Natural Cough Medicine

Cough Medicine For Adults

The best natural cough medicine for adults is what we are covering in this article. We start with what causes and symptoms of cough. Then continue detailing natural cough medicine for different age groups.

What is Cough?

A cough is actually how our body reacts to clear the irritation in our throat. It also tries to clear the passage between the throat and lungs naturally.

There are two types of coughs. Coughs are classified into Acute and chronic based on how long they last.

  • Acute cough generally lasts for 2 to 3 weeks. This cough appears when one gets flu or cold. Whooping cough is also an acute cough. Check here for the whooping cough home remedies. These days pertussis (whooping cough) is also diagnosed in adults with troublesome coughing.
  • Chronic cough lasts more than 3 weeks. The causes of chronic cough are many. Read on to see what causes chronic cough

Causes of Cough

The shorter the time cough lasts, the less impact on your health. The longer period of cough impacts our health more. Mostly the bacteria or virus that causes certain illnesses causes cough as well.

Causes of Acute Cough

An acute cough is mainly caused by the following:

  • common cold
  • flu and
  • other infections such as sinusitis or pneumonia or bronchitis

Acute Cough is curable with natural cough medicines easily. You can make homemade cough syrup to combat acute cough.

The common cold is one of the main triggers for acute cough. Treating the common cold also helps prevent or cure acute cough. Refer here for more on common cold herbal remedies.

A sore throat also can cause acute cough. Refer here for more on treating sore throat with home remedies.

Causes of Chronic Cough

Unlike an acute cough, chronic cough causes have a long list such as:

  • bronchitis
  • asthma
  • Fall allergies
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)
  • Postnasal Drip
  • Lung diseases
  • smoking
  • air pollution
  • throat disorders and
  • certain medications
  • Foreign particles

Chronic cough may have an underlying serious illness. Therefore, check with your doctor for the right diagnosis and treatment on time.

Natural Medicine for Cough

As mentioned earlier, acute cough can be treated with natural cough medicines easily. In case of chronic cough better seek a doctor’s advice for appropriate treatment.  Because a chronic cough is an indication of disease or a serious illness.

Throat Anatomy showing esophagus, windpipe (trachea), voice box (larynx), tonsils and epiglottis

The American Academy of Pediatrics has reservations about OTC for cough. It claims that over-the-counter cough medicines are not safe and effective for young children.

According to research honey found to be far more effective compared to OTC for acute cough. Anyway, let us now see what home remedies are available to combat acute cough.

9 Best Natural Cough Medicine for Adults

Here are the best natural cough medicines to get faster relief. This list of remedies is primarily meant for adults. For children and toddlers see the respective topics. You can refer to our exclusive article on essential oils for cough here.

Natural Cough Medicine for Adults
Natural Cough Medicine for Adults

1. Natural honey is the best cough medicine

There are many studies to prove the effectiveness of honey to treat cough. It’s an effective cough suppressant. Honey is found to be more effective than OTC medicines with dextromethorphan (DXM or DM).

You could take directly three teaspoons of undiluted honey and let it coat the throat.

Alternatively, you could make a homemade cough syrup with honey. Mix two teaspoons of natural honey in a cup of herbal tea or warm water. Or mix two teaspoons of natural honey in a cup of warm water and add a little of the fresh lemon juice

Keep sipping the mixture from the cup slowly. Repeat three times a day. Drinking before bedtime helps to calm a cough so you could sleep better.

Honey amazingly works against cough. It has been used for ages for cough and soothing sore throat. It’s freely available and not so expensive.

2. Honey and Lemon Cough Syrup

This is the magical potion for an acute cough you may have. Honey and Lemon go hand in hand in healing cough. Forget buying cough syrup over the counter.

Lemon and honey healing potion for cough
Healing honey and lemon syrup for cough

It so to be true. One of my female colleagues had a cough. She had been trying cough syrup bought from a pharmacy. But her cough was so stubborn and not going away. She tried the homemade honey and lemon syrup. It worked for her. The cough disappeared overnight.

The healing and soothing properties of honey and lemon do magic here. It has to be taken in the right combination in quantities for it to work.

Honey and Lemon Syrup Recipe for cough

  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 3/4 cup of warm water

First mix the honey with fresh lemon juice in a cup. Then add warm water to it. Filling warm water up to a 3/4 of the cup. That’s it your cough syrup is now ready. Slowly sip and drink the tasteful cup of healing potion. Drink two times a day.

3. Honey and Bourbon Cough Syrup for adults

This goes without saying the best cough medicine for adults. Because of making cough syrup with whiskey. Adults may love it.

Honey and Bourbon Cough Syrup for adults
Honey and Bourbon Cough Syrup for adults

Here the main ingredient is, of course, the honey to cure a cough.  Bourbon is added to make it stronger, taste good, and enjoy the drink. Once you take this drink nothing can stop you from having a good sound sleep. This is only for adults and should not try on children.

Here is the recipe for honey bourbon cough syrup:-

Honey – 2 teaspoons
Bourbon whiskey – 2 ounces
fresh lemon juice – 2 ounces (1/2 lemon)
Water – 4 ounces

Mix nicely and heat bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and water in a cup. You could heat the mix in a micro oven or on a stovetop using a small saucepan. Heat it just for 45 seconds. Now add honey to it. Again. heat the mixture for another 45 seconds.

Let it cool down a little to the level of lukewarm temperature and drink the homemade cough syrup. Drink this cough syrup just before bedtime. You will get relief from a cough and a sound sleep overnight.

4. Thyme tea

Thymol is an active component of thyme. It is capable of reducing the frequency of coughing and the urge to cough. This is one of the best home remedies for a bad cough.

Thyme leaves are used to treat coughs caused by:

Thyme herb is available in the form of fresh and dried leaves. Use two teaspoons of dried or fresh thyme leaves to make a cup of tea. Place the thyme leaves in boiling water and steep for ten minutes. After that strain and sip slowly for a good effect to get relief from a cough. You could add little honey to it for a double effect.

Interestingly the thyme herb treatment for a cough is officially approved by Germany. Sharing here an abstract of a study on cough treatment with thyme and the results.

5. Ginger the natural cough suppressant

Ginger is high in anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It kills bacteria and loosens congestion in the respiratory passages. The gingerol present in ginger helps to enhance your immune system. It soothes throat irritation and itchiness. Reduces the reflex that causes an urge for coughing.

It is very simple, just chew a few fresh, skin-peeled raw ginger. Repeat 3 to 4 times a day.

You also can make ginger tea and drink it. In a boiling cup of water put the grated 1-inch ginger. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes and let it come to a lukewarm temperature. Add a few drops of fresh lemon juice to it. Drink the tea twice a day.

6. Black pepper and honey

Black pepper and honey is the best medicine for cold and cough. Honey and pepper jointly work against a cough and common cold. Honey reduces a cough. At the same time, pepper helps to stimulate mucus flow and blood circulation to get relief from colds. A double effect.

Add one teaspoon of grounded pepper and two tablespoons of honey to a cup of boiling water. Cover it to steep for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then, after straining, slowly sip and drink the mixture. Repeat twice a day.

How to make a Cough Suppressant with Black Pepper


  • 1 tablespoon of black pepper
  • 8 eight ounces of water
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


Mix all the ingredients together. Boil it for a few minutes. That’s simple. Cool and store it. Drink whenever you feel like it to get relief from the cough.

7. A hot shower or Steam Bath

Steam cures a cough by removing sinus congestion and phlegm in your throat and chest. Take a hot shower and steam bath to get relief from a cough.

Warning: Those who have asthma condition may avoid steam baths as a cough home remedy

8. Menthol Cough drops

For a short and quicker relief opt for taking menthol cough drops for bad coughs. Menthol helps to soothe the throat by reducing irritations. But be watchful. Excessive use of menthol drops may produce a reverse effect.

9. Drink plenty of liquids

Drinking plenty of warm water or any warm liquids such as teas mentioned above. Warmness keeps the skin/tissues moist at the throat at a low level and reduces the urge for coughing.  Also, warm fluids cut the mucus in the phlegm and the postnasal drip. This is one of the best home remedies for a bad cough to control infections and the spreading of phlegm in your lungs.

Homemade Cough Syrup for Kids and Toddlers

Below are the recommendations from the Children’s Hospital, Colorado. It highlights that Over Counter (OTC) medicines for cough may lead to serious side effects in kids. It recommends using homemade cough syrup for cough in kids.

Meanwhile, see the advice from the US Food and Administration. It categorically advises not to use OTC cough medicine on infants and children under 2 years of age.

Recommendations of the Children’s Hospital, Colorado for Cough

Infants younger than 3 months: See a pediatrician.

Infants 3 months to 1 year of age: Start with warm and clear fluids such as water and apple juice. The dosage is 1 to 3 teaspoons and 4 times a day. Give when they are coughing. If the cough is not going away see a pediatrician.

Avoid honey for this age group. Because honey can lead to infantile botulism in this age group.

Kids 1 year to 5 years of age: Give 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey. You can opt for corn syrup if available. in this age group, honey thins the secretions and helps to loosen the cough. Studies have proven honey works in children in reducing nighttime coughing.

For Kids 6 years and older: Cough drops can be tried for this age group. Cough drops coat soothe the irritated throat. If you are not able to get cough drops then use hard candy instead.


There are two types of coughs. Acute and Chronic. An acute cough is curable with natural cough medicine. Those who suspect chronic cough see a doctor and try not natural cough medicines.

Honey is the best natural cough medicine. It is proven to be better than OTC cough medicines. Honey works well with lemon to calm an acute cough. If honey is not available try other home remedies for cough. For adults, homemade cough syrup is suggested even with whiskey. So, those adults who take alcohol can enjoy your cough.

For kids, homemade cough medicine is highly recommended. Infants below 3 months should not try any natural cough medicines. They should be taken directly to the pediatrician. For those children under one year, honey is not an option.

6 Sources

Noble Home Remedies relies on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations for accuracy and reliability while avoiding tertiary references. Our editorial policy provides more information about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date.

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  3. Over-the-Counter Medications: Update on Cough and Cold Preparations –
  4. Cough Suppressant Herbal Drugs –
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  6. Coughs & Colds: Medicines or Home Remedies? –