9 Natural Ways to Ease a Persistent Cough

Natural Ways to Ease a Persistent Cough

Generally speaking, coughing is a good thing.

It’s the body’s way of clearing mucus or irritants from your airways, which helps you breathe more easily and avoid infections.

But when coughing is accompanied by other symptoms like fever, fatigue, chest pain, nausea/vomiting, and shortness of breath, it may signal that there’s an underlying problem.

In such cases, it’s important to seek medical help to determine the cause and get appropriate treatment.

Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics if you have a bacterial infection or OTC cough medicines if you have a viral infection.

That said:

If you’re looking for more natural ways to ease a persistent cough, here are some remedies that may help you.

9 Natural ways to ease a persistent cough

1. Take honey

The most powerful natural cough remedy is honey.

In fact, it inhibits the growth of bacteria and helps clear mucus from your airways, which eases coughing and soothes sore throat pain at the same time.

Honey has been shown to be effective in relieving cough and sore throat symptoms.

In one study, honey was found to be more effective than dextromethorphan (a common OTC cough suppressant) in reducing coughing and improving sleep quality in children with upper respiratory tract infections.

Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, honey is also effective in fighting off bacteria and boosting your immune system.

To get relief from a persistent cough naturally:

Try mixing two teaspoons of raw honey into some warm water or herbal tea.

Drink the mixture three times per day as needed.

Warning: Honey should not be given to infants younger than 12 months because it can cause botulism, a rare but serious illness.

2. Drink plenty of fluids

Drinking enough fluids is essential for keeping your throat moist and preventing dehydration, which can make your cough worse.

Aim to drink at least eight to fifteen glasses of water per day or more if you’re sweating a lot or have a fever.

For example, according to a study, drinking hot liquids can help with cough, runny nose, sore throat, and sneezing.

The warmth from the drink can help loosen up mucus and phlegm, making it easier to expel.

Hot liquids such as herbal tea, warm lemon water with honey, or hot chicken soup are great choices.

3. Try ginger

Ginger has long been used as a natural remedy for various respiratory problems, including coughs and asthma.

It’s an excellent expectorant, meaning it helps loosen and expel mucus in your respiratory tract.

That’s because ginger contains compounds like gingerols and shogaols that have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

For example:

One study indicates that ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may help relax membranes in the airways, which might help decrease coughing.

The best way to get relief from a persistent cough with ginger is by drinking warm water mixed with freshly grated ginger root.

You can also use a ginger tea bag or make your own fresh ginger tea.

4. Bromelain

You probably know bromelain as an enzyme found in pineapples that helps digest protein.

But it also has anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties, which may help to relieve coughing.

To get its benefits:

Try eating half of fresh, ripe pineapple or drinking some fresh-pineapple juice each day.

Alternatively, you could take it as a supplement with the dosage recommended on the label (usually 250 – 500 mg three times per day).

However, always speak with your doctor before taking any new supplements.

5. Steam Inhalation

One of the best ways to loosen mucus and ease a cough is by doing steam inhalation.

That’s because the warm, moist air helps to loosen secretions in your respiratory tract and soothe your throat.

To do steam inhalation:

Boil some water and pour the hot water into a bowl (preferably one with a wide surface area).

Place a towel over your head like you would when taking steam showers or baths.

Then lean over the bowl so that your face is just a few inches away from the hot water, and cover your head with a towel to trap in the steam.

Keep your eyes closed and breathe in the steam for about five minutes.

You can also take a hot shower or bath to get the same effect.

6. Use a humidifier

If your home is dry, using a humidifier can help to moisten the air and soothe your throat.

This is especially important during winter, when the air is typically drier.

You can buy a humidifier at most stores, or you could try making your own from a pot of hot water and a large bowl.

Just be sure to keep the humidifier clean so that it doesn’t become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

7. Try marshmallow root

Marshmallow root is a plant native to Europe and Asia that has been used as a medicinal herb for several centuries.

It contains a compound called mucilage that helps to coat and protect your throat.

This makes it an effective remedy for coughs because the coating can help to suppress nerve endings in your throat, which may ease irritation from coughing.

A 2020 study published in the National Library of Medicine found that the marshmallow plant has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidative properties that may help to ease a cough.

To use marshmallow root, mix one teaspoon of dried herb or two teaspoons of fresh plant with boiling water.

Let it steep for ten to fifteen minutes, then strain and drink.

You can also buy marshmallow root in supplement form.

But speak with your doctor first to make sure it’s right for you.

8. Thyme

Thyme is a fragrant herb that has been used for centuries to treat respiratory problems like coughs and bronchitis.

One of thyme’s active compounds, thymol, helps break up mucus in your airways.

So it may be an effective remedy if you have a persistent cough with thick mucus.

To relieve coughing with thyme:

Drink thyme tea by steeping one teaspoon of dried thyme or two teaspoons of fresh plant in boiling water.

You can also take it as a tincture with the dosage recommended on the label (usually four to six ml three times per day).

If you want to use more than that, speak with a doctor.

9. Gargling with saltwater

Saltwater is a natural and affordable way to soothe an irritated throat.

The saltwater solution can help to relieve coughs by reducing swelling and inflammation in your throat.

Salt and water gargles can also help to loosen mucus and kill bacteria.

To gargle with saltwater, mix one teaspoon of salt into a cup of warm water.

Gargle for thirty seconds, then spit out the solution.

Repeat three times per day until your throat feels better.

In conclusion

There are many natural ways to ease a persistent cough.

These include steam inhalation, using a humidifier, taking marshmallow root, drinking thyme tea, and gargling with salt water.

Be sure to speak with your doctor before trying any of these remedies to make sure they are right for you.

Remember that it is important to get plenty of rest and drink lots of fluids when you are fighting a cough.

Stay healthy!