Herbal Cough Remedies

A dry throat and tickly cough can be annoying so getting the best herbal cough remedies can be a great way to help you carry on with your day-to-day life. Most doctors won't prescribe any medication for a simple cough unless it's persistent over the course of a number of weeks, so herbal remedies offer cheap treatment in the comfort of your own home. As with any homeopathic remedy, you may need to consult your doctor before starting the treatment.

Key Herbs

While there are many different illnesses and diseases that cause you to cough a lot, the symptoms can be treated with a relatively small number of commonly available herbs. You should be able to make the most common herbal cough remedies from the following, available at any good health food store:

  • Licorice root - this is a sweet herb that typically comes in small chunks and is the root part of the plant that gives licorice flavor to candies. The root can be ground up or steeped in water to make a sweet tea and makes herbal cough remedies more palatable for young children.
  • Osha root - in homeopathic circles, this is known as the 'cough root' as the sap from the roots coat the inside of your throat which soothes inflammation. This coating also stops any new infection from spreading and stops dust and other irritants from settling. Take this as a paste mixed with a little water for immediate relief.
  • Wild cherry bark - this is the inner edge of the wild cherry tree and acts on your immune system as well as providing relief to your throat. It slows down your reflex system meaning that you don't cough as often or as violently. You'll often find it ground up in conventional medicines, but you can simply steep the bark in hot water to make a refreshing and relaxing drink.
  • Mullein - the dried version of mullein, when steeped in hot water for about 10 minutes, makes a remedy that really helps to clear your whole system of any congestion and mucus on the lungs. Be ready for a large coughing fit as your body clears the dislodged congestion, but then you'll find your cough disappears quickly as there's less to irritate it.
  • Garlic and ginger - part of the reason why you often find the combination of these two healthy plants in Chinese and Asian cooking is that they are both immune system boosters. Ginger helps to coat the throat and garlic will reduce your blood pressure which will help relieve any other symptoms you have alongside your cough. Try adding these two in combination to any hot dish or soup that you're making for an instant boost.

Recipes to Make Ahead of Time

You don't have to wait to have a cough to start preparing herbal cough remedies and like with a conventional medicine cabinet, it can be a good idea to make and store some remedies ahead of time. Try making:

  • Drinking syrups - simply boil down your chosen root (ginger is a typical favorite for its flavor, but others work) then add a little lemon and sugar and turn into syrup. These can then be added to hot or cold drinks or taken as it comes.
  • Suckable candies - follow exactly the same process as making the syrups, but pour the end result into ice cube trays and leave to cool and set. When they're ready, wrap each one in greaseproof paper and store in an air tight container.
  • Tea mixes - prepare your favorite combination of cough herbs and if possible sew them into muslin bags ready for steeping. Make sure you keep them in an air tight container to keep them fresh for longer. 

With these ingredients and recipes, making your own herbal cough remedies has never been easier.

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