5 Ways Onions Can Help You Get Rid of a Cough

16 January, 2020
Onion is a common ingredient in traditional medicine for cough remedies. But, how effective is it? How can you use it? Today, we'll answer those questions and more.

Getting rid of a cough isn’t easy, but today we’ll share some home remedies that might help.

Coughing is one of your body’s defense mechanisms produced to fight viruses and bacteria or foreign objects in your airways.

It’s produced by an explosive emptying of the air in your lungs. And most of the time, it comes along with phlegm and irritation.

While it’s not advisable to stop it, because it’s one of the ways your body gets rid of excess mucus, many people are in search of a way to control it since it can be bothersome or painful.

To get the best and most effective treatment, you should always see your doctor first. They can suggest some medications that are appropriate for your situation and can make recommendations about lifestyle changes that might mitigate your symptoms.

As a complement to your doctor’s instructions, there are some home remedies that can help calm your cough. While they shouldn’t be your first line of defense, they can help in mild cases. Have you ever tried cough remedies with onion?

Home remedies with onion to get rid of a cough

These remedies are part of a whole catalog of traditional medicine that people have been sharing with each other for decades. That being said, it’s important to mention that we still don’t have sufficient scientific evidence to support the safety and effectiveness of onion for treating a cough.

There are a few small studies, like one from West Indian Medical Journal, that suggest that some mixes containing onion are effective against certain microorganisms associated with coughs, including Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, and E. coli, among others.

So, it’s important to remember that these remedies can’t replace medical treatment, and can be ineffective. As we mentioned before, your first step in treating a cough is to see a doctor. If you have a mild cough, you might consider trying some of these remedies:

1. Onion garlic tea to get rid of a cough

This hot beverage made from onions and garlic can be calming when your cough is related to common problems like a cold. Just like onion, garlic has shown to have antibacterial and antiviral effects, according to a study published in the Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine.


  • 2 cups of water (500 ml)
  • 1 raw clove of garlic
  • 1/2 onion

How do I make it?

  • Heat the two cups of water. In the meantime, chop the garlic and onion.
  • Once boiling, remove from heat and pour into a jar along with the chopped ingredients.
  • Let it sit for 20 minutes, strain, and drink.
  • Have a cup in the morning and the other before bed.

Read also:

Delicious Baked Sea Bass with Lemon

2. Onion and honey cough syrup

Contrary to the case with onion, there is much more scientific research to support the positive effects of honey on a cough. In fact, a study in Pediatric Reports from the World Health Organization identifies honey as a potential demulcent for coughs.

This same study shows that honey has antimicrobial properties that have proven effective against microorganisms like Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus faecalis. Not only that, but it’s rich in free amino acids, vitamins, trace elements, and flavonoids.


  • 1 onion
  • 4 tablespoons of honey (100 g)

How do I make it?

  • Slice the onion finely and put into a glass jar.
  • Cover with the four tablespoons of honey and let it sit for 10 to 12 hours.
  • After this time, have two or three tablespoons of syrup a day.

3. Onion lemon juice to get rid of a cough

Onion juice to get rid of a cough

Another combination that might help calm your cough is onion and lemon juice. While there isn’t specific evidence of its efficacy, it’s worth noting that the combination is rich in vitamin C. This vitamin, according to a study in Respiratory Medicine, is antioxidant and helps reduce coughing and wheezing in smoking patients.


  • 1/2 onion
  • The juice of 1/2 lemon

How do I make it?

  • Put the half an onion through a juicer and combine it with the lemon juice.
  • Have two tablespoons of juice every three hours.

4. Garlic, onion, and carrot juice

This juice made from garlic, onions, and carrots might help calm your cough. The combination is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidant compounds that can help strengthen your body’s natural defenses.


  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 medium-sized onion
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 medium-sized carrot
  • 1 liter of water

How do I make it?

  • Wash all ingredients well. Cut into pieces, and process in a blender along with the liter of water.
  • Once well-mixed, consume twice a day.

Read also:

The Amazing Curative Powers of Celery

5. Topical onion treatment

Chopped onions

We already mentioned that there is a dearth of evidence to support the use of onion as a cough remedy. Nevertheless, an onion pack is another very common folk remedy for treating coughs. People who use it say that it acts as a decongestant and reduces irritation in your airways.


  • 1 onion
  • 1/2 liter of water

How do I make it?

  • Add the chopped onion to a half-liter of water. Boil until soft.
  • Strain and remove any remaining pieces of onion.
  • Wet a cloth in the liquid and before it cools, place on your chest.
  • Apply for 10 minutes before bed.

In summary

Onion is used widely in traditional medicine to help treat cough symptoms. Nevertheless, there isn’t sufficient scientific evidence to prove its effectiveness. As a result, it’s important to use these remedies with caution, and substitute them for medical treatment.

  • Adeleye, I. A., & Opiah, L. (2003). Antimicrobial activity of extracts of local cough mixtures on upper respiratory tract bacterial pathogens. West Indian Medical Journal52(3), 188–190.
  • Bayan L, Koulivand PH, Gorji A. Garlic: a review of potential therapeutic effects. Avicenna J Phytomed. 2014;4(1):1–14.
  • Ahmed N, Sutcliffe A, Tipper C. Feasibility study: honey for treatment of cough in children. Pediatr Rep. 2013;5(2):31–34. Published 2013 Jun 20. doi:10.4081/pr.2013.e8
  • Goldman RD. Honey for treatment of cough in children. Can Fam Physician. 2014;60(12):1107–1110.
  • Oduwole, O., Meremikwu, M. M., Oyo-Ita, A., & Udoh, E. E. (2014). Honey for acute cough in children. Evidence-Based Child Health9(2), 303–346. https://doi.org/10.1002/ebch.1970
  • Omenaas, E., Fluge, Buist, A. S., Vollmer, W. M., & Gulsvik, A. (2003). Dietary vitamin C intake is inversely related to cough and wheeze in young smokers. Respiratory Medicine97(2), 134–142. https://doi.org/10.1053/rmed.2003.1439