One of the most common health problems all over the world is coughing. Scientifically termed tussis, a cough is a throat-clearing reflex that helps clear irritating substances and blockages from your breathing tract.

In other words, coughing is your body’s means of eliminating foreign particles, irritants, and microbes from your respiratory passage. (1)


Coughing is mostly caused by viral infections or common colds. It can also be due to excessive smoking or health issues like tuberculosis, asthma and lung cancer. (1)

Sucking on a cough drop or downing some cough syrup when you suffer from coughing trouble comes as a default setting in our systems. And if the cough drop happens to be of your favorite flavor, it truly brings in delight quickly.

stop coughing

Treating Cough with Home Remedies

Commercial drops available in the market are packed with additives, colors, and preservatives. And obviously you wouldn’t have much time to make them for yourself.


So, here are some simple home remedies to help you stop coughing fast without medicine:

Method 1: Using Vicks on Your Feet

Vicks contains menthol, camphor, and eucalyptus that are highly effective in relieving congestion and coughing. Rubbing Vicks on the chest also helps a great deal in relieving a cough.

Researchers found in a 2010 study published in Pediatrics that vapor rub such as Vicks consistently showed the best results for improved sleep, decreased congestion, and cough compared to petroleum or no treatment in children. (2)

use vicks on your feet

  • Put a small amount of Vicks on your palm and rub it on each foot before going to bed.
  • Pull on socks and wear them throughout the night.
  • Repeat this for 4 days to feel a considerable relief from coughing.
Caution: Vicks is not recommended for children under 4 years of age.

Method 2: Using Ginger, Lemon, and Honey Tea

Ginger acts as a natural analgesic to soothe irritation and scratching caused by a sore throat. Plus, it has anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties that break down and expel coagulated mucus from the lungs, thus clearing your respiratory tract. (3)

Things you’ll need:


using ginger

  • Ginger - 4 or 5 pieces
  • Honey - 1 tablespoon
  • Lemon - Half
  • Water - 1 cup

Step 1. Boil water and ginger

boil water and ginger

  • Pour 1 cup of water into a pan and turn on the heat.
  • Add 4 or 5 pieces of ginger and bring it to a boil.
  • Simmer and allow the ginger to infuse in the water for 5 minutes or until you a get a strong aroma.

Step 2. Strain the liquid

strain the liquid

Using a strainer, strain the liquid to separate the ginger pieces from the infused water.


Step 3. Blend in honey and lemon

blend in honey and lemon

  • Add 1 tablespoon of honey and the juice of ½ of a lemon to the ginger-infused water.
  • Drink this concoction 3 or 4 times daily for relief from persistent coughing, congestion and a sore throat.

Besides a sweetener, honey is a natural demulcent that forms a protective covering on the mucous membrane and thus relieves irritation due to congestion.


Method 3: Using Apple Cider Vinegar & Honey

Things you’ll need:


  • Apple cider vinegar (ACV) - 2 tablespoons
  • Honey - 1 tablespoon
  • Water

Mix ACV and honey in a glass of water

mix acv and honey

  • Pour 2 tablespoons of ACV and 1 teaspoon of honey into a glass of water and mix it well.
  • Drink this concoction once daily.

While ACV helps balance the pH levels in the body, honey acts as a natural demulcent to protect and prevent congestion in the mucous membrane.

You may add cinnamon or cayenne pepper to your drink to benefit from their healing powers.


Method 4: Using DIY Cough Syrup

Things you’ll need:

using cough syrup

  • Turmeric - 1 teaspoon
  • Cinnamon sticks - 7 or 8
  • Honey - 1 tablespoon
  • Cayenne pepper - a pinch
  • Water - 1 cup

Step 1. Pour water into a pan

pour water into a pan

Pour 1 cup of water into a pan and turn on the heat.

Step 2. Add herbs and spices

add herbs and spices

  • Add a few cinnamon sticks, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of cayenne pepper to the water.
  • Bring it to a boil.

Cinnamon and turmeric contain compounds that have high antioxidant, antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties that help in treating congestion and relieving a cough. (4)

Moreover, cayenne pepper is an effective ingredient that expels out congestion causing sputum from the body and stimulates proper circulation of mucus in the body.

Note: Be sure not to breathe in cinnamon or cayenne when preparing this concoction because it can further irritate the respiratory tract if accidentally inhaled.

Step 3. Strain and store

strain and store

  • After the mixture starts boiling, turn the heat down to low and allow the benefits of the herbs to infuse into the water for 2 minutes.
  • Strain the syrup into an airtight bottle and store.

Step 4. Sweeten and drink

sweeten and drink

  • While facing coughing trouble, just warm 2 teaspoons of this syrup.
  • Mix in 1 teaspoon honey.
  • Drink this at least 2 times a day.

Honey not only acts as a sweetener but also has a natural demulcent property that forms a smooth covering on the mucous membrane to expel coagulated mucus and thus offer respite from persistent coughing.

Note: Heating kills the antibacterial and healing properties of honey. Hence, only add honey after warming the syrup.


Method 5: Using Herbal Tea

A. Thyme Tea

Things you’ll need:


  • Thyme - a few sprigs
  • Honey - 1 teaspoon
  • Water - 1 cup
Step 1. Boil water

boil water

Pour 1 cup of water into a pan and bring it to a boil.

Step 2. Add thyme

add thyme

  • Add a few sprigs of thyme to the hot water.
  • Turn the heat down to low and allow the richness of the thyme to steep in the water for 2 to 3 minutes.

Thyme is rich in antimicrobial and antispasmodic properties that help relax the muscles of the bronchi and trachea by opening up airways, thus lessening your cough.

It is also theorized that thyme contains thymol and carvacrol which stimulate mucus and bronchial movement thus relieving congestion. (5)

Step 3. Strain and sweeten

strain and sweeten

  • Using a strainer, strain the liquid into a cup.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Drink this tea 3 or 4 times a day for quick results.

Honey acts as a natural sweetener and helps break up congestion in the chest while coughing.


B. Licorice Tea

Things you’ll need:


  • Licorice root - 2 to 3
  • Honey - 1 teaspoon
  • Water - 1 cup

Step 1. Boil water and licorice root

boil water and licorice

  • Pour 1 cup of water into a pan and turn on the heat.
  • Add 2 to 3 roots of licorice to the water.

Licorice is an effective ingredient that helps reduce inflammation and thus soothes irritated membranes. It’s antimicrobial and antiviral properties have been used to reduce cough and congestions as far back as 2100 BC within ancient Chinese medicine traditions. (6)

Step 2. Strain, sweeten and drink

strain and sweeten

  • Strain the liquid into a cup.
  • Add 1 teaspoon of honey.
  • Drink this tea while it’s still hot, 2 or 3 times a day for quick relief from coughing.


Additional Tips

  • Increase your fluid intake to stay hydrated as this helps in nursing your cough. Warm drinks are especially beneficial, as they help thin and break up the mucus secretions into smaller portions.
  • Avoid carbonated drinks and citrus juices. These drinks contain soda and acid that can cause irritation.
  • Taking warm baths and showers is an effective way to treat coughing. A warm bath moisturizes your airways, thus making it easier to cough up phlegm.
  • Cough drop consumption is another effective technique. Most cough drops contain menthol that numbs the back of the throat to tame the cough reflex and provides relief.
  • Avoid eating cold foods. They dry out respiratory linings making them prone to infection.


  1. Mahashur A. Chronic dry cough: Diagnostic and management approaches. Lung India. Published 2015.
  2. Paul IM, Beiler JS, King TS. Vapor Rub, Petrolatum, and No Treatment for Children With ... HHS Public Access. Published March 18, 2013.
  3. Bode AM. The Amazing and Mighty Ginger. Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.
  4. Chainani-Wu N. Safety and Anti-Inflammatory Activity of Curcumin: A Component of Tumeric (Curcuma longa). Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. | Home. Published July 5, 2004.
  5. Keith S. Thyme: History, Applications, and Overview of Potential: Nutrition Today. LWW.,_Applications,_and_Overview_of.10.aspx. Published 2016.
  6. Wang L, Yang R, et al. The antiviral and antimicrobial activities of licorice, a widely-used Chinese herb. Acta Pharmaceutica Sinica B. Published July 17, 2015.

Summary of How to Stop Coughing

stop coughing

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