Not too long ago, the most common response to a persistent cough was a trip to the cough syrup aisle at the drug store. Now, with concerns about these drugs on the rise, natural home treatments are highly sought. Fortunately, home treatment for coughing is generally considered both safe and effective, a far cry from the reputation earned by cough syrups.
Suppressing a cough is not really medically necessary in most cases. In fact, coughing is your body’s way of clearing mucus and phlegm from the throat, a process that is crucial in preventing and removing infection. Of course, there are times when a cough is just downright annoying. So if you’re trying to clear up a cough, whether for a business meeting or just to get some sleep, rest assured there are plenty of time-honored natural remedies available.
A 2007 study showed 2 teaspoons of honey at bedtime is as effective as medicinal cough syrup for reducing nighttime coughing and improving sleep. This is especially helpful for parents since drug companies have recently advised against the use of cough syrup in children under 4 years. Organic honey made locally is ideal, but for curing a cough almost any kind of honey will do. Just be sure not to give honey to children under the age of 1 year, since at this stage there is a small risk of infant botulism poisoning.
You can get even more relief by stirring a tablespoon of lemon juice into 1/4 cup of honey. This homemade cough syrup will immediately calm your coughing and can be used multiple times throughout your day if necessary. If possible, add a teaspoon of white pepper to the mixture to further ease your cough.
If you want to avoid the sugar in honey, a slice of lemon can also do the trick. Liberally sprinkle salt and pepper over the slice and vigorously suck out the juice. Repeat as often as necessary.
Grapes are known for providing strong cough relief. Their juice can ease a cough while also encouraging the release of congestion, which can shorten the duration of your cough. Raw grapes and fresh grape juice are the best way to reap these benefits. You can also simmer a cup of raisins in 1/2 cup of water and 2 tablespoons of honey. Stir frequently until the mixture is thick and then allow it to cool. Use a tablespoon at a time to relieve your cough whenever needed.
If a cough is keeping you from sleeping, try this calming tea that will suppress your cough and relax your nerves:
1 cup strong-brewed chamomile tea
2 tablespoons pure lemon juice or 100% grape juice
1 tablespoon honey
A warm up of this tea will help you get a good night of rest, which will put you on the road to recovery from your cough.