Natural Remedies for treating a Cough

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A wet cough is when you have a cough that produces mucus.

You may feel congested and have a ‘rattly’ or ‘tight’ chest. Mucus is sticky, thereby it traps particles in the airways. If you have a wet cough, you don’t want to suppress it, it’s the body’s way of clearing out mucus, so you actually want to encourage it!

A dry, hacking, cough is another story.

This is one we do want to stop because it is easily irritated.  For these we want to turn to demulcents, ingredients that soothe and protect the lining of the lungs, so that you can tame that uncomfortable tickling in the back of the throat that triggers the cough.


Honey is antibacterial and can work efficiently to calm a cough. It is a rich demulcent, and its stickiness does an incredible job of coating and soothing your lungs.  1 tablespoon should do the trick to handle the dry cough.

Licorice Root

This is the best of both worlds. #1 Remedy in Chinese Medicine. Licorice root coats your lungs and at the same time clears congestion from the lungs and helps bring up phlegm. Two tablespoons of licorice root as a tea should do the trick to tackle either cough.


It relaxes the muscles of the trachea and bronchi, and also opens up airways. The result is less coughing, and increased comfort. Make a tea, and take a handful of fresh thyme sprigs or two tablespoons of dried thyme.


Ginger works as an anti-tussive, helping loosen and expel mucous from the lungs. Either add it into your diet, or take two tablespoons of chopped ginger and make a tea from it. 

Peppermint Tea

Peppermint contains the medicinal ingredient, menthol, a natural agent that works as a decongestant in many over the counter cough products. This helps loosen chest congestion and break up phlegm. (2 Tablespoons of chopped ginger, 1 Tablespoon of dried peppermint.

Topical Chest Rub

Find a Chest Rub that contains camphor or menthol and apply it topically to your throat and chest. Vicks Vaporub is a common product but a few drops of essential peppermint oil with a placed on your chest will act like a topical cough reliever.

Steam Inhalation

Steam inhalation is a method of introducing warm, moist air into the lungs. The hot steam moistens the nasal passages, and your airways, thus clearing your blocked nose, opening up congested sinuses and loosening phlegm in your chest. Now you can add in a drop of essential oil of eucalyptus, peppermint, clove or rosemary to help stimulate a cough, open the airways and kill of any remaining bacteria in the process!

How do you do it?

You will need:

  • a large stainless steel, glass, or ceramic bowl
  • a kettle or pot
  • 3-4 cups filtered or distilled water
  • a small bath towel
  • essential oil(s) of peppermint or eucalyptus or rosemary or tea tree oil.



  • boil water
  • pour into bowl
  • add 5-10 drops of each of your essential oils (as prescribed) and stir
  • cover your head and shoulders with the towel and lean over the bowl, using the towel to keep the steam from escaping
  • test the heat of the steam with your hand before exposing your face to it
  • close your eyes and inhale the steam slowly
  • move your face closer as needed to get the full effect of the oils as the steam dies down



  • essential oils are very concentrated extracts of plant and are for external use
  • some oils, such as tea tree and eucalyptus, have constituents that may cause you to experience a burning sensation in your nose if you inhale them too quickly and deeply; go slow!


Drinking a lot of liquids, whether any of the teas listed here or even just an increase your daily water consumption can be helpful for a cough. Fluids help thin out the mucus which will help your cough