Cough is a common respiratory condition that often occurs in conjunction with colds and flus. It is a muscle spasm that occurs as a reaction to an irritation or obstruction in the bronchial tubes.  A productive cough is associated with mucus that may be just a thin and watery discharge or a thick and whitish phlegm. This kind of cough is usually a kapha associated cough. If the mucus is yellow or green, there is a secondary infection with some pitta association. A dry cough is an irritant in the throat, not a productive cough. This kind of cough is usually a vata associated cough. Please seek professional help if a cough doesn’t go with these home remedies after a few days.

Home Remedies:

Dry Cough:
  1. A teaspoonful of honey a couple times a day for a few days should get rid of a dry cough.
  2. Eat a ripe banana with 1 teaspoon of honey and 2 pinches of ground black pepper 2-3 times a day.
  3. Chew 1/4 teaspoon of ajwain (carom) seeds with a teaspoon of natural organic sugar.
  4. Mix 1 teaspoon of onion juice with 1 teaspoon of honey and drink.
  5. Boil 1 cup of milk with 1/2 teaspoon of turmeric and 1/4 teaspoon of dry ginger powder. Drink this at night for a dry cough.
  6. For dry, hacking cough, try this recipe: Mix 2-3 pieces of clove, 4-5 yashtimadhu/licorice sticks, 2-3 long pepper seeds/pippali and some crystals of palm candy and boil in 2 cups of milk. Add some honey and drink an ounce of this milk.
  7. Extract juice from tulsi (holy basil) (anti-allergic, anti-toxin, expectorant) leaves, mix with honey and use as cough syrup. This works well for dry coughs.
  8. Add 2 cardamoms (elaichi), 10 raisins and 5 pepper corns in a cup of boiling water. Sip through the day.


Productive Cough (without yellowish or green mucus):
  1. In honey, mix equal proportions of fresh ginger juice (grate ginger and press to extract juice) or dry ginger powder and black pepper powder. Mix well and use as cough syrup.
  2. Mix 1/4 teaspoon of sitopaladi with 1 teaspoon of honey as a cough syrup.
  3. Extract juice of 2 fresh garlic cloves, mix with warm milk and 1/2 tsp of black pepper powder and drink twice a day.
  4. 1/2 tsp of fresh, pure turmeric (haldi) powder in a cup of warm milk, 1/2 tsp of black pepper powder (optional) mixed with warm milk is also effective for an chronic cough with throat irritation.
  5. Black pepper powder mixed with melted jaggery, rolled into tiny balls is a good home-made cough pill for a nagging cough.
  6. In a cup of boiling water, add 1/2 teaspoon of ginger powder, plus a pinch of clove and a pinch of cinnamon powder.
  7. Ginger juice, pomegranate juice and honey in equal measures can be used as a syrup.

Black Pepper Corns

Productive Cough (with yellowish or greenish mucus):
  1. Use equal proportions of sitopaladi and mahasudarshan. Use 1/4 teaspoon of this mixture to make a tea and drink it with honey 3 times a day.

Preventative Measures:

  1. Avoid cold and heavy foods like ice cream, deep fried foods, cold drinks, cheeses etc.
  2. At the early signs of the onset of a cold, take some proactive measures like steam inhalation, good hydration with light, warm fluids like soups, warm water etc. and adequate rest and sleep to prevent the cold from getting aggravated.
  3. Protect your chest and neck with warm, protective clothing, especially during cold, rainy or windy weather.
  4. White radish juice mixed with some honey is a good cure for chronic coughs and is also a good preventative measure for colds and coughs. Just drink some of this when you think you may be susceptible to a cold.
  5. Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations), regular Pranayama (breathing) exercises like Bhastrika, Kapalabhati help in developing respiratory strength and warmth to the body.

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