Welcome Gwen from Gwen’s Nest today as she shares four of her favorite fast and natural cough remedies!
I don’t know about your house, but around here, if someone is going to come down with a random wracking cough, it’s going to be after 10 PM, and likely after the last bit of cough syrup was used up. But that’s OK, because one of my favorite things about natural remedies is that many of them use basic things that I already have in my kitchen.
It’s so easy to whip up any of these four natural cough remedies in a pinch. I’ve even made these on vacation! And the great thing is, they really work well *and* they taste great. Which is key to actually getting my people to take their remedies.
Here’s what we’ll use:
Cocoa powder, raw honey, dark chocolate, and cinnamon. Not shown, a grapefruit and some water. If you have any or all of these things in your cabinets, you’re set!
Home Remedies for Coughs
Cough Remedy#1: Chocolate
Let’s start off with my personal favorite, and the most simple: a piece of dark chocolate.
Chocolate contains theobromine1, which in one study was more effective than codeine in stopping coughs. This is a great choice for those persistent and tickly throat type coughs. It may be more effective if you eat the entire bar…or maybe Mama needs to just tuck this away in case I get a <cough> for later. <cough>
Come to think of it, I should probably carry some of this in my purse…and my first aid kit. Just in case. You can *never* be too prepared to deal with a
chocolate craving cough.
Let’s move on to a similar remedy that you might be more willing to share with the kids…
Cough Remedy #2: Chocolate Syrup
Oh yes…this is much more well suited for the children. Chocolate syrup is a very simple mixture of raw honey and cocoa powder. This remedy goes down easily since, for all practical purposes it *is* actually a spoonful of (natural) sugar. With chocolate…which we now know contains theobromine and thus is the medicinal part of this combo.
Please Note: For children and babies under one year, I use maple syrup instead of honey. It’s highly recommended to avoid honey- even healthy raw honey in children under a year old. It contains spores that are harmless to more mature digestive systems, but can cause botulism in babies under a year old.
It may take a few seconds to convince the cocoa to mix in with the honey- it can be a little stubborn. This quick remedy can be made ahead if you’d like, but it’s just as quick to mix it up by the spoonful when its needed. The really cool thing? Theobromine peaks in the system at 2 hours in, so you get sustained relief.
Honey also has been shown in studies to be just as effective as cough syrup. Which is why this healthy, natural, *easy* and delicious cough syrup is the best thing ever.
Cough Remedy #3: Cinnamon Syrup
Here’s a variation on the theme: cinnamon and honey also make an effective soothing cough syrup.
It’s slightly warming, and the cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde that is anti-spasmodic.3
Like cocoa, cinnamon is hydrophobic and will be a little stubborn to mix into the honey. Just keep stirring, and you’ll get to this stage of loveliness:
Cough Remedy #4: Grapefruit Tea
Grapefruit tea is a cough remedy that I learned about from a friend years ago. She’d had a really long, rough illness that culminated in a bad cough. She swore by this simple, natural remedy to give relief to even deep junky coughs.
It’s warm, soothing, and is so easy to put together. All you need is a grapefruit and some water.
Squeeze the juice out of both halves of the grapefruit, and add the juice and rinds to a small pot with about 1 1/2 to 2 cups of water added.
Simmer for several minutes, then strain off the tea- you can sweeten it with honey if you’d like. It’s got a tart and slightly bitter flavor, but it’s very soothing.
My friend recommends drinking the whole pot of tea, and repeating again in a few hours.
Why does this work? Beyond just being soothing and comforting, grapefruit is a good source of potassium, vitamin C, inositol, bioflavonoids. The rind is also rich in pectin and quercetin, a natural anti-histamine and anti-inflammatory.4
Word to the wise: Even super healthy natural foods and herbs can have side effects…mostly good side effects, but sometimes they can interact with medications. Be sure to check out the contraindications below in the resource links, and talk to your pharmacist about interactions if you’re on medications.
More Natural Cough Remedies
I’ve been using natural remedies like these for years with great results. My favorite natural cough remedy harnesses the power of fresh garlic, but is so tasty that my kids ask for spoon after spoon of it! It’s one of my most popular posts, and the remedy that I used for my kids when they had whooping cough. I saw a marked difference in their recovery when I started using this natural cough syrup.
I love sharing and learning more about home remedies- tell me what works for your family? Do you have a favorite natural cough remedy you’d like to share in the comments?
careful with grapefruit! It is contraindicated with MANY medications, including Lipitor, Zoloft, Viagra, HIV antiretrovirals and others.
Among others are cholesterol-lowering medicins. Please be carefull with grapefruit if you use meds for your cholesterol-level.
After reading this post, I think my kids are hoping for a cold soon. 🙂
By the way, thank you for your weekly posts. At least one of your articles each week has changed the way I do things around here. We have a small urban homestead with milk goats, chickens and a garden. I am trying your crock pot soap recipe this week. Thanks again.
How much chocolate powder and how much honey do you mix together?
Looking for the same answer please.
Erica Ricky Kennedy says
1 tblsp. honey to 1 tsp. cinnamon or cocoa powder.
Deb B says
Once again I can hardly wait to try your recipes! … not only the cough remidies –
( these have got to be the best tasting!) But another soup recipe -Tomato Garlic soup- that I just know will be a favorite with us!
I’m happy to see the post this morning from you, but just remember to rest!… I think the hardest thing for me was resting after babies, especially when you feel so much better after that last month of pregnancy!
Michaelene McCulloch says
Thankyou for sharing all those recipes for cold and cough. So much better than that store-bought stuff.
Prairie Wife says
THANK YOU! This is amazing (and I am pinning it now so I can have it at midnight in January when I’ll need it) I have recently begun to use more natural remedies and with the success of honey for coughs and lemon and ginger tea for sore throats and colds I am super excited to have a few more things in my arsenal! I also recommend pineapple tea when you feel a cold coming on, it has all the same benefits as the grapefruit tea and you can find it at most stores! My family and I thank you 🙂
Suzanne Gerard says
When I was in high school, early 1950’s, and we would get up in the winter complaining of feeling draggy and having a sore throat, My grandma had a basic remedy. “Sit down and have a hot cup of coffee and half a grapefruit.” Much later, as a R.N., I understood the prescription. Heat and caffeine from the coffee. Acid roughage that cleared one’s throat and vitamin C from the grapefruit. As well as a good start on breakfast.
Jill Winger says
I love this idea!
These all sound yummy! I’ll be trying them next time someone gets sick.
When my daughter got bronchitis, I went to our health food store and they gave us ivy leaf extract. This breaks up the crud in the lungs so it’s easier to cough out. Worked like a charm but doesn’t taste near as good as these recipes
Jill Winger says
Interesting! Never heard of using that before.
I had a really bad dry cough, it was so bad that I felt my throat was cut with knives every time I coughed. I mixed 1 tsp of turmeric with 2 tsp of good quality clear honey, and took a tsp every hour. The cough stopped immediately after taking the first spoon. Try it its amazing.
Jill Winger says
That is awesome! Turmeric is amazing!
Sarah Lane says
Jill, thank you so much for this. I was *sadly* able to try two of these remedies out this past week for my two little ones. They are 2 & 3 yr olds who love love love chocolate. ? They loved having dark chocolate that would help their cough, and they especially loved that “yummy coughing syrup that helps my throat.” That was what they asked for for the last couple of days. I definitely saw improvement even just over night! Praise the Lord for that and also for you posting this at just the right time!
Jill Winger says
I’m thrilled you had just good results with these, Sarah– yay!
Very interesting tips,thank you for sharing this article.
Amy Jackson says
Is the ratio of cocoa/honey and cinnamon/honey 1:1?
Margie Shafer says
I just love your site. It has helped me with so many different areas. I wish that I could copy the Recipes without copying the whole page. I’m not computer savy.
I just want to emphasize the seriousness of drug interactions with grapefruit juice. They are finding more and more every day…in addition to those already mentioned, other common drugs affected are:
— dextromethorphan: of particular concern to those reading this article, since it is in most otc cough suppressants
— levothyrixine (synthroid)
— stimulant drugs including those commonly prescribed for adhd.
Please note grapefruit can cause other problems NOT linked to medications.(more than 1 qt a day can decrease how estrogen is broken down in the body…possibly increase estrogen levels/chances of breast cancer. in post menopausal women.
brenda ingram says
love all the info
Great post! Just a word of warning, though, sometimes it’s best NOT to suppress a cough. Coughing helps protect your lungs from the mucus in your head. For children and pregnant women, it especially might not be a good idea to suppress a cough if you are sick.
A few other things to help your immune system kick a cold is to avoid sugar (it really reduces your immune system’s strength) and avoid dairy (it can increase mucus production). Eating cruciferous vegetables helps make your immune system stronger.
Jackie Green says
Thank you bu I am gettin ovewhelmed by all of these mixtures I am going to try the turmeric and honey sounds easiest