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My Favorite Way To Treat & Cure A Cough Naturally

>3 January 2013
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how to cure a cough naturally

When my baby boy woke up the other morning with what appeared to be an upper respiratory infection, I was pretty desperate to find something that would help him fight it off quickly. He was wheezing, and lethargic, and his breathing was rapid- as if he couldn’t get a full breath. Every time I got him out of his crib, he would just lay himself down on the floor and suck his thumb with his eyes half closed. It was a little frightening, to be honest. There was no fever, just a bad, very deep cough.

I immediately hit all of my herbal books, looking for something that would treat RSV type symptoms and cure a cough quickly. And I came across a recipe for a garlic salve in the book Be Your Own “Doctor” by Rachel Weaver, M.H.  I had all of the ingredients on hand, and I’m a total believer in the healing power of garlic, so I knew this was the one to try.

Here’s that recipe…

Garlic Salve

  • 1/3 c. coconut oil
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 8 cloves peeled garlic
  • 5 or so drops of lavender oil

Pour everything into a blender and mix until smooth. Strain off the bits of garlic, and store the liquid in a wide-mouth glass jar in the fridge. It will solidify as it cools. If your child has super sensitive skin, you might try adding more coconut oil and olive oil.

Apply liberally to the chest, back, and bottoms of feet (covered with socks) at least four times a day, and as often as every couple of hours, as needed. This isn’t something that you can overdose on, so don’t be afraid to use too much. If it doesn’t seem to be working, use more!

I made the salve, and slathered it on baby Elias’ chest, back, and the bottoms of his feet about every 2 hours or so throughout the day, and even a few times during the night. I also ran a humidifier in his room and put some of the salve with a couple of drops of lemon eucalyptus essential oil in the cup where the Vicks Vapor Rub is supposed to go. About half way through the day I also started rubbing oregano oil over the salve on his body.

By the next morning, his breathing was perfectly normal again, and he was actually up and playing! He still had a cough, but it now sounded looser, like it was more productive. That garlic salve, along with the oregano oil REALLY worked wonders. I can’t tell you how relieved I was! This is now my go-to cure for treating coughs and colds!

Do you have a favorite home remedy to cure a cough and cold?

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  • Melissa said:

    I’m so glad that it worked! I just heard about applying Vicks to the soles of the feet; it didn’t seem to help me, but I’m glad it helped your little one. :)

  • Noel McNeil said:

    I’m so glad you posted this! (I put it on my facebook page. :) I’ve been wanting an alternative to vicks and here it is!!!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    You’re welcome, Noel! I hope you try it. It’s SO much better for you than Vicks :)

  • Jessica said:

    I am going to remember this recipe for those gunky coughs! Tis the season for these colds around my home.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    If you don’t mind smelling like an Italian restaurant, I think you’ll love it Jessica ;)

  • Jillian said:

    That is awesome! My kids have a cold as we speak. I am going to have to try this. And I love the smell of Garlic. LOL

  • Debbie said:

    Thanks for sharing this! Bookmarking it and saving it for when I need it. Do you think it would last long once mixed? Have a great day Kendra!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    I’d guess it would last at least a month. As long as it’s not growing anything funny, lol ;) The trick would be to use clean hands every time you scooped some out, so that you don’t introduce bacteria to the salve.

  • Practical Parsimony said:

    I use a disposable plastic spoon to get Vicks Salve or anything like that out of the jar. It helps because I don’t have to get it under a finger nail or all over me.

    Vicks on the soles of my feet saved me. Does anyone know why that Vicks or garlic on the feet is a cough cure?

    When I can quit coughing, I don’t care what I smell like.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Practical Parsimony,

    I think it has something to do with circulation… maybe? LOL I’m not really sure, but it’s interesting that in Honduras they use leaves of certain plants poulticed on the bottoms of their feet to reduce a fever. Many traditional cultures put herbs and stuff on the soles of their feet. There must be something to it ;)

  • Alan Rose said:

    I’m glad this worked for you but I have to say, as a Paramedic that sees these symptoms both through 911 and as an interfacility transport provider, those symptoms are very serious, do sound like RSV, and the patient should be evaluated and treated by a Physician. RSV in infants has the potential for death. See: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002531/

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Thank you, Alan. I do realize how serious it can get. You can be sure I was monitoring him closely. :) I definitely would have taken him in had his condition worsened.

  • Cathy said:

    Hi Just wondering which herbal books are your “go-to” titles? Just getting started and would love some recommendations

    Thank you

  • Debi said:

    I’d like to know what books you have! I have oil books, but I want to grow my herbal books. The one “natural healing” book I have seems kind of useless.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    My favorites, besides the one I mentioned, are The Complete Medicinal Herbal by Penelope Ody, and Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health. Though I’m always looking for more books to add to my library!

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    Cathy, see my comment to Debi ;)

  • Julie said:

    Where do you get your oils and which are the best to have on hand? I’m glad your little guy is better.

  • Carol J. Alexander said:

    Glad this worked for you, Kendra, and your baby is doing better. When my babies were babies (and not expecting babies of their own) I tried putting sliced garlic on the soles of their feet one night before bed secured with a bandage. If it says so in a book, it’s gotta be good, right? Wrong. All three woke up with blistered feet. Garlic is very potent. I also injured myself using garlic oil in a delicate location. I guess in Rachel’s recipe mixing it with the oils toned down its burning properties.
    As for Cathy’s question, choose books that have qualified authors or are thoroughly researched with citations for the studies they quote. “I read a study that said…” or “According to one study…” just doesn’t cut it as qualified research unless the study is cited so that you can look it up yourself. While anecdotal case studies are beneficial, they cannot be the sole guide. Rosemary Gladstar and James A. Duke are two of my favorites.
    Thanks for sharing. I enjoy your blog.

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    I like grapeseed oil, extra virgin oil, and coconut oil for most things. You can get good oils at Trader Joe’s or Mountain Rose Herbs (mountainroseherbs.com)

  • Julie said:

    Thanks Kendra, they’d be great in soaps too and it gives me a good reason to go to Trader Joe’s :)

  • BrownThumbMama said:

    So glad you posted this! Jackjack and Little Peanut both have coughs, and I have all the ingredients in the cupboard to make this right away. J will think it’s funny that it goes on his feet. :o)

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    My baby boy always giggles when I rub it on his feet :)

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  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:


    Feel free to share a link to my site, but I do ask that you don’t copy and paste full posts as Google really looks down on this. Thanks :)

  • A Round-up of Natural Cold and Flu Remedies - Oh Lardy! said:

    […] to Oh Lardy’s cough salve, I found a few good recipes from fellow bloggers.  Make your own garlic cough salve.  Here’s a recipe for cough and cold syrup, that doesn’t have the nasty artificial […]

  • Vieve said:

    We love garlic to fight viruses! Dr. Mercola says that it is most beneficial during the first hour of being crushed or chopped. The power of the chemical reaction when crushed, allicin, is excellent after about 10-15 mins of being crushed. So I crush it and chop, let it sit and apply quickly. Usually to the neck and bottoms of feet and/or chest, depending if there is a cough. Love garlic! -Vieve

  • Kendra at New Life On A Homestead (author) said:

    We’ve come to love garlic for medicinal purposes as well, Vieve!! Thanks!

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