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6 Best Home Remedies for Cough to Give You Easy Relief

Published on Jun 12, 2020


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

6 Best Home Remedies for Cough to Give You Easy Relief

A cough may seem like nothing more than an annoyance, but it actually does have a role to play in your health. Coughing helps to expel mucus, irritants, and infections from the body and is a natural response. However, persistent coughing can cause considerable discomfort and pain. This makes cough medications popular, but efficacy can vary depending on the underlying cause. Most OTC medications are regarded as ineffective for common coughs and colds and many also pose a risk of side effects. This makes natural remedies and home treatments preferable for obtaining quick relief.

6 Best Home Remedies for Cough

1. Ginger

Ginger can be used in a variety of forms – raw, powdered, or juiced. It is regarded as one of the best home remedies for coughs in Ayurved. In its dried form or sunth, ginger is also an important ingredient in Ayurvedic medicine for cough. The reason for this popularity is that ginger works for both dry and wet coughs, providing quick natural relief. It is effective because of powerful anti-inflammatory properties and decongestant effects. Some studies show that it in addition to reducing inflammation it can also relax the airway membranes to reduce coughing. To reap the benefits of ginger for cough relief, you can chew on some freshly cut slices of ginger, extract the juice and consume with equal parts of honey, or use it to make ginger tea.

2. Honey and Lemon

Honey is another ingredient that tops almost every list of home remedies for coughs. It is highly regarded in Ayurved, as in most traditional medicine, and has long been used to treat a wide range of ailments. Like ginger, honey can help with any kind of cough or respiratory infection because of its antimicrobial and wound healing properties. Studies have shown that honey can even be more effective at relieving a cough than some popular OTC cough suppressants. You can consume honey raw or add it as a sweetener to herbal teas. Combining it with lemon juice is perhaps the best choice as lemon juice may also help to reduce congestion when dealing with a productive cough.

3. Amla

Amla is sometimes used as an ingredient in Ayurvedic syrups for dry cough, but it can help with any kind of respiratory infection. It is not clear how the herb works directly on coughing, but there is little doubt that it helps build immunity to fight or prevent infections. The therapeutic benefits of amla are mainly linked to its extraordinarily high content of vitamin C, as well as vitamin A, polyphenols, and flavonoids. While these immune boosting benefits are linked directly to vitamin C, other components in amla can also have more direct action, with proven antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Amla can be consumed raw, juiced, in supplement form, or in the powdered form with ghee. 

4. Salt Water Gargle

You probably need no introduction to this remedy, but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded about it again. We often dismiss salt water gargling as nothing more than an old grandma’s remedy, but it is quite effective. Salt water gargling is particularly helpful when dealing with a productive cough and sore throat. This is because salt helps to reduce the buildup of phlegm or mucus, thinning it and making it easier to expel. Salt water is also healing and disinfecting, hastening the recovery process. A salt water gargle is also the simplest and most inexpensive remedy as you simply need to add a teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water before gargling it. Just make sure to do this several times a day for it to be effective. 

5. Nasya and Neti

Nasya and neti are nasal hygiene practices that are regarded as vital for healthy respiratory function in Ayurved. Both techniques are most effective at relieving coughs related to allergies and sinusitis, but they can also help strengthen lung function and respiration to fight other respiratory disorders as well. Neti is done with a neti pot and saline solution, flushing the entire nasal passage to remove any mucus buildup, pollen, and other allergens. As this has a drying effect, it is typically followed by nasya – the application of herbal oils to lubricate and moisturize the nasal cavities.  

6. Steam Inhalation 

Most of us are familiar with the benefits of steam for cold relief, but steam baths and steam inhalation can also provide relief from productive and nonproductive coughs. The humid and warm air encourages deep breathing and also helps reduce congestion in the respiratory passages. While steam itself has been shown to aid respiratory recovery, adding certain herbal oils like mint and eucalyptus can be even more effective. Studies show that inhalation of mint oil can reduce coughing spasms and inflammation of the throat, while eucalyptus provides similar benefits and can also help fight certain infections. To treat your cough, you could spend some time in a steam bath or shower, or do steam inhalation with 2-3 drops of mint or eucalyptus oil added to the boiling water.

These home remedies for cough are your best choice when it comes to dealing with both productive and nonproductive coughs. If you understand what type of cough you have, you can also look specifically for an Ayurvedic cough syrup for dry cough or wet cough. Keep in mind that in some cases, your cough could just be a symptom of an underlying health condition. In such situations, cough treatments may be ineffective or will only provide temporary relief. For a permanent solution, you would need a medical diagnosis and treatment of the underlying condition. 


  • Townsend, Elizabeth A et al. “Effects of ginger and its constituents on airway smooth muscle relaxation and calcium regulation.” American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology vol. 48,2 (2013): 157-63. doi:10.1165/rcmb.2012-0231OC
  • Paul, Ian M et al. “Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents.” Archives of pediatrics & adolescent medicine vol. 161,12 (2007): 1140-6. doi:10.1001/archpedi.161.12.1140
  • Dasaroju, Swetha, and Krishna Mohan Gottumukkala. “Current Trends in the Research of Emblica Officinalis (Amla): A Pharmacological Perspective.” International Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences Review and Research, vol. 24, no. 2, 2014, pp. 150–159. ISSN 0976 – 044X
  • Satomura, Kazunari et al. “Prevention of upper respiratory tract infections by gargling: a randomized trial.” American journal of preventive medicine vol. 29,4 (2005): 302-7. doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2005.06.013
  • Little, Paul et al. “Effectiveness of steam inhalation and nasal irrigation for chronic or recurrent sinus symptoms in primary care: a pragmatic randomized controlled trial.” CMAJ : Canadian Medical Association journal = journal de l'Association medicale canadienne vol. 188,13 (2016): 940-949. doi:10.1503/cmaj.160362

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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