When you have a cough, you don't have to reach for an over-the-counter cough suppressant. Research supports using honey for a cough, and apple cider vinegar may be effective as well, without giving you the cloudy-headed feeling of dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in cough syrup.
Talk to your doctor before trying any cough remedies, though. A cough may be a sign of something more serious than a cold. Young children, meanwhile, shouldn't have honey.
Apple-Cider Vinegar and Honey Cough Syrup
A homemade apple-cider vinegar and honey cough syrup can clear congestion and reduce your cough naturally, says herbalist Penny C. Royal, author of "Herbally Yours." Mix 1/4 tsp. ground ginger, 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper, 1 tbsp. honey, 2 tbsp. water and 1 tbsp. apple-cider vinegar. Mix the ingredients thoroughly, and take 1 tsp. at a time every few hours to suppress the cough.
Apple-Cider Vinegar Pillow
Apple-cider vinegar is a time-honored folk remedy. Dabbing your pillowcase with apple-cider vinegar before bed may help reduce nighttime coughing, Dr. Earl Mindell writes in his book, "Dr. Earl Mindell's Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar." The scent of the apple-cider vinegar may soothe and calm your throat, making you less likely to cough throughout the night.
Teaspoon of Honey
Taking 2 tsp. of honey may be as effective as dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough syrups, according to Dr. James M. Steckelberg of the Mayo Clinic. Honey coats the throat, soothing the rawness and irritation.
Additionally, honey may help reduce congestion.
Although it is rare, honey does pose a risk of infant botulism, so do not give honey to children under the age of 1.
Honey and Hot Water
If you're not keen on drinking honey straight out of the bottle, mix 2 tsp. of honey in a mug of hot water. Squeeze a wedge of lemon into the cup, and stir until the ingredients are combined. Sip slowly to soothe the throat and alleviate your cough. Honey will soothe your cough, while the lemon juice will cut through the mucous in the back of your throat. Drink every few hours, as needed.