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Cough

That nagging cough may be due to a common cold or a number of other infections. According to research or other evidence, the following self-care steps may be helpful.
  • Reliable and relatively consistent scientific data showing a substantial health benefit.
  • Contradictory, insufficient, or preliminary studies suggesting a health benefit or minimal health benefit.
  • For an herb, supported by traditional use but minimal or no scientific evidence. For a supplement, little scientific support.

Our proprietary "Star-Rating" system was developed to help you easily understand the amount of scientific support behind each supplement in relation to a specific health condition. While there is no way to predict whether a vitamin, mineral, or herb will successfully treat or prevent associated health conditions, our unique ratings tell you how well these supplements are understood by some in the medical community, and whether studies have found them to be effective for other people.

For over a decade, our team has combed through thousands of research articles published in reputable journals. To help you make educated decisions, and to better understand controversial or confusing supplements, our medical experts have digested the science into these three easy-to-follow ratings. We hope this provides you with a helpful resource to make informed decisions towards your health and well-being.

SupplementAmountWhy
Anise
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
The active constituents in anise, particularly the terpenoid anethole, give this plant a delightful flavor. As an antispasmodic, it helps in gently relieving spasmodic coughs.
Blood Root
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Bloodroot has a long history of use for relieving coughs
Catnip
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Catnip has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Comfrey
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Comfrey (the above-ground parts, not the roots) has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Elecampane
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Elecampane has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Eucalyptus
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Historically, herbal practitioners have recommended a steam inhalation of eucalyptus vapor to help treat asthma, bronchitis, whooping cough, and emphysema.
Horehound
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Horehound has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Hyssop
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Hyssop has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Iron

(For iron deficiency)
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
In a study of women with iron deficiency and a chronic unexplained cough, supplementation with iron for two months significantly improved symptoms.
Ivy Leaf
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Ivy leaf has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Licorice
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Licorice has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Lobelia
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Lobelia has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Mallow
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Mallow has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Marshmallow
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Marshmallow has a long history of use for treating coughs and has been shown in one study to have cough-relieving abilities.
Mullein
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Mullein has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Onion
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Onion has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Pennyroyal
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Pennyroyal has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Plantain
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Plantain has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Red Clover
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Red clover has a long history of use for relieving coughs.
Slippery Elm
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
The mucilage of slippery elm gives it a soothing effect for coughs.
Sundew
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Sundew has a long history of use for treating coughs and has been shown in one study to have cough-relieving abilities.
Thyme
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Many constituents in thyme team up to provide its antispasmodic, mucus-expelling, and cough-preventing actions. It also appears to be safe even for small children.
Usnea
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
Usnea contains mucilage, which may be helpful in easing irritating coughs.
Wild Cherry
Refer to label instructions 1 star[1 star]
There is a long tradition of using wild cherry syrups to treat coughs.

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The information presented in Aisle7 is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications. Information expires June 2015.