Is there anything more pathetic than the sound of a baby or small child in the throes of a coughing fit? You just want to end the misery quickly—which might tempt you to go running for the medicine cabinet, or the pediatrician’s office. But hold the phone. Give these natural remedies a try before you give your child with anything that could have side negative side effects.
The following 4 natural solutions are completely safe and have been methods mothers have used for generations to soothe sore throats and comfort little coughers.
1. Honey (children over 1 only)
This home remedy—which is only safe for kids older than 1 due to the risk of infant botulism—is especially effective for that unsettling nighttime cough. I prefer raw honey because this pure form provides the highest level of antioxidants, but really, you can try any variety. (Bonus: no kid will be spitting out this “medicine.”) For kids under 5, offer a half teaspoon; children 6-11 should get a full teaspoon; tweens ages 12 and up will want to go for 2 teaspoons.
2. DIY vapor rub
Combine a few drops of camphor, menthol and eucalyptus essential oils and gently massage your child’s chest and neck. You can also apply it to their feet. This will help soothe your little one into a more restful sleep. Or you can try Christopher’s Sen Sei Menthol Rub, which is petroleum-free (unlike that brand you probably recall from your childhood!).
3. Licorice root tea
For centuries, licorice root tea has been a go-to remedy for a sore throat. Although the tea is naturally sweet, spoon in plenty of honey to keep the flavor kid-friendly.
4. Get homeopathic help
If you’ve never tried a homeopathic remedy before, they look just like over-the-counter products in the store, with their paper boxes, amber glass bottles and little lastic serving cups. But these products are made from all-natural, plant-based ingredients that have been thought for centuries to be beneficial. You don’t have to worry about drowsiness or other side effects. Boiron Children’s Chestal Cough Syrup is a popular homeopathic option. Formulated with well-known wellness herbs umckaloabo, wild cherry bark and elderberry, ChildLife’s Formula 3 is another reliable choice.