Four Ways to Use Garlic for a Cough

| Modified on Feb 06, 2024

An inexpensive natural remedy for a cough is garlic! This simple but strong food helps reduce coughing as well as fighting the bacteria or virus that is causing the cough. Garlic can be used a number of different ways to heal you cough and can be used internally or externally.  Use garlic as often as you like but at least every 4 hours to help get rid of your cough.

Garlic Oil

Garlic oil is used externally on the back and/or chest. This oil penetrates the skin to the lungs and is also inhaled as you breathe.  Unless you love the smell of garlic, this remedy may seem very strong. But it is safe with little risk of side effects and very helpful even when other remedies do not seem to be working.

Quick Garlic Oil

  • Mince 4 cloves of garlic and put them in a shallow pan.  Add 4 tablespoons of olive oil or coconut oil. Heat the garlic carefully. You do not want to brown it or cook it. Maintain gentle heat for 30 minutes. Strain out the garlic. Use the oil as needed. This will stay fresh in your refrigerator for 2 weeks.

Garlic Oil – Slow Method

  • To make a very powerful garlic oil, mince up the cloves from a bulb of garlic and place in a jar. Cover completely with olive oil.  Let the garlic and olive oil sit for 10 days on your counter. Strain out the garlic. While the oil will be fine on the counter for a few days, when you cough is better, store you oil in the refrigerator until the next time you need it. Mark the date on it and discard after 6 months.

Garlic Tea

Mince one clove of garlic and put it in a mug.  Allow it to sit for 15 minutes so the allicin will develop.  Pour very hot water over your garlic.  Strain our garlic out after 15 minutes. (Or leave it in if you like!) Sweeten with honey if desired.

Garlic Toast

Mince one clove of garlic. Allow it to sit for 15 minutes (to allow the allicin to develop), then spread it onto toast with honey, coconut oil or butter.

Garlic Soup

Make any water or broth based soup and add one or two cloves of minced garlic to your soup. Other healing herbs to add to your soup include onion, thyme, basil, oregano and cayenne pepper.

Have you tried garlic for a cough? Please send us some feedback!

11 User Reviews

Posted by Rob (Kentucky) on 04/08/2018

Mexican Garlic Tea Recipe calls for:

  • 1 pint mason jar

  • one garlic clove grated

  • one inch ginger root grated

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder

Place all ingredient into mason jar. Add boiling water and steep for 20 minutes. Strain pulp. Add honey to taste. Drink 3x/daily. Useful for cough, cold, flu, bronchitis and hayfever.

Replied by Marsha


Can I use minced garlic or is regular garlic better?


Not sure... this recipe was given to me by javier (from mexico). He and I always use fresh cloves. You can try minced and see if it works. Not sure if that pre-miced garlic in a jar has any medical value or sulfide chemicals left in it. If not, get fresh.

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 02/07/2014

Replying 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

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. You cannot overdose on this, 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)

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

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~

Replied by Camille

How long does this recipe last before it goes bad?

Posted by Leslie (Jamestown, NC) on 10/09/2008

I used garlic oil as a cough remedy, and it did not work. I soaked garlic in olive oil for 30 minutes, and then brushed the oil on my feet. I put socks on and went to bed. It did not help my cough at all, and it made me extremely thirsty the whole next day.

Replied by Matt
(Los Angeles, Ca, Usa)

You need to let the garlic sit a couple days before its effective. What I do to speed the process up is put the garlic and oil in a blender for a minute then you can use immediately or I let it sit letting all the pieces and sediment settle at the bottom of a jar then use an eye dropper to suck out the amount of oil I need. You should also refrigerate as well as put in a dark bottle to increase shelf life. Oil I like best is sunflower seed oil.

Replied by Aginto
(Toronto, On)

Please be careful about mixing garlic and oil together to let sit for long periods. You can get botulism from that. Always crush your garlic with the flat side of your chopping knife and let it sit for 5 minutes before chopping any further or cooking with it. This increases the Allicin.

Replied by Lana

Dude, the garlic oil is not made in 30 minutes from one bulb 😂 You basically just brushed oil on your feet. Read the instructions before commenting.

Posted by T.S.Rajah (Wimbledon, UK) on 12/07/2007

Take 250ml water, one medium crushed galic bulb and 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder. Boil this mixture and reduce it to half. Add some honey and drink while warm sip by sip. It is a useful remedy for chronic cough.

Posted by Judy (Seattle, Washington) on 03/31/2007

My Dr. suggested adding 1 minced garlic clove to 1 tablespoon UNpetroleum jelly...apply to bottome of feet, wrap in plastic bag then put on socks...over night. This helped the bronchitis problems we were having. 1 night and I am much better

Posted by Nancy (Kingston, NY) on 10/26/2006

For the past month or so I have had a horrendous cough with watery eyes, sinus drip and tickling in my lungs. The coughs were sounding real bad - like honking almost. I did a search on the net and figured I would try the garlic before going to the doctor (fearing of course TB or cancer etc...) Well - after only 48 hours of chewing a piece of elephant garlic as soon as the tickling began -- the cough has greatly reduced!! This morning the tickling moved from one lung to the other -- and I'm still chasing it with the garlic. I have had Lymes twice and whatever this infection is - reminds me of Lymes in the way it seems to move around inside the body. Whatever this is can't escape the wonderful garlic fumes. I even dropped a few slices in my wine last night. IT WORKS!!! Thank you so much.

Posted by James (New Orleans) on 03/12/2006

I didn't boil the garlic . I've read over and over that heat destroys the allicin. Anyway , I simply use a garlic press . It's a lot easier than chopping. I take it straight and chase it with lots of water . You can ball the pressed garlic up into a wad and take it like a pill. I was able to sleep last night without waking due to coughing. I took two medium sized cloves

Posted by Anonymous (Alabama)

I had a nagging cough for a long, long time. I drank the Garlic Tea and within two days I had stopped coughing almost altogether. I have given this remedy to a lot of my friends. Thank you so much. It really works!!

Posted by Yakal (Philippines)

The tea was great. It helped me from my misery. It helped me solve my problems. It also helped my friends:Charmelle and Zandro. Also try putting SUGAR. Thank you very much!

Posted by Earth Clinic (USA)

Marco, a well known soux chef in Santa Monica, California, gave us this simple soup recipe for nagging coughs. This is an old Mexican recipe from Marco's mother that aided him and his siblings' flu/cold recovery process.


Cut a garlic cube into quarters and add to two 2 quarts of H2O. Boil on low flame for at least one hour. Strain and sip slowly. Believe or not, this warm garlic soup has a very pleasant taste!

The good news is that garlic kills off bacteria in the body. The bad news is that it also kills off the friendly bacteria. Thus - women especially - make sure you take acidophilus after consuming garlic soup, otherwise a yeast infection (aka candida) may ensue.

Click here to see all books on the healing properties of garlic.

Posted by Susan (Miami, Florida)

By accident I was told that raw garlic was good for slimming so I went and bought some garlic, at the time I had a chronic cough, and it silence my cough all night, but I didn't not like the taste, So I will make garlic tea, or Soup sounds like a more tasty idea, thanks for the advice.