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Immunity & Wellness

Instant Relief From Dry Cough - Effective Doctor-Approved Home Remedies

Published on Jul 27, 2020


By Dr. Surya Bhagwati
Chief In- House Doctor
BAMS, DHA, DHHCM, DHBTC | 30+ Years of Experience

Instant Relief From Dry Cough - Effective Doctor-Approved Home Remedies

Coughs and colds are so common that it’s easy to trivialize them and not take them seriously. Unfortunately, a dry cough often won’t just go away if you ignore it. A persistent dry cough can cause considerable discomfort, impairing sleep and even making it hard to breathe and swallow food. Dry coughs are usually caused by allergic reactions to airborne pollutants and allergens, as well as by infections, which could be viral or bacterial. When dealing with a persistent or severe dry cough, most of us turn to antibiotics, but these are often ineffective as not every infection is bacterial. Most cough medications also only provide temporary symptomatic relief and come with their own set of side effects. This makes natural alternatives and Ayurvedic medicine for dry cough much sought after. Here are some of the most effective Ayurvedic remedies for dry cough that are supported by research and recommended by doctors.

Simple Ayurvedic Remedies for Dry Cough

1. Ginger & Clove (Lavang)

Ginger is an important ingredient in Ayurved, helping correct underlying dosha imbalances that contribute to respiratory disorders like dry cough. It reduces vata and kapha aggravation, strengthening pitta. The effectiveness of ginger as a dry cough remedy is linked to the presence of gingerol, which has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effects. Some studies have found that ginger also works as a natural bronchodilator, easing airflow. Cloves are just as effective, working as natural expectorants and fighting common bacterial infections. Both ingredients can be found in almost every kitchen and you can use them to make your own remedies, whether ginger juice or chew on whole cloves. You can also combine them to make a soothing herbal tea for dry cough relief.

2. Turmeric (Haldi)

Turmeric is one of the most widely used herbs in Indian cuisine, as well as in Ayurvedic medicine. It is regarded as tridoshic and is best used along with milk or ghee to treat a dry cough. From research, we now know that turmeric gets most of its medicinal power from curcumin, which is its main bioactive ingredient. Curcumin exhibits strong antimicrobial action, helping fight common infections, but it also works as a natural anti-inflammatory, reducing soreness of the throat and dry cough. Studies have found it to be so effective that it is even advocated as a natural treatment for bronchial asthma

3. Eucalyptus 

Referred to as nilgiri taila in Ayurved, eucalyptus is an important medicinal herb that is used across the world. Like ginger, it is regarded as pacifying for vata and kapha, while strengthening for pitta. It is commonly used as an ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines for dry cough and is believed to work as a natural decongestant. As eucalyptus is used therapeutically in the form of aromatherapy or essential oils, you will need to dilute it carefully before use. The oil can also be added to water for steam inhalation. The simplest option would be to simply use an Ayurvedic inhaler that contains eucalyptus extracts. Studies showthat eucalyptus possesses antimicrobial, immune-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties that can help overcome both infections and respiratory allergies. 

4. Peppermint (Pudinha)

Peppermint or pudinha is another important herb in your arsenal against respiratory disorders. It is recommended for almost all respiratory ailments, including dry coughs as it improves the flow of prana vayu and eliminates ama. Peppermint is so effective that it is even used in conventional OTC medications, including oral medications, nasal sprays, and inhalers. You can add the ingredient to your food or use it to prepare herbal teas. Ayurvedic lozenges and medications that contain peppermint would be good alternative to conventional medications. Some studies show that in addition to anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial benefits, mint extracts also have an antispasmodic effect, which can provide quick relief from coughing spasms.

5. Catechu (Katha)

Catechu is an important Ayurvedic herb that you may not find as easily as herbs like mint or ginger, but you can look for Ayurvedic medications with the ingredient. Although useful in the management of various health conditions it is also renowned as a remedy for dry cough, bronchitis, and asthma. Researchers have found that catechu extracts can enhance antibody production in the body, also inhibiting the release of inflammatory cytokines. This immunomodulatory effect of the herb can help treat dry coughs, whether caused by infection or allergies. 

6. Licorice (Jyesthimadhu)

Licorice is a popular ingredient in traditional medical systems across the world, and Ayurved is no different. Regarded as a rasayana or rejuvenative herb in Ayurved, it is primarily used to treat respiratory and digestive disorders. This traditional use of the herb is supported by modern evidence that demonstrated antitussive and expectorant effects of the herb’s extracts. This makes it an effective remedy to prevent dry coughs and also to relieve them. Several studies have found that the herb extracts also possess antimicrobial properties, even helping fight bacterial infections like S. aureus, K. pneumonia, and B. cereus. Researchers regarded as a valuable tool to fight antibiotic strains of bacteria like S. aureus.

7. Basil (Tulsi)

Holy Basil is one of the most important herbs in Indian culture, prized for both its medicinal value and spiritual significance. It is regarded as a powerful natural immune booster in Ayurved, increasing ojas and prana. Basil remains an important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicines and remedies for respiratory disorders. When it comes to dry cough, basil works indirectly by helping the body cope with immunological stress, which can otherwise impede recovery. Tulsi is an easy ingredient to come by and it’s extremely convenient to use as you can even consume the leaves raw. You can also add tulsi leaves to boiling water to prepare an herbal tea. 

Although Ayurvedic herbs and medications for dry cough can be extremely effective, there may be some cases where you do not get much relief despite consistent usage. In such cases, it would be best to seek an accurate medical diagnosis as your dry cough could be indicative of an undiagnosed condition that would require additional treatment.

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  • Elaissi, Ameur et al. “Chemical composition of 8 eucalyptus species' essential oils and the evaluation of their antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral activities.” BMC complementary and alternative medicine vol. 12 81. 28 Jun. 2012, doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-81
  • Sousa, A. A., Soares, P. M., Almeida, A. N., Maia, A. R., Souza, E. P., & Assreuy, A. M. (2010). Antispasmodic effect of Mentha piperita essential oil on tracheal smooth muscle of rats [Abstract]. Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 130(2), 433-436. doi:10.1016/j.jep.2010.05.012
  • Sunil, M., Sunitha, V., Radhakrishnan, E., & Jyothis, M. (2019). Immunomodulatory activities of Acacia catechu, a traditional thirst quencher of South India. Journal of Ayurved and Integrative Medicine10(3), 185–191. doi: 10.1016/j.jaim.2017.10.010
  • Kuang, Y., Li, B., Fan, J., Qiao, X., & Ye, M. (2018). Antitussive and expectorant activities of licorice and its major compounds. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry26(1), 278–284. doi: 10.1016/j.bmc.2017.11.046
  • Irani, M., Sarmadi, M., Bernard, F., & Bazarnov, H. S. (2010). Leaves Antimicrobial Activity of Glycyrrhiza glabra L. Iranian Journal of Pharmaceutical Research9(4), 425–428. PMID: 24381608\
  • Jamshidi, N., & Cohen, M. M. (2017). The Clinical Efficacy and Safety of Tulsi in Humans: A Systematic Review of the Literature. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2017, 9217567. doi:10.1155/2017/9217567

Dr. Surya Bhagwati
BAMS (Ayurveda), DHA (Hospital Admin), DHHCM (Health Management), DHBTC (Herbal Beauty and Cosmetology)

Dr. Surya Bhagwati is an established, well-known Ayurvedic expert with over 30 years of experience in treating and consulting in the field of Ayurveda. She is known for the timely, efficient, and patient-centred delivery of quality health care. The patients under her care receive a unique holistic treatment comprising not only medicinal treatment but also spiritual empowerment.

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