Fast and Effective Natural Remedies for Cough

| Modified on Feb 06, 2024
Cough Natural Remedies

Natural remedies for a cough include many items you may already have in your kitchen, including apple cider vinegar, garlic, onion, and flax seed. These home treatments are not only inexpensive, but they also work very well! Other remarkable cures for a cough include supplements like vitamins C and D.

A cough can have many different causes. Coughing may be a symptom of:

  • A cold or flu virus
  • Secondary bacterial infection
  • allergies or asthma.
  • It can be caused by a very serious disease like whooping cough or tuberculosis.
  • Mold in the home or systemic fungal infection.

Fortunately, with natural cough remedies, you do not necessarily need to know the exact cause of your cough. Many of these remedies work very well for various types of cough. However, if your cough has lasted a long time or is getting worse instead of better despite treatment, it would be wise to seek a medical opinion.

Natural Remedies for Coughs


One of the most important things to do when you cough is to stay hydrated. This will help keep any mucous thin.

Dairy products are not a good source of hydration when you have a cough. Dairy products and milk tend to make mucous production worse. Consider a milk substitute during a cold or flu if you need "milk." Almond milk is a delicious alternative and can even be used in coffee instead of cream.

Hot tea is an excellent way to stay hydrated when you have a cough. Not only is hot tea soothing, but many types of hot tea also have healing properties for a cough.

Coconut Oil

A teaspoon of coconut oil taken can alleviate a cough fit fast. Coconut oil soothes irritated bronchial passages and is anti-bacterial.

What Tea is Good for Cough and Congestion?

Five teas that help loosen phlegm and soothe an irritating cough are:

Apple Cider Vinegar and Honey Tea

Apple cider vinegar or honey alone make great cough remedies. Putting them together in a tea will give you a delicious and powerful cough remedy.

Add one tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and one tablespoon of raw honey to a mug and add hot water. A pinch of cayenne or a dash of hot sauce will add a kick to the tea and may even kick your cough out!

Black Tea

Regular black tea, sweetened with honey, is another excellent cough tea. If you prefer this tea iced, that is fine, too. Do not sweeten with artificial sweetener, though, as it has been linked to coughing for some!

Mullein Tea

Mullein tea bags, found at your health food store or large grocery stores, is an excellent remedy for a cough. This mild tea is easy to drink. If you desire a sweetener, again, use honey. Peppermint is also a lovely addition to this tea.

Ginger–Lemon Tea

Fresh lemon and fresh ginger make an excellent and tasty (albeit a bit spicy!) tea. Add one teaspoon of grated fresh ginger to a mug. Pour hot water over your ginger. After 10 minutes, remove the ginger (or leave it in if you don't mind it!) Add one tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Add honey or raw sugar to sweeten your tea. If you do not have fresh lemon and ginger, by all means, try dry ginger and bottled lemon juice. They may be less effective but will still be helpful.

Flaxseed Tea

Pour 1 cup boiling water over one tablespoon of flaxseed. After 15 minutes, strain out the flaxseed. Sweeten if desired. You can also add a bit of vanilla, cinnamon, or lemon juice for flavor.

Home Remedies for a Cough

Garlic and Onion

Let food be thy cough medicine. Garlic and onions are two potent foods that have helped people with coughs worldwide for centuries. Consuming garlic or onion raw will benefit the most, although adding them to a soup will also bring healing.

Make up a fresh green salad and add some raw onion and garlic. Use olive oil and apple cider vinegar seasoned with sea salt and cayenne pepper to dress your salad. This salad includes four great foods that help a cough, all in one meal!

Chicken Soup Recipe for a Cough

  • 1 quart homemade (or organic store-bought) chicken broth
  • Three cloves garlic minced (or ¾ teaspoon garlic powder)
  • ¼ cup minced onion (or one teaspoon dried onion)
  • One teaspoon sage
  • ½ teaspoon thyme
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • One teaspoon salt (unless your broth already has salt)
  • ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine the ingredients and bring them to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Eat this healing broth with crackers as a soup, or enjoy it in a mug as a savory warm drink. Add 1/2 cup of cooked chicken pieces and 1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta for a heartier soup. (You can cook the rice or pasta in the soup while it is simmering; it will take longer.)

You can also use onions and garlic for a cough without even consuming them.

Raw Chopped Onion

If you are plagued by a non-stop cough that will not let you sleep, cut up one onion and place it in a bowl by your bedside. Usually, this will stop a very stubborn cough. You can even nibble on a bite or two of onion during the night.

Garlic Oil

Mince up four garlic cloves and put them in a small saucepan. Add ¼ cup olive oil. Heat the oil lightly, just enough to thoroughly warm but do not saute the garlic. Maintain the light heat for 30 minutes. Strain out the garlic. Use the resulting garlic oil to massage your back or chest. Repeat as needed.


Chocolate can help a cough! For best results, use dark chocolate instead of a regular candy bar. Or try this hot chocolate drink with multiple remedies blended into one to soothe your cough.

  • 1 cup warm almond milk
  • Two teaspoons of raw cacao powder
  • Two teaspoons honey
  • One teaspoon of coconut oil
  • One teaspoon butter
  • pinch of cinnamon

Blend in a blender and enjoy!

Healing Baths for a Cough

Add ½ cup of baking soda, ½ cup of Epsom salt, and two drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a tub of warm water.

Soak for 20-30 minutes. If you only have one or two ingredients, try the bath anyway.

Each has the potential to relieve your cough and make you feel better for a while.

Supplements for a Cough

The above remedies have the potential to bring relief to an acute cough. Used faithfully, they can cure many coughs as well. However, if your cough is a result of an infection, you can add other supplements that will help to get you back to yourself more quickly:

  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Grapefruit Seed Extract
  • Oregano Oil

Do you have a natural cough remedy? Please send us some feedback! Or continue reading below for reader-reported cough remedies.

Related Links:

Chronic Cough Remedies
Cough Remedies for Kids

ACV, Cayenne, Honey and Hydration

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 03/07/2017

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~

ACV, Raw Honey and Cinnamon

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Dana (Richmond, Va) on 03/10/2017

My daughter had a bad cough due to the flu which was keeping her up and causing her throat to hurt. Found your site because I wanted to treat her naturally. The ACV, raw honey, cinnamon in warm water helped (I added lemon). It is not an instant cure but she was able to get some rest. Will continue to prepare this and drink it. Thanks


3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

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

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...

Replied by Sandra
(Los Angeles, CA)

I came to earth clinic to see if anyone else had this experience, as the SAME thing happened to my daughter and me this weekend. I tried raw almonds for my cough by accident. It even cured the cough. It was Immediate...Instant. The cough never came back. It went from severe to 0 in one swoop.

It did the same for my daughter...miracle!


Hi, How much raw almonds did you give to your daughter? Were the almonds soaked? Did she eat it first thing in the morning or before sleep? Thank you

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

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)

Adamo, 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

3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee) on 02/13/2016

I read about the Anise Tincture here at Earth Clinic. (Brigitte's recipe.) I made some up a few months ago to have on hand. We had a cough come through this week and I had the opportunity to try it.

When my 4 year old had a coughing fit, I gave him 1/2 teaspoon of the tincture in a couple of ounces of water and it helped him a lot! I gave a dose to anyone who was coughing at bedtime and it seemed to keep the nighttime cough (when it tends to be worse) at bay quite well.

I did use other cough remedies (homemade chest salve and essential oils on the bottom of the feet) that worked well too, but those were not new remedies to me. I love to find something new that works!

  • 5 Tablespoons of Anise Seed
  • 1 cup of rum
  • Put both in a canning jar and leave in a cool dark place for 2-6 weeks. Strain out the anise seeds through a coffee filter. This tincture will keep for years.

I gave middle sized children 1/2 teaspoon of tincture in 2 ounces of water.

If I still had toddlers I would use 1/4 teaspoon in 1 ounce of water.

For adults I would use 1 teaspoon (2 for a large adult) in 3 ounces of water.

It tastes like licorice. :)

~Mama to Many~

Anise Seed
Posted by Ed2010 (Canada) on 10/15/2013

If you have a severe cough, dry cough, or wet cough, make Star Anise seed tea and drink once an hour. Maybe 3 or 4 times a day.

Before I was using Flax Seed Tea, but star anise seed tea works even faster and easy to make than Flax Seed Tea. Make sure you treat for your underlying cause as well bronchitis, allergies, mold, lung infection, copd.

To Make Star Anise Tea

  • Boil 300 ml of water add 5 Star Anise Seeds.
  • Boil for 10 mins in medium heat.
  • Add 2 or 3 drops of Eucalyptus Oil.

When it is drinking hot, add honey or other sweetner.

Drink it once an hour till your cough subsides. Usually it works in 1 tea.

Honey and Eucalyptus Oil are optional.

Star Anise Seeds and Anise Seeds both are same.

You can get Star Anise Seeds in Desi Stores, but it is availabe in most of the stores.

The best part is it is very tasty and children will like it.

Please give feedback if it worked for you.

Good Health

Replied by Ritu
(Houston, Tx)

Just to clarify. Star anise and anise seeds are different things. Anise seeds being talked about in the above two posts are also known as fennel seeds while star anise is a spice.

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

Re: Anise seed tincture for treatment of nonproductive coughs.

A nonproductive cough is another name for a dry cough which does nothing to move phlegm from the throat and lungs. 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. (Allow seeds to soak in rum for 2 weeks and then strain out the seeds. The anise infused rum will last for a long time.)

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.

Apple Cider Vinegar, Baking Soda

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Robert (Manila, Luzon, Philippines) on 01/11/2012

I started ACV with Sodium Bicarbonate yesterday at ten am. I took a dose in the middle of the afternoon and then before I dined. I am happy to report that last night was the first night that I slept most of the night in years. Only woke one time with a minor cough, a shot of water and I was off to sleep again. I am glad I found this site. Thanks Ted.

I contionued this regime today and hopefully will sleep well tonight. Had a few coughing spells today but not as bad as before the ACV.

I did not have the courage to drop the other meds my doctor has me on. I will eventually drop them if I keep having this level of energy and the reduction in coughing. Thanks Ted for your write up.

Baking Soda Steam

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Rana (Abu Dhabi, Uae) on 12/25/2009

Baking Soda inhalation for dry cough

This is the most quick relief remedy for dry cough.

Boil a cup of water then take it on the side and keep your face far and add a teaspoon of baking soda, cover your head with a towel and place it over the B.s and water and open largly your mouth and inhale as long as you can. Directly you will cough out phlegms.

Carbon Monoxide Connection

1 User Review
5 star (1) 

Posted by Tamara (Fort Collins, Colorado) on 01/05/2010


Dangerous Cough Cause:

Do you have a carbon monoxide detector? Is it working? About a month ago a friend of mine had a 3 week cough that was getting worse and started sounding like it could've been pneumonia. Then, one day her landlord came over to check the furnace and found it was breaking down. They measured the carbon monoxide levels and found they were nearly fatal. After replacing the furnace with a new one and installing a CO2 level detector she was immediately better! No coughing and her roommate felt better after suffering from persistant cold and flu-like symptoms. Please check your CO2 and radon levels, since radon causes lung disorders as well.

EC: Great point, Tamara. About five years ago my next door neighbor in Los Angeles got carbon monoxide poisoning from an old furnace in her unitthat had not been checked in years. Shestarting feeling deathly ill andcoughing up some nasty black soot before realizing itmight becarbon monoxide poisoning.The landlord ignored her calls, but the gas company came immediately and discovered a bad leak. A few more nights of that and she would have died.



3 User Reviews
5 star (3) 

Posted by Nicole (Chantilly, Va) on 01/04/2017

Feeling persistent cough and tickle in my throat, my hot tea was no longer cutting it. So I added several dashes of cayenne pepper to my tea and instantly my cough stopped. My throat felt mild heat at first and then quickly became very soothed after just a few sips. And the taste wasn't that bad actually. After a couple minutes I barely noticed the cayenne in my taste buds seem to adjust.

Posted by Denise (Atlanta, GA) on 09/20/2008

I was up night with a horrible cough. So my throat was on fire this morning. I mixed a little cayenne with Apple Cider Vinegar and warm water. And what can I say it works its a beautiful day out side and I am on my way to enjoy it.

Posted by Samantha (Portland, Oregon) on 10/17/2007

I found cayenne a great cure for pretty much everything some time ago. It wasnt long ago that I came down with a bad sinus infection, cough, and fatigue. I decided to boil water on the stove, and add cayenne (open 3 capsules and pour them in), crushed garlic (4 cloves), half an onion, and grated ginger. THIS COMBINATION IS AMAZING. It is SO powerful. The most vital ingredients are the cayenne and garlic, but the onion and ginger are also very helpful. Make sure and boil everything until the onion is mushy and the garlic is too. Keep a lid on, but every so often inhale the steam from the boiling remedy.. very soothing! Pour it into a glass and drink the whole thing. It is very potent, so what I do is add honey to it and it really tastes like liquid food- like a soup base or something.

Another remedy that I use is cayenne tea- just put a tea bag of your favorite tea in boiling water, and add a capsule of cayenne & some honey. Since I have been using cayenne in tea, and orally, and drinking the onion ginger garlic tincture, I rarely get sick.. When I do, I can kick it within 3 days maximum. Cayenne is also extremely helpful for menstrual cramps.


4 User Reviews
5 star (4) 

Posted by Vetta (Northeast, Usa) on 12/14/2011

Faster than anything I've ever tried: One glass water (8-10 oz. ) drunk all at once. This thins the phlegm. Then one small plain chocolate bar, about 2-3 inches, like a "fun size" for halloween. Cough disappeared instantly for 3 hours. Had to repeat during the night, but fell back asleep right away with no coughing!

I suggest using plain chocolate (like Hersheys) without anything added to it.

The British have been researching this since 2004. Lots on Google. Works so well!

Posted by Cleoppa (Cleburne, Tx) on 08/28/2010

Chocolate is amazing for coughs. Research has shown it's even better than cough syrup. Not so good is sugar. When I'm getting sick, I take pure chocolate. I don't think it necessarily helps me recover from my cold or flu quicker in itself. However, having a peaceful night where I can breathe easily definitely helps me recover quicker. I have tried many types of unsugared chocolate. All are gross. Sometimes I use baking squares. Sometimes I mix chocolate powder in water. Sometimes I eat cacao nibs. I think perhaps the most effective (and this may have to do with how much I can stand) is the baking squares.