Natural Cough Remedies for Kids

It's not our typical cough and cold season, but I've been filling a lot of prescriptions at the pharmacy for coughs. A common question I've been getting asked lately by my patients is, "How do I treat my child's cough?" Sick kids are never fun, but their options for over-the-counter (OTC) cough medications are limited.

Regardless of age, OTC medications are often ineffective, have their own set of side effects and can interact with a persons prescription drugs. I try to recommend natural remedies to my patients as much as possible.

There are many natural remedies to treat a cough, but I just wanted to list my ten favorites.

  • There have been studies done that have shown this is an effective treatment for a cough. It helps by coating and soothing an irritated throat. I prefer to use buckwheat honey because it is a darker type of honey. The darker honey has more antioxidant properties than the lighter options. 
  • Honey also has antiseptic and antibacterial properties, which is an added bonus. It can be taken by itself by the teaspoonful, mixed with warm milk, mixed in tea, or some people like to make their own cough syrup concoction. 
  • Do NOT use this in children under age one due to the possible risk of developing infant botulism.

  • This herb has so many health benefits from treating stomach issues to prevention of cancer. Not only is it a powerful anti-inflammatory but it also has antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. 
  • It helps stop a cough by acting as a muscle relaxer to relieve spasms and it is a natural pain killer. If you are going to use this, choose the fresh herb over a capsule you would buy at the store. 
  • When treating a cough you can munch on a fresh herb (if you can stand the taste, some people can't) or add it in some tea.

This works by reducing inflammation and an added benefit is that it is a great source of vitamin C which helps fight infection. Lemon has antibacterial and antiviral properties and is a great antioxidant. Some people just cut up a lemon, shake a little salt and pepper on it and suck on it. It can also be added to tea to treat the cough.

  • This herb is actually an approved treatment for coughs in Germany, even whooping cough. It works by reducing inflammation, relieving muscle spasms that contribute to coughing, and clearing out the mucous that causes you to cough. 
  • You can use fresh thyme and put it in tea or chicken noodle soup. You get the benefits of the herb, along with the steamy vapors that can help clear out phlegm. You can also buy thyme supplements, make your own cough syrup, or infuse steam with thyme oil. 
  • A word of caution about thyme oil is that it is considered toxic when ingested. It should ONLY be used to inhale.

This herb has many uses due to its antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-inflammatory properties. Turmeric works by breaking up the phlegm in your chest. It can be put in warm milk or tea, added to boiling water and inhaled the vapors, or smoked.

Black Pepper
Most people think this spice has no other benefits other than to improve the taste of food. It is in fact, a pretty good cough reliever. It improves blood circulation and helps loosen and get mucous out of your chest which can contribute to coughing. We all know black pepper has a strong taste, so for most, chewing it will not be an option. It can be put in warm milk, tea, or chicken noodle soup.

  • This is something we should probably be doing on an everyday basis but it's essential to remember when you are feeling ill. A lot of the time a cough can be caused by all the mucous draining in the back of your throat. When you drink fluids, it helps thin out that mucous and stops the cough. 
  • A cough can also be very drying to your throat and in turn, increases irritation. Drinking fluids will help prevent that from occurring. It doesn't matter if you drink plain old water, warm milk, or tea..just drink something! Stay away from caffeinated beverages though, as they can cause dehydration.

Humidifier/Hot Shower
  • Baths tend to make kids sleep better so it's a win-win situation! For an added benefit, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a wet washcloth and let the oil infuse the steamy room. To add moisture to the bedroom, always recommend running a humidifier. 
  • This will reduce irritation, help break up the mucous and keep things from drying out. Make sure to clean it and air out the room in the morning to prevent mold from forming.

Chicken Noodle Soup
The verdict is still out on how exactly this works to combat a cough. It has anti-inflammatory properties and the steam from the soup helps soothe irritated membranes. It keeps you hydrated, moistens membranes and helps break up and thin the mucous that causes post nasal drip.

A few honorable mentions are: alcohol (a shot of bourbon), garlic, onion and licorice, just to name a few.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post