dry cough


Dry cough is best dealt with through cough suppressants like honey, candy, peppermint, sundew, and carrots. Chest and back massages and limited exposure to inspirable irritants like smoke and dust may offer some relief, too. Use a pillow when you sleep and take a hot shower before bedtime to reduce night-time cough spells. Infants younger than one are best treated by a pediatrician.

It is your body’s natural protective reflex to cough up anything irritating your throat. Also, this may be mucus or an irritant, inhaled or swallowed. Furthermore, a viral infection like the flu, a respiratory disorder like asthma, an allergic reaction to dust or pollen, smoking, or more serious conditions like tuberculosis and lung cancer can cause coughing.

As opposed to a productive cough, a dry cough does not cause you to bring up phlegm. There are 2 basic strategies to deal with a dry cough. One is to suppress it, the other is to prevent it. Also, there is a host of naturally available cough suppressants like honey and peppermint that can be put to use.

Home remedies for a dry cough

Let’s take a look at some of the things you can do at home to deal with dry, hacking coughs.

1. Have Some Honey

Topping the list of natural cough remedies, honey needs no introduction when it comes to our physical well being. Honey’s high viscosity renders it an effective soothing agent to an irritable throat. Its antimicrobial effects are an added perk if it’s a bacterial infection causing your cough.

2. Suck on A Sugar Candy

What’s better than enjoying a sweet treat while also treating a tickling cough! One study showed that rinsing the mouth with sucrose sugar solution helped reduce cough reflex sensitivity.2 This was proved by an increase in the amount of capsaicin which is a compound in hot peppers required to trigger a cough. The sweet taste of a candy can, thus, help save the day.

3. Use Peppermint Leaves Or Oil

The peppermint herb contains a minty compound called menthol. The sensory cooling that it offers a dry, troubled throat can suppress coughs. This conclusion, too, was drawn when a significant increase in the amount of capsaicin required to stimulate a cough was seen. Peppermint can, thus, help put a stop to or prevent a dry cough.

4. Drink Sundew Tea

A traditionally used cough suppressant is the herb sundew.6 It has been used for ages in Europe as an important cough medicine. Though scientific studies to support the use of this herb in the treatment of coughs are lacking, the herb is often used in homeopathic preparations for the same. Give it a try to see if it works for you.

5. Avoid Exposure to Inspirable Irritants

With the increased levels of pollutions, this one is particularly difficult to follow. However, your would do your irritated throat a favor by limiting your exposure to tickling substances such as smoke, dust, and other pollutants. You may wear a face mask when you have no choice but to be in the presence of such irritants.

This also means that you need to quit smoking, which includes passive smoking as well.

6. Get A Chest And Back Massage

An uncontrollable, recurrent cough can make your chest and back muscles sore. To feel better, ask someone to massage your chest and back muscles a couple of times a day.  Though this may not help suppress your cough, you will appreciate the muscle relief.

7. Eat More Carrots

This works especially for smokers. A survey conducted in Norway showed that an increase in dietary vitamin C reduced cough and wheeze in smokers, possibly due to their antioxidant components.9 Though vitamin A predominates in carrots, a raw carrot carries close to 6 gm of vitamin C in every 100 gm quite a significant quantity.10

Remedies For A Dry Cough At Night

There is nothing more annoying than having your sleep disturbed. And dry coughs at night are the perfect nemeses for that. Try the following steps to improve your shut-eye.

8. Elevate Your Head While You Sleep

Sometimes, an acid reflux may cause you to cough. A completely flat posture while sleeping can instigate an acid reflux, triggering a cough. Prop your head up with a well-fluffed pillow to prevent this from happening.

9. Moisten your nasal passage before sleeping

Inhaling moisture can help soothe your dry throat. You can create moisture in the air by using a vaporizer or by taking a hot shower and basking in the steam. Do this before you tuck in to get some sound, undisturbed sleep.

Caution: Steam can exacerbate your cough if you suffer from asthma, so asthmatics should avoid this method.

10. Stir up a bedtime drink

You can try a combo recipe of honey, apple cider vinegar, cayenne pepper, and ground ginger to stifle a recurrent dry cough spree.13

Hippocrates, the father of medicine, advocated the use of an ancient Greek honey-vinegarconcoction (oxymel) for treating persistent coughs. We now know why honey works. With its antimicrobial properties, apple cider vinegar too can offer relief by killing cough-triggering bacteria.

  • Cayenne pepper: contains capsaicin that has been shown to set off anti-pain cellular reactions. It involves the suppression of the pain receptor. This may help relieve any painful discomfort caused by a dry, hacking cough.
  • Ginger: helps relax your airway within half an hour. The accolades it receives for respiratory relief are largely due to the compounds gingerol, gingerol, and shogaol. Because of this, ginger may help get rid of an annoying cough.

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