Cough, Cough, Cough Remedies (The 3 H’s)

Cough syrup Can you hear us coughing?  My whole family has been coughing for most of September, October and now into November.  And we’re awfully tired of it.

We’ve been trying everything to get rid of it. Of course, the thing we’ve discovered is that you can’t cure a cough, all you can do is try to calm it.  So you can relax for awhile.  And breathe. (Seriously – I’ve had coughing fits so intense I could hardly breathe!)

We have found that the 3 H’s work with varying degrees of success:

  • Honey – There’s something about honey that soothes and calms your coughing reflex for awhile.  Not for very long but it does help temporarily.  A teaspoon of plain honey does the trick and of course the kiddos love it.  We’ve also tried a couple of cough syrups made with honey including a bottle of Little Colds Honey Elixir that I picked up at Target. I was annoyed when I got home and realized that all it contained was honey, water, glycerin and a bit of preservative.  Still, I personally found that it was easier to swallow than plain honey.  Recently, I got a sample of another honey-based kids cough syrup called Zarbees. This one is fortified with Zinc and Vitamin C but it had an odd, fruity taste that my kids did not like.  I used it in the middle of the night when I would do anything to stop coughing for awhile.
  • Fresh cup of tea by kiva.dang via flickr Herbal Tea – Anything warm and soothing helps calm my cough while I’m drinking it.  I’ll even stir in some honey though I usually drink tea plain.  My favorite tea when I have a cough is Breathe Easy by Traditional Medicinals.  It’s made with organic licorice root and I just love the flavor.  (it’s similar to Aveda’s comfort tea if you’ve ever tried that)  I also like Echinacea Plus and Gypsy Cold Care.  (can you tell I’m a Traditional Medicinals fan?  No free samples here – just my own passion for the brand!)
  • Humidity – A little steam does wonders.  When I really feel a fit coming on, I boil up a pot of water and lean over it with a towel over my head.  I also use a humidifier on occasion. I’m careful to empty out the water every day and change the filter often because humidifiers can cause more hard than good – especially if used improperly.

My Mindful Momma Facebook Page friends gave me some more advice for calming coughs.  I haven’t tried all of these but want to share.  Let me know if you’ve tried any of these with success!

  • Peppermint essential oil, Tiger Balm or Vick’s Vapor rub-type products on the bottom of the feet and on the chest.  I’ve tried this and love the cooling feeling of the peppermint oil (a few drops mixed with a squirt of a base oil like sweet almond works well)
  • A drop of Marjoram essential oil on the tongue.  I have not tried this and am not enough of an expert on essential oils to know if it is OK to ingest them….but I’m leaning toward trying this anyway.
  • Slippery elm – in cough drops or cough syrup.
  • Putting a cut onion on your bedside table.  An old wives tale I believe!

And last but not least:  drink a lot of water!!  Always a good idea but even more important when you’re sick!

Meanwhile, I’ve taken to stealing puffs from my son’s steroid inhaler that was prescribed for his horrible cough.  My doctor actually suggested it and I’m feeling rather desperate so I figured I would try it and see if it helps.  I’ll let you know…

Do you have any favorite cough remedies to share?

postsiggie4 copy

About Micaela

Micaela Preston is a marketing and communications consultant specializing in natural, organic and eco-friendly products and the health and wellness space. Micaela is available as a social media manager, green lifestyle writer, public speaker, brand ambassador and marketing manager.


  1. I always remember being brought scalding hot tea as a child to stop nighttime coughing fits. Eventually I learnt to take a flask to bed!

    A year or so ago, for no apparent reason, I got the worst cough of my life. It was so violent that my throat closed up & I would be unable to breathe. I was *terrified*. There were only two things that worked: one was hot water, lots of honey, lots of lemon & a couple tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (basically as much of everything as you can bear to taste). The other was a Chinese medicine my father-in-law insisted I take – I’m not sure of the brand (he’s Scottish & they just call it a ‘cough bottle’), but it was Sea Coconut Grass. You mixed it with hot water & it was amazing.

  2. Tea always works for me-warm liquids feel great for a cough and/or a sore throat. Have you tried oregano oil? I use it for everything and it works wonders…although it sounds like you have an overwhelming number of natural remedy suggestions! Coughs are the worst-especially when you are desperately trying to sleep. Hope you all feel better soon.

  3. Aren’t you doing home renovations right now?……Is there a link between building materials/ dust and debris/ possible asbestos and lead exposure that might be thwarting your remedies?

  4. Good question Kim. The only demo we’ve done so far is to take off our old siding. We do have old lead paint exposed outside but I don’t think that’s causing the cough. (I did have my youngest tested for lead exposure and he came out just fine – Whew!)

  5. Lori – how do you use the oregano? Do you ingest it or rub it on your skin w/a base oil or diffuse it?? I think I’ll pick up both oregano and marjoram and give them a whirl!

  6. MamaS – I hadn’t heard about the apple cider vinegar. Since it’s something I already have in the house I’m willing to give it a try! Very curious about the Chinese ‘cough bottle’….

  7. My friend who is an acupuncturist suggested using an oil of oregano capsule. Place it in your mouth and bite it-then swallow it. It probably won’t taste very good-but if you think there is some sort of bacterial/viral or fungal infection is going on it will hopefully do the trick! Who knows, you might even smell like pizza…. Hope you feel better.

  8. ugg australia says:

    I know this is really boring and you are skipping to the next comment, but I just wanted to throw you a big thanks – you cleared up some things for me!

  9. A combination of honey with grapes juice is a highly beneficial for cough and i have already try it.

  10. I find Pau d’arco team seems to help. In addition, steaming to get the gunk out. But, my tried and true remedy which may see gross is using a water pick with a nasal piece. You can pick the attachment up at any store. The water pick helps to clean your sinus which often time causes the drip.

  11. Hi Anna – What is Pau d'arco team? I suppose the water pic is kind of like a Neti pot, huh?

  12. You’re right, Marjoram Essential Oil is amazing for coughs, as well as Lemon, and Myrrh. Oil of Oregano will pretty much kill any virus, bacteria, or fungus at all. It’s really important to make sure they are a therapeutic grade essential oil, such as doTERRA Essential Oils.
    Check out to get free sample oils.

  13. Thanks for the info on essential oils Kierston – there is so much to learn about them!

Speak Your Mind