Ayurvedic tips to treat dry cough

Dry cough (Shukha-Khoki) is a very common ailment nowadays, especially in cities. The allergens or pollutants in the environment enter your throat pipe, lungs or airways and trigger your body to cough them out! This continued action (natural reflex) causes inflammation of the respiratory tract and throat. Dry cough can last for a very long time, even become chronic.


A person suffering from this disease displays the following symptoms:

  • Frequent dry cough
  • Phlegm/sputum production
  • Burning sensation or suffocation in the chest
  • Fever
  • Pain in the region of heart, temples, head, abdomen, sides
  • Irritability
  • Dryness in the mouth, excessive thirst, bitter taste
  • Sore throat, hoarseness of voice
  • Difficulty in swallowing food
  • Tiredness, weakness
  • Nausea after eating food.


The main causes of dry cough are respiratory tract infections, Sinusitis, Pneumonia, suppression of vomiting and inflammation due to irritants/allergens. The last reason is the most common one!

When dry coughs are provoked by prolonged exposure to high pollution-levels, dust, allergy and toxic smoke (like cigarettes) it is known as ‘Vataja Khoki’ in Ayurveda.

To shield from this disease, your respiratory system must have a strong immunity but with poor nutrition, irregular lifestyle and growing environmental toxicity, it is hard for your body to fight back.

How Ayurvedic Treats Dry Cough?

Pran Vayu and Udana Vayu (types of Vata) govern the respiratory system. When allergens, viruses, and bacteria vitiate them, irritation occurs. As a countermeasure, the body forcibly expels air to remove the obstruction. During this process, the Vata (biological air) balance in the body gets impaired and causes “Vataja Khoki”.

Ayurvedic home remedies for dry cough

If you are suffering from Dry cough, try out these effective Ayurvedic home remedies:

  • Before bedtime, take warm milk with turmeric and honey. This works as a natural antibiotic.
  • Consume turmeric powder mixed with honey three times a day.
  • Licorice (Mulethi) lozenges to reduce inflammation.
  • Use the decoction of Sauf (Ani seeds) as the base water to make coffee or tea.
  • Sooth your infected throat pipe with natural cough syrup made by mixing ginger and honey. Boil a piece of ginger (peeled) in water. Filter and mix 1 tsp of honey and consume. You can even chew small pieces of ginger sprinkled with water for its anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Add a pinch of cinnamon powder in warm water or tea for relief from throat irritability
  • Drink tea made of Tulsi (Basil leaves), ginger and honey
  • You can chew Tulsi leaves throughout the day for faster recovery

Don’t forget to make some important lifestyle changes like:

  • Avoid interaction with allergens (pollution, dust, pollen etc.)
  • Abstain from junk, dry or spicy food
  • A nourishing diet should be taken in small quantities (preferably as soups) until the digestive Agni becomes strong.
  • Have plenty of rest
  • Consume clean, room temperature/warm water
  • Do Pranayama for building lung’s health
  • Avoid irritants like smoke from mosquito coils, incense etc
  • Follow strict food and sleep schedule. Have dinner before sunset
  • Install humidifier in the bedroom
  • Consume food rich in Vitamin C to strengthen the immune system

Ayurvedic treatment approach for dry cough

Apart from these home remedies, the Vaidas prescribe medicinal preparations depending on patients’ dosha composition (Vata-Pitta-Kapha balance) and disease symptoms.  Today, Ayurveda has advanced medicines for curing related ailments like irritable dry cough, chronic fever, throat infection and respiratory diseases. For example: Draksharishta, Vaikrantabaddaras, Pravalachandrodaya, Ekotharavrudhimahalakshmivilasarasa, Talisadi Churna, Sithopaladhi Churna and Lakshmivilasarasa.

To treat ‘Vataja Khoki’ (most common dry cough) the following treatment plan is followed:

  • Application of oils and/or heat to the prana vaha srota (respiratory system). Eg. Sesame oil massaged into the chest followed by fomentation.
  • Ghrita (medicated ghee) administration. Ghee is prepared using warm or moist expectorant herbs: Kantakari, vasaka, licorice and wild cherry bark.
  • For the digestive system anuvasana basti (oil enema) or niruha basti (decoction enema) is done.
  • Prescription of Sitopaladi Churna. It is a combination of many herbs and spices with chief herb being Vamsa rochana.

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