5 Natural Ways to Soothe a Cough (Plus, How to Make Your Own Cough Drops)

by | Updated: August 2nd, 2018 | Read time: 3 minutes

Cold and cough season is coming. Everyone dreads that moment, late at night, just as you’re settling into bed: your head sinks into the nice, cool pillow, and you feel it. That slight tickle in the back of your throat. The dry scratchy irritation. You know you’re going down.

The scientific facts are mind-blowing: A single cough from an average-sized adult expels enough air to nearly fill a two liter bottle and spews over three thousand droplets of saliva. Gross! You lie awake wondering if you have something, anything, that will quell the hacking that’s about to overtake your body and rob every minute of decent sleep you were looking forward to. And your coworkers are totally going to quarantine you to your office tomorrow, and it’s Vegan Donut Friday, so there goes your non-dairy treat for the week.

Sick Woman in Need of Cough Remedies Under Blanket on Couch | Vitacost.com/blog

No need to go running to the 24-hour pharmacy. There are many home remedies that work just as well, if not better, than the over-the-counter stuff. In fact, the American College of Chest Physicians has stated that many of the active ingredients in over-the-counter cough products don’t even work! Instead of throwing your money away on dye- and alcohol-filled placebos, give these time-tested cough remedies a try.


This is an oldie but a goodie. We all know tea can be figurative soothing after a long day, but it’s also literally soothing if you have a dry, scratchy, irritated or sore throat. Whether you choose to create your own proprietary blend of herbs or simply pick a commercial prepackaged bag of herbal tea, you’re making a sound decision either way. Chamomile, peppermint and ginger tea are all long held favorites for soothing a sore throat.


Add honey to your tea to help soothe and coat your throat. Or get even more fancy and use honey as a base for you own cough syrup. Add coconut oil and lemon juice to make a quick and tasty syrup, or you can go straight for it. If you’re going to go for the straight stuff, try Manuka honey, as it has natural antibacterial properties that promote wellness.


Wet cough? Dry cough? Hacking cough? Whooping cough? They all respond well to steam. It helps open up your airways to get oxygen in and loosen up congestion to get it out. If you have a smaller enclosed bathroom taking a nice hot shower. Otherwise, you can fill the sink with hot water and lean your face over it with a towel draped over you to help trap the rising steam.

Stay hydrated

Water. Drink it. More than usual. It will help any nasal, sinus or chest congestion to thin out and make it easier to breathe. That’s all there is to it!


Lemon, some people swear by it. Just stick a wedge of lemon right in your mouth and suck out the juice. Harsh, true, but it’s likely that this jolt of vitamin C has some immune-boosting effects. If that seems a little intense, try adding the juice of half a lemon to warm water and add a teaspoon of honey.

Homemade Cough Drops Recipe


2 tea bags of preferred herbal tea
½ tsp. cinnamon
½ tsp. ginger
¾ cup boiling water


  1. In large mug, steep tea, cinnamon and ginger in boiling water for 10 minutes or more.
  2. Pour tea into a small saucepan and add honey; being to a boil over medium heat.
  3. Using a candy thermometer, cook until mixture reaches 300 degrees F. (Note: Be careful! Mixture will be extremely hot!)
  4. Let mixture cool for 5-10 minutes, until it reaches a syrup consistency.
  5. Drop by small spoonfuls onto parchment paper and let cool.
  6. Dust cough drops with corn starch to prevent sticking and store in an airtight container.