Natural Remedy for Cough

The sweetest home remedy for cough 
comes from bees

What’s the best natural remedy for cough? Honey tops the list.



Honey-best natural remedy for cough © Karen Alison

Here’s what happened when children with upper respiratory tract infections (coughs and flu) were given a spoonful of buckwheat honey 30 minutes before bed. They…

  • reduced the frequency and severity of their coughs,
  • reduced the “bothersome nature” of the coughing,
  • got more sleep instead of waking up numerous times during the night. And so did their parents!

Paediatric doctors at the University of Texas agree about the effectiveness of honey for cough, pointing out that millions of dollars are spent every year on testing and treatment that is NOT necessary!

Instead, they suggest you use inexpensive home remedies made with dark honey, which “have proved to be an effective measure when dealing with cough in children.”

However, do NOT give honey to infants under one year.

Occasionally, honey contains a bacterium called Clostridium botulinum that triggers a form of botulism that is treatable but can be fatal to infants. It's not very common but you don't want to find out the hard way. 

Because children and adults have more developed immune systems than babies, it’s not a problem for us.

When I had a respiratory tract infection brought on by a very stressful month, I drank cups of herbal tea laced with large spoonfuls of raw local honey.

I was surprised (and pleased) to find how quickly this natural remedy relieved my cough and throat pain. And it tastes delicious, too!


Why is honey such an effective
natural remedy for cough and cold?

Honey has antiviral qualities and helps with wound healing. So when you have the flu or an Upper Respiratory Tract Infection – which is caused by virus – and your throat is raw from coughing, honey is the perfect home remedy. 

It also soothes your throat when you're coughing from dry winter air.

Raw honey soothes winter coughs and dry throats © Karen Alison

Honey is a powerful antibacterial. In fact, an article in the medical journal, The Lancet, has this title: “Bacteria Can’t Resist Honey.”

But here's the fascinating part... While pharmaceutical drugs foster scary antibiotic-resistant microbes, honey still works against those bad bacteria, with no side effects!

And where antibiotics kill off many of the beneficial microbes in your gut and harm the lining of your intestines, honey acts as a prebiotic and “helps to repair the damaged intestinal mucosa.”

It promotes the growth of good microbes, like bifidobacterium, while suppressing the bad ones. Those gut microbes are a huge part of your immune system, so you need them to deal with the virus and get rid of your cough.


What type of honey makes the best natural remedy for cough?

Pure, raw, organic honey is best, as it is not pasteurized or processed.

Real honey is the nectar of flowers © Karen Alison

Pasteurization heats the honey to 161 degrees Fahrenheit, or 72 Celsius, which kills off most of the nutrients, enzymes, friendly bacteria and other elements in honey that are so beneficial to your health.

"Honey" that's not raw organic is often mixed with large amounts of health-damaging High-Fructose Corn Syrup and may contain antibiotics. Shockingly, this includes most of the honey sold in regular grocery stores

Raw honey - real honey - thickens and crystallizes over time. You can see it in the photos of honey on this page.

Here are suggestions for choosing a honey that makes a good natural remedy for cough...

Buckwheat honey

A dark, rich-tasting honey with a strong flavour. It is full of antioxidants and has proven to reduce coughing.

Buckwheat is not wheat, it is a completely different botanical species called Fagopyrum esculentum, so if you’re eating gluten-free or Paleo, don’t worry.

Buckwheat honey is not a golden honey. It should be very dark brown in colour.

Manuka honey

Also a strong-tasting honey. Manuka comes from New Zealand and Australia, the only places where the manuka or tea tree grows.

Besides being one of the most expensive honeys, it has been tested for its health benefits more than any other honey. It is said to contain some of the highest levels of antibacterial properties, making it a powerful natural remedy for cough and throat infection.

One problem with commercial manuka honey is that it may be cut with other honeys. More manuka honey is sold worldwide than can actually be produced from the existing manuka plants, so you have to be very careful when choosing a brand.

Local raw honey

Local raw honey is antiviral & antibacterial © Karen Alison

You can find local raw honey at a farmer’s market, health food store or online.

Or take a drive along a country road and keep your eyes open. Bee keepers often have a sign out at the roadside advertising their own honey.

Apart from its uses as a natural remedy for cough, honey from your local area is an old home remedy for pollen allergies. While there is some controversy about whether it actually works for allergies, there is no doubt that a good raw local honey contains antioxidant, antiviral and antibacterial qualities that make it an effective home remedy.

The honey from our local beekeeper certainly worked for my cough.

“Life is the flower for which love is the honey.”Victor Hugo


Related Articles -
more cough home remedies...

These soothing cough home remedies provide powerful natural relief when you have a cold, flu or upper respiratory tract infection.

How to make the best ginger tea
Fresh ginger has wonderful healing properties and makes a delicious tea to soothe your cough or sore throat. Here’s my favourite recipe.

Best home remedies for cough from allergies or asthma. They will also work for you if you have a chronic cough for “no reason” or you have to clear your throat often.

The most effective way to relieve a cough from stress, nervous cough or habit cough. This unique home remedy for cough is based on the ancient wisdom of Chinese Medicine and Louise Hay affirmations.


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