Fighting a Cough With Homemade Cough Remedies

Even though spring is near, coughing can still be a problem.  Most people only develop a cough when they have a cold or the flu. You are the “lucky ones”.  People with allergies like me can have a cough any time.  I have had allergic rhinitis (think hay fever) since I was a teenager. I react to many things but especially pollen, mold, cigarette smoke, and chemicals in the air.

For the last couple of months trees have been pollinating.  I discovered in college that I could get sick before the leaves appear on the tree – it sounds strange, but they’re pollinating. One of my first line of defense remedies is raw, local honey. The bees collect pollen and make honey which has some of the pollen and an enzyme the bees add that makes it antibacterial.


Studies, such as one conducted at Penn State College of Medicine, have found that honey can work more efficiently to calm a cough than over-the-counter drugs. It is a rich demulcent, with a high viscosity and stickiness that does an incredible job of coating and soothing those irritated mucous membranes. Thanks to an enzyme added by bees when they harvest honey, it also has antibacterial properties as well, which may help shorten how long you have the cough if it is due to bacterial illness.


My simplest cough remedy is a tablespoon of honey for adults or  1 or 2 teaspoons  for young children over 2. It coats the throat and reduces the tickle. Caution: This is an excellent alternative remedy for both kids and adults, but should never be given to children under the age of 2 years due to the risk of botulism.






It is also one of the ingredients for my morning hot drink.  Honey, lemon juice, and crushed ginger in  warm water help me start the day.  Do you ever wake up with a bad taste in your mouth? Try lemon and honey drink. When I have a sore throat or cough, I drink multiple cups a day.  I discovered how great hot lemon water and honey were when I had the flu in my twenties. A couple of friends came to visit with a bottle of rum, a lemon, and honey. They made me a hot tottie.  I kept using the drink in the mornings (minus the rum).  Several years ago I added the crushed ginger as it helps your immune system (I need all the help I can get.) and your digestion. Use 1/2 a lemon squeezed, 1 heaping teaspoon honey, and a tablespoon of crushed ginger.  Caution: Avoid using ginger with blood-thinning medications, such as warfin and aspirin.







Another great remedy for sore throats and coughs is gargling with salt and hot water. When I was in 8th grade, I got the flu and developed strep throat. I was hospitalized several days and one of the main therapies was a hot salt gargle.  I’ve found it useful in treating infections of the mouth and throat.  Even my dentist recommends it.  Start with 1 teaspoon salt to 8 oz. of water.  If it does not decrease your cough, you can increase to 2 teaspoons.  As with all rinses and gargles, do not swallow the water as you are washing the bacteria from your mouth.







If you want to try medicinal herbs and spices, several are useful in making teas that help coughs. Peppermint is my first choice for a herbal tea for health. It settles upset stomach, enhances your focus and makes you more alert. It also relieves cough and congestion and sweetens bad breath.  Use 1 tablespoon fresh mint to a cup of hot water and steep.  You can also use peppermint tea bags.  Add a teaspoon of honey.  Caution: Do not take peppermint if you take cyclosporine. (for transplant rejection) Take peppermint at least 2 hours before or after an acid-reducing drug. Some people are allergic to mint family.





Chamomile is a potent herb with wonderful healing benefits. Brewed chamomile tea is often used as a sleep aid or for digestive distress. It can also soothe a cough, has sedative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-microbial agents to help you get rid of your runny nose and sore throat.  You can buy tea bags of chamomile or use 4 Tablespoons of dried flowers per tea pot for strong  tea and steep. Pour into your cup and add honey to taste.  If you want to add more power to the tea, add crushed ginger.  Caution: Some people who are allergic to plants in the daisy family could have a reaction.







Chamomile has diverse health benefits that are emphasized in peer-review journals. These health benefits vary from its sedative and analgesic (anti-pain) effects to its amazing antimicrobial benefits. For example a German study has shown that small doses of chamomile destroys two important strains of bacteria: Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Another study has shown that inhalation of steam from chamomile flower heads in boiling water is effective against gram positive bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Bacillus subtilis. These antibacterial effects are mainly because of Chamazulene, an active ingredient in chamomile that is an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agent.

Inhalation of chamomile steeped tea is another effective treatment. To inhale the good stuff in chamomile boil about a quart of water in a pot, (not microwave) pour into a  bowl, add a handful of chamomile flowers, dried or fresh,let it sit for 10 minutes, then put a towel over your or your child’s head covering both head and the bowl, deeply inhale the steam for 5 to 10 minutes.
Marshmallow is also a type of herb. Marshmallow, known scientifically as Althaea officinalis, is an African plant with short roundish leaves and small pale flowers. It was originally used medicinally by the Egyptians. Marshmallow leaf and root are used for pain and swelling (inflammation) of the mucous membranes that line the respiratory tract.

From (no longer active website) comes a cough suppression syrup using chamomile and marshmallow with lemon, ginger and honey.




  • 8 oz water (filtered)
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup Chamomile flower
  • 1/4 cup Marshmallow root
  • 1/4 cup Lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup Ginger root (dried or grated fresh)



  • Pour water into a saucepan.
  •  Add all of the herbs and bring to a boil. After a minute, reduce heat and simmer the mixture. When the half of the water evaporates, remove the saucepan from the heat.
  • Strain it using a strainer or a clean cloth and while mixture is lukewarm, add the honey and mix.
  • Add the lemon juice. Stir very well & store it in an air-tight container. Cough syrup can be refrigerated up to two months.



I hope this information helps you in combating coughs; it’s wonderful when you can use nature’s remedies. Note: This information is based on my experience, and I am not a medical professional.  When in doubt, talk to your doctor.











Soft fall Subscribe






I was raised in Tennessee but have lived in Florida for many years. Love my small home in the Tampa Bay area and its developing garden. My decorating style is eclectic - some vintage, some cottage, all with a modern flair. Pursuing a healthier lifestyle. Spent many years in social services but am happily retired.

34 thoughts to “Fighting a Cough With Homemade Cough Remedies”

  1. Thanks, Carol, if I get sick at all it leaves me with a cough that seems to last for several months. I do enjoy chamomile tea, but haven’t done a serious brew in a long time. I’ve never heard of marshmallow root, but am going to do your lemon and honey tea tonight as I watch the Oscars. Interesting, although I don’t like most mint things, I do enjoy mint tea. Thanks for all the good tips.

    1. I highly recommend the lemon and honey tea although chamomile and peppermint are also good. Lemon and honey is my favorite go-to drink. Have a great day!

  2. Wow. So many great tips. I also have lots of allergies, the most annoying is the hay fever and the allergie on dust. I must try your morning drink, it sounds like it does a lot of good!

    1. I totally understand as I am allergic to dust also. I hope you have a zipped dust mite cover on your pillows and mattress. If you don’t have them, I strongly suggest you buy them. Avoid the more plastic ones as you will die from the heat. Invest in a 100% cotton cover that is so closely woven dust mites (and bed bugs) can’t get into your mattress. I hope you like the morning drink and that it helps. We each have to find what works best for us. Good luck!

  3. I have been using Apple cider vinegar with honey and cinnamon but found myself getting a tummy ache so I have not done that for a few days. Think I used too much vinegar. Anyway I will try the lemon (not for cough at the moment thankfully) and ginger. Maybe alternate the two……….I am going to try to do things with herbs this year (see my post if you have time) so I can add a few more ideas now, thank you

  4. Thank you for sharing all these great ideas. My go-to drink is hot water with 2 tsp Braggs Apple Cider Vinegar, a teaspoon or two of raw organic honey, and about 1/4 tsp Ceylon cinnamon. I use this daily as a health drink and 2-3 times a day if I am sick. This works so well! When first starting the Apple Cider Vinegar you could just do 1 tsp for a few days while your body is being rid of the toxins. After that you can move to 2 tsp. Amazing stuff!

    1. Yes I’m familiar with that tonic and forgot to add it to the post. My allergies to mold limits my use of Braggs apple cider vinegar. The “mother” in it really causes a strong reaction and I have an asthma attack. Not fun. I use filtered organic apple cider vinegar in cooking. Wish I could use Braggs

  5. Hi Carol, I like to use home remedies when I can and hot honey, and lemon with a grating of ginger is my go to sore throat and cough remedy. My daughter always seems to get a sore throat when she is ill so I’ll get her to try salt and water gargle and chamomile.


  6. Carol, it’s not coincidence I ended up here. I am coughing so terribly today, I can’t even deal with myself. Off to grab my lemons and honey!


  7. We have had our share of coughing lately. All five of us. I’ll have to try some of these out.

  8. Hot toddies have been a favorite in my family for a while. Love the idea of making a non-alcoholic version as a way to combat daily irritants. Thanks for sharing all the other recipes, too! There’s so much information here!

  9. Great remedies. I sometimes do take honey in lemon water. It really does soothe the throat. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  10. Great tips Carol. I hate being poorly or having a cold for too long. I will pin you post for future reference 🙂 Thanks for sharing at Creative Mondays

  11. Great tutorial! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Home Matters Link Party, hope to see you again next week:) #HomeMattersParty

  12. So many great ideas for drinks to soothe coughs. We usually stick to honey or honey and lemon, there’s something very calming about it for a sore throat too. Thank you for sharing with the #dreamteam x

  13. Thanks for a good tip. I’ve just discovered that ginger is actually quite nice after despising it for years, so maybe I should try the lemon-honey-ginger mix. I’m having a cold now with an annoying cough… and I always get coughs when I have colds. Not as bad lately as they used to be, but still…

    1. I hope it helps you beat the cold Susanne. I find it extremely helpful. If you can’t stand the ginger which is spicy, just do the lemon and honey.

  14. There are some wonderful ideas in this post. It’s so nice to be able to fight a cough naturally. I often gargle with salt water if I have a cough or sore throat and I love your recipe for your morning drink. Scheduled to tweet. Thank you for sharing with us at Hearth and Soul. Hope to ‘see’ you at the party this week. It’s open now!

  15. Carol I had a horrid cold and cough to match it. I was drinking tea like there was no tomorrow but it wasn’t helping me. So finally I ditched the tea and just started having teaspoons of honey. That finally did the trick.

I love to make new friends and get to know you.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.