Remedies For A Dry Cough

A dry cough may continue after other symptoms of a cold disappear and clear out. If this is you, remedies are likely on your ‘to-do’ list since the irritation of any dry cough is something that you’re hoping will go away soon. It can even keep you up at night (as many of you likely already know)!

Here are a few ‘how-to’ remedies for a dry cough:


1. Honey: This soothingly waxy textured sweet goodness will coat and moisten the throat.

2. Elderberry syrup: It is easy on the stomach and will calm a dry cough.
Nature’s Way Sambucus Black Elderberry Original Syrup

3. Chicken soup: This comforting warm nutritious soup will open respiratory membranes and soothe that cough.

4. Lozenges: Especially menthol will help numb the throat and ease a dry cough.

5. Humidifier: The dry air of winter exacerbates the cough. 40 – 50% humidity inside is ideal.

6. Steam: Take a hot steamy shower or inhale steam from a pot of boiling water.

7. Cough Suppressant: Especially helpful when trying to sleep at night. An over-the-counter medication.

Note: If coughing persists for weeks, consult your doctor for the underlying cause. There are many reasons why you may have a persistent dry cough and many of them may require professional care to treat it.

Tip: Apparently the highest rated cough drops are the following ‘HONEES’ brand,
Honees Menthol Eucalyptus Cough Drops

Tip: A highly rated ‘over-the-counter’ cough relief,
Robitussin Non-Drowsy Cough Relief

Did you know that a single cough can contain as many as 200 million virus particles?

Did you know that once they are out, germs can survive several hours on paper and several days on plastic or steel?

The following Gold Bond hand sanitizer is extremely effective on germs,
Gold Bond ‘Ultimate’ Hand Sanitizer & Moisturizer

Do you have any of your own remedies to share for a dry cough?


  1. Sigh…timely article…

    Sadly I tried all those/we all did, during our recent cough/cold/flue episodes, and not much help…just sort of suffered through it all.

    Anyone got any suggestions for long lasting laryngitis?(all above been tried).

    1. Anon
      I would use cherry flavored zinc tablets from the health food store. Dh uses Activz, it is colloidal silver with herb cough drop, and Pine Brothers with honey.

      1. Antique Collector

        Thank you.

        That has not been tried. Tomorrow will pick some up(it is for a family member).

        Any idea, how long Laryngitis can go on, before one should be getting seriously worried?

        I am leaning toward worried (for this person). It is now about four weeks. A couple of weeks back, was at the Doctor, and told…”don’t’ worry be happy” (more or less), and Doctor insisted it must be a virus etc.

        Anyone know?

        1. Anon

          Not a doctor & I have had laryngitis in the past. Four weeks is way to long in MHO. Have learned a lot from dh’s ENT(Ear, nose & throat) doctor. Does the ability to speak come and go if they are quiet, then talk to much?

          If they have refrained from “any speech” and the vocal cords are not not walk—run to an ENT specialist, this just my hypothesis.

        2. Antique Collector

          Thank you.

          Yes the ability to speak does come and go…If well rested can speak, but not speak “normal”. Still very croaky.

          I will try again to get him to return to Doctor.

          Thank you.

    2. Anon,

      I discovered that taking zyrtec for a couple of days leads to laryngitis. Also found out that zyrtec can make children agressive (pediatrician had recommended 1tsp/day for allergies…few days later, my kid was getting physical!) If you happen to be taking this stuff, get off it ASAP, but read about the side effects before you do. Scary stuff.

      Ken mentioned lozenges…a word of caution about those. I dealt with bronchitis for a good 6-7 weeks (finalllllly getting over it). I found the sugar free cough drops from Family Dollar work great. I ate them like they were candy. But then, I finally read the back of the package:
      “excessive use may cause laxative effect”

      oooohhhhhh sh–

      LOL scared to eat any more now! haha

  2. I found a recipe for a natural cough syrup this last summer on the internet, but I can’t remember what sight it was. Anyway, I haven’t had a cough to try it but here is the recipe.

    1 cup pineapple juice, 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice, 1 tsp. ginger powder, 1 or 2 tbsp. organic honey, a dash of salt, and a dash of cayenne pepper.

    It sounds yummie, like something you would put on your fried fish or something. Anyway if someone with a cough tries it and it works, let us all know.

    1. BigBadCat, Yes, I heard pineapple juice is a better cough suppressant than cough syrup!
      For lozenges I use Ricola………
      Hope everyone stays healthy!
      Or gets well soon if they are sick!

  3. Three generations of NRP family cold remedies, do ’em all.

    1. Homemade Chicken Soup, eat two bowls as HOT as you can stand it.
    2. Vick’s Vapor Rub, a HUGE chunk rubbed on the chest with a warm/hot damp wash rag on it. It’s messy but so is a “cold”.
    3. Nyquil, night-time, a double dose.

    Hit the hay for at least 10 hours, 99% guaranteed no more “cold” or cough.


    Add a shot of Moonshine when you wake up if ya got it, that way you may still feel bad, but ya won’t care… HAHAHA

    1. NRP

      Moonshine?? Thought you did not know who to make that stuff?
      I am still looking for the Elderberry tincture that can be taken with tea & the cough syrup.

      1. @ Antique Collector

        Ohhhh, I’m not sure where you could ever obtain “Moonshine”, I just heard about that stuff from a friend of a friend’s second cousin’s brother’s grandpa’s wife’s brother’s nephew’s first-born . I did actually read about it once though.


  4. Years ago an older doctor told us for a hacky cough use Vicks salve. Put a small amount on the finger tip and rub it in the indention where the neck and the chest meet. Now this is not for a cough with a deep cold. We have used this method for a long time and it works for us.

    1. I was told, and it works, to put the vicks on top and the back of your tongue. It works

    2. This sounds crazy, but it’s worked for my family. When you go to bed, rub Vicks salve on the bottom of your feet and put on socks. Helps with all cold symptoms.

    1. CamelelOn
      Is it cold symptoms or flu?? There is a flu that is going around this year & it is putting staff in a gown/gloves/mask situation at the hospitals. If it worsens do not fail to see a doctor, nothing to mess with. Home remedies will not cure this nasty stuff.

  5. For us, fresh Ginger root sliced(about a 1/4 cup) add to it about 12 oz. of clean water in a sauce pan then bring water to a boil for about 10 min. Pour hot water into a coffee mug and add honey and lemon. Drink hot.

    The Ginger breaks up the phlegm in your chest and the honey/lemon soothes your throat. Make the drink as strong as you can stand it, the stronger the ginger the better it works.

    Gargle with salt water, pure grain alcohol, or mouthwash, SPIT OUT THE GRAIN ALCOHOL! Sorry, NRP – no swallow allowed.

    1. blackjack22, Yes ginger is awesome! I eat it all the time off the root! Is spicey but I can deal with it. I usually just eat a cracker with it.
      A few weeks ago I found candied ginger. It’s fresh ginger sprinkled in ginger.
      I believe Ken mentioned it here.
      It’s fantastic!!!
      I eat it everyday. Is good for so many things.

      1. LOL, whoops, I didn’t mean to type “ginger sprinkled in ginger”…it’s ginger sprinkled in sugar! :)

  6. I fill a shot glass full of colloidal silver take half in mouth and gargle and swish through my teeth then swallow, repeat with what is left. I do this morning and before bed. Usually gone in two days.

    This past weekend our son and half the people he works with came down with the flu Friday night. He drank gallons of orange juice, swallowed vitamin C, did the above with colloidal silver three times a day and was back at work Monday. He also slept most of the weekend. Co-workers finally made it to work Thursday and Friday.

    1. OG,
      Colloidal silver is destroyed in gut. Spend more time holding it under the tongue for better absorption..try to hold under the tongue for a min. of a min and 2 min is better then swish and swallow. Should be repeated every 4 hours while awake, has a short half life. Continue to use days after symptoms are gone. Know from experience.

  7. A little lemon juice in the honey is nice. Perhaps a little eucalyptus oil in the humidifier. I`d consider consulting physician for any lingering or long term symptoms. Just as Ken mentioned above. A website that I like is

  8. My husband has the cure!! I can only take this if I am really sick and I don’t have a sense of taste. I am sure it would work with a dry cough.

    6 oz hot water
    1 tablespoon lemon juice
    2 tablespoons of honey
    1 generous shot of bourbon or rum

    Put it all in a mug and drink away, better be prepared to go to bed right away.

    1. @ old lady

      I had to chuckle at your “cure”, around my neck of the woods that’s called Lunch… HAHAHA


      I wanted to thank you for your recipe for Buttermilk Biscuits, Absolutely FANTASTIC… Thanks

    2. old lady
      That is what my dh would make me drink when I came down ill. I use lime juice it does taste a little better and still works. Nasty tasting stuff!

      1. @Old Lady
        Double everything, add walnut sized lump of butter, be sure and use OP rum. Serve in a beer mug and consume wrapped in a wool blanket beside a roaring wood stove. Warn DW to not expect coherent conversation , only contented sighs and grateful murmurs. When finished, wobble off to bed.☺️

  9. Vick’s Vaporub slathered on the bottoms of your feet. Cover with socks and go to sleep. Strange but works most of the time. Rest is important too as NRP says.

  10. The best remedy I have ever found for a dry cough is EX-Lax. After a good dose of Ex-Lax you will do whatever it takes to keep from coughing!

    1. @ Old Geezer

      HAHAHAHA, now THAT sounds like a cure…

      Better have those extra 10 rolls of TP ready… ROFLMAO


  11. Viral bronchitis is going around the country and it seems to run it course over 10 days or so. I’m feeling okay so far but I was considering having my wife put down as she was in such misery. She’s much better now. I’m probably doing better because of the heard immunity nurses get after being exposed to so many ill people. The pineapple juice in the drinks last night also probably helped! No little umbrellas but they did have plastic palm tree swizel sticks. Next time Thailand. Prices have got to better over there. $23.00 for two drinks! Sheesh! Aloha from me to all off you. Remember Vitamin C is your friend with respiratory illness.

  12. For the laryngitis, try taking pineapple juice and heating it in the microwave as hot as you can take it. Like hot tea and drink it a couple times a day. The natural acid in it burns the gunk off of your vocal cords. I was skeptical at first….but it works. I use this every time I get sick, because I usually loose my voice… loves the silence, me not so much!

    1. Barbie

      there are so many recommending pineapple juice, will have to pick up a pineapple (too).

      am assuming you all mean from a pineapple, and not pineapple juice from the can?

  13. Thayer’s Opera Singer Lozenges and Traditional Medicinal’s Gypsy Cold Tea both contain slippery elm bark. This makes a kind of gel that coats the throat and prevents the title feeling.

    Avyuredic medicine recommends turmeric for inflammation. Adding dry or fresh turmeric root to hot tea might relieve a cough. I like to blend turmeric with honey to make a thick paste– allow a half-spoonful to dissolve and melt down your throat.

  14. During the day, I carry and use Robitussin tabs with DM. I still carry throat lozenges with me but I get tired of the taste in my mouth. the combo of Guafenisen and DM work to cut down my consumption of throat lozenges. I drink coffee at work.

    Off duty, I take the alcohol cure (Irish Whiskey) sipped along with herbal tea that contains ginger root and a bit of sugar or honey. I do not drink to get drunk but just enough to relax. The herb tea is for flavor, hydration and micro nutrients. The alcohol is…because it is fun. The guns are locked up and put away so why not?

    My diet is bland when I have “The Crud” (hence the hot Chicken Soup) and I try to get as much sleep as I can fully bundled up. (but with easy access to the commode because I may have to relieve myself or puke in a big hurry.)

    The dry throat is a side effect of the cold dry air in my town right now so I also take time to rinse my nose and sinuses with aerosolized saline spray sold at the drug stores at least 1x/day.

    I try to exercise enough to prevent the phlegm from settling in my chest so I try to prevent the head cold from moving into my lungs. I make gross noises and I am not very socially acceptable at those times. I keep the Tissue companies in business.

    I work in a hospital so I try not to cough too much at work yet I get exposed to a lot of sick people.

  15. Little late here, but thanks for all the great recipes and tips. Can you write another article about expectorants for a moist cough w/ phlegm? That’s the type of cough that worries me. You want to get that nasty stuff out of your chest as soon as possible, I think. In fact, could you write more articles on health related issues? That seems to be an area where a lot of preppers get….lazy(?) It seems to be an after thought at best. Just a piece of advice. Love this site.

    1. @Vickie, Yes indeed health is often overlooked in general as priorities tend to focus elsewhere. But when we get knocked down with a serious health issue, it sure becomes a priority – often sapping one’s strength and energy to do little else…

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