14 Natural Home Remedies for a Productive Wet Cough

A productive cough, or wet cough, is any cough that produces mucous or phlegm.  It is always important for one to check with a trusted doctor or health practitioner if there is concern about a productive cough. However, there are some easy home remedies which can be helpful in treating a productive cough in children or adults. Continue reading

Natural Home Remedies for Sinusitis

SinusitisWhat is Sinusitis?
Sinusitis afflicts millions of Americans each year. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, sinusitis “simply means your sinuses are inflamed, red and swollen, because of an infection or another problem.”  Sinusitis can be very irritating to deal with and women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with the infection. Sinusitis affects people from the very young to the very old.

Acute sinusitis can last up to 4 weeks and chronic sinusitis can last more than 12 weeks and persist for months or years after the initial symptoms. The illness can be caused by several factors including viruses, bacteria, allergies, airborne chemicals and a weak immune system.

What are the Symptoms of Sinusitis?
According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, those diagnosed with sinusitis usually suffer from the following symptoms:

Sinus infection

• Nasal Congestion
• Headaches
• Earaches
• Fever
• Sore throat
• Cough
• Fatigue
• Pain between the eyes
• Post-nasal drip

Why Consider Not Using Antibiotics or Decongestants?
Many people who suffer from acute or chronic sinusitis typically take antibiotics or decongestants to treat and alleviate the symptoms of the illness. Sinus InfectionSince people usually recuperate from acute sinusitis with time, taking antibiotics can be detrimental to their short-term and long-term health. Children and adults who take antibiotics when it is not necessary may suffer stomach pain, nausea and diarrhea. The human body can also become resistant to certain kinds of antibiotics if taken too frequently.

How Can Sinusitis Be Treated Naturally?
Natural home remedies can greatly help alleviate the symptoms associated with sinusitis. Getting an abundance of rest may increase chances of a speedy recovery. Drinking plenty of fluids such as water and juice and avoiding drinking beverages with caffeine and alcohol will boost the immune system.

Neti Pot

The Neti Pot is an effective treatment for preventing and healing sinusitis.

Rinsing out the nasal passages with a neti pot using sterile, distilled warm water will help clear the sinuses. A saline solution should be used.  Saline packets are generally provided with the neti pot if a commercial brand is purchased. If distilled water is unavailable, water should be boiled and then cooled to a comfortable, warm temperature.  Cool or room temperature water should never be used, because this can cause headache pain, and a neti pot should never be used with tap water because of the harmful chemicals.  Care should be taken to tip the head, so that the water drains out safely from the other nostril.  A netipot is very effective in cleaning out the mucous from the nasal passages and removing infection. The netipot also prevents sinus infections and allergic reactions if one has been exposed to allergens.

Steam for Sinusitis

Breathing steam is an effective treatment for sinusitis.

Steam has been used for many years to clear the sinuses.  Boil water, place in a bowl, and create a “tent” with a towel over your head.  You may add essential oils such as mint, lemon, or garlic. Breathe in the steam to loosen the mucous in the nasal passages.  Repeat as often as necessary.

Quercetin for Sinusitis

Quercetin is found naturally in apples, blueberries, red onions and other colorful fruits and vegetables.

Quercitin has been found to be effective in helping to fight sinusitis. According to Deborahann Smith of Gaiam Life, “Quercetin is an anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting bioflavonoid found in the skin of red onions and apples. It helps decrease mucus production and swelling by blocking the release of histamine from immune cells.”Quercetin can be found in many fruits and vegetables such as cranberries, blueberries, kale, watercress and broccoli.”

Vitamin C and Vitamin E supplements will support the enhancement of the immune system. Covering the face with a warm towel will decrease facial pain associated with sinusitis and reduce inflammation in the nasal passages.

Sinus acupressureAcupuncture or acupressure uses pressure points on the body to work with sinusitis.  According to Michael Reed Gach, PhD, “to relieve your upper or frontal sinuses, use B2, located at the bridge of your nose.  This mental stress point is located in the indentation of your upper eye socket, where the bridge of the nose meets the ridge of your eyebrows. To open the maxillary sinuses in the cheek, use the foremost acupressure points for the sinuses: LI20 and St3, underneath your eyes, just below your cheekbones. Use gentle pressure.  These points are safe and useful to teach to people of all ages, children and adults.”  Reflexology sinus points are located at the tips of each finger and toe.  Gently massage the fingertips and toes to relieve sinus pressure and pain.

Sinusitis is a common infection that affects many people. It can be treated with proper treatment at home without having to take unnecessary antibiotics.

National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases – Sinusitis
Center for Disease Control and Prevention – Sinus Infections
Mayo Clinic – Acute Sinusitis
Gaiam Life: Your Guide to Better Living – Natural Remedies for Sinusitis
Acupressure Points for Sinus Infection – Michael Reed Gach, PhD


Hang Pham, MBHA Health EducatorThis article is written by Hang Pham, Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance Health and Wellness Educator.  Hang Pham was born in Hoc Mon, Vietnam.  She came to America in 1994, becoming a U.S. citizen in 2011. Hang graduated from Seaside High School with diploma and received her AA in General Studies from Monterey Peninsula College in 2011. She received her BA in Collaborative Health and Human Services from California State University Monterey Bay (CSUMB) in 2012. In addition to working as a volunteer staff with the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance, she currently works as a Clerical Aid in the Human Resources Department of Salinas City Hall. To find out more about our Health Educators, or to apply as a Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance writer or volunteer, visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com


The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501 (c) 3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.

Natural Cough Suppressants

Natural Cough Suppressants

This is the season for coughs and sniffles. Healthy alternatives to relieving a cough can be found in nature.

This is the time of year when many people overindulge and overwork. Stress and improper diet can wear on the body and lead to fatigue and disease.  Coughing is the body’s way of telling us it is stressed and in need of care.

In 2007, a Food and Drug Administration advisory panel declared that cough medicines for children can be potentially harmful, and recommended that many of these products be banned. As an alternative, it was recommended that something as simple as a spoonful of honey or even a small cup of herb-flavored water, be given to children with persistent cough, which has few side effects and seems to be effective. Here are a few cough suppressants which have been known to be helpful for many years. When preparing these natural cough remedies, remember that organic foods and herbs which have not been genetically modified or treated with toxic pesticides are generally always best and most healthy for the body.

Of course, always consult with your family physician, trusted healthcare provider, allergist, or nutritionist before trying new foods that your body is not accustomed to eating, and to determine the reason for your cough.

Cherry bark
Cherry bark has been a very important key ingredient in herbal cough syrups for many years. Cherokee and Iroquis native American Indians introduced cherry bark to colonists and settlers. Cherry bark is a good expectorant and treatment for dry coughs and throat irritations. Wild cherry bark contains prunasin which can be toxic if used unsafely, but when taken in tea or cough syrup form, it safe. It also contains natural cyanide (as do many other foods that contains pits), but cyanide poisoning is very unlikely since one would have to ingest very large doses of cherry bark.  You can make your own natural cherry bark syrup by boiling cherry bark with water, honey, and licorice root and allowing it to cool to form a soothing cough syrup, or by drinking as a hot tea.

Marshmallow Marshmallow is not just the white spongy,  confection that people in the United States put in their hot chocolate or roast at a campfire.  It is an herb, Althaea officinalis, a plant with short leaves and small pale white and pink flowers. The plant has been used for more than 2,000 years. The confectionery food treat by the same name, does not contain any of the herb and is not considered medicinal or effective in treating cough symptoms. According to the American Botanical Council, recent animal and human studies have found marshmallow root to be effective in treating coughs, when used alone and also combined with other herbs. Marshmallow root can be used as a tea, by adding 1-2 teaspoons of dried root to a cup of hot water and drinking several times a day.

HoneyHoney has been widely used for many years as a natural remedy for cough because of its  anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Choose pure, organic honey. For cough relief, try swallowing one tablespoon of honey.  If an adult or child has difficulty swallowing pure honey, it can added or mixed with warm or hot water, or tea, or with herbs and spices.  Honey helps coat the throat to ease soreness as a result of excessive coughing. The honey flavored tea and water helps to break up the mucous in the throat and soothe the irritation. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases,  honey may be useful in relieving coughing, but it should never be given to children under a year of age because in rare cases it can cause infantile botulism.

GingerGinger root, the rhizome of the plant Zingiber officinale, is one of the most renowned natural remedies for cough. The key part of the ginger root is thought to be the volatile oils and phenol compounds gingerols and shogaols. Ginger has been well researched and many of its traditional uses confirmed by scientific studies. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory and also is an effective aid in digestion. Ginger tea and ginger drinks can be found in most health food stores. Fresh ginger is best and most powerful.

  • Wash the root thoroughly in clean water, and slice a piece of ginger from the root.
  • To stop a persistent cough, apply the slice fresh ginger in your mouth whenever coughing occurs.
  • Chew the sliced ginger until your cough has stopped. You can also make ginger tea by adding chopped slices of ginger root to boiling water, steeping, and serving.

ElderberriesElderberries, Sambucus nigra are known for their antioxidant activity, in treatment of coughs, colds, flu, bacterial and viral infections and tonsilitis. Bioflavonoids and proteins in the juice fight cold and flu virus infections.  In 1995, it is reported that Elderberry juice was used to control a flu epidemic in Panama.  The berries are fully digestible when fully ripe but are mildly poisonous when eaten unripe. Elderberry plant is traditionally used as a medicinal plant by many people worldwide. 

  • Stem, bark, leaves, flowers, fruits, and root extracts can each be used to treat bronchitis, cough, upper respiratory cold infections, and fever.
  •  The dried flowers can be simmered for 15 minutes, and the tea can be poured through a coffee filter before drinking.
  • All parts of the plant can be poisonous if not eaten safely.

, “donkey’s ears” or Verbascum thapsus, an herb found throughout the United States, is a woolly-leafed biennial plant with yellow flowers. It has expectorant and cough suppressant properties and has been widely accepted by many around the world, as a useful and favorite herbal remedy for treating sore throat and cough symptoms.  It is primarily used to treat respiratory disorders such as asthma, coughs, tuberculosis, and related respiratory problems.

  • Mullein tea can be made by pour 1 cup of boiling water over 1 – 2 teaspoons of dried mullein flowers and leaves.
  • Cover and steep for 10 – 15 minutes..
  • The tea can be filtered through a very fine sieve or coffee filter, to remove the fine hairs which irritate the throat.
  • A cough syrup can be make by boiling mullein, honey or sugar and water and allowing it to thicken and cool.

Ivy Leaf ExtractIvy Leaf extract (Hedera Helix), not as well-known as the others, has been found to be very effective in easing cough and upper respiratory problems. English ivy leaves seem to be able to break up chest congestion and relieve muscle spasms, and to help breathing in adults and children with chronic bronchitis. Cough Syrup with ivy leaf offers dependable help with the excessive formation of thick mucus and coughs associated with chronic broncitis, asthmas, tuberculosis, pneumonia and other upper respiratory disorders.  Hofmann, Hecker, and Volp (2003) concluded, “The trials included in this review indicate that ivy leaf extract preparations have effects with respect to an improvement of respiratory functions of children with chronic bronchial asthma, but more far-reaching conclusions can hardly be drawn because of a meagre database, including the fact that only one primary trial included a placebo control. Further research, particularly into the long-term efficacy of the herbal extract, is needed.


Bukutu C, et al. Complementary, holistic, and integrative medicine: The common cold. Pediatrics in Review. 2008;29:e66.

Paul IM, et al. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 2007;161:1140.

Hofmann D, Hecker M, Volp A, Efficacy of dry extract of ivy leaves in children with bronchial asthma–a review of randomized controlled trials. Phytomedicine. 2003 Mar;10(2-3):213-20.

Holzinger F, and Chenot J-F, Systematic Review of Clinical Trials Assessing the Effectiveness of Ivy Leaf (Hedera Helix) for Acute Upper Respiratory Tract Infections, Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 382789, 9 pages

Liu W, Jiang H, and Mao B, Chinese Herbal Medicine for Postinfectious Cough: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials, Evidence-Based Complementary Alternative Medicine, Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 906765. PMC385334810 Published online Nov 20, 2013. doi: 10.1155/2013/906765

Shadkam MN, et al. A comparison of the effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and diphenhydramine on nightly cough and sleep quality in children and their parents. The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. 2010;16:787.



Jean E. DartThis article is written by Jean Voice Dart,  M.S. Special Education from Illinois State University.  Jean is a published author and has written hundreds of health articles as well as hosting a local television program, “Making Miracles Happen.”  She is a Registered Music Therapist, Sound Therapist, and Master Level Energetic Teacher, and is the Executive Director, founder and Health and Wellness Educator of the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance.  The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a registered 501 (c) 3  nonprofit health and wellness education organization.  For more information about  the Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance contact us or visit our website at www.montereybayholistic.com.

 The Monterey Bay Holistic Alliance is a charitable, independent registered nonprofit 501(c)3 organization and does not endorse any particular products or practices. We exist as an educational organization dedicated to providing free access to health education resources, products and services. Claims and statements herein are for informational purposes only and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The statements about organizations, practitioners, methods of treatment, and products listed on this website are not meant to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This information is intended for educational purposes only. The MBHA strongly recommends that you seek out your trusted medical doctor or practitioner for diagnosis and treatment of any existing health condition.