Home Remedies for Your Cough


This is the cold and cough season in the USA, and
South Florida is no exception. There are two
primary types of coughs, dry and productive. A
productive cough is one in which you are coughing
up phlegm or mucus. This is not a cough that
should be suppressed, as your body needs to rid
itself of the gunk that’s in your chest/lungs.
While it shouldn’t be suppressed, some of these
remedies will address a productive cough by
including an expectorant, or something that
loosens mucus and makes it easier for the body to
get rid of it.

A dry, hacking, cough is a horse of a different
color. This is one we want to stop as soon as
possible. A multitude of things can cause the dry
cough, a tickle at the back of the throat, or the
aftermath of a cold. I use a few different
remedies that help good demulcents, the
ingredients that soothe irritated mucous membranes
and remove the irritant triggering the cough. I
really dislike the chemical solutions that
traditional Western medicine suggests. Home cures
work just fine. They are not only better for you,
but they taste a whole lot better than most cough

1. A Spoonful of Honey
Studies, such as one conducted at Penn State
College of Medicine, have found that honey can
work more efficiently to calm a cough than
over-the-counter drugs. It is a rich demulcent,
with a high viscosity and stickiness that does an
incredible job of coating and soothing those
irritated mucous membranes. Thanks to an enzyme
added by bees when they harvest honey, it also has
antibacterial properties as well, which may help
shorten how long you have the cough if it is due
to bacterial illness. Note: This is an excellent
alternative remedy for both kids and adults, but
should never be given to children under the age of
2 years due to the risk of botulism.

You will need:
1 tablespoon of organic, raw, honey

Take 1 tablespoon of honey 1-3 times daily as
needed to control coughing. Take immediately
bed if cough is disrupting your sleep. For
children, you
can adjust the dosing to 1 teaspoon up to one

2. Loquat Syrup
Cough due to lung heat or dryness, with phlegm
that is difficult to expectorate; a dry cough with
no or little phlegm

Clears lung heat, moistens the lungs, stops

This soothing syrup is appropriate in cases of
lung dryness that is due to wind heat, common
colds, or smoking. Its chief ingredients are
Fritillaria (bei mu) and loquat leaf (pi pa ye).
Loquat leaf is especially useful for a heat-type
cough, which is a cough with sticky phlegm that is
difficult to expectorate. Loquat leaf comes from
the same tree that produces the small delicious
loquat fruits (Eriobotrya japonica). Fritillaria,
the other chief ingredient, is an expectorant that
is moistening to the lungs, an important action
when a cough is nonproductive.

Dosage: 1 tablespoon three times a day

Next is a traditional Chinese medicine that treats
inflammation, swollen glands, and both bacterial
and viral infections.

Licorice Root Tea
Licorice root is both an expectorant and
demulcent, simultaneously soothing your airways
while loosening and thinning mucus, easing
congestion. It can also ease any inflammation that
may be irritating your throat. This enzyme
regulates access of glucocorticoid (a steroid
hormone) to steroid receptors, ultimately slowing
the conversion of cortisol to cortisone. This
increases the effect of cortisol in reducing
inflammation. If you are on steroids, or have any
problems with your kidneys, it is best to steer
clear of licorice root.

You will need:
-2 tablespoons of dried licorice root
-8 ounces of fresh water

Bring water to a boil and place the licorice root
in a mug. Cover with water and steep for 10-15
minutes. Drink the entire cup up to 2 times daily.

3. Steam
Not only does the steam quite literally loosen
mucus and phlegm almost immediately, but you can
add numerous essential oils that will impart
wonderful healing benefits. These benefits
(anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory
etc.) do become airborne, so you inhale them while
you breathe in the steam. For this particular
blend, I’ve included both tea tree oil and neem
oil, which can help soothe and open your airways
as well as help fight off bacteria or a virus.

You will need:
-3 drops of tea tree oil
-1-2 drops of neem
-A bowl of water
-A soft, clean, towel

Bring enough water to a boil to halfway fill a
medium size heat-proof bowl. Pour the water into
it, let it cool slightly for 30-60 seconds, and
add the essential oils, giving it a quick stir to
release the vapors. Lean over the bowl and get as
close as you can while still being comfortable. Be
careful, steam can seriously burn! Use the towel
to cover your head like a tent, trapping the
steam, and breathe deeply. Ideally, do this for
5-10 minutes 2-3 times a day.

5. Thyme Tea
Thyme has antimicrobial properties, it relaxes the
muscles of the trachea and bronchi, and also opens
up airways.

You will need:
-a handful of fresh thyme sprigs OR 2 tablespoons
dried thyme
-8 ounces of fresh water
-Honey or lemon

Lightly bruise the thyme, e.g. with a mortar and
pestle, and then place in a mug. Cover with 8
ounces of boiling water, cover, and let it steep
for 10-15 minutes. Add some lemon or honey to
taste, and drink the whole thing. Repeat 2-3 times
daily as needed. It’s absolutely delightful just
before bedtime (unless you aren’t a fan of thyme.
But drink some anyways.)

6. Pepper & Honey
Pepper can make a great remedy for coughs that are
accompanied by a lot of mucus or chest congestion.
The honey adds its antibacterial properties, and
it makes the pepper not too irritating. You can
make black pepper;syrup with honey, or a tea.

You will need:
-1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
-1 tablespoon of honey
-8 ounces of fresh water

Place the pepper and honey in a mug and then cover
with boiling water. Stir it to disperse the pepper
flakes and melt in the honey. Steep for 10
minutes, stir once more, and drink in its
entirety. Repeat 1-2 times a day as needed to
loosen mucus.

7. Ginger Peppermint Syrup
Ginger works as an expectorant, helping loosen and
expel mucus from the lungs. It can also stop the
painful tickle at the back of throat that can
trigger a cough if you are experiencing a dry
cough. The peppermint will also help relieve the
irritating tickle of a cough.

You will need:
-3 tablespoons of chopped ginger
-1 tablespoon of dried peppermint
-4 cups of water
-1 cup of honey

Chop the ginger and add it along with the
peppermint to 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil and
then lower the heat so that the liquid simmer.
Simmer until the liquid has been reduced by half,
than strain. Let it cool slightly, and then stir
in 1 cup of honey until it has been dissolved
completely. Bottle and take 1 tablespoon every few
hours as needed to ease your cough. Keep
refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

I also like Osha root tea to clear up a dry cough.
When I lived in Colorado, we would go out into the
woods and dig it up and boil the root to make a
strong infusion. It worked well. If you are
starting to get symptoms of a cold, call me to
schedule a treatment ASAP. Or if you have a cough,
come in and I’ll help you get rid of it
than you can imagine.

I wish you the best in your Health, Wealth and

Dr. Wu Dhi

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Dr. Wu Dhi has been a pioneer in alternative health care for over 30 years and a master of Medical Qi Gong. Dr. Wu Dhi completed his advance studies in neurology under the direction of Professor Sun at the prestigious Heilongjiang, University of Traditional Chinese Medicine in Harbin P.R. China.
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