Four Ways to Use Honey for a Cough

| Modified on Feb 06, 2024

Honey, used as a natural remedy for a cough, is not only delicious, it is quite effective! Honey can be used several ways to achieve results. Honey fights bacteria and viruses, in addition to its soothing properties.

Note: Children under one year of age should not use honey for a cough due to the risk of botulism.

Straight Honey

Honey can be taken straight off the spoon to relieve a cough. Adding a sprinkle of black pepper can even increase the strength of this remedy.

Honey Tea

Mix 1 tablespoon of honey into a mug of hot water to make a soothing tea. Sprinkle with cinnamon or add a splash of lemon if you like. Cinnamon and lemon are also helpful to a cough.

Honey Chest Rub

While many are familiar with menthol chest rubs for a cough, honey can be used as well. Gently massage honey into the back and/or chest. Cover with a towel and wash off in the morning.

Honey with Coffee

Hot black coffee has a bronchodialating effect. Honey can be added to black coffee to sweeten, then you have the power of both remedies.

What Kind of Honey Should I Use?

The very best honey is local raw honey packaged in mason jars. You can often find some in small local or at farmer's markets. It will be worth the effort to pick some up to have on hand for medicinal use. Honey keeps indefinitely. If it begins to crystallize, put your jar in some hot water and it will become smooth again.

If you cannot get raw and local, look for raw honey. Because plastic may reduce the effectiveness of honey, look for honey in jars.

However, even regular honey found at grocery stores in plastic containers does have healing benefits and would be worth your while to try!

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

9 User Reviews

Posted by Bodulica (Barrie, Canada) on 10/19/2018

Honey is great for coughs, but every beekeeper with some knowledge will tell you that honey loses almost all healing abilities if heated to the temperature higher than 104 F (40 C). So, never put honey in hot water, because you're left with sugar only.

Posted by Mama To Many (Tn) on 06/07/2017

My 15 year old daughter had a cough and it was keeping her from falling asleep. She asked me what she could take. I suggested a spoonful of honey. She was skeptical but tried it anyway. The next morning she reported that she didn't cough again after taking the honey! It was not a severe cough; usually honey isn't enough to stop that, but for a mild but irritating cough it was perfect.

Posted by Ladyblade (Milwaukee, Wi) on 07/26/2016

For over three years I suffered from a back-breaking, here-comes-my-lung cough. Doctors couldn't give me any relief or even find a cause. After reading the results of a double-blind study, I started putting a spoonful honey in my regular morning coffee. It's been about a month and today I realized I have been sleeping through the night without the cough waking me. Given the duration and intensity of my cough, I feel like I have a new lease on life!

Posted by Angel (Salisbury, Md) on 01/23/2009

I used about 3 or 4 tablespoons of honey as a remedy for a cough and it worked amazing!!! No cough,no side-effects no nothing!!!

Posted by Ani (Ontario, Canada) on 11/26/2008

This remedy is especially good for kids but works for adults as well. It is mainly for coughs due to colds (not pneumonia or bronchitis - those require antibiotics). The honey is to be gently warmed so it's easier to spread on the chest, rub on chest like you would Vicks, and cover with cloth or towel. Best done at bed time so that you are laying down and not moving too much. Remove in morning. The honey causes the cough to ripen much quicker and releases all the mucous built up in the chest so you can expel it. It will not make you cough LESS, it will just allow your body to release the mucous quicker and hence get over the cough much faster. You can repeat the honey procedure every night until cured. My family has used this remedy for many years. Reminder, this is not like a cough syrup which simply suppresses your urge to cough. This is a method that allows enables your body to heal faster by expediting the process.

EC: Thanks for more great remedies, Ani!

Note to readers - Ani is the author of the popular egg whites for fever remedy!

Posted by Danka (Boston, Ma) on 03/15/2008

This always get rid of my cough: 1 tsp of honey 1/2 tsp of ground coffee mix it and eat it, best would be espresso or some other dark fine ground coffee.I hope it helps.

Posted by Michael (Coatesville, PA) on 05/15/2006

I had terrible chest congestion; nagging dry cough, wheezing, ran short of breath just talking, laughing hurt! A friend at work suggested a tablespoon of honey sprinkled with black pepper. I was amazed! I could feel the improvement within minutes! Within a day and a half my problem, which I was living with for a week was completely gone!

Posted by Larry (Rancho Cordova, CA) on 03/12/2006

I used raw uncooked unfiltered honey on a watered down cotton swab as far back as possible in each nostril. alleluya!!i am a 51 year old male and get a yearly cough during the winter months that can last 1 to 3 weeks. sometimes it is bacterial with greenies at the start but most of the duration after that is just the clear sinus dranage that goes on for days after and some may be due to allergies of spring. this cough is the kind that is most severe in the nightime hours. the logic i used is that the cough was more of a gag reflex from the nasal drip and i thought if i good change the chemistry of the nasal drip closer to the source befor it reached my throat it may work plus the aromatic qualities being as close to the source may help. i also wanted something that would last . i figured it is almost as thick as vick's vapo rub so vhala miraculous discovery. the night i used a small amount it lasted about 2-3 hours so i got up and put more on the second dose. the 2nd-3rd night i used a healthy size swab dose at 10-30pm and slept till 6am by the fourth day i stopped and the cough was gone. unreal!!!!!!! at first appox 5-10 minutes it feels slightly irratible but no more than water from a swimming pool going up your nose. it worked for me but i am not recomending it to anyone, but please please if you try it let me know how it worked best of health to all

Posted by Ginger (Missouri) on 10/22/2005

For a cough:

  • one cup of hot water
  • one tablespoon of pure honey
  • mix them both together makes one cup

Drink with a slice of toast with apple butter. This really works, sounds weird but it helps.