Natural Expectorants that Can be Used for Kids’ Colds

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Natural Expectorants that Can be Used for Kids’ Colds


There are fundamental differences between cough suppressants and expectorants, and you want to avoid using suppressants on children as much as possible.  Children tend to have a harder time coughing up mucous than those with fully-developed respiratory systems, and suppressants can make the process even more difficult.  Additionally, suppressants can cause the lungs to relax to the degree where mucous will settle deep within airways and potentially lead to infections. 

While there is a place for cough suppressants,  it’s important to focus on assisting the body with getting rid of as much mucous as possible.  This is why coughing should be considered a good thing, and expectorants help the coughs to be more effective.   Let’s look a few remedies that are generally considered to be safe for kids, and you can start using them right away as needed.

Onion Poultice


An onion poultice is one of the oldest, and simplest remedies in the book when it comes to helping with chest congestion.  All you need to do is take a medium-sized onion and a saucepan that has a little water in the bottom.  Place the onion into the water, cover the pot and bring up the heat to a simmer before letting the onion cook down for about 10 minutes or so.  You don’t have to peel the onion beforehand.  In fact, most people prefer to soften the onion with the peel and skin on. 

Once finished, strain the liquid through a colander and put the onion on a thin piece of cloth.  Fold up the edges and roll out or flatten the pouch you’ve created.  Allow it to cool to a temperature that your child will tolerate before applying it directly to the skin over the chest area.  Let it rest for about 10 minutes before reheating and re-applying throughout the day.  Discard the onion at the end of the day and start fresh the next morning if necessary.

Eucalyptus Oil


Another time-honored remedy involves rubbing in a little bit of eucalyptus oil into the skin over the chest.  The child will inhale the oil, which is a natural and powerful expectorant, and this should help to break up the mucous and make it easier to cough up and out of the body.  Another alternative is to soak some cotton or fabric in the oil before placing it in a cheesecloth and tying it off.  You can hang it somewhere near to where the child is sleeping and they can inhale the vapors overnight.



The distinctive taste of licorice isn’t to everyone’s liking, but it is a well-known expectorant that also helps to soothe irritation and reduce inflammation.  Consequently, licorice soothes airways as it helps mucous to be expelled from the body.  This can help to reduce the chances of developing an infection caused by irritation, and coughs will tend to be more effective as well. 



Hyssop remedies for chest colds or congestion tend to involve making teas from the herb and slowly drinking the liquid while inhaling the vapors.  This is not only a gentle remedy, but it is also thought to have antiviral properties that can help to beat back developing respiratory tract infections caused by excessive dry coughing.

You can also try adding some eucalyptus or peppermint essential oils to a warm bath and allow the vapors to surround the body.  The warm water will help to open up blood vessels, pores and airways while the vapors will be inhaled into the lungs.  This is a great way to help the body to expel toxins as well as mucous, and this can help to speed up the healing process.

Remember that the goal is to try to clear airways and make the coughs as effective as possible.  This supports the body’s natural way of removing mucous while minimizing irritation.  Suppressing coughs should be considered as a temporary way to calm a child enough to get them to drift to sleep and get some rest.  Focus on using safe and natural expectorants instead, and see if you don’t notice an improvement after a few rounds of treatment. 

These are also just a few of many types of remedies that can be made at home, and learning more about other alternatives can enable you to have different options at your disposal.  The trick is to create an arsenal of remedies to choose from that will allow you to experiment until you find the best solution.