Herbal Cough Medicines

David Trammel's picture

Now that Winter is about here, it might be a good time to review some herbal and food based home cough medicines.

I came across this food based recipe, that doesn't really utilize any traditional herbs (besides onions).


And this one too.


While the second article is close to the first, I found the comments in both articles pretty informative as well, including the practice of writing down specifics about your experiments with herbal and natural remedies, like doses used, ingredients and their weights and measures, and any changes in the recipes you try.

David Trammel's picture

Here is another article, which focuses on 5 juices that can help with a sore throat.


"A sore throat can be a symptom of a serious illness. But getting a sore throat doesn’t necessarily mean you need to rush in to see a doctor right away. Jeffrey Linder, M.D., is an internist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He did an interview with Time Magazine’s Health.com about some common recommendations for soothing a sore throat. According to Dr. Linder, “Staying hydrated is very important, especially when you’re sick and your throat is irritated or inflamed. You should be drinking enough fluid so that your urine is light yellow or clear. This keeps your mucous membranes moist and better able to combat bacteria and irritants like allergens, and makes your body better able to fight back against other cold symptoms.”

I have never found a cough syrup or cough drop that works. Throat Coat (an herbal tea with slippery elm) helps a little. So do dry mouth lozenges, at least as long as I've got it in my mouth. Honey? No. Anything over the counter? No. Anything from the pharmacy? Only codeine works.

If you find something that works, make sure to tell us all.

Teresa from Hershey

alice's picture

I make a herbal tea inspired by a spice tea mix I bought one time which has: chopped dried licorice root (50 g), shredded cinnamon stick (40 g), fennel seed (35 g), dried chopped turmeric root (15 g), green cardamom (15 g), thyme (12 g), cracked black peppercorns (5 g). Mix everything in a jar, and when you need it make a pot of tea with a tablespoonful or so of the mixture to a litre of water just off the boil.

I think it's helpful for me to sip this when I feel like I have a cold or sore throat coming. Even without the herbs, a lot of bacteria are very susceptible to temperature changes. The kind that cause disease usually can't tolerate even a sustained 40 C -- so sipping hot tea can actually wipe out the bacteria that can be one cause of sore throats. Obviously don't drink it hot enough to burn yourself -- but comfortably hot can still be hot enough to kill off the bacteria. And this tea is sweet enough that the children are happy to drink it when they need to as well.

Licorice is an expectorant so this helps move a cough along, and thyme is antimicrobial I think. The other herbs as I understand it mostly have gentle warming and stimulating properties. Probably there is someone here who knows a lot more about herbs who could say more about what the herbs do.

Edited to add -- sorry just read the juice link above and realize one of those is licorice root tea.