Remedies for a Lingering Cough

Although it’s great to finally get over a seasonal or contagious illness, sometimes the lingering cough that drags on afterward can bend one’s sanity! Coughs of this nature, whether wet or productive, dry or hacking, can hang on for several weeks after the initial illness that triggered the symptom in the first place. Sometimes a lingering cough is the result of the epithelial tissues in the throat, nose, and trachea becoming a little damaged. Usually the epithelium works as a barrier to protect the underlying tissues from harmful substances and causes us to cough when it detects things that shouldn’t be there. A virus can easily cause a negative impact on this substance which could trigger coughing fits until the epithelium heals itself. A lingering cough could also be due to sinus issues that cause postnasal drip, which in turn irritates the throat and causes us to cough. The same can occur with allergies.

While there are times when one simply has to wait until the cough treats itself, there are things that you can do to help take the edge off the cough and even sooth the irritation in your throat and chest. Take a look at the following remedies that you can do at home, work, or on the go.

Licorice Root Tea

Licorice root tea can be a huge relief for a dry lingering cough or one that has caused irritation to the throat. Excessive, chronic coughing can do a lot of damage to the sensitive tissues of the throat, especially if you are plagued day and night by the cough. Licorice root is an herbal remedy that has been used for hundreds of years to treat tickling coughs, itchiness in the throat, and irritation due to coughing. It is also used to treat upset stomach and low blood pressure. Licorice root has a very bold flavor that is comparable to black licorice candy, fennel, or anise seed. Licorice root works by triggering the production of a thin mucous that works to coat and protect the throat from the stresses of coughing. It is also a wonderful way to rehydrate these tissues that may have dried out due to excessive coughing.

Licorice root tea is easiest to brew if you have pre-made, store-bought tea bags. Simply place the tea bag in a large mug and pour boiling water over it. Allow the tea bag to steep for about ten minutes; although the flavor will be very strong, so will the mucous-stimulating properties of the licorice root. Of course, the helpful properties of the licorice root are strongest when the tea is brewed from fresh licorice root. The herb should be purchased in dried form. It can be placed into a homemade sachet using a coffee filter and some thread. Alternatively, you can buy empty tea bags online or at a local health food store.


Honey is an amazing remedy for treating soreness and irritation caused by that lingering cough. In some studies, honey has performed just as well as over the counter cough suppressant medicine. For the best results honey should be taken “raw.” To do this, simply load up a spoonful of your favorite honey and eat it right off the spoon. If you have a lot of irritation in your throat if you’re heading to bed soon, go ahead and take another spoonful. Honey can help rehydrate the dried-out tissues of the throat and works as a protective barrier that also soothes irritation. If you can’t stomach raw honey then try adding it to foods and hot beverage as much as possible. If you choose this method you might find the honey’s healing effects to be a little diluted.


Those of us with air conditioning and indoor heating may know all too well that one of the side effects includes dry air. When our bodies take in too much dry air it can cause the delicate tissues of the respiratory system to lack the moisture they need to function comfortably. The most direct way to remedy the symptoms of inhaling dry air is to use a humidifier. A humidifier is an electrical machine that sprays or fans mist into the air. The two types of humidifiers you can choose from are cool mist or warm mist. Warm mist humidifiers heat up the water before it releases it into the hair. This is great to use during the winter months when the extra warmth can help keep the room nice and cozy. Cool mist humidifiers can be a welcome change during the summer when the dry heat causes discomfort and restless sleeping at night.

Tea and Hot Lemon Water

Warm drinks are a great home remedy for a lingering cough. Warm beverages not only soothe the dry and irritated tissues of the throat but they can also cut through the mucous that is known for triggering coughing spells. Drink as much of your favorite hot tea every day or just whenever you start to feel a twinge of discomfort or itchiness in your throat. If you don’t like tea then make a cup of hot water and throw in a generous sized lemon wedge. Sweeten the water or tea with honey to add extra protection for your throat.