The crazy transition of winter into summer is almost around here in India. And with that, begin the attacks of almost all the viruses & bacteria on our poor little kids (well, they don’t spare us, either!). We, being host to the tropical climate, are at higher risks of contracting viral & bacterial infections throughout the year. Likewise, common cold & cough manage to sneak in no matter which levels of hygiene our homes boast of!

So, you just shudder at their first cough or sneeze, right? And that’s characteristically followed by a sulky thought about what the rest of the season will be about.


Clearly, you just hate to see your children suffer from a common cold, sore throat or a persistent cough. Don’t you? And, therefore, you usually rush them soon to their pediatricians or physicians, most of whom, prescribe antibiotics. Most of the times, the cough or cold subsides within 4-5 days. So, very soon everything gets hunky-dory; isn’t it?

Before I go on to necessitate the trial of home remedies, I wish to take a stance on antibiotic prescription to children. (Actually, we’re included here too!)

All about Cough & Cold. But, do we know about ‘Antibiotic Resistance‘?

Antibiotic resistance is when a certain bacteria undergo a change (mutation) in order to combat the counter-attack of a medicine/drug & hence, in the process, the effect of the drug becomes ZERO. And in most of the cases, the bacteria survive, continue to grow further & cause more infection.

Sadly, this is happening among us. And our beautiful children too!

This is exactly a typical scenario in which you notice that your child stops to show any improvement over a cough or cold with a prescribed medicine over a long period of time. So, you’ve often wondered why that syrup used to work fine before & now, it just wouldn’t.

Let’s just take a peek at this graph indicating levels of antibiotic resistance against the E.coli bacterium (the germ of the intestine) in different countries.

The values that India witnesses are nerve-wracking! Isn’t it?

That’s a clear case study about how antibiotics are abused in India as compared to other countries.

While in specific cases of a cough, sore throat & cold in children, these may be caused either by a virus or bacterium. As antibiotics are meant to tackle only bacteria-borne illnesses or infections, a viral cough or fever shall NEVER respond to them.

Nevertheless, you’ll only find the illness getting ‘immunized’ against a potential antibiotic in future.

Unfortunate, right?

But, hey; no worries! There’s always good news for us.

The following are some time-tested home-remedial foods, which are sure to beat your kid’s cough & cold.

Tulsi leaves


How does it work?

The Tulsi or the Holy Basil leaf is a natural expectorant which helps loosen the phlegm in the chest & makes it easy to expel. Tulsi leaves contain immunomodulatory compounds which can fight viral or bacterial attacks.

How to give it to your child?

For children (6 months – 2 years): Wash the leaves thoroughly, crush them & add a few drops of clean water to form a thick paste. This paste can be mixed with the drinking water of the infant/toddler.

For children (2 years+): You could just get your child to chew 3-4 washed Tulsi leaves.




How does it work?

Honey is a natural cough suppressant, which is always worth the try.

How to give it to your child?

For children (6 months – 1 year): NO! You’s be putting your baby on the risk of infant botulism.

For children (1 year+): 1 or 2 teaspoons a day until a cough disappears.


How does it work?

Garlic has anti-microbial, anti-viral & antibiotic properties; all of them. However, you may want to give garlic to your kid way early, or when the symptoms of a cough start building up.

How to give it to your child?

For children (6 months – 1 year): Crush 3-4 medium-sized garlic cloves & boil in drinking water. Strain the cloves & give at least 2-3 teaspoons of the water to your baby. That makes a simple ‘Garlic Tea’. Easy; isn’t it?

For children (1 year+): You could directly give the above version of Garlic Tea or add a teaspoon of honey to it to make the taste more palatable. (Psst..we all know the older kids are pickier!)


How does it work?

Ginger is a magical ingredient that kills a cough & cold ninja style! It’s got antimicrobial & antihistamine (anti-allergy) properties which are, indeed, a quick fix for any type of a cough. It fights inflammation to the respiratory tract caused by a cough very effectively.

How to give it to your child?

For children (1 year+): Crush ½ an inch of peeled & washed ginger & boil in drinking water. Strain the ginger & feed 2-3 teaspoons of the water to him/her. A “Ginger Tea” for your child. While always striving to make things tasty for your sick darling, you could mix a teaspoon of honey to this tea, as well. And I tell you, it tastes incredible! Try to feed this while warm. Your little one will just love this!


How does it work?

This amazing remedy from your grandma’s kitty is always going to be a life-saver for a cough!

Rock sugar (Mishri, in Hindi) loosens up the mucus & soothes the oral cavity, which is agitated by constant coughing. All the more, your tiny sweetheart is not going to give this a NO-nod; I bet my boots!

How to give it to your child?

For children (1.5 years+): Just instruct your child to place a small piece of rock sugar in the mouth to keep sucking on it until it melts in the mouth.

NOTE: I suggest not trying this for a younger baby for it may pose risks of choking owing to the size of the rock sugar.


How does it work?

Well, I really don’t know how but, yeah, boiled egg with sugar is great for coughs characterized by a sore & dry throat. And it has worked for my daughter most of the time.

How to give it to your child?

For children (1 year+): Just feed the boiled egg the way you’ve done so far alongside meals.


For children (6 months+):

A broth is a soupy liquid or stock in which a particular vegetable or meat is cooked in. One such chicken broth is, usually, prepared by cooking chicken with spices of your choice. Here, to the spices, you could add pepper powder (anti-cough, again), cumin powder, salt, & half a teaspoon of ghee.

To add to the anti-inflammatory benefits of chicken broth, it also contains a natural amino acid called cysteine, which can thin the mucus in your lungs making it easy to ‘cough up’.

NOTE: Make sure this is not the first time you give chicken broth to your child. Try this only if your kid has been fine with having chicken broth/soup before.


How does it work?

Tomato soups can be excellent for cold & cough, thus helping it pass off very soon. Tomatoes are rich in Vitamin C, which is great to fight cold infections.

How to give it to your child?

For children (8 months+): You could temper it with homemade butter, a clove,3 crushed garlic cloves & 2 peppercorns.

The Homemade cough syrup

Well, this is the personal favorite of my daughter & mine, too. Every time I make it, I feel like I own a tiny pharmaceutical company of my own! Laughs

This syrup is actually a combo of most of the above ingredients to make an irresistible concoction.

How to give it to your child?

For children (8 months+): Boiled 2-3 Tulsi leaves, crushed ginger, 1 crushed peppercorn & 1 clove in drinking water. Strain the liquid & let it cool. Add 1-1.5 teaspoons of honey & give the wonder syrup to your little super(wo)man.

These remedies may take up to 3-4 days more than what a medically prescribed syrup/lozenge/tablet takes.

But they’re definitely worth trying before plunging into medicines, which house several potential risks discussed above.

Also, read 7 winter fruits and vegetables with healthy recipes

** Disclaimer – The information provided is for general information purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional health care.

About the author –

This is a guest post by Ashvini Naik who is a Yogaphile, fitness enthusiast and a former corporate software trainer. She is a happy wife and a mom to a naughty 4-year-old daughter. She writes about parenting and fitness at