Apple cider vinegar is one of many types of vinegar. It’s made from converting the sugars in apples through a multistep fermentation process.

People have used apple cider vinegar both for cooking and health applications for years, and it’s as popular a health tonic now as it’s ever been.

One of its oldest traditional uses is as a cough remedy. There several ways it can be taken. Read on to learn more.

Straight apple cider vinegar for cough

Plain apple cider vinegar is a simple way to relieve cough. No research directly shows it helps or gets rid of cough. Still, there are some theories for how it’s possible.

Apple cider vinegar contains acetic acids. Research shows they’re antimicrobial. These kill pathogens that cause infections leading to cough.

Some claim apple cider vinegar soothes inflammation. However, too much of it could also cause inflammation and harm.

Some doctors may recommend apple cider vinegar as a successful home remedy for coughs, so long as it’s used correctly. Its acids may work similarly to lemon or pineapple juice to stop the tickly sensation that leads to coughing.

To use: Mix 2 tablespoons of a high-quality apple cider vinegar into a tall glass of water. Drink up to two times per day for cough relief.

Avoid taking plain apple cider vinegar without diluting it. It may cause digestive discomfort.

Apple cider vinegar and honey for cough

Honey is another centuries-old natural cough remedy. Together, apple cider vinegar and honey make quite a team.

Honey has some antimicrobial qualities that have made it of interest for many medicinal uses, including soothing coughing in children.

One study looked at the effect of two different types of honey compared to the medicine diphenhydramine on children who were coughing at night. Working with 87 children and their parents, researchers found both types of honey were as effective as the conventional medication in addressing the same coughing symptoms.

The Mayo Clinic states that honey is just as effective as dextromethorphan, a common over-the-counter cough medicine.

To use: Mix 2 tablespoons of a high-quality apple cider vinegar with 1 tablespoon of raw honey into a tall glass of water. Drink up to two times per day for cough relief.

Due to concerns over pathogens in raw honey, avoid giving raw honey to children under the age of 12 months. Use processed honey instead.

Apple cider vinegar and ginger for cough

Ginger is another natural remedy used for coughs. Its place in folk medicine traditions around the world goes back thousands of years.

This is acknowledged by research. A 2013 study also showed specific compounds found in ginger may help coughs and asthma through their ability to relax smooth muscles in the airway.

Combining ginger with apple cider vinegar may make for a well-rounded natural cough remedy.

To use: Combine 2 tablespoons of a high-quality apple cider vinegar and 1/4 to 1 teaspoon of ground gingerroot into one tall glass of water. Drink up to two times per day for relief.

Mix in 1 tablespoon of honey to improve flavor if desired. Avoid giving raw honey to children under 12 months old.

Apple cider vinegar and cayenne pepper for cough

Cayenne pepper contains capsaicin. Capsaicin is a compound that research shows has pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant (cough-producing) properties.

Traditional cough remedies contained capsaicin-containing hot peppers from time to time. No studies show yet if cayenne pepper directly helps coughs.

With apple cider vinegar, cayenne may relieve throat pain and inflammation from coughs. It may also help stimulate a more productive, less dry cough.

To use: Combine 2 tablespoons of a high-quality apple cider vinegar and 1/4 teaspoon of ground cayenne pepper in one tall glass of water. Drink up to two times per day for cough relief.

Mix in 1 tablespoon of honey to improve flavor if desired. Avoid giving raw honey to children under 12 months old.

Cough syrup or warm apple cider vinegar drink for cough

For the very best cough benefits, try combining all of the ingredients above into one natural cough remedy. There are a couple ways this can be done.

Apple cider vinegar cough syrup

  1. Mix 1/4 teaspoon each of ground ginger and cayenne pepper powder with 2 tablespoons of water in a small jar that can be tightly lidded. If desired, add up to 1 teaspoon of ground ginger.
  2. Next, stir in 1 tablespoon each of raw honey and apple cider vinegar. Mix well.
  3. Take 1 tablespoon of this mixture every three to four hours for cough relief until syrup is gone.

When not in use, screw the lid on tightly and store the cough syrup in your fridge. Discard any remaining mixture after one week.

Avoid giving raw honey to children under the age of 12 months.

Warm apple cider vinegar cough-relief beverage

  1. Follow the steps for making an apple cider vinegar cough syrup above.
  2. Next, mix 1 tablespoon of syrup with 16 ounces of water, or about one tall glass of water, in a cooking pot.
  3. Warm (but don’t boil) the mixture on a stovetop until it’s about the same temperature as steeped tea.
  4. Pour the mixture into a mug, sip, and enjoy up to two times per day for cough relief.

If including raw honey, avoid giving the beverage to children under 12 months old.

Lots of other natural remedies, herbs, and treatments are available to help with coughs at home.

Give each a try. Or incorporate them into your apple cider vinegar remedies.

Make sure to check for any side effects or interactions before adding any of these to your routine. It’s also recommended you talk with a doctor first before using these to replace cough medicines or treatments.

Having a cough is completely natural. Coughs are a way for the body to help expel irritants and infectious agents from your airways. It’s not necessarily healthy to get rid of a cough.

Wet coughs are also called productive coughs. They produce phlegm or mucus that gets rid of infection. Dry coughs, on the other hand, can be a sign of airway irritation or an asthma attack.

If you’re experiencing dry cough (especially caused by asthma), avoid relying solely on home vinegar remedies for it. Check with your doctor about your dry cough.

Though unsupported by research, apple cider vinegar is a common cough remedy. Combined with other research-supported natural remedies, it may be even more effective. It’s a cheaper alternative to mainstream cough remedies and has fewer side effects.

Stop taking apple cider vinegar and see a doctor if you experience the following:

  • a cough that doesn’t go away
  • a continuously dry and unproductive cough
  • a fever lasting over 48 hours in addition to a cough
  • a cough resulting from an asthma attack that worsens

If your cough is asthma-related, never replace doctor-approved treatments with home remedies. You can try home remedies in addition to such treatments for the extra support they might provide.