Wondering how to get rid of a cough naturally? We hear you. It can be hard to shake a cough sometimes. It can feel like it's going on forever and can effect everything from your mood (frustration level: 10/10) to your sleep (keeping you awake as you bark away).
So many of us are suffering from coughs and chest infections right now with winter upon us but if your cough isn't severe and going on weeks*, there are some natural cough remedies you can try. Today we're sharing some of our favourite products and herbs plus how to get rid of a cough naturally.
*It's always best to get medical advice if your cough is severe or persists after several weeks.
How to Get Rid of a Cough Naturally
If you're looking to get rid of a cough naturally, there are some really effective natural remedies that are great for tackling coughs and sore throats. From trusted herbs like Echinacea to herbal teas and good old gargling salt water, here are some of the best ways to treat a cough naturally.
Elderberry syrup is a must when it comes to getting rid of a cough naturally. Syrups soothe the throat, ease a cough, and coat mucous membranes that are sore and inflamed. Elderberry can help clear catarrh lining the ears, nose, throat and chest. It is also an immune-stimulant. It gently stimulates sweating to reduce a fever, regulating the body temperature and resolving infection more quickly.
Elderberry syrup tastes great and is easy to give to children, especially fussy ones! Many of our customers have a bottle handy throughout the winter and find it a reliable ‘tonic’ for all types of winter sniffles and coughs.
Anti-microbial, garlic has historically been used against many types of bacteria and virus. In particular, garlic is often used against influenza, which is often the cause of a cough or chest infection.
Garlic is best eaten crushed and raw, but for those who don’t want to do that (we understand!) tablets and capsules are available. Try to go for a strong dose, as the active ingredient is present in a large quantity.
Top Tip: The active ingredient in garlic is a sulphur compound called allicin. This is only produced when the garlic is crushed or chewed - so always crush fresh garlic before you chop it!
Historically, Echinacea has been used by the American Indians for more illnesses than any other plant. It has anti-bacterial and anti-viral properties. It stimulates the immune system to promote T-cell activation, which increases your immune capability. Echinacea comes mostly in tincture form (drops) although tablets are available. Drops (diluted in water) are more easily absorbed and can also be gargled to help fight off any infection in the throat.
If you feel something coming on, if you have Echinacea to hand, try to take a dose every 2 hours. This really revs the immune system, hopefully lessening the extent of your cough in the first place.
Ivy and Thyme complex
Ivy and Thyme complex is essentially a cough bottle in tincture form. I’ve had a few friends who found this really effective for a cough they couldn’t shake. Both the ivy and the thyme are traditional herbal remedies used for coughs and bronchial tract infections. They are expectorant (they bring up phlegm) and demulcent - they soothe the delicate membranes in your chest, throat and sinus.
Numerous studies have proven the effectiveness of vitamin C for prevention and relief of cold and flu symptoms. One 500mg vitamin C tablet a day may not be enough to combat an infection. The key is to take 500mg maybe three times spaced out through the day.
The best way to get enough vitamin C for relief from coughs is to take food source capsules and to eat lots of vitamin C rich foods. Vitamin C rich foods include, kiwi fruit, broccoli, red peppers and kale. And TerraNovais a brand of vitamins which offers amazing food sourced vitamins at good prices.
Zinc is involved in virtually every aspect of immunity. If the throat is hoarse, zinc lozenges are the way to go (you can often get zinc and vitamin C lozenges together). When the zinc makes contact with the soft tissue in the throat and sinus, it has a healing action. We have zinc lozenges here in Evergreen that are super tasty.
Herbals Teas to help get rid of a cough naturally
When it comes to how to get rid of a cough naturally, herbal teas can be a winner. Herbal teas are a great way to hydrate yourself day to day. They're also a really easy way to use herbal remedies. Here is a list of some of our favourites for the chest:
Liquorice: Loosens and thins mucous, eases congestion.
Thyme: Relaxes muscles of the trachea and bronchi and opens up airways.
Lemon & Ginger: Warming and soothing on the chest.
All these teas are great as they keep your fluid levels up as well as having healing properties. If you have honey at home, add a teaspoon to your tea - manuka honey or raw honey is best as it has immune benefits.
If you’re feeling brave and want to make a real immune boosting tea, you could add a slug of apple cider vinegar to your teas and even a half teaspoon of cayenne pepper. It’s not for the faint hearted, but it sure clears out the airways!
Other great ways to get rid of a cough naturally (or sore throat!)
Gargles and inhalations
Why not try to gargle salt water. When you gargle salt water, it helps dislodge phlegm from the chest and throat, it also brings down inflammation. If you have a sore throat or a cough, you should be gargling twice a day at least.
Never underestimate the effectiveness of steam inhalations. A few drops of an anti-bacterial essential oil such as tea tree, lemon or lemon- myrtle in steaming water will reach into the bronchial tract, sterilise and loosen out phlegm. Thyme oil also works well to open up airways as does eucalyptus or mint.
Looking for some more tips when it comes to fighting bugs this winter? We've got some handy info to help you stay healthy this cold and flu season.
Please note, this blog is for informational purposes only and should not replace medical advice.
It’s always best to consult your doctor before taking any new supplements, treatments or remedies if you are pregnant, breastfeeding or on medication.
Checked and updated: 3 September 2021