Naturopathic Remedies for Coughs and Colds


You may well have read the recent news that in the UK studies showed 69 Cough and cold medicines for children did not give a lot of benefit to children under 12 years old, and caused side effects, such as allergic reactions, effects on sleep, hallucinations and even possible death in children.


In NZ these medicines are not recommended for children under 2, but are still considered safe for children under 12 years old. However our government is reviewing this safety recommendation. 


Many parents will understandably not want to give their children these medicines and will be looking for other ways to help children with coughs and colds


Naturopaths have many remedies for coughs and colds in adults and children, including:



The first one is REST. The great healing effects of rest are often underestimated in our fast paced lives. Sleep and rest boosts the immune system. It is important to drink plenty of water as the body heals better when fully hydrated.


Onion Syrup

A great cough and cold remedy is Onion Syrup. Its very simple to make. Fill one quarter of a 500ml jar with honey (organically grown local honey is best). Thinly slice a large raw onion and loosely fill the jar with this, stir and screw down the lid. Steep for 24 hours. Then its ready to use. Take one teaspoons of the onion syrup 2-4 times a day. It will keep 2-3 weeks in the fridge.  Onion Syrup is also helpful to ease asthma and wheezing.


Avoid dairy food during a cough

It can be helpful to avoid dairy food during a cough as dairy food can aggravate symptoms. Foods that are made to mimic dairy food e.g. soya milk can also be a problem. Live plain bio yoghurt is less likely to aggravate a cough, and can help boost immunity by building up healthy bacteria.


Avoid Sugary Foods

Sugar and lollies of any kind should be avoided, especially chocolate. These will decrease immunity and can cause inflammation in the body which will increase the cough. Sugar will lower the level of all nutrients that help fight infection.


Include Fresh Fruit

On the positive side fruit of any sort will be a great help, especially citrus fruit. Homemade fruit juice will help deliver immune boosting vitamin C and other antioxidants easily to the body. But most bought juices are high in sugars and can contain additives which irritate a cough.



Garlic must certainly get a mention; this is fantastic to boost immunity and fight bacterial and viral infections. Make a simple garlic tea by chopping one clove of garlic, add one teaspoon of chopped ginger root (or ¼ teaspoon of ginger powder), add boiling water, put a saucer on top of the cup, and let it stand for 10 minutes. Add a little lemon juice and organic or local manuka honey and sip. It really is quite a pleasant drink.


Many more Naturopathic remedies

There are so many Naturopathic remedies available for coughs and colds, and not the space to write about them all. Contact Bay Health Clinic today to find out more or to book a consultation with one of our Naturopaths; if needed they will also prepare tailored herbal medicines and recommend supplements to help you feel your best.  Call 07 571 3226 or email us:


Published March 2009