Our Favorite Homemade Cough Remedies

Date: January 10, 2017      Publication: Bottom Line's Household Magic      Source:  Joan Wilen & Lydia Wilen      Print:

Did you know that most coughs are caused by viruses that ignore antibiotic medicines prescribed by your doctor? Store-bought drugs quell the hacking until your body can do its healing work…but why spend the extra cash on fancy packaging and dangerous additives? Here are three homemade cough remedies….

Homemade nighttime cough medicine: A cough is nature’s way of helping us loosen and get rid of mucus that’s congesting our system, but you need your rest! Here’s a natural remedy to soothe the noise for a good night’s sleep…In a small saucepan, combine the juice of half a lemon, one-half cup of honey and one-quarter cup of olive oil (any kind is fine), and cook for five minutes over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. Let the mixture cool slightly, then take one teaspoon every two hours, especially leading up to bedtime.

Quick cough stopper: Quarter a fresh lemon, sprinkle it with lots of black pepper and salt, and suck on it for quick relief. Black pepper stimulates circulation and the flow of mucus…salt and lemon are natural germ fighters. This works best for coughs due to colds, not dry coughs from smoking or irritants.


Thanks to Kitchen Cabinet Cures by Sara Altshul with Dr. Pamela Hops.

Two-ingredient lingering cough fix: In a recent study, a warm honey-coffee drink relieved persistent coughing better than corticosteroids or cough syrups.

To make: Mix one-half teaspoon of instant coffee granules with two-and-a-half teaspoons of honey. Stir into seven ounces of warm water (just over three-quarters cup). Drink three servings a day.

Honey is a well-known remedy for cough, and caffeine dilates bronchi and stimulates breathing.

Thanks to Neda Raeessi, MD, researcher, Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Note: If your cough lasts longer than a few weeks or is accompanied by fever or excess pain, be sure to visit your doctor.

Joan Wilen and Lydia Wilen are folk-remedy experts and home tipsters based in New York City. They have spent decades collecting "cures from the cupboard” and are authors of several books, including Bottom Line's Treasury of Home Remedies & Natural Cures and Bottom Line's Household Magic.