Coughing helps clear the throat, lungs and airway from foreign material. However, constant coughing is painful and irritable as well. Dry cough is generally referred as a cough that does not produce phlegm or sputum, but causes pain and dryness in the throat. It may be caused as a result of various viral and bacterial infections including tuberculosis, whooping cough, common cold (viral respiratory infection), Legionnaires’ disease (type of bacterial pneumonia), Croup (viral illness that is common in young children), lung cancer, smoking, inhaling a mild irritant, such as dust, smoke or powder, tumor of the larynx, congestive heart failure, asthma and allergies, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD, includes chronic bronchitis and emphysema), and pleurisy (inflammation of the lining around the lungs and chest).
The common symptoms of dry cough include nausea, wheezing, vomiting, swollen lymph nodes, hoarse voice, flu-like symptoms (fever, fatigue, headache, sore throat, aches and pains), runny nose (nasal congestion). Less frequent symptoms may be fatigue, joint pain, rash, bad breath, loss of appetite, bleeding gums, unintentional weight loss, and diarrhea.
Normally, it takes 7-10 days to get rid of dry cough, which can be cured with below mentioned home remedies.
Home Remedies for Dry Cough
Being natural analgesic, ginger is mostly found in lozenges and cough syrups (1). It soothes the sore throat and provides immense relief. Just take a fresh ginger root, peel it and crush it properly. Boil a cup of water and add crushed ginger into it. Strain the solution and add some honey. Drink this decoction three times a day.
- Besides, you can chew some fresh raw ginger slices and rub its oil on the chest to increase the effectiveness of this remedy.
Many cold and cough supplements sold in United States contain ginger as an ingredient (2). Studies of Surh, Lee, and Lee 1998 has thoroughly reviewed medicinal properties of ginger; which also includes its use in treatment of cold and cough (3).
- Alternatively, combine lemon juice with some honey and add a pinch of cayenne pepper. Drink the solution every day.
Another amazing remedy to cure dry hacking cough is using garlic. Take a cup of water and boil 2 to 3 garlic cloves. Add 1 teaspoon of oregano. After the mixture is cooled down to room temperature, mix some honey and drink it to alleviate the cough symptoms.
- Alternatively, crush a garlic clove; mix it with some honey and few drops of clove oil. Eat it to reduce the soreness.
The usefulness of garlic in treating chronic cough is thoroughly mentioned in a book named Qanoon Fil Tib (The Canon of Medicine), written by Avicenna (1988) (6).
This is one of the simplest home remedies to cure chronic dry cough. Simply mix 1 teaspoon of pure honey and one-half teaspoon of onion juice. Consume this mixture at least two times a day (7).
- Moreover, you can prepare a cough syrup by combining comfrey tea, baked onion juice, and honey. Drink it every day.
- You can also make tea using honey, onion and garlic. The therapeutic propeties of honey provides soothng effect to throat (8).
5. Hot Milk with Honey
According to the studies of Ayurveda, Honey has been traditionally used to cure problems related to cough (9). Drink hot milk with honey. It is the easiest option. Alternatively, you can also consume 1 teaspoon of plain honey on an empty stomach for added benefits.
- Moreover, you can consume 1.5 tsp honey prior to bedtime (This cough remedy is not suitable for children below 1 year) (10).
Studies have proved that the demulcent and antioxidant properties of honey decrease mucus secretion and cough (11). World Health Organisation regards honey as a prominent component for the treatment of cough (12).
According to Home Herbal, by P. Ody, cayenne pepper has stimulating and warming effect which gives relief from cold and cough (13). Prepare a cough syrup by mixing together one-fourth teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1 tablespoon of honey, one-fourth tsp of ground ginger, 2 tbsp of water and 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. Drink this syrup thrice a day to get quick relief from the dry cough symptoms (14).
7. Carrot Juice
The nutrients and vitamins in carrot juice provide relief from various cough symptoms. Carrot is a good source of Vitamin C (15). An analyses proved that Vitamin C behaves as an antioxidant which reduces coughing and wheezing problems (16, 17). Take 4 to 5 carrots, add some water and prepare fresh juice. You may add 1 teaspoon of honey for flavor and added benefits. Drink this juice 3 to 4 times a day.
Just consume grapes to get rid of mucus or drink a fresh grapes juice with a spoonful of honey.
Grapes posses anti inflammatory properties which help to get rid of dry cough (18).
Soak 5 to 6 almonds in water for 8 – 10 hours and prepare a smooth paste from these soaked almonds. Add 1 teaspoon of butter into this paste and eat it 3 to 4 times a day.
Almonds have several health benefits because of its nutritional properties. It reduces inflammation and cures dry cough problem (19).
10. Salt Water
Add 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Mix well to dissolve all the salt particles thoroughly. Gargle with this solution for 15 seconds, spit out and repeat the same process with the remaining water (20).
Note: Gargling is not useful for children below 6 years as they are not able to do it properly.
Take 100 grams of raisins, grind with some water to form a healing sauce. Now, add 100 grams of sugar and heat the entire mixture until a sauce like fluid is attained. Consume 20 grams of this sauce daily before you hit the hay (21).
Note: There are no sufficient evidences to prove the use of raisins in the treatment of cough.
People generally experience dry cough during night. So, place a humidifier in your bedroom to get sound sleep (22).
Take a medium sized heat proof bowl and fill it half with boiled water. After about 30 to 60 seconds, when the water is slightly cooled, add 3 drops of tea tree oil and 1 to 2 drops of eucalyptus oil. Stir it quickly to release the vapors. Cover your head with a clean towel and inhale these produced vapours for 5 to 10 minutes. Carry out this process twice a day.
You can also make an infusion soaking tea tree leaves. This infusion is used to treat sore throats (23).
Eucalyptus oil should always be used in its diluted form. It can be taken by mouth to cure pain and swelling caused due to dry cough problem (24).
14. Black Pepper
Take a mug and place 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon of honey. Add 8 ounces of boiled water and stir well until the pepper flakes get completely dispersed. Let it steep for about 10 minutes, mix again, and drink it. Continue using this process 1 – 2 times a day.
Alternatively, You can also make a mixture of 5 ml honey and 10 ml of lime juice. Add a pinch of black pepper to the mixture. Consume this concoction every few hours until you get relief from dry cough. Black pepper increases the blood flow to the throat thus providing quick relief (25).
Honey is a popularly used in treatment of cough related problems (26).
15. Apple Cider Vinegar
Take the honey and apple cider vinegar in equal quantities. Mix them well with a cup of warm water. Swallow this warm mixture. However, it does not taste good but soothes sore throat effectively (27).
16. Rock Candy
This is one of the oldest forms of candy. It is popularly used for curing dry cough as it increases saliva. You can prepare it easily using this simple homemade rock candy recipe (28).
17. Slippery Elm
Boil a cup of water and add a tbsp of slippery elm bark powder. Stir the solution and steep it for 5 minutes. Strain the decoction and sip the tea slowly to get some relief.
Alternatively, you can also take some slippery lozenges to treat the problem of dry cough (29).
Note: Pregnant or breastfeeding women should avoid use of Slippery Elm (30).
18. Hot Shower
Close the windows; turn off the exhaust fan and take a hot shower bath to soothe the airways and phlegm in your lungs and throat (31).
Herbal Remedies to Cure Dry Cough
19. Green Tea with Honey
Prepare green tea at home and add some honey. Drink it to cure dry cough and to soothe your throat (32).
Cinnamon has antibacterial properties which helps cure dry cough (33). This is another great home remedy to soothe a dry throat. Just prepare a cup of cinnamon tea and consume it as needed.
According to Ayurveda, turmeric is a very useful component in treatment of cough and various other ailments (34). You may use turmeric to treat dry cough in any of the following ways:
- Take a pot and heat half cup of water. Now add 1 teaspoon black pepper, and 1 teaspoon turmeric powder. You may add some cinnamon sticks if you want. Bring the mixture to boil for about 2 to 3 minutes. Strain the solution and allow it to cool down. Now, add 1 tablespoon honey. Drink this decoction every day.
- Prepare an herbal tea by mixing 1 teaspoon of carom seeds, 1 teaspoon of turmeric powder and a cup of water. Boil the mixture until the water reduces to half. Add some honey for a better taste and drink it twice every day.
- Take some turmeric root, roast and grind it to form a smooth powder. Mix this powder with water and honey, and drink this solution two times a day.
- Add 1 teaspoon of powdered turmeric to a glass of boiled milk. Hot turmeric milk is a very useful remedy for dry cough (35).
22. Licorice Root Tea
Boil 8 ounces of fresh water and add 2 tablespoons of dried licorice root in a mug. Cover the mug and allow the mixture to steep for 10 to 15 minutes. Drink it at least 2 times a day. Abruquinones, the isoflavanquinones, derived from the Licorice roots possess anti-inflammatory properties which helps cure dry cough (36).
Take 2 tablespoons of dried thyme or a handful of fresh thyme sprigs and bruise it lightly. Put it in a mug and add 8 ounces of boiled water. Cover the mug with a lid and steep it for 10 to 15 minutes. Put in some honey or lemon to add flavors to your drink. Consume it 2 to 3 times every day. Thyme is used for many other breathing problems including dry cough (37).
Note: There is no sufficient evidence regarding the usage of thyme for dry cough.
24. Peppermint Ginger Syrup
Peppermint is a painkiller, it soothes throat pain caused due to dry cough (38). Ginger is a natural antihistamine that helps to get rid of dry cough (39). Mix together 3 tablespoons of chopped ginger and 1 tablespoon of dried peppermint in 4 cups of water. Bring the mixture to boil and simmer the heat until the water gets reduced to half. Strain, and add 1 cup of honey and let it cool down slightly. Consume 1 tablespoon of it after every few hours as needed.
In a cup of water, boil 2 – 3 tablespoons of flaxseeds until the liquid becomes thick. Strain, and add 3 tablespoons each of lemon juice and honey. Consume 1 tablespoon of it whenever needed to get relief from the cough.
Flaxseed is a functional food and prominent cough remedy with many other medicinal properties (40).
Oregano tea is popularly used to soothe sore throat (41). Take a cup of water, add some oregano and boil it. Strain and drink to lessen the effects of a dry cough.
27. Aniseed Tea
Consuming a cup of spicy aniseed tea can give you quick relief from dry cough as it helps loosen the mucous (42). Boil a cup of water and add 3 tsp of fresh aniseed (crushed). Steep it for a couple of minutes and drink gradually.
28. Marshmallow Root
Take a cup filled with boiled water; add about 3 grams of dried marshmallow leaves. Let it steep for 10 to 12 minutes. Strain and drink 3 cups of this herbal solution to get some relief.
The phytopharmaceuticals present in marshmallow leaf possess an antitussive and abirritative effect which helps to get rid of dry cough (43).
Take a handful of properly washed basil leaves and crush them to make a paste. Keep this aside and prepare ginger paste as well. Take one tsp each of ginger and basil paste. Now, blend them and filter using a sieve. Then, add three tsp of honey. Take one tsp thrice a day.
Moreover, Basil tea is a very effective remedy for cold and cough (44).
Fill a glass with hot water and add five to ten grams of donkey hide gelatin in it. Allow the mixture to cool down. Drink it slowly to get some relief.
31. Ribwort plantain leaf
Ribwort plantain leaf is used in many herbal teas and herbal remedies. Tea made from these leaves is popular for the treatment of dry cough as it is a phytopharmaceuticals that has antitussive and abirritative effect (45).
32. Iceland moss thallus
- Use a handkerchief to cover your mouth and nose while sneezing or coughing.
- Wash your hands constantly.
- Increase intake of fluids (47).
- Avoid consumption of cold foods.
- Don’t rest flat on the back.
- Avoid the intake of fried foods.
- Shun smoking or using any other forms of tobacco.
- Keep away from caffeinated beverages.
- Avoid eating too much at night.
- Don’t over-exert yourself.
- Stay away from people who are suffering from cold or influenza.