Dry Cough? Try these effective home-remedies.

In this fairly long post on dry cough and home-remedies to effectively tackle it, let me first tell you how I happened to get this dry cough and how I panicked when it wouldn't go and then what steps I took to deal with it.

woman coughing pic - powerful dry cough indian home remedies

While in Western countries, winter is the time when colds are common, in tropical countries like India, it is monsoons when most people suffer from colds, coughs and flus. Monsoons seem to provide the right conditions for disease causing microbes to thrive and multiply.

So as a bounty of the rainy season, 2 weeks ago, I suffered from bad cold, incessant cough and throat pain. It could well have been caused by my rummaging through the books cupboard to clean it. You see, I'm allergic to dust mites and just by handling dusty books, papers and clothes, I get a sore throat.

This sore throat later evolved into full-blown cold with cough.  Well the cold did subside in a few days time, but the cough seemed unwilling to go. The coughing bouts would increase at night and my throat was no good too.

However I came across a wonderful home-remedy in a magazine and tried it out. I must say it worked like charm and my hacking cough vanished in a matter of  2 days eventually to be replaced by dry cough, which is even more harrowing.

Honey trick for productive cough

Let's talk about that dry cough later on. First let me relate how I tackled my hacking productive cough. Honey and lukewarm water are the only things that you require.

As per the remedy suggested in the magazine, I took some honey and applied it to the extreme back of my tongue with my fingers. Of course, I did experience a gag reflex but I did manage to apply it with some difficulty.

After that, even though you get the urge to, you mustn't spit out. Just wait until frothy sputum develops and then spit it out and rinse your mouth with lukewarm water. Also gargle with lukewarm water. Do this 3-4 times in a day (avoid it just after having food or else you may throw up everything).

You will experience immediate relief as soon as you do this and in a day or two your cough will vanish. Honey is indefinably much better than OTC medicines,do check the post Honey - highly effective for coughs?.

No wonder honey is aptly called a wonder food and an elixir from your kitchen cabinet!  By the way, more home-remedies for cough mentioned here, will help too. And don't forget to clean your tongue, including the back of the tongue.

Good oral hygiene will ensure that you won't have bad breath during that period and your cold and cough will get better quickly.
spoon dripping with honey

The Start of Dry cough

In my case, the cough did stop and for one full day there was no sign of it and I was feeling swell. But to my dismay, that very night I developed a nagging, dry cough. It could well have been an after-effect of cold or the result of my sore-throat due to dust mite exposure.

I thought that it would go on its own after a couple of days and so did not bother to do anything about it. But even after 3-4 days, there was no improvement - in fact it had worsened.

And you know how torturesome a dry cough is! It strikes you unawares anywhere and you simply can't help coughing for what seems like ages to clear your throat and at the end of it you hardly get any relief.

At least, productive cough (cough with phlegm) is better - you experience some relief after coughing.

How dry cough gets triggered

I also found that this dry cough was triggered whenever I inhaled even a whiff of smoke from an incense stick burning in my puja room or in the temple premises. Indeed incense sticks can be very irksome when you have a respiratory problem.

Coughing spells also increase at night and disturb your sleep. If you are sleeping in a room with low moisture levels and that usually happens due to your aircon, you should be even more careful. If possible, do not switch on the ac until your cough gets better or use a humidifier.

The arid conditions in aircon rooms tend to dry out the mucous membranes and irritate the throat and hence are bad for all types of coughs. Dry coughs also increase soon after having meals. If your dry cough persists for more than two weeks, then you should seek medical attention.

By the way, did you know that certain some medical drugs like ACE inhibitors which contain captopril, lisinopril, and enalapril maleate can trigger dry cough?

Also for the women working in the kitchen, I am sure they are aware how while doing the tadka (tempering) or when spices are burnt, it triggers a bout of persistent cough?

If one is already suffering from dry cough, one has to be very careful while in the kitchen. Some other allergic triggers are dust, fumes, pollen, perfumes etc.

However,it is highly advisable not to use any OTC medicine. Most dry coughs respond well to home-remedies and it's not necessary to see a doctor until after two weeks.

 Home-remedies can ease the discomfort of dry coughs and one such remedy can cure your dry cough completely within three days. At least that's how it worked for me!
OTC cough medicine
Do not take OTC medicines for cough. Home-remedies are much more effective.

Indian Home Remedies For Dry Cough (Highly Effective)

These remedies which I have suggested is based on Ayurveda and Indian folk medicine. Most can be made from ordinary, simple ingredients from the kitchen and some can be procured from any Ayurvedic pharmacy. They are highly efficacious, easy to make and have little to no side-effects and guarantee relief within few days of having them.
woman with dry cough - Indian home remedies for dry cough

Home Remedy (Kashayam / Kadha) for dry cough with Indian Liquorice (Yashtimadhu)

  • Poha / Flattened rice (Info) - 2 tsp
  • Cumin seeds (jeera) - 2 tsp
  • Sugar candy - 1-2 tsp
  • Yashtimadhu root (Indian Liquorice or licorice) - 1 stick (You can get it at any Ayurvedic store) [It's also called Yashtimadhu in Sanskrit/Bengali/Marathi, Mulhati /Jetimad  in Hindi, Jeshtamadhu in Kannada, Godkast in Konkani. Its botanical name is Glycyrrhiza glabra]
  • Mayaphala (Majuphal or oak galls) (Do not confuse it with jaiphal)- a small piece (this too can be procured from an Ayurvedic store) [Botanical name:Quercus Infectoria]

Dry roast poha and cumin seeds on a low flame for a minute taking care to see that it does not get charred. Then add a glass or water to it and let it boil on a low flame. Now add Yashtimadhu / Liquorice stick, a small piece of the round mayaphal (it has bitter taste) and sugar candy. Let it simmer until the solution reduces to more than half. Switch off the flame and strain the solution in a glass. Consume it when it's sufficiently hot.

dry-roast-ingredients glass-of-water
boil-all-ingredients herbal-tea-for-dry-cough

Have this regularly in the morning hours (not on an empty stomach) continuously for 3 days. By 2nd day itself your cough will subside and by third day you are completely cured. However if your cough is stubborn, it may take up to 5 days but not more than that! It has worked for me every time!

Not just me but several others have also benefited from this remedy and are ready to swear by its efficacy. So don't look at this remedy with scorn - it's highly effective I assure you! You have to try it to believe me!

Sweet-tasting Yashtimadhu is pitta pacifying and the herb of choice in healing dry coughs. It soothes the mucous membranes, improves voice quality and eases a sore dry throat. Keep chewing a liquorice (Yashtimadhu) stick and suck dry all of its juices until it becomes a dry twig. This too can cure dry cough.

Poha for dry cough? Really? Some old folks even suggest eating dry poha to ease dry cough; I don't know how far this is effective. But when used in above remedy, it has proved to be effective.

Cumin is a warm spice considered to be 'ama' burner (in Ayurvedic parlance).

Mayaphal or Majuphal is an astringent, antiseptic, kapha and pitta pacifying and fights various kinds or viruses and strengthens tissues. It's decoction is often used as a gargle and mouthwash to treat sore throat, stomatitis, pharyngitis, laryngitis and tonsillitis.

Green Tea soothes dry coughs?

Along with the above home-remedy, I was also guzzling cups of green tea with gusto. I have acquired a taste for green tea nowadays and no longer drink it just for the health's sake.

However, instead of drinking plain green tea, I added a spoonful of honey and a ginger slice to maximize its benefit.And as the warm liquid gushed down my gullet, I could feel its soothing effect.

So try drinking green tea with honey when you have colds and coughs and see how it eases your discomfort.

Also if you are someone who hates green tea and can't stand the sight of it, you can have your regular tea with the addition of a slice of ginger or alternatively you may try black tea (without milk) steeped with ginger slice, and with the addition of honey and lemon juice.

This too will provide immense relief.  Ginger is anti-inflammatory and helps with nausea and motion sickness - it's a cough suppressant as well.

  tea with ginger and lemon juice

It's a good idea to keep yourself hydrated when you have coughs. Sip warm water throughout the day to lubricate your throat.

Try drinking warm liquids such a soups and herbal teas to open up the upper respiratory membranes so that the throat gets optimal lubrication.

In addition to the above, it is better to avoid throat-irritating foods such as oily and fried food and extremely cold foods.

Turmeric Milk for colds and coughs

You can also have turmeric milk (Haldi Doodh) at night. (Read Medicinal uses of Turmeric) It's an age-old but efficacious remedy for all kinds of coughs, colds, fever and sore throat.

If you are down with a running nose and severe cold, then if you have this half an hour before retiring to bed, you'll not only get a sound sleep but you will also feel much better when you wake up. In a matter of 2 days all your symptoms disappear. It's that good.

Things you need:
  • A Glass of Milk
  • Turmeric powder
  • Black Pepper
  • A slice of ginger
  • Sugar Candy

Heat a glass of milk. Add a small ginger slice,  ¼ tsp of slightly crushed black pepper corns, ½ tsp of pure turmeric powder and a tsp of sugar candy to it. Keep it on a low flame and when it comes to a boil do not turn it off.

Let it simmer for a while so that the goodness all the ingredients percolates into the milk. Pour it into a glass and drink it when it's sufficiently hot. It will provide immense relief and help you sleep better during the night.

It's not really necessary to strain the mixture as you can easily chew the ginger slice as well as the pepper corns.

Turmeric Milk Haldi Dudh

Turmeric is a wonder spice with anti-microbial and  anti-inflammatory properties and has traditionally been used to cure sore throat, fevers and other respiratory disorders.

The addition of other spices, particularly black pepper further enhances its efficacy as some recent studies have shown that the absorption of active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin is heightened substantially (by 2000%) when it is combined with piperine, the chemical present in black pepper.

Ginger slice, as we have seen, not only enhances the flavour but also makes it even more potent. Thus a highly piquant beverage is ready.

More Homemade Recipes For Dry Cough

Now, when I have already blogged about extremely effective, tried and tested remedies such as Yashtimadhu Kashayam and Turmeric Milk, why the the necessity of sharing some other homemade recipes?

Well, when I came across the recipes of an Ayurvedic dietician whose concoctions have worked for me in umpteen other issues, I thought I might as well share his DIY recipes for dry cough.

However, I still reiterate that Jeshtamadhu / Jetimadh homemade Kashayam / herbal tea is the most effective remedy that cures dry cough within a span of 3-4 days, that is, if your dry cough isn't a symptom of another health condition that needs a doctor's intervention.

Amazing Tea for Dry Cough

  • Tea powder
  • Salt
  • Garlic
  • Jaggery
  • Henna Powder
Tea powder salt garlic pods Jagagery
In a mortar and pestle, take 5 cloves of garlic, 2 tsp of onion slices and 1 tsp of jaggery and beat it to a paste. Now heat a glass of water in a vessel and add the beaten mixture to it Let it boil on a low flame. Then add 1 tsp of tea powder and a pinch of salt and 1/4 tsp of pure henna powder and stir well. Let it come to a boil. Strain it in a glass. Have this steaming hot beverage twice a day, once after your breakfast and once before going to bed at night.


Another Type of Turmeric Milk Or  Homemade Pills for Dry Cough

Turmeric powderJagagery Black Pepper cumin jeera Milk dry ginger powder

Beat 1 tsp of Jeera, 1/2 tsp of black pepper and 1 tsp of jaggery in a mortar and pestle. Ad 1/4 tsp each of of dry  ginger powder and turmeric powder and beat again. Mix 1 tsp of this mixture in a glass of hot milk and have it once during the day and once before retiring to bed. Alternatively you may make small round pills out of this mixture and have such 1-2 such pills after meals as dry cough usually gets triggered after having food.

In Closing

So will you try these home-remedies for your hacking dry cough? Hope you find them effective? Also if you know of other home-remedies to tackle dry cough, do take a minute to share in the comments so that everyone can be benefited.

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  1. Sarayu2:12 PM

    take freshly dried thyme. make a tea of it. Thyme is a natural cough suppressant. It's great for the tickly coughs that won't go away.

  2. Deepika2:24 PM

    Honey is always great to coat the throat.

  3. Narmada2:36 PM

    Mix a cup of warm water with a tablespoon of salt. Gargle for at least two minutes with your head tilted back. Rinse your mouth out with warm water.

  4. Saraswati2:38 PM

    Eliminate allergens in your environment. Keeping a clean, dust-free home can help alleviate an irritating cough. Avoiding smoke and other irritants such as smoke from a fireplace can help stop a bad cough. Many household cleaning products contain harsh chemicals that can trigger a cough. Use nontoxic cleaners that do not give off noxious odors.

  5. Krishna2:39 PM

    Boil three cloves of garlic in two cups of milk for three minutes. Be careful when boiling milk so that it does not burn. Drink this cough remedy warm with a spoonful of honey for additional soothing relief.

  6. Anonymous2:41 PM

    Any hot liquid you drink or eat, as in soups, will feel good going down. And it's not just a belief or myth that homemade chicken soup actually "cures" colds. It's been scientifically proven. I also concur with the salt water gargle.

  7. Dr. chandrashekhar2:44 PM

    This is one of the best dry cough natural remedies, and a teaspoon of honey is enough along with a few drops of ginger juice and a pinch of pepper.
    You can also take some ginger juice or dry ginger, mix it with a little sugar, a pinch of black pepper, and a teaspoon of butter, and take this mixture a couple of times a day.
    Honey is a common ingredient in most cough home remedies, and can be also taken by itself or with a little hot water.

  8. Kamala2:47 PM

    The root of the turmeric plant is useful in a dry cough. The root should he roasted and powdered. This powder should be taken in three gram doses twice daily, in the morning and evening.

  9. Yashodha2:52 PM

    Almonds are useful for dry coughs. Seven kernels should be soaked in water overnight and the brown skin removed. They should then be ground well to form a fine paste. A quantity of twenty grams each of butter and sugar should then be added to the paste. This paste should be taken in the morning and evening.

  10. Kousalya2:56 PM

    Aniseed is another effective remedy for a hard dry cough with difficult expectoration. It breaks up the mucus. A tea made from this spice should be taken regularly for treating this condition.

  11. Remove sugar, dairy, and wheat from your diet. drink organic green/ginger decaf tea with lemon and all natural honey. Eat veggies and take Echinacea .

  12. Kedar3:00 PM

    I always mix butter, vinegar and sugar together. Works wonders for me

  13. try making a drink with oranges, lime and lemon in it

  14. Nurse3:10 PM

    1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
    1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
    1 Tablespoon honey
    1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
    2 Tablespoons water
    Mix and take by the teaspoon.

  15. David3:11 PM

    Eat well. Take in plenty of natural vitamins and mineral from fruit and vegetables. You could also take a multivitamin if you do not already.

  16. Rekha3:12 PM

    In one cup of warm milk, add 2 – 3 strands of saffron (kesar) and drink twice a day.
    Mix half a teaspoon of tulsi juice with half a teaspoon with ginger juice. Add 1 teaspoon of honey. Take the above mixture 2-3 times a day till symptoms subside.
    Take 1 cup of water and add 4-5 leaves of tulsi; a small piece of ginger (adrak) and 1 teaspoon of jaggery. Boil this mixture over slow heat till the quantity becomes half a cup. Drink this at least 2 times in a day.

  17. Leela3:16 PM

    keep a clove under ur teeths without chewing it but i don't know whether it affects the sinus patients.but avoid having it in large quantity as it generates heat in the body
    you can also try honey mixed with grated ginger's juice
    or chew some tulsi leaves .it helps me to get rid of cough .

  18. Lalita3:18 PM

    proven methods of preventing dry cough (home based)
    * try steam inhalation if its inconvenient or you dont find time try this just keep water on a stove/heater in your room let it boil it will emit steam which will keep the room moist
    *do gargles with luke warm water with salt added to it
    *protect yourself from direct contact with cold air
    *periodically takes sips of water while doing work

  19. Bharati3:21 PM

    Mustard seed. An irritating but useful spice for wet coughs, mustard seed has sulfur-containing compounds that stimulate the flow of mucus. To get the full effect of the expectorant compounds, the mustard seeds must be broken and allowed to sit in water for 15 minutes. Crush 1 teaspoon mustard seeds or grind them in a coffee grinder. Place the seeds in a cup of warm water. Steep for 15 minutes. This concoction might be a little hard to swallow, so take it in 1/4-cup doses throughout the day.

  20. Champa3:22 PM

    burn quarter of tea spoon sugar crystals and when the fumes goes lighter inhale it ( 1 or 2 should be enough) .. it is very hot in your throat but it will stop the dry coughing in minutes.

  21. Disha3:23 PM

    take tulsi(black) 6-7crush them with ajwoin ,beetle leaves add honey(2-4spoons) thrice a day only
    or mix black pepper with ghee twice a day only

  22. A hot lemonade. Increase fluid intake as much as possible to loosen secretions.

  23. Rashmi3:44 PM

    Wow, Thank you for all those tips !

  24. Thanx a lot for all the great information.It’s always nice to know there’s hope to better yourself with cheap home remedies rather than spending money you can’t afford at the stores. So thank-you.:-)

  25. Jagesh2:21 PM

    Thanks for this useful information. I´ve used some of these and I want to try the others that I´ve not try yet.


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