Fit

I have had that dreaded flu for over 10 days that seems to start out as a cold, but it progressively gets worse, with aches, tiredness and then..."the cough". I coughed and coughed until my lower ribs and stomach were sore. I couldn't sleep due to loud, coughing fits.. I tried Oregano, cayenne, Magnesium, ACV, herbal teas, and Elderberry syrup. A little relief but very temporary. I then remembered reading on here about coconut oil. I thought, "Why not. It won't harm."

So being awake at 4 am because of a coughing fit, I went in the kitchen and simply ate a tsp of Virgin coconut oil.

I quieted down right away, and was able to go back to sleep for a few more hours peacefully! So grateful to give my bronchia a rest. Will continue with the CO and hopefully will get me back to 100%...

Coconut Oil
Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 07/07/2017
5 out of 5 stars

A summer cold has been going around the area for a while. Two of my teen sons have had a bad cough from it. Not productive at all but very harsh and irritating to them. They mostly have not felt awful otherwise.

I was treating them with my usual cough remedies and nothing was working to get rid of it though they would have some temporary relief. As usual, the onion by the bed kept them from coughing at night. But as soon as they were up and back working the cough was back too. It didn't help that I was out of town for a week and I don't think they did much to treat the cough other than some vitamin C in the morning.

Finally, two nights ago, I remembered coconut oil.

Coconut oil worked my son's mono in 36 hours when he had been flat on his back for 3 weeks. Coconut oil worked for another son's sinus infection when nothing else did.

I started giving them coconut oil (Just Costco's organic coconut oil, that smells like coconut oil) by the tablespoon full 36 hours ago. I gave it to them twice a day.

Their coughs are so so so much better now. As much as they dislike taking coconut oil they continue to take it because they know it is bringing relief.

Wish I had tried this a couple of weeks ago!

~Mama to Many~

ACV, Cayenne, Honey and Hydration

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 03/07/2017
5 out of 5 stars

I have had a bit of a cough. Last evening it was all of sudden really bad. It was unproductive, constant and causing my throat to hurt from coughing. I realized I probably hadn't had much to drink all evening (which makes mucous in lungs and sinuses thicker) I started to heat up a kettle of water. I immediately drank some cool water with some sodium ascorbate (vitamin C) added. I put a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar, a tablespoon of honey and pinch of cayenne pepper in a mug and added hot water. I added a little ice to make the tea drinkable and started sipping. In less than 10 minutes my cough was calmed.

I had more fluids before bed and didn't cough once during the night. I have had some more of my vinegar-honey-cayenne tea today and my cough is rare.

I have used hot honey and vinegar tea for years but that was the most amazing relief I have ever had from a cough.

~Mama to Many~

Vitamin C, Herbs

Posted by Let It Go (Los Angeles, California) on 01/21/2017 10 posts
5 out of 5 stars

Vit C, herbs for coughs

My son had several bad coughs (bronchitis) within a few months, and colds almost every month, so I started giving him vitamin C daily - usually about 4-5 grams a day in 2-3 doses. He didn't have a cold for 7 months, and so far didn't get any serious cough.

When we did have coughs, we used herbs - I have lots of tinctures I buy from Oregon online store or make my own with brandy (vodka just tastes very bad even in small amounts), and make mixtures using my intuition, but the main ones were wild cherry bark, mullein, Echinacea, Umckaloabo (Pelargonium sidoides), and lobelia. We also used propolis with good results, however it tastes not so good. We would take 2-3 droppers of mixture of several of these. It works within 10-15 minutes, so if it doesn't stop coughing in that time, another dose might be needed. But usually it did and he could go back to sleep at night.

There is another herb, that is very effective, but it tastes bad -like a sap or a paint thinner - lomatium (lomatium dissectum). Once I kicked the cold with it -although I had to take a few more doses every 4 hours to kick it for good. That said, I get one cold a year at the most, so I am not sure it would work for everyone. I take vitamin C and other supplements for other reasons, which I think helps to prevent them.

Mama's Cough Remedies

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 12/22/2016
5 out of 5 stars

A bit of a cold has been going around among friends and family, so I didn't get too excited when my 5 year old was having some cold symptoms, mostly a cough at night. But then, for 2 days he slept most of the day and had a fever, which is not usual for a cold or for him. I was giving him some vitamin C and using a menthol salve for the cough but it wasn't cutting it.

If he didn't have a cold, what did he have? Mono? Strep? Whooping Cough? Bronchitis? Croup? The flu?

Well, whatever it was, it had to be viral or bacterial and I could fight either with garlic, vitamin C and elderberry, so I went full force on treatment.

  • I started giving him a small clove of garlic, crushed, mixed with raw honey four times a day. (Antiviral, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory.)
  • I gave him home made elderberry syrup 3 times a day. (for immune support)
  • I gave him vitamin C every hour or two.
  • I gave him warm baths with 1/2 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup citric acid. (I think this is alkalizing.)
  • I made chicken soup.

The night time cough was the worst. But the mighty onion came to the rescue.

  • I chop one small or 1/2 of a large onion and put it in a bowl near his head. Yes, the room smells strongly by morning but it is the very best for a nighttime cough.

Within 12 hours he was much, much better.

Then two of his brothers started to cough. Well, I figured I would nip that in the bud. I started to give them elderberry syrup. I gave them a couple of doses of garlic. But mostly, I gave them a lot of vitamin C. I can't quite believe how much that helped.

I have been reading a lot about vitamin C, including The Clinic Guide to the Use of Vitamin C. Truly fascinating.

I used Dr. Suzanne Humphries' calculations for how to give large doses of vitamin C (that she uses to neutralize the whooping cough toxin.)

  • Between 200 - 375 mg of vitamin C per kg of child's body weight every 24 hours.

One of my children reached bowel tolerance quickly (diarrhea) so I cut him back.

But I didn't give large amounts at one time. I divided the total by 10 and gave it hourly or so during the day.

I don't know what they had (it wasn't whooping cough though because I was able to way cut back on the vitamin C and the cough didn't return. For whooping cough you have to continue the diligent C protocol for the duration of the illness - 100 days, but supposedly it really makes the illness quite tolerable.)

I used the sodium ascorbate form of vitamin C. 1 part Nutribiotic ascorbic acid powder plus 1/2 part of baking soda to make my own sodium ascorbate.

That's my story and I am sticking to it. :)

~Mama to Many~

Apple Cider Vinegar

Posted by Kazzakazzarooney (London) on 09/21/2016
5 out of 5 stars

As usual when I get a cold, my soar throat, then runny nose turns to a very dry larynx and trachea. The phlegm is so stuck that no amount of coughing will get it up and it is very distressing as it feels harder to breathe. I know I should try not to cough and clear my throat as it will make it more inflamed but it's an instinct. I have got better at that. I don't get much sleep as it feels like someone is strangling me and so with not much sleep, all the fear and the coughing, I feel complexity drained. This post viral cough, with inflammation, tightness etc usually last for weeks so I dread the autumn and winter.

I am really into self help and have tried many home remedies and foods - apples, cucumbers and grapefruits being a help but only to a certain degree. I've done all the other things that are well known and seen so many health practitioners about this. Nothing has worked that well.

If you have a chesty cough with catarrh a very effective way to loosen it is mullein leaf tincture. Far and beyond better than any thing I have tried. For this cold it isn't chesty so I haven't tried ACV yet!

Then yesterday I came across this great website and read with amazement all the positive reviews. So I mixed up a drink of 1tbsp ACV (organic with the mother) and 1tbsp of homey in 1/2 glass of warm water. It taste a bit like warm cider. The feeling got fractionally better. Then again later I tired and I coughed up a little for the first time but it still felt pretty bad. Then just before bed I took again and lay straight down - suddenly a lot of productive coughing and then after a long while I actually got some sleep!!! I should have taken it an hour before bed because then the coughing would have been over with!

This morning I woke up and actually coughed so much up which never usually happens. I will carry on taking it.

The biggest frustration is why on earth do doctors not know about this almost miracle cure- think how much suffering they could prevent. Not only does it work but finally I can have peace of mind and heart that there is actually something that will help in the future. For pain you can take a tablet, for asthma an inhaler but until finding this.... - they can send men to the moon but a common and distressing affliction like this - no main stream health professional seems to know the answers!! Please spread the word!

Flaxseed Tea

Posted by Myway (Delaware, Usa) on 02/19/2015
5 out of 5 stars

Last night I got up and was having a pretty bad coughing spell and fortunately had taken note last week of a boiled flaxseed remedy I thought may be helpful for these spells. Even though I could have taken a 1/2 tsp dose of black seed oil (nigella sativa) to quiet me down, at 1 a.m. in the morning, I wanted to try this flaxseed remedy. Here is what I did.


- 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds

- 8 ounces of water

- 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

- 2 tablespoons of honey


In a small sauce pan, boil the water with the flaxseeds. This rolling boil eventually will help the flaxseeds go into a gelatinous state. Once thickened (it happens pretty quick), take off the burner and strain the best you can. This mixture was so thick, it reminded me of a jelly fish. Ultimately, I had to manually take out most of the leftover flaxseeds with a spoon. Anyway, you should have several spoonful doses of thick, hot flaxseed gelatin stuff. Mix in the lemon juice and honey. Stir. While still warmed, drink a couple sips of this mixture. You should have at least a couple doses in the cup. Save the rest for later as needed. This remedy was effective within 10 minutes. The tickle in my throat went away, and I slept for 5 solid hours after that. WoW! In the spirit of keeping remedies simple, I hope this remedy finds it's way to the masses of people searching for relief.

Colloidal Silver

Posted by Nai (Atlanta, Ga) on 02/07/2012
5 out of 5 stars

I had a very bad dry and tickly cough that didn't seem to go away (for more than a week). I tried every natural remedies possible, ACV with honey, ACV gargle, inhalation, eucalyptus etc... and nothing worked.

The only thing that did finally work was a deep gargle with Colloidal Silver. I did gargle with the solution then laid on the bed with my head on the edge of the bed so that the solution can reach the back of my throat. I kept the solution in my mouth for 6 minutes and then I slowly swallowed the solution.

I repeated the treatment 3 times since last night and after 12 hours only, I am already feeling extremely better. I just learned that dry coughs that last are usually caused by bacteria so unless you kill the bacteria, you are going to cough forever. Colloidal Silver kills them in just minutes. I pray this will help someone feel better.

Flaxseed Tea

Posted by Grannyguru (Oro Valley, Az, Usa) on 03/21/2010
5 out of 5 stars

Flaxseed tea cures those awful coughing spasms that won't stop until you gag. It stops them whether they are from a bad cold, or from other reasons, including the cough that comes from taking medicines for high blood pressure.

I got this from my doctor many years ago when I was pregnant and got a bad cold with a cough that wouldn't go away and would make me cough so hard my doctor was afraid I was going to lose the baby.

He was emphatic that I should only use whole flaxseed. Why, I have no idea. But he said it was something I could use as much as I wanted, because it had no bad side effects.

I gave this recipe to a friend who was coughing continuously from taking medicine for high blood pressure and then developed bronchitis where the cough just hung on and would not stop until she gagged, then would start again. Before she got the cold she complained about the constant hacking cough from the medicine to both her doctor and her pharmacist and both insisted there was NOTHING that could get rid of it, and she'd just have to learn to live with it.

She tried the flaxseed tea and the cough was almost immediately stopped, so she could get some sleep. She used it to stop the coughing for a day or two, and it COMPLETELY GOT RID OF THE COUGH. Even the cough that she had had from the high blood pressure medicine.

I've discovered that for the cough from the medicine you have to take it for a couple of days or so, and then the cough is gone...for months. If you keep taking the blood pressure medicine, then the cough will gradually come back (people describe an itch or tickle in their throat that starts it).. but once you again take the flax seed tea the cough goes away again... again for months.

With colds it works best with coughs after you have had the cold for a couple of days. That dry hacking cough that makes you cough and cough and cough until finally you gag.

Of course if you take vitamin c and other remedies when the cold starts, you may never need flaxseed tea.

But if you've ever had a cough like that, the tea is amazing.

You put about a tablespoon or so of whole dark brown flaxseeds (for some reason golden seeds do not work anywhere near as well) into 2 cups of water and boil it until it just begins to thicken. It will seem to take forever, then suddenly it thickens quickly, so the minute you notice it thickening, remove it from the heat.

Add lemon juice or vitamin c and sweetener, like grade b maple syrup, or even just sugar. Drink. I found I did not like it when it was thickened, but I could put it in a thermos and keep it by my bed, and it would break down into just a soothing liquid, but would work just as good as the thick syrup I didn't like.

And of course if you add honey and vitamin c it tastes like apple juice.

I put it out here because I realized a lot of people are being told there is NOTHING that can help the cough they get from taking high blood pressure medicine. Seems to me just the constant coughing is going to raise your blood pressure. In any case, it is not true that nothing can help that cough. Cough drops may seem to help but in the end they just make it worse and pretty soon you are always sucking on a cough drop, but coughing more and more. Flaxseed tea works immediately to stop the coughing, and then works to take the cough away...for months. Plus my doctor said back then that there was nothing that could hurt me ...or my unborn child.

So I thought I'd mention it here.


Posted by Alicia (Asheville, NC) on 07/31/2009
5 out of 5 stars

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!