A cough is enough to drive anyone temporarily insane. It can interrupt sleep and be very inconvenient in school or work situations. It can also irritate others around you, so much so that you just want to pull the covers up over your head and stay in bed, but forget about enjoying a nice snooze because that’s just not happening either.
At this point, you’ll do just about anything for relief, but if you’re thinking about heading to the drug store or market, you might want to think again. Keep in mind that not only did an FDA safety advisory panel vote to ban over-the-counter cough medicines for children under age 6, noting that there is no proof those medications were effective, and in some rare cases could cause serious harm, experts have found that they don’t usually work for adults either. In 2006, the American College of Chest Physicians announced that those popular cough medications do little to nothing to actually quiet a cough.
Although manufacturers of those drugs insist they work or no one would buy them, cough studies have found that as many as 40 percent of patients taking placebos reported improvement. Interestingly enough, there doesn’t really seem to be any effective medicine for a cough – and, there has been no new licensed remedy in more than a half-century.
If you’re still tempted to use an over-the-counter cough medicine anyway, you should also know that they come with a number of potential side effects. For example one of the most commonly used cough medicines guaifenesin/dextromethorphan, can result in some rather serious side effects, including but not limited to:
Serious but rare allergic reactions like a rash, itching, swelling, severe dizziness and trouble breathing
While you would probably resort to anything to cure that cough, instead of heading to the store, consider one of these simple natural elixirs you can make right at home – they’re cheaper, more effective and don’t come with harmful side effects.
The elixir that follows combines the healing powers of raw honey with apple cider vinegar and spices to make a powerful, more effective alternative to commercial cough medicines.
Apple cider vinegar alone is a time-honored folk-remedy. Not only can you use it in this recipe, you can dab some on your pillowcase at night just before bed to help reduce that frustrating nighttime cough. The scent helps to soothe and calm the throat so that you’re less likely to cough through the night.
Honey has also long-been used to soothe a sore throat, and researchers have found that it may be a very effective cough suppressant too. The spices not only add a flavorful taste, but offer their own fabulous properties too – for example, cinnamon is considered a warming expectorant, used to reduce congestion and phlegm in the lungs which is especially helpful when you have a cough with a cold.
Cayenne also helps with a cough as it’s an analgesic that reduces the sensation of pain by blocking Substance P, a compound that transmits sensation to the brain. If you’re coughing because your throat tickles or hurts, it can help desensitize the tickling and reduce coughing. The anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals in ginger root help to relieve a sore throat that can often result from all of that coughing, while garlic works its wonders by destroying bacteria present in your throat that helps to reduce cough.
It’s easy to see how this potent natural cough remedy can be so effective! It’s also simple to make, and odds are, you have everything you need in your kitchen right now to make it.
Powerful and spicy cough elixir
- 1 tablespoon raw, organic and unfiltered, apple cider vinegar
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, or 1/4 teaspoon ground
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- A small glass jar with a lid
1. Melt honey by using the double-boiler method. Put it in a small glass bowl and place the bowl into a larger container filled with hot water. Don’t melt it on the stovetop or in the microwave.
2. In your small glass jar, add the apple cider vinegar and water, and then add the cayenne, ginger, cinnamon and garlic. Place the lid on the jar and shake vigorously until well-combined.
3. Add the melted honey to the jar and shake again to combine.
5. When you’re ready to use it, take one to two tablespoons. If you plan to use it up within three days, there is no need to keep the remaining amount refrigerated.
There are also a number of other easy and effective cough remedies if you need something now and you don’t have all of the ingredients for the recipe above.
Grandma’s favorite cough cure
This is a tried-and-true recipe that grandma or great-grandma is probably very familiar with. It’s all natural and combines three potent ingredients: honey, olive oil and lemon juice. It’s great for both adults and kids over the age of 12 months, and can be kept in either the pantry or the refrigerator for later use.
The honey, as mentioned earlier, has been scientifically proven to help suppress a cough. Olive oil, helps to reduce coughing by naturally coating the throat, increasing lubrication and reducing the urge to cough. As it’s an anti-inflammatory, it also relieves cough symptoms by reducing inflammation in the throat, similar to the way that ibuprofen works.
- 1 1/2 cups organic raw honey
- ½ cup organic extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 to 5 organic lemons, juiced (using as many as possible is best)
- Glass jar with a lid
1. Add honey, olive oil and lemon juice to a small pot and stir well.
2. Heat over medium heat, just until steaming, while stirring constantly.
3. Remove from heat and allow the mixture to cool.
4. Once it’s cool, place the mixture into a jar and cover with a lid.
5. Take one tablespoon, warmed, when needed.
Keep in mind that this is best used as soon as you feel a cough coming on.
The following recipe is quite a bit different than the others, but its ingredients come together to produce another potent cough remedy.
The turmeric-ginger elixir serves as an anti-inflammatory that will relieve a cough and a sore throat and is often effective for headaches too.
As mentioned, the anti-inflammatory gingerols and shaogals in ginger root help to relieve a sore throat that can often result from all of that coughing. Its powerful compounds also help to heal the common cold, relieve congestion and naturally reduce fever and pain. Turmeric’s medicinal value comes in thanks to the compound curcumin which serves as an anti-inflammatory agent in addition to possessing antibacterial and anti-viral action. Those properties aid in treating bacterial and viral infections, including coughs and colds. It helps to relieve chest congestion that develops in those who suffer from a chronic cough by getting rid of phlegm.
The black peppercorns in the recipe can provide relief from sinusitis and colds, as well as fighting bacterial infections due to its anti-bacterial properties, while the honey, as mentioned, soothes the throat by coating it and acts as a cough suppressant.
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon ginger root, grated
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed
- 1 teaspoon raw, organic honey
- 1 lemon, juiced
1. Bring water to boiling in a large pot over medium-high heat.
2. Reduce heat to medium and add ginger, turmeric, and crushed peppercorns.
3. Bring mixture to a boil again until the mixture reduces by about half.
4. Strain it into a cup and add honey. Mix well and then drink hot. If serving to a small child (over 12 months of age), be sure that it’s not too hot, lukewarm is okay. You may also want to add a bit more honey and lemon to make it more palatable for little ones.
Hot Cough-Suppressing Herbal Tea
Finally, this magical elixir uses many of the same ingredients as the previous recipes, along with some new ones. It offers potent anti-inflammatory properties to soothe sore and scratchy throats and is also loaded with vitamin C to help strengthen the immune system. The honey adds sweetness along with those important enzymes, antioxidants and anti-bacterial properties that help to soothe the throat and suppress a cough. The almond milk adds body and texture, while thyme and oregano serve to cool the throat. The black peppercorns not only add some kick to this herbal tea, but also work to stimulate mucous flow to get it moving out of your system if you have a cold so that you’ll feel better sooner too.
- 1 bunch oregano
- 1 bunch thyme
- 1” piece ginger, peeled and grated
- 1” piece turmeric, peeled and grated, or 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- 1/4” teaspoon black peppercorns
- 8 cups water
- 1 garlic clove, grated
- 1/4 cup raw organic honey
- 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
- 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1. Using a wooden spoon, lightly hit the oregano and thyme to release oils.
2. Heat the herbs, ginger, turmeric, peppercorns and water in a saucepan to just before boiling. Don’t allow it to boil to allow the mixture to retain its rich nutrient benefits.
3. Reduce temperature to low and allow the mixture to steep for 6 minutes.
4. Add garlic, honey, almond milk, and lime juice, stirring to dissolve honey.
5. Strain into a large heatproof container, pressing on the herbs to