Home Treatments and Remedies for Wet Cough

Cough is a common reflex, and it is the body’s mechanism to clear the airways of irritants. Cough may be acute, lasting less than three weeks, or chronic, lasting for more than eight weeks.

There are different types of cough: dry, wet, or whooping. The treatment for cough, of course, depends on its nature and causes.

A wet or productive cough, i.e., cough that produces phlegm, indicates that your body is producing more mucus than normal.

Causes and Symptoms of Wet Cough

Acute cough in adults most often occurs because of infections caused by microorganisms such as bacteria or viruses, like those that cause a cold or flu.

Other reasons why your body may produce more mucus than usual may include different health problems such as bronchitis, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), cystic fibrosis, and asthma.

In a toddler or baby, a cough is most often caused by a viral infection or asthma. A wet cough in children may also be caused by inhaling a foreign body (e.g. peanuts!), cigarette smoke, or other environmental irritants.

A cough often begins with a dry hacking cough that causes heaviness in the chest and ultimately leads to coughing up phlegm as the illness progresses. It may feel like you have something stuck in your chest or a tickle at the back of your throat.

For immediate relief from chest congestion, has some pointers that would help you, which include, “stay hydrated, use a humidifier or take a hot shower-the steam mist will help, hot tea (adults can add honey), apple cider vinegar can help break up & loosen mucous/phlegm (mix it in water), a warm compress on the chest can help soothe symptoms.”

Other signs and symptoms that can be associated with cough are a rattling or whistling sound when breathing-in or coughing (wheezing), breathlessness, chest pain or tightness, and fever.

A cough may follow a sore throat or a cold, and can be worse in the morning. It can affect your work and sleep, and it can disturb others around you, too.

How to Backent Coughing

Although it cannot be completely avoided, there are certain steps you can take to ensure that you do not come down with a flu or cough. Here are some examples:-

One daily habit, that could prevent chest congestion, according to Dr. Janette Nesheiwat, is to, “stay hydrated- most important thing to do.”

When to See a Doctor

Usually, most coughs go away on their own. However, there may be times when you may need medical attention. Seek the help of a doctor IMMEDIATELY when at least one of the following occurs:

Are Over the Counter Preparations Recommended?

There is little evidence for or against the effectiveness of over-the-counter (OTC) medicines.

Fortunately, there are several natural cough remedies that can help fight the cause of the problem or even provide quick relief from the symptoms.

Natural Remedies to Deal with Wet Cough at Home

Here are some home remedies for a wet cough.

1. Salt Water Gargle

Gargling with salt water several times a day provides significant relief from cough. Salt helps remove mucus from the respiratory tract, while the warm water reduces irritation in the throat.

Plus, the antiseptic property of salt may help fight any infection that may have caused the illness.

  1. Add ¼-½ teaspoon of salt to a glass of warm water.
  2. Mix well until the salt is thoroughly dissolved.
  3. Gargle with this 2-3 times daily until your congestion clears.

2. Steam Inhalation

Inhaling steam is another effective way to get quick relief from a cough. The heat and moisture from the steam help break up and dissolve mucus. Moreover, inhaling steam infused with tulsi leaves-extract can help relieve cough and cold even better.

Note: Steam inhalation might not be suitable for young children, pregnant women or people suffering from high blood pressure or heart conditions.

3. Honey

Honey is another well-known home remedy for cough.

It helps reduce the thickness of the mucus and promotes its easy removal from the respiratory tract. Also, being high in antiviral and antibacterial properties, honey helps fight infection.

  1. Put 1 large organic onion (halved and thinly sliced) and 1 teaspoon of dried thyme (or 3 teaspoons of fresh thyme) in a glass, ceramic, or nonstick saucepan, and add enough honey to fully cover the ingredients (preferably 2 cups of raw local honey).
  2. Simmer over low heat for 1 hour, until the onion becomes juicy and soft.
  3. Pour the mixture into a glass jar, cover with lid, and label. You can store this in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
  4. Consume 1 tablespoon of this honey-thyme elixir daily during cold season to prevent or treat a cold.

Note: Do not give honey to children under age 1 as it can lead to botulism.

4. Ginger

Whether you are suffering from productive or non-productive cough, ginger is a good remedy.

As an expectorant, ginger helps in thinning and expelling mucus. It even reduces the intensity and duration of coughing bouts characterized by airway hyperresponsiveness and inflammation.

Moreover, ginger has immune-boosting properties that help promote quick recovery.

5. Licorice

Licorice acts as an expectorant and thus can help relieve some symptoms of a cough. It also helps soothe a sore throat.

A 2017 study published in Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry highlights the antitussive and expectorant activities of licorice and its major compounds.

Note: Licorice remedies are not advisable for people with high blood pressure.

6. Garlic

Garlic is also a good remedy for chesty cough. It acts as a natural expectorant, which helps provide quick relief from coughing.

Garlic also has immune-enhancing, antibacterial and antiviral properties that make it effective for clearing infection that may be the reason behind the cough.

7. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is another effective remedy.

Apple cider vinegar helps thin the mucus in the chest, thus reducing coughing and helping you breathe better. It even boosts your immunity, which greatly helps prevent cough in the first place.

8. Pineapple Juice, Honey, Ginger, Cayenne, and Salt

Another traditional cough remedy is to blend pineapple juice with honey, ginger, salt, and a little cayenne pepper. The cayenne helps to expel the mucus, and honey and ginger soothe the throat. They also offer anti-inflammatory properties. For this remedy, blend the following together:

Drink ¼ cup of this blend up to 3 times per day.

Note: Do not give raw honey to children under 1 year of age.

Additional Tips


  1. Cough. National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Retrieved from
  2. Cough. Ministry of Health NZ. Retrieved from
  3. Emma Maloney, George H. Meakin; Acute stridor in children, Continuing Education in Anaesthesia Critical Care & Pain, Volume 7, Issue 6, 1 December 2007, Pages 183–186, Retrieved from
  4. Schroeder K, Fahey T. Over‐the‐counter medications for acute cough in children and adults in ambulatory settings. Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews 2001, Issue 3. Art. No.: CD001831. DOI: 10.1002/14651858.CD001831. Retrieved from
  5. Elkins, M. R., & Bye, P. T. (2011). Mechanisms and applications of hypertonic saline. Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, 104(1_suppl), 2–5. Retrieved from
  6. Kamble, M., Londhe, S., Rapelli, P., Thakur, P., & Ray, S. (2017, March 01). A comparative study to assess the effect of steam inhalation v/s Tulsi leaves inhalation on the sign and symptoms of cold and cough among adult group in selected areas of Pune city. Retrieved from
  7. Kumar, K. P., & Bhowmik, D. (2010, January 30). Medicinal uses and health benefits of Honey: An Overview. Retrieved from
  8. Townsend, E. A., Siviski, M. E., Zhang, Y., Xu, C., Hoonjan, B., & Emala, C. W. (2013). Effects of ginger and its constituents on airway smooth muscle relaxation and calcium regulation. American journal of respiratory cell and molecular biology, 48(2), 157-63. Retrieved from
  9. Kuang, Y., Li, B., Fan, J., Qiao, X., & Ye, M. (2018). Antitussive and expectorant activities of licorice and its major compounds. Bioorganic & Medicinal Chemistry, 26(1), 278-284. doi:10.1016/j.bmc.2017.11.046. Retrieved from
  10. Sultana, Shahnaz & Khan, Andleeb & M. Safhi, Mohd & Alhazmi, Hassan. (2016). Cough Suppressant Herbal Drugs: A Review. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  11. Apple cider vinegar boosted immunomodulatory and health promoting effects of Lactobacillus casei in common carp (Cyprinus carpio). (2017, June 07). Retrieved from
  12. Dr. Sujata Pandit Sharma, Dr. Brajbhushan. A Study on Nutritional Efficacy of Pineapple Juice in the Treatment of Bronchial Asthma. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, Volume 5, Issue 1, January 2015. Retrieved from

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