They may not taste great, but conventional cough syrups are what people keep in their medicine cabinets for flu and cold season. These sugary chemical concoctions may address the symptoms, but they don’t get to the root of the problem. Plus, chemists have some bad news about that syrup in your medicine cabinet.
The American Chemical Society (ACS) states that antitussive drugs block the body’s cough reflex. Common cough syrups contain expectorants that help to thin mucus, making it easier to cough. They also contain antihistamines to reduce swelling and decongestants to help open airways. Unfortunately, most studies on cough syrups show no evidence that they suppress or stop coughing. In fact, a lot of studies found that they performed no better than a placebo.
Fortunately, you can easily make your own cough syrup using natural ingredients that are effective at getting rid of a cough or cold. It’s easy to make this natural cough syrup and it should help you kick that cold to the curb. The following ingredients not only boost immune function, but help soothe the throat and get rid of coughing.
Drinking tea with honey may help to soothe a sore throat, but honey may be able to suppress coughing on its own. One study monitored children ages one through five with upper respiratory tract infections. They received up to two teaspoons of raw honey at bedtime. Honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and even improved sleep. The same study found that honey was as effective at suppressing coughs as dextromethorphan, a common cough suppressant in over-the-counter doses.
Both garlic and ginger are hailed as powerful immune boosters. Garlic exhibits potent antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties that work to enhance immune function. The allicin in garlic triggers white blood cells to improve immune response against infections. Although garlic is most beneficial when consumed in its raw form, you can cook it and still reap some benefits.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Although apple cider vinegar has a place in various culinary applications, it commonly finds its way into multiple health tonic recipes. Plain apple cider vinegar is powerful enough to relieve a cough, according to anecdotal research. The acetic acid in apple cider vinegar exhibits antimicrobial properties that help to kill pathogens in the throat, in turn, relieving coughing. Additionally, apple cider vinegar works to reduce inflammation that irritates the throat during a cough.
Ginger may not be able to put an end to the common cold, but it may help reduce the duration of symptoms. A review of studies found that ginger helps to relieve congestion, reduce inflammation, and soothe a sore throat. The gingerols and shogaols in ginger are responsible for the medicinal properties. In fact, they exhibit antibacterial properties that proved effective against Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pyogenes.
Coughing is the body’s natural response to clear out phlegm that accumulates in the throat during a cold. The main purpose is to open the airways. Research points to the fact that lemon boosts immune function and soothes the throat. Lemon also helps to flush toxins from the system. It pairs best with raw honey because it creates a thin layer on throat for cough relief.
Homemade Cough Syrup
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1 tablespoon raw honey
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1.25 teaspoons ginger, grated
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Add all of the ingredients to a glass jar and shake vigorously to combine.
- When you have a cough, consume just over one tablespoon at a time to help relieve symptoms.
- Make sure that you shake before each time you consume it.
- Store in the refrigerator, but let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes prior to each use.
- Don’t take more than 4 tablespoons daily.