A child’s cough is miserable for everyone; when a child coughs, he is miserable and so are his parents. Fortunately, there are many home remedies that work quite well for a cough. A cough in a child can be caused by a virus, bacteria or allergies.
Treating the Symptoms
Very often, a cough in a child comes along with a cold or flu virus, and treating the symptoms of the cold or flu will often help the cough. When we have a cough in our family, we do the following:
- We cut back on dairy products.
- I try to increase fluids.
- I serve hot vinegar tea. (1 teaspoon raw apple cider vinegar, 1-2 teaspoons honey, 3 – 4 ounces or so of hot water for children, half as much for toddlers, and no honey for children under a year old.)
Treating Night Coughs
A cough often gets worse at night, disrupting a child’s sleep and that of his parents.
I have found that if I put a drop of eucalyptus essential oil on a cotton ball and place it near my child’s pillow, it will help his cough a lot!
A raw onion, chopped and placed in a bowl, again, near the pillow, is also a great help for a cough. Getting up in the middle of the night to chop an onion isn’t my favorite thing to do, but often, after I do this, my child will sleep the rest of the night without coughing!
Food Allergies can Cause a Cough
One of my children seemed to have a “nervous cough.” He would constantly clear his throat while reading to himself. It reminded me of a nervous tic. It turned out to be a food allergy. Avoiding the offending foods gave immediate relief. After a year of a modified diet, he was able to again eat whatever he liked and hasn’t had any trouble since, and that was ten years ago.
Seasonal Allergies or Asthma
Sometimes a cough accompanies seasonal allergies or asthma.
The herb stinging nettle works wonderfully for this. Nettle is a old time spring tonic and a food. It can be used often. One of my children took nettles for a year. It kept him free of asthma symptoms; indeed, it seemed to cure them! This should not be a surprise as nettle is a blood purifier.
Some children will cough because the air is dry. A cool mist humidifier can help a lot with this.
Don’t Overuse Cough Medicine
Limit use of over the counter cough medicine. The cough is the body’s way of ridding the lungs of irritants or infections. If a cough is continually suppressed, bacteria or viruses stay in the lungs and can turn into pneumonia.
Prepare Garlic Oil or Quick Garlic Salve
Garlic Oil Recipe
To be ready for a cough when it comes along, make some garlic oil ahead of time.
- I get a jar that holds about one cup and crush cloves of garlic into it until it is half full.
- Then I pour olive oil over the garlic, enough to cover. I let this sit for ten days.
- I strain out the garlic and I store this oil in the refrigerator until needed. It will last for several months if stored in the refrigerator.
- I put a dime size amount of oil onto my hand and rub it onto the chest and/or back of a coughing child. Whoa, the smell is strong, but it rarely fails to quiet a cough.
- Sometimes I add one drop of diluted oregano oil (25% oregano oil and 75% olive oil) into the dime sized amount of garlic oil and get the doubly whammy of oregano and garlic. I call it the pizza treatment! Best if used when the child is wearing old clothes! The oil can stain clothes and the garlic smell may not be easy to get out. But it rarely fails!
Quick Garlic Salve
If you do not have garlic oil ready when a cough hits, you can make a quick garlic salve.
In a blender, combine and blend the following:
- 1/3 cup coconut oil;
- 3 Tablespoons of Olive oil;
- 6-8 cloves of garlic (4-6 cloves for a baby.);
- 5 drops of lavender essential oil.
- Strain out any excess garlic.
- Massage salve onto the chest and or back of a coughing child. If that seems too strong for your child, you can massage a little bit onto the soles of the feet every couple of hours instead.
- Store in the refrigerator. I don’t think this lasts as long as the oil recipe. Make a fresh batch for each sickness. (Recipe credit – Rachel Weaver, Be your Own Doctor.)
Not only does the garlic oil or salve help the cough, I believe it is killing the infection as well. I try to give the garlic treatment every two hours during the day. It has been a wonderful remedy for us.
Please read on to see what Earth Clinic readers have found helpful for a cough in children! Contact us with your own special treatments!