Honey is a time-honored remedy for a sore throat. According to one study, it can also relieve coughs more effectively than over-the-counter medicines that contain dextromethorphan (DM), a cough suppressant.
You can create your own remedy at home by mixing up to 2 teaspoons of honey with herbal tea or warm water and lemon. The honey does the soothing, while the lemon juice can help with congestion. You can also simply eat the honey by the spoonful or spread it on bread for a snack.
Probiotics are microorganisms that can provide a host of health benefits. While they don’t relieve a cough directly, they do help to balance your gastrointestinal flora. Gastrointestinal flora are the bacteria that live in your intestines.
This balance can support immune system function throughout the body. Evidence also suggests that Lactobacillus, a bacterium in dairy, can reduce the likelihood of a cold or flu and sensitivity to certain allergens, such as pollen.
Fortified milk is a great source of Lactobacillus. You should be cautious, however, as dairy may make phlegm thicker. You can also purchase probiotic supplements at most health food stores and drug stores. Each supplement manufacturer may have different daily recommended intakes. Probiotics are also added to some yogurt types and are present in miso soup and sourdough breads
Peppermint leaves are well known for their healing properties. Menthol in peppermint soothes the throat and acts as a decongestant, helping to break down mucus. You can benefit by drinking peppermint tea or by inhaling peppermint vapors from a steam bath. To make a steam bath, add 3 or 4 drops of peppermint oil for every 150 milliliters of hot water. Drape a towel over your head, and take deep breaths directly above the water.
Thyme is used by some for respiratory illnesses. One study suggests that the essence extracted from thyme leaves mixed with ivy can help relieve coughing as well as short-term bronchitis. The leaves contain compounds called flavonoids that relax the throat muscles involved in coughing and lessen inflammation.
You can make thyme tea at home using 2 teaspoons of crushed thyme leaves and 1 cup of boiling water. Cover the cup, steep for 10 minutes, and strain.