thymol, natural cough syrup, cough and cold relief

After a cold or the flu, a cough may linger for weeks. What do you do to calm a cough like this?

Drinking Thyme Tea to Calm a Cough:

Q. I had the flu four weeks ago and still have a cough despite taking Robitussin DM. I tried drinking thyme tea this afternoon, and it has calmed my cough. Others might want to know.

A. A post-viral cough sometimes lingers for weeks after all other symptoms of the flu have gone. Calming such a cough can be challenging.

The Value of Thymol:

Experiments show that thymol, an active component of thyme, can reduce the urge to cough and the number of coughs (Respiratory Physiology & Neurobiology, June 1, 2013).  Many people find that a cup of thyme tea made with a half-teaspoon of thyme leaves and sweetened with honey if desired is a pleasant way to control a cough. You can learn more about this and other natural approaches to calming coughs and recovering from cold symptoms in our Guide to Colds, Coughs & the Flu.

Another way you can tap the power of thymol to calm a cough: smear Vicks VapoRub on the soles of your feet at bedtime. Be sure to put on socks, so you don’t mess up the sheets. Thymol is one of the essential oils that give Vicks its distinctive aroma.

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  1. Edwin

    Never thought of Thyme that it can really work in this way. Very informational and will suggest thyme for my young girl.


  2. Pamela

    I also found that drinking thyme tea during an active cold thinned and loosened the mucus making it much easier to cough up. It seemed to do the same for sinus congestion as well.

  3. Hank

    You’re coughing because post-nasal drip goes into the airway/lungs when you’re sleeping. Get a donut pillow or massage table with face hole, and sleep face down so your nose drips. I discovered that and later read about an opera singer who also recommends it. Minimizes the coughing.

  4. Chris

    Boil a pot of water, take it off the heat, put a towel over your head, and breathe in the steam under the towel for a few minutes. Don’t put your face too close to the steam. It should not burn your nostrils. It may help you now with flu.

  5. Glory

    I drink Eucalyptus tea. Made with 2 or 3 leaves, pour boiling water and steep for 5 min. Let cool some, then drinking or add a touch of honey.

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