A dry cough is an annoying and uncomfortable symptom often due to respiratory tract infections, allergies, or environmental irritants. While medications are available to alleviate dry coughs, there are also plenty of home remedies that can provide relief without any side effects. In this article, we will explore some effective home remedies for dry cough.
How To Treat Cough | Ayurvedic Remedies
Honey has long been used as a natural remedy for coughs and sore throats due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. You can take a spoonful of honey or mix it with warm water or tea to soothe a dry cough.
Here’s how you can use honey to soothe a dry cough:
- Take a spoonful of honey on its own: Simply take a spoonful of honey and swallow it slowly. Repeat as needed to alleviate your cough.
- Mix honey with warm water or tea: You can mix honey with warm water or tea to make a soothing drink that can help to ease a dry cough. Add a spoonful of honey to a cup of warm water or tea and stir well. Sip the drink slowly to soothe your throat.
- Combine honey with other ingredients: You can also mix honey with other ingredients that are known to alleviate coughs, such as ginger, lemon, or cinnamon. For example, you can make a ginger-honey tea by steeping fresh ginger in hot water and adding honey to taste.
A study published in the Journal of Family Medicine and Primary Care in 2019 found that honey was effective in reducing cough severity and frequency in adult patients with upper respiratory tract infections. (1)
It’s important to note that honey should not be given to children under one year of age due to the risk of infant botulism. If your cough persists for over a week or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, chest pain, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
Ginger is another natural remedy that has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. You can make ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger in hot water or chewing on a small piece of ginger root to ease a dry cough.
Here are a few ways to use ginger for a dry cough:
- Ginger Tea: You can make ginger tea by steeping fresh ginger in hot water. To make ginger tea, chop or grate a small piece of fresh ginger root and add it to a cup of boiling water. Let the tea steep for about 10 minutes, then strain out the ginger and drink it while it is still warm. You can add honey or lemon juice to the tea to make it palatable.
- Ginger and Honey Mixture: You can combine ginger with honey to make a cough syrup. To make this syrup, grate a small piece of fresh ginger root and mix it with a tablespoon of honey. Take this mixture up to three times a day to help soothe your dry cough.
- Raw Ginger: You can also chew on a small piece of raw ginger root to help alleviate a dry cough. Simply cut a small piece of fresh ginger root and chew it slowly. You can add some salt or honey to the ginger to make it palatable.
According to a review of studies conducted by Columbia University in 2013, gingerol, a chemical component found in fresh ginger, has the ability to alleviate airway hyperresponsiveness which may cause asthma symptoms, such as coughing. (2)
It’s important to note that ginger may interact with certain medications, so check with your doctor before using ginger as a remedy for a dry cough.
3. Saltwater Gargle
Gargling with salt water can help to soothe a dry and scratchy throat, reduce inflammation, and loosen mucus, which can help to relieve coughing.
Gargling with salt water is a simple and effective home remedy for dry cough. Here are the steps to follow:
- Add half a teaspoon of salt to a cup of warm water. Ensure the water is not too hot, which could burn your mouth.
- Stir the mixture until the salt dissolves completely.
- Take a small sip of the salt water and tilt your head back. Allow the water to reach the back of your throat without swallowing it.
- Gargle the salt water in your throat for about 30 seconds to one minute.
- Spit the water out into a sink or basin.
- Repeat this process several times until you have used the entire cup of salt water.
- Rinse your mouth with plain water to remove any remaining salt.
In a randomized controlled study published in Scientific Reports in 2019, it was found that gargling with salt water three times a day resulted in a reduction of the duration of cough and vocal hoarseness caused by cold by 2.4 days and 1.7 days, respectively. (3)
Turmeric is a popular spice that has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including coughs and respiratory issues. Here are some ways to use turmeric for a dry cough:
Turmeric milk: Add one teaspoon of turmeric powder to a cup of warm milk and stir well. Drink this mixture before bed to help soothe your throat and reduce coughing.
Turmeric tea: Boil a cup of water and add half a teaspoon of turmeric powder, a small piece of grated ginger, and a teaspoon of honey. Allow the mixture to steep for a few minutes before straining and drinking. This can help to ease coughing and provide relief from other respiratory symptoms.
Turmeric and honey mixture: Mix one teaspoon of turmeric powder with a tablespoon of honey to make a paste. Consume this mixture a few times daily to help reduce coughing and soothe your throat.
Turmeric steam inhalation: Add a teaspoon of turmeric powder to a pot of boiling water and inhale the steam. You can add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to the water to help clear your sinuses and relieve coughing.
Turmeric contains curcumin, which has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help to alleviate respiratory symptoms, including coughing.
Steam treatments can help to alleviate a remedy for dry cough by moisturizing the throat and airways, reducing inflammation, and loosening mucus. Here are some steam treatments you can try:
- Steam inhalation: Boil a pot of water and transfer it to a bowl. Place a towel over your head, lean over the bowl, and breathe in the steam for 10 to 15 minutes. You can add essential oils, such as eucalyptus, peppermint, or tea tree oil, to the water to enhance the benefits.
- Hot shower or bath: A hot shower or bath can also help to loosen mucus and alleviate coughing. You can add a few drops of essential oils to the shower or bath to enhance the benefits.
- Humidifier: Using a humidifier in your room can help to add moisture to the air, which can help to soothe your throat and reduce coughing. Make sure to clean the humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
- Facial steam: Transfer a pot of water to a large bowl. Place your face over the bowl, cover your head with a towel, and breathe in the steam for a few minutes. You can add essential oils or herbs, such as thyme or chamomile, to the water for added benefits.
Steam treatments are not recommended for children under 12, and it is important to take precautions to avoid burns or injuries from hot water or steam.
6. Marshmallow Root
Marshmallow root has traditionally been used for its medicinal properties, including treating coughs and soothing sore throats. Marshmallow root contains mucilage, a thick, slippery substance that can help soothe irritated mucous membranes in the respiratory tract.
When treating dry cough, marshmallow root may be helpful due to its ability to coat the throat and provide a soothing effect. You can use marshmallow root in a few different ways to help alleviate your cough:
Tea: You can make marshmallow root tea by steeping 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried marshmallow root in a cup of hot water for 10-15 minutes. You can drink this tea up to three times per day.
Syrup: You can also make syrup using marshmallow root. You’ll need to simmer 1/4 cup of dried marshmallow root in 1 quart of water for about 30 minutes. Strain the liquid and add 1 cup of honey. Simmer the mixture for another 10 minutes, then let it cool and store it in a jar in the refrigerator. You can take 1 to 2 teaspoons of this syrup up to three times daily.
Lozenges: You can also find marshmallow root lozenges or make your own by mixing marshmallow root powder with honey and shaping the mixture into lozenges.
Humidifier: Using a humidifier can help to add moisture to the air and ease a dry cough. Be sure to clean your humidifier regularly to prevent the growth of bacteria and mold.
Thyme is a herb traditionally used for its medicinal properties, including treating coughs and respiratory infections. Thyme contains compounds such as thymol and carvacrol, which have antispasmodic, expectorant, and antibacterial properties that may help relieve cough and soothe the respiratory tract.
Here are a few ways to use thyme to help alleviate a dry cough:
- Thyme tea: Steep 2 teaspoons of dried thyme in hot water for 10-15 minutes. Strain and drink up to three times per day.
- Thyme steam inhalation: Add a few drops of thyme essential oil or a handful of fresh thyme leaves to a bowl of hot water. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam for 5-10 minutes, taking deep breaths.
- Thyme honey syrup: Mix 1-2 teaspoons of dried thyme with a cup of honey. Heat the mixture over low heat for about 30 minutes, then strain and store in a jar. Take 1-2 teaspoons of the syrup up to three times daily.
It’s important to note that thyme may interact with certain medications and may not be suitable for everyone.
What Causes a Dry Cough?
A dry cough, also known as a non-productive cough, is a cough that does not produce mucus or phlegm. A dry cough can be caused by a variety of factors, including:
- Respiratory infections: A dry cough can be a symptom of a respiratory infection, such as a cold, flu, or pneumonia. These infections can irritate the throat and cause a dry, persistent cough.
- Allergies: Allergies to environmental factors such as dust, pollen, and pet dander can irritate the respiratory tract and cause a dry cough.
- Asthma: Asthma is a chronic respiratory condition that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways. A dry cough can be a symptom of asthma.
- Acid reflux: Acid reflux occurs when stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and inflammation. This can lead to a dry cough, particularly at night.
- Medications: Some medications, such as ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure, can cause a dry cough as a side effect.
- Smoking irritates the respiratory tract and can lead to a chronic dry cough.
- Environmental factors: Exposure to air pollution, dry air, or smoke can cause a dry cough.
While a dry cough can be a frustrating symptom to deal with, plenty of home remedies can provide relief without any harmful side effects. Honey, steam, ginger, saltwater gargles, and humidifiers are just a few examples of natural remedies that can help to ease a dry cough. If your cough persists for over a week or is accompanied by other symptoms such as fever, chest pain, or difficulty breathing, seek medical attention.
is a registered dietitian with over 10 years of experience in the field of nutrition. She has a Master’s degree in Nutritional Science from Dhaka University and has worked with various clients to help them achieve their health goals through personalized diet plans. Mounota is passionate about educating people on the benefits of a healthy diet and lifestyle and has written extensively on the subject for various publications.