An expectorant is a medicine that helps the lungs cough up irritants. Using herbs and or essential oils rubbed onto the chest, head and back may be an effective way to relieve your cough symptoms naturally at home. Alternatively, making a simple herbal cough syrup can help to expectorate a mild cough.

What Makes Us Cough?

Coughing is the body’s natural defense against an irritant in the lungs, such as smoke. Reduce or eliminate pollutants from your surroundings as a first step in controlling a cough. Dry air can exacerbate a cough, so keep hydrated. If you have a viral infection, your airways can become inflamed, leading to more mucus and more coughing.

Diagnose First

Coughing is a common occurrence, but it can be a symptom of a serious illness such as blockage of the airways, pneumonia or a blood clot. If your cough is a simple, productive cough due to a viral infection, you can make a simple expectorant.

Ingredients for Salve

An herbal/essential oil salve can help your cough. You need a carrier oil; coconut oil is a good choice, because it contains fatty acids that have been proven to fight viral infections. Into about 1 cup coconut oil, mix about 15 drops of at least three of the following essential oils: eucalyptus, frankincense, marjoram, peppermint and rosemary. Stir the mixture, then rub it on your head, chest and back. Expect relief in about half an hour. These essential oils available at natural food stores, some grocery stores or online.

Recipes for Cough Syrups

A simple expectorant is honey and lemon. Heat raw honey and add the juice of one lemon. Drink slowly while hot.

Another simple but effective expectorant is licorice tea. Combine licorice with peppermint. Honey as a sweetener will also help.

Carrot-ginger juice will also help a cough. Juice carrots and ginger and sip slowly throughout the day. Adjust the ratio of carrots to ginger to your taste. Pure carrot juice is effective by itself, if the taste of ginger is too spicy.

If you enjoy the smell of garlic, it is an effective cough expectorant and also has anti-viral properties. Rub it on your chest and back, or mash and eat it.