What type of cough do you have?
Different types of cough have different causes so it can be useful to figure out what kind of cough you have so that you know which remedy will work best.
Dry coughs and tickly coughs are generally caused by irritation or dryness at the back of the throat, so anything that will soothe the throat is a good idea. They can also be caused by external factors such as allergies, smoke, dust, as well as problems like asthma.
Chesty coughs are caused by excess mucus, so anything that will loosen, reduce or thin this mucus will be useful. These types of cough often accompany colds, flu and other upper respiratory infections.
If you aren’t sure which type you have read our handy guide – what type of cough do you have?
So what are the best home and herbal remedies for coughs?
Honey and Lemon
Traditionally used to relieve a sore throat, this home remedy is particularly useful for those dry, tickly coughs. The thick, sticky honey is really soothing for the throat and tends to leave a protective layer behind.
Using a steam bath is a fantastic way to loosen congestion and hydrate a dry respiratory system, making this a useful home remedy for both dry coughs and chesty coughs. Add a few drops of essential oils like tea tree or eucalyptus to maximise these effects. Eucalyptus, along with peppermint, juniper, caraway and fennel oils can be found in our own Po-Ho oil.
Diluted essential oils can also be rubbed onto the chest to help provide relief from a chesty cough. Again, tea tree and eucalyptus are good choices, so you may want to pick up some Po-Ho oil.
This herb has soothing properties and has been traditionally used to ease coughs and inflammation since ancient Greece!
You can buy dried mullein to use as a tea, or you can also find this herb in our Cough Spray. This handy spray delivers mullein, along with marshmallow and honey, directly to the back of the throat where it’s needed most. These ingredients sooth irritation and leave a protective layer over the throat, so the cough spray works best for dry and irritating coughs.
That Christmas tree might be useful for more than just decoration this year! Pine is a fantastic plant for relieving coughs, as discovered by Alfred Vogel during his time surrounded by pine trees in the Swiss mountains.
Our Bronchosan Cough Syrup contains pine, along with honey, to help relieve dry and irritated coughs.
Thyme has been long used as a medicinal herb to heal all kinds of ailments, but it is particularly useful for respiratory problems such as a cough. It is commonly used in tea form, but it is also available in our Bronchoforce remedy, along with other useful herbs such as ivy, liquorice root, star anise oil and eucalyptus oil. Together, these ingredients help to loosen and thin mucus, making this a fantastic remedy for chesty coughs.
Vitamin C is vital for a healthy immune system, so upping your intake might give you just the boost you need to get rid of that cough for good. Rose hips are a fantastic source of vitamin C – even better than oranges! You could try rose hip tea or a rose hip supplement.
Other sources of vitamin C include oranges, blueberries, kale, kiwi and red peppers.
Our bodies can’t store vitamin C so a high strength supplement won’t do much good – you’ll just lose what you can’t absorb in your urine! Instead, try to space out your intakes of vitamin C. Try a smoothie in the morning, an orange at lunch and some brightly coloured vegetables with dinner.
Our chewable vitamin C tablets are taken twice a day and contain natural vitamin C sources such as Acerola, passion fruit and blackcurrant. Each tablet provides 100mg of highly bio-available vitamin C.
Simply drinking more water to stay hydrated can make a huge difference, as it will prevent the throat from drying out and causing irritation. Again, try to drink little and often to keep your throat constantly hydrated.
Get plenty of rest
Even with all these remedies, your body will struggle to recover from that annoying cough without proper rest. Once the worst symptoms of a cold or flu have worn off, many people get straight back to their busy lifestyle, which is why coughs can linger for so long for many people! Take things easy for a week or two and make sure to get your 8 hours sleep every night.
Extra tips for easing that cough
Dry air can particularly worsen a dry, irritating cough, so getting an air humidifier can be really useful! Alternatively, you can place a bowl of water on your radiator so that as it warms it releases moisture into the air. Just be careful that your home doesn’t get too humid, as this could cause damp and mould which aren't good for a cough either!
Try to avoid exposure to too many irritating chemicals such as cigarette smoke, air freshener or cleaning products.
Avoid dairy products, particularly if you have a chesty cough, as these are known to worsen congestion. Any thickening of the mucus in your chest will cause your cough to worsen.
And finally, try to breathe through your nose as much as possible. Your nose acts as a natural filter to prevent dirt, dust and pathogens entering the respiratory system. Breathing through your mouth will remove this protective filter and also cause the throat to dry more quickly.