There's not much you can do to cure a cough, but remedies can help make your illness easier to deal with. Honey is an effective cough-soother. You can take tablespoons of it right from the jar, or make a preparation with warm lemon water and a touch of cayenne pepper that can ease pain in your throat and help relieve your cough.
Recent research has suggested that honey is just as effective as -- if not better than -- over-the-counter cough medications. In the study, published in "Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine" in 2007, parents rated honey better than no treatment for their children's coughs. However, further studies are needed to compare honey's efficacy to that of traditional cough medicines.
Hot liquids help loosen congestion in your throat and prevent dehydration. Adding some warm lemon water to your honey makes a tasty beverage that thins out mucus, soothes the throat and makes a cold or the flu more bearable.
Cayenne pepper contains a compound called capsaicin, which has pain-relieving qualities. Adding a small amount of cayenne to your lemon-honey preparation could help soothe your throat, although too much may cause heartburn or stomach discomfort. Cayenne pepper may aggravate a cough in people taking ACE inhibitors, although this effect is linked to topical capsaicin creams; still, you may wish to consult your doctor before using cayenne or other peppers medicinally if you use ACE inhibitors. It may also decrease the effectiveness of aspirin and stomach-acid reducers.
Heat a cup of water on the stove or in the microwave until hot. Stir in a tablespoon or two of honey, a teaspoon or two of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper. Adjust ingredients to taste and sip slowly to relieve your cough and soothe your sore throat.