Coughing is the body’s natural way of getting rid of irritants in the respiratory system. Coughs come in different ways, making it important for you to establish the different characteristics so that you know the cough needs immediate medical attention. More importantly , coughs are a symptom of a disease, and are not the disease. Some of the causes of coughs include the common cold, infection of the respirator system, allergic reactions as well as lifestyle choices such as smoking. Coughs are usually accompanied by a sore throat, pain in the chest and congestion.

woman coughingCough medication is available over the counter, but the good news is that there are natural remedies you can use to ease the coughs. What’s more, most of the home remedies for coughs make use of ingredients that are readily available in your kitchen. The next time you feel like you are about to get a common cold, take to these effective natural remedies and ease the cough. Below are some of the options available for you.

 1. Honey, Garlic and Onion Syrup:

Time Required: Preparation 10 Min , Stays overnight, Application 5 Min.
What You Need: 1 Medium-sized onion, one clove of garlic (minced), half cup of raw honey, half cup of warm water, any of the following herbs: thyme, oregano or sage.
Difficulty: Easy


Honey is a popular remedy for the common cold, making it a great option when dealing with coughs. This is largely attributed to the presence of enzymes that enhance the antimicrobial effects of the honey. The antioxidants present in honey also go a long way in soothing the cough, thus easing chest pain. The latter properties have earned honey the characteristic of a demulcent which also causes the relaxation of the cough reflex.

Both onions and garlic are antimicrobial in nature. since this remedy preparation does not involve any heat, you can be sure that the full properties of these two kitchen ingredients is preserved for the best results. The inclusion of the herbs compliments the antimicrobial function of the honey/onion mixture.

Note that if you need to prepare the remedy quickly, you can skip the overnight process, and instead focus on simmering the mixture on low heat for about 5 minutes. The purpose of simmering the mixture is to soften the onions, and make the remedy less stinging. Granted, you will lose some of the antimicrobial benefits, but the remedy will still offer you relief from persistent coughing, especially at night.


  1. Add the water to the honey and stir vigorously so that the honey disperses in the water.
  2. Peel the onion before chopping it into small pieces and add to the honey mixture.
  3. Pour in the minced garlic followed by a dash of your choice herb and stir the mixture so that the active of the respective ingredients blend well.
  4. Allow the mixture to stay in the fridge overnight (or simmer it as mentioned above).
  5. After 12 hours or thereabout, remove the mixture from the fridge and strain it to get a syrupy liquid.
  6. Take this home-made cough syrup thrice daily, or until the coughing eases.


2. Castor Oil Mixture (Used Topically):

Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Quarter cup of castor oil, two cloves of garlic (minced), fresh ginger (grated), two drops of eucalyptus oil and a teaspoon of cayenne pepper.
Difficulty: Easy


Castor oil is an excellent home remedy for coughs because when applied topically, it enhances the circulation of blood. This is key to improving the immune response particularly after an infection. The inclusion of cayenne pepper and ginger – both warming spices- not only stimulates the circulation of blood, it also contributes to the dilution of mucus, making it easy to get rid of from the system.

Garlic, as mentioned in Remedy #1, has key antimicrobial properties that go a long way in fighting the infections that cause coughing. Lastly, eucalyptus oil is used for the home treatment of coughs, thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties. When applied topically, the presence of eucalyptus oil reduces the swelling of the mucus membranes in the respiratory tract. The combination of these ingredients is an excellent way to deal with coughs the natural way.

NOTE: This remedy MUST NEVER be used internally as the ingestion of castor oil is toxic to the body. You also need to know that this mixture is a tad bit messy. It helps if you can get an old shirt to go with the remedy. You can then wear your regular clothing over the old shirt. This not only helps you stay clean, it also increases the warmth of the remedy, thus making it more effective. This remedy is recommended for use at bedtime.


  1. Place the quarter cup of castor oil in a bowl and add the minced garlic.
  2. Stir the mixture well before sprinkling the grated raw ginger and adding three drops of the eucalyptus oil.
  3. Lastly, add the cayenne pepper to the mixture and stir so that you have the ingredients distributed evenly.
  4. Scoop some of the paste onto your palms and rub on your chest in gentle but firm motions.
  5. Let the paste stay on your chest overnight, and make sure to wear a t-shirt before layering with your pajamas.


3. Horseradish:

Time Required: Preparation time is 5 Min. The syrup is then allowed to sit for 3 Hrs before it can be used.
What You Need: Fresh horseradish, quarter cup of honey, grater.
Difficulty: Easy


Horseradish is a versatile condiment in culinary circles, but also doubles up as one of the most important home remedies for treating coughs at home. The part of the plant that is typically used is the root. When peeled, the root releases a strong aroma that is key to this home remedy. The addition of honey makes for an effective remedy in treating the coughs, as well as reducing the characteristic hoarse voice that accompanies such cold.

By working on the cough reflex and reducing fever, horseradish makes for a must-have ingredient if you plan on treating your cough at home. Note however that the horseradish must not be consumed in large amounts as it can easily cause a runny stomach.


  1. Peel the horseradish root and, using a grater, get small gratings of the root.
  2. Take a tablespoon of the grated root and sprinkle it on the quarter cup of honey.
  3. Stir the mixture before letting it sit still for a few hours.
  4. Take the mixture as you would cough syrup, twice daily until you note improvements.


4. Lemon Juice:

Time Required: 10 Min
What You Need: Half cup of freshly squeezed lemon juice, a tablespoon of honey, a dash of cayenne pepper (powdered).
Difficulty: Easy


Lemons are one of the most popular remedies for common colds and the accompanying coughs. This is attributed to the fact that they reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract. In addition to this, lemons are rich in vitamin C that help boost your immunity. The inclusion of honey with its rich antimicrobial function makes lemon juice remedy very effective.

Cayenne pepper, as mentioned above, improves the circulation of blood to the respiratory tract. This delivers the required nutrients as well as speeds up the process of healing. The honey included soothes the throat, and makes coughing less painful. These ingredients work in synergy to offer you a powerful remedy against coughs.Below are the different ways you can prepare this remedy using the ingredients mentioned above.


First Method

  1. Simply add a tablespoon of the honey to the lemon juice and stir. Take this syrup thrice daily until the coughing eases.

Second Method

  1. Prepare the remedy as described in step 1 above, but make sure you add the cayenne pepper this time around.

Third Method

  1. Using the syrup prepared in step 2 above, make sure you add onions to the mixture. Onions are antimicrobial in nature, and will often trigger the expulsion of mucus.
  2. You will then simmer the lemon + honey + cayenne + onion mixture for about 5 minutes.
  3. Strain the mixture before refrigerating it. Take a tablespoon of the mixture every couple of hours.


5. Peppermint Leaves and Eucalyptus Oil:

Time Required: Depends on the type of therapy. Drinking the remedy takes just about 5 Min, while steam therapy takes about half an hour.
What You Need: Peppermint leaves, a cup/jug of boiling water, a teaspoon of honey, eucalyptus oil, a bowl, a small towel.
Difficulty: Moderate


Peppermint leaves are a handy treatment for coughs. The leaves contain menthol which is not only refreshing and therefore prevents congestion of the chest, it is also known to soothe the throat which is often painful during coughing episodes. The addition of eucalyptus oil makes this remedy effective. You can either choose to take peppermint tea (in which case you will NOT add the eucalyptus oil) or you could opt for steam therapy, which is where the oil comes in handy.


Peppermint Tea:

  1. Put a tablespoon or two of the peppermint leaves in a teapot of boiling water.
  2. Let the leaves steep in the water for a couple of minutes.
  3. Strain and sip this peppermint tea while still hot.
  4. You can sweeten the tea using honey, thanks to its antimicrobial properties.

Steam Therapy:

  1. Bring some water to boil and place it in a sizable bowl (that will allow you to inhale the steam).
  2. Add a few drops of the eucalyptus oil and bend over the bowl.
  3. Place a towel over your head and deeply inhale the steam, making sure you exercise caution to prevent accidental burns.
  4. Do this until the water is warm and no longer steaming.
  5. This remedy can be used twice daily.

NOTE: You must be very careful with this form of therapy if you plan to use it on small children as it poses a greater risk of scalding.


Other suitable home remedies for the treatment of coughs include thyme whose flavanoids reduce inflammation and relax the throat, pineapple slices that contain bromelain and turmeric which is particularly helpful for dry coughs.More importantly, make sure to get professional medical attention should the coughing persist for more than a fortnight.