Home Remedies for Coughs

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Types of Coughs

Coughing is your body’s way of getting rid of foreign substances or mucus from the lungs and upper respiratory infections.

Acute Cough

An acute cough is a cough lasting less than three weeks.

Productive Cough

A productive cough produces some type of secretion with the cough; this could be mucus, blood or some other secretions.

The secretions can be green or yellow, white and creamy, clear or blood tinged, dark red blood or bright red blood.

Dry, Productive Coughs

A dry cough can be indicative of allergies, cold, flu or the start of bronchitis.

Wet Productive Coughs

Pneumonia, flu and bronchitis all come with a wet, productive cough.

Non-Productive Cough

A non productive cough generates no secretion and may be painful.

Wet, Non-productive Coughs

Bronchitis, the flu and colds often come with wet non-productive coughs. Painful coughs can be indicative of pneumonia or bronchitis.

Barking coughs which sound like a seal bark can be croup.

Chronic Cough

A chronic cough lasts more than eight weeks and can be indicative of a number of medical conditions including asthma, post nasal drip and acid reflux . A chronic cough may be associated with a variety of other symptoms including a runny or stuffy nose, the feeling that liquid is running down the back of your throat, wheezing or shortness of breath, heartburn or occasionally the coughing up of blood. Smokers or women are more likely to develop a chronic cough and should consider a plan to stop smoking where possible, if at least throughout the bout of cough. Some medication including high blood pressure medications can cause a chronic cough.

Home Remedies for Coughs

There are many home remedies for coughs, some of which focus on soothing and coating to reduce the cough.


Glycyrrhiza glabra or licorice root is a common component in commercial cough suppressants. Licorice is known for its soothing properties. It can however, react adversely with high blood pressure medications or insulin medications.

Use a 4 inch piece of licorice root to make a tea with honey added for sweetness and additional soothing elements. Caribbean, Chinese and African markets are excellent sources for licorice root.   Licorice tea will add hydration to the body, soothe the cough and act as an expectorant.

Ginger and Cayenne Pepper Tea

Making a tea with equal parts of ginger root and cayenne pepper; start with ¼ cup of each, 1 cup each honey and apple cider vinegar and 2 cups of hot water will work well as a cough treatment. The tea will help sinus drainage, the honey will soothe the cough and the cayenne pepper will after the initial effect act as a pain killer. Do not take cayenne or ginger with ACE inhibitors, stomach acid reducers, aspirin or blood thinners. Too much ginger can cause heartburn, diarrhea or mouth irritations.  


Drink plenty of fluids, especially water to keep the mucus lining thin and reduce the effects of the cough. Hot water with honey and lemon will soothe the cough. Do not give honey to children under a year old. 

Article Last Modified Sunday, November 8, 2009
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