Best Indian Home Remedies for Cold and Cough in Babies


Safe and Effective Remedies for Cold/Cough in Babies

Is your baby suffering from Common cold and cough?

Are you looking for some safe Ayurvedic home treatment for your baby?

Let us see some effective and safe Indian home remedies for common cold and cough in babies.
It is very common that babies catch cold in the early months of their lives. You will be told many home remedies by elders around you, as in India we first try home remedies when the baby is suffering from cough and/or cold. Doctors try to avoid medications for below 6 months babies for cold due its side effects. In India, Ayurveda has given us some really effective and safe home remedies.
NOTE: If your baby is suffering from cold/cough for more than 2-3 days, consult a doctor and do not try any medicines without consultation for babies below 6 months of age as it can be harmful.

Cold and Cough Home Remedies for babies below 6 months:

1. Breast milk and Sleep

Breast Milk has got the power to drive away the bacteria and viruses from your baby’s body. It provides immunity from various other germs too. Increase the frequency of breastfeeding as it comforts the baby. Sometime when the baby has congestion they get irritated while breastfeeding as they can’t breathe while sucking the milk. In such case calm your baby first then feed in a comfortable position like supporting baby to elevate baby’s back so to help ease breathing.
Let baby sleep as much as possible. Resting helps to cure cold quicker.

2. Warm Ajwain/Carom Seeds compresses

Carrom seeds or Ajwain is also known for its antiviral and antibacterial properties.
To cure cough of your little one;
1. In a piece of a cotton cloth wrap some ajwain seeds and make a potli (ball),
2. Heat a flat pan or tawa and warm the potli with it and gently place it on your baby’s chest, covering the whole chest.
Just make sure that the cloth doesn’t get too hot or else can burn the sensitive skin of your baby. For best results continue this for about 2-3 days. The smell of warm ajwain from potli will help reduce congestion in the baby.

3. Steamy Air/ Humidifier

Steam helps to reduce a cough so you can bath your baby in a steamy bathroom or just put on the hot, shower and let her relax and experience the steamy air for some time. Use a humidifier at night especially if it’s winter and air is dry in winters.

4. Garlic

1. Roast 1 tbsp of ajwain and 2 dry big cloves of garlic on a tawa.
2. Remove from tawa and let it cool down and then keep it into a soft, clean cotton cloth and make a small pouch or potli of it
3. Place it near your baby when she is sleeping.
The smell of garlic and ajwain will ease your baby from congestion and would also help to open her blocked nose. Garlic again has the antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Important Tips

1. Keep Hands Sanitized

To prevent the germs to spread, always keep your and baby’s hand clean. Keep a sanitizer near baby’s bed and you use it before touching the baby. For baby’s hands use gentle antibacterial baby wipes at regular intervals.

2. Keep baby’s head elevated when she is sleeping

Always keep your baby’s head elevated whenever she is sleeping so that it becomes easy for her to breathe well and helps in taking complete rest and getting well soon.

3. Keep Baby warm

Always keep the chest of your baby covered during cold and make sure to keep them warm all the time to prevent them from getting sick.

Remedies for Babies Older than 6 Months

Along with the above remedies, there are some more home remedies which can be used for babies above 6 months of age:

1. Warm Water

Feed your baby with warm water at regular intervals to keep her well hydrated. You can even try boiled cumin or ajwain water too. Add one teaspoon ajwain to 1 liter water and bring it to boil. Cool it down and store and feed it warm.

2. Lady Finger/Okra

1. Cut one ladyfinger into small pieces
2. Boil a cup of water and steam the lady finger for about 10 mins
3. Serve your baby in small amounts after coming to room temperature.
Ladyfinger does the probiotic effect on their bodies and removes mucus and bacteria and also cures throat irritation.

3. Eucalyptus or Nilgiri

nilgiri oil
Make your baby inhale the fumes of eucalyptus oil for few minutes. It immediately removes the nasal blockages and eases your baby to breathe. You can even drop few drops of oil on the bed or the pillow on which your baby would sleep. It is also very effective in curing cough, chest congestion and cold in babies.

4. Vaporub

Apply vaporub on chest, throat, and back and under the feet of your baby while sleeping and make them sleep in a warm place.

5. Warm soup

Feed your baby with warm soups like tomato and garlic soup, vegetable soup or chicken soup so that it will help in increasing the immunity of your baby’s body.

6. Turmeric milk

1. Take a cup of milk in a vessel
2. Add a pinch of turmeric to it and mix it well, then boil the milk.
3. Remove it from heat and let it cool down a bit (keep it warm as your baby is able to drink) and feed your baby. Turmeric milk soothes the throat and relaxes your baby.

7. Tulsi/Holy Basil

1. Take some tulsi leaves and crush them making the paste
2. Add some honey to the paste and feed your baby
This would also help in curing cold and cough of your baby. You may boil tulsi leaves and then add honey to it if baby refuses paste form.

8. Nutmeg

Make use of nutmeg powder in baby food. Nutmeg helps curing cold. Use Nutmeg Powder regularly in baby food, it adds flavor to sweet food like pumpkin, carrot etc.

Remedies for babies above 1 year

Along with the above remedies, there are few remedies which can be more effective on babies above 1 year of age:

1.Ginger coffee or kaadha

1. Boil a 1 cup of water and add 1 cloves, 1 cardamom, 1 pepper pods, 2-3 tulsi leaves and 2 slices of ginger to it
2. Boil for about 5 more minutes and strain.
This works like magic and gives quick relief from cough and cold.

2. Lemon

Squeeze half lemon and add few drops of honey. Mix it well and feed it to your baby by adding sufficient amount of water to it. Lemon also has got antiseptic and antibacterial properties and contains a high amount of vitamin C which increases the immunity and cures cold too. I have experienced that lemon juice infact worsens cold/cough due to its sourness. Still, it’s a popular home remedy and surely the high Vit C is healthy.
Some home remedies for cold use heat inducing ingredients e.g. ginger, cloves, tulsi, turmeric. In case of such remedies, start in a small amount and increase the dose little by little. If you see baby’s body heat is increased then reduce the dose.
Always consult your doctor if the cold or cough persists for more than 2 days or if the baby has fever.
Home remedies for common cold and cough in babies are effective but cannot replace medical consultation.
baby cold and cough remedies_compre


About Author


An IT professional, a mom of two, Sapana had belly-only pregnancies in her life & has lost 15Kg weight twice. Along with fitness, Sapana is an expert in Indian names & has helped scores of Indian parents to shortlist suitable baby names by virtue of her years of expertise in Sanskrit origin names & logical approach towards cultures & trends during the name research. Drop a comment to get help from her.


    • Sapana

      True Geetha, Use of lemon in regular diet improves our immunity but after having cold the acidic nature of this fruit makes cold worse.

  1. Pingback: How to Boost Your Child’s Immune System Naturally? | GoMama 24/7

  2. Avatar

    I do the Eucalyptus steaming for my baby. I think its safe and effective on cold. Babies get congetion in chest when weather changes in such times its a good idea to do this remedy once in a while to avoid the cold.

    • Sapana

      Very true Supriya, especially in winters and rainy season, Eucalyptus steaming or use aroma diffuser is very healthy.

  3. Avatar

    My baby is 05 months old. He was suffering form cold and then I tried your ajwain and garlic remedy. It really works. Thanks for sharing these helpful Indian home remedies for cold and cough.

  4. Avatar

    Hi. My baby is 1 year old now. Is it safe to give ajwain water mixed with his formula weekly once to prevent cold and cough?? Please reply

    • Sapana

      Hi Sajida,

      Ajwain is known to induce body heat so I think you should avoid giving it daily in Summers. In rainy and Winter season specially during the season change when there is high chance of cold, you can give the ajwain water daily. (Please make sure you do not add more than one teaspoon of Ajwain to 1 big cup of water, do not boil it for more than 5 minutes on medium heat, this is because your baby is 1 year old)

  5. Avatar

    My 7 months old is having runny nose and fever too, He is on medicines do you think these remedies will help him? When I feed him he gets cranky as he can not drink milk properly. I feel sad for him. Please advice.

    • Sapana

      If your baby is on medication, please do not go for oral home remedies. In case in breastfeeding irritation, try various poses especially ones where baby’s back is elevated in that case it is easier for baby to breath. You can also try the nasal cleaner devices available in market.

  6. Avatar

    How to give steaming to babies? my 5 months old baby girl is having dry cough only at night. She cant sleep for first 1 hour.. please suggest some effective remedies for her dry cough.

    • Sapana

      Hi Sheetal,
      You will need to hold you baby in your arms or laps and switch on a steam making device /vaporiser near you. Also at the time of bath you can make the room steamy and hold your baby in it for a while. As your baby is just 5 months old, please do not use any oral remedies. Frequent breastfeeding is highly recommended. Make your baby sleep on your shoulder or on your chest while your back is elevated. The reason is, the baby should be elevated, in dry cough, breathing is difficult when sleeping straight on back. Making use of humidifier every night (preferably with Eucalyptus oil in it) will help a lot. The dry air make cold and cough worse and is also a reason behind cold and cough.

  7. Avatar

    My baby boy have cold and his nose is running .what can i do? He is 15 month old.
    I can’t use ajwain in summer.plz give fast reply.

    • Sapana

      1. Warm Soups (Mix vegetables/Chicken, feed him egg if he eats)
      2. Nose drops are effective (Get them prescribed by doctor, dont use the bottle next time)
      3. Dont give ajwain water orally but use Ajwain paultice or onion paultice Read more about it here
      4. Make baby sleep on an elevated bed (More Information on same link given above)
      5. Use a humidifier/vaporizer in baby’s room at night and add the drops of eucalyptus oil in the water
      6. You can also use the nasal aspirator syringe or pump to clear a stuffy nose (Brands: Pigeon, Nuby, Farlin), it gives instant relief. Specially useful if baby is refusing to take feedings.
      If the runny nose is not cured by home remedies for more than 3 days you must consult the doctor. Also if the baby has high body temperature, don’t wait even a single day to see the effects of home remedies. You may continue the home remedies along with the medications.

  8. Avatar

    My baby is having difficulty in breathing at night, he is been suffering from congestion in chest from long time. Is there anything I can do to make him sleep peacfully?
    Thanks in advance.
    Your early reply will be appreciated!

    • Sapana

      Making baby sleep at elevated bed is best way to make breathing easier for baby. First make baby sleep on your chest then when you put him to bed, elevate his bed towards head. (Not by putting just a pillow under his head but by using folded thin blankets
      Know more about it and other home remedies for congested chest in babies here: Click here

  9. Avatar

    Although my kid is healthy, he is prone to infection. He catches cough and cold very easily. Can you suggest a few home remedies for increasing the immunity in kids? My kid is 02-yr-old.

  10. Avatar
    Radhika Sharma on

    My name is Radhika Sharma. My 09 month old baby is badly suffering from cold and cough from past 5 days. Doctors are saying that it’s a viral infection and it will take its course. She is not taking milk and unable to sleep whole night. I have given the medicine but it’s not that much effective. Any remedies for this please?

  11. Avatar
    Seema Kulkarni on

    Me and my baby both had developed the cold. Your tips helped. I wanted to know how do I help my baby sleep when he is struggling because of the cold? which position will be the most comfortable for him? I made the Kaadha and it really helped my own cold! Would recommend it to everyone who has a cold. Thank you so much! Will keep the ingredients of it in my kitchen.

    • Sapana

      Hi Seema,
      The slope hill position i.e. elevated back (Head to feet downward slope) makes baby sleep comfortably as it helps make breathing easier. Make your baby sleep on shoulders or your tummy and chest then while putting on bed, make a slope with help of thin pillow or blankets.

  12. Avatar

    I have heard that chicken soup works wonder in treating cough and cold in kids. If it is true then suggest a good recipe for making chicken soup for 01 year old kid.

  13. Avatar

    How to make Ajwain smoke for baby? After my delivery my aya used to do it on a indian Sigri , now i m out of india. Please tell me the way to make it safely. It was quite effective when I got it done in just a few weeks of delivery

    • Sapana

      Hi Priyali,
      I know Indian tradition of Ajwain smoke. But I think its unhealthy, its afterall carbon in smoke. Instead of smoke just roast the ajwain and garlic cloves and wrap it in a cotton cloth (Like a Potli) and put it on your baby’s chest. Make sure its not hot.
      Using humidifier with essential oils like Eucalyptus oil is safer and effective for babies.

  14. Avatar

    My baby is suffering from Cold and cough. He is unable to sleep well. I am worried for him. I have heard that we should avoid giving milk during cough. What if we give milk with turmeric? My kid is 02 year old and I want a safe and easy way to treat cold and cough . Please help

    • Sapana

      Home Remedies can not replace the medical treatment by doctor, In case your child is having fever, you should get him checked by pediatrician. Its a common belief that milk is to be avoided in cold but there is no scientific base to that theory. Also Turmeric milk will help to treat cough but doctors consultation is must.

  15. Avatar

    My kid is suffering from Asthama and due to this changing weather, a new issue of cough and cold has been evolved. I am looking for an effective solution. Is there any specific and easy solution form him? Please guide

    • Sapana

      Hi Suman,
      If the child has Asthma, you should talk to doctor about regular care for cough n cold too. Home remedies are safe but you must confirm with the medical practitioner.

  16. Avatar

    I have used tulsi and honey for two days but there are no change in the condition of my kid. She is 06 month old and suffering from cold. How much time will these home remedies take to affect? Please tell some most effective one for 06-month old baby?

    • Sapana

      Hi Aarti,
      First of all you must not give Honey to a baby turns 1yrs old. secondly Tulsi (according to ayurveda) is body heat inducing and should not be overused. Please check the remedies give above according to age of baby.
      Also, If baby is having the health issue for more than 2 days though not high temperature, you must get her checked by her doctor. Home remedies can not replace modern medication. You should continue the home remedies after confirming with the doctor.

  17. Avatar

    My kid is 01 year old and I have used the Ginger coffee or kaadha according to the instructions you have mentioned. It works well and my kid is feeling better. I am heartily thankful to you for sharing these Indian home remedies for cold and cough. I would love to suggest the same to other moms.

  18. Avatar

    I have heard that mustard oil is helpful in getting rid of chest congestion in babies. One of my friends suggested to massage baby’s feet, and chest with lukewarm mustard oil. Is it true? Can I use this process to cure my kid’s illness.

    • Sapana

      Hi Sangeeta,
      Such remedies should be tried after a patch test on baby. Also make sure it safe for the age as your baby’s.

  19. Avatar

    eucalyptus oil works wonder in treating cough and cold in babies. I am using this method from part few years and my kids have shown frequent recovery. I would also suggest other moms as well to try this home remedy.

  20. Avatar
    Manisha Khatri on

    My daughter is just 2 months old and she cries at night due to congestion. Can you suggest some remedies? She is on medicines so I am not looking for the oral medicines as she is too young for trials of oral home remedies. Thanks in advance. Also let me know how can I improve her immunity?

  21. Avatar

    My baby is 06 months old and my friend suggest to massage him with mustard oil infused with garlic and clove. Can I prefer this method? If not then please suggest the best home remedy for cold that affect immediately.

    • Sapana

      Babies have sensitive skin. Garlic + Mustard Oil kind of remedies are safe for adults. Still if you want to try, Do a patch test on your skin, then on baby’s skin then try if absolutely no reaction.

  22. Avatar

    I have heard that chicken soup is best home remedy in treating cold and cough in babies. My baby is 08 months old. Can I give her chicken soup? Also, suggest some good home remedies for 08 month kid.

    • Sapana

      Read about Chicken Soup for Babies : Here
      you can feed your baby chicken soup. (Try only watery soup for a week to see if baby digests it well, before you feed the thick soup or meat)

  23. Pingback: Home Remedies for cold and cough in Babies

  24. Avatar

    Hi Sapana, Can I use vicks vaporup and humidifier to remove chest congestion. My kid is 06-months old and he is suffering from chest congestion. Please help.

    • Sapana

      Hi Hemlata,
      If you use the Vicks Company’s humidifier then they have special sheets of vaporub made for the humidifiers.
      But the safest method is natural eucalyptus essential oil (most of humidifiers are essential oils friendly, but make it sure from the user guide)

  25. Avatar

    Hi my baby is 13 months old. He is having cough from last one month. I went to doctor and he said my baby is perfectly fine he asked me to use some home remedies. I used ginger Tulsi and honey but it’s not working . Can you suggest me some other home remedy.

    • Sapana

      Hi Jyoti,
      Use the humidifiers with Eucalyptus oil in it during night time. With continuous breathing the essential oil enters the lungs effectively.
      Also use the hill slope position if baby has chest congestion. Keep feeding sufficient fluids as hydration is very important. Tulsi can induce body heat if given in excess.

  26. Avatar

    My girl is 03 years old and suffering from cold and cough. Can I add warm water to ginger and honey mixture? My girl don’t like the taste of honey ginger. Hope adding warm water is helpful. If not then what else I can do?

    • Sapana

      Hi Sahiba,
      Few other moms have asked similar questions and I have explained other options like Humidifier etc. Please read the previous comments. Thanks

  27. Avatar

    Have you heard about panikoorka? One of my friends suggested that this panikoorka is good for babies. Please whether I should use it for treating cold or not.

    • Sapana

      Hi Anmol, panikoorka is also known as Ajwain leaf its strong in taste, very pungent. Indians do make use of it for kids but I personally have not tried it yet. Ajwain Seeds will also give you similar benefits.
      If you want to make use of such fresh herbs, make sure the plant is clean n raised in clean environment. Use the freshly picked leaves only.

  28. Avatar

    After reading your article, I use Humidifier and follow the tips. It really worked. Thanks for sharing such helpful and easy home remedies for treating cough and cold in babies.

    • Sapana

      Taking any medication for a long time can get your body immune to it. Its better to follow only the prescribed course by medical practitioner. Natural remedies are better to natural immunity improvement. I hope it helps you.

  29. Pingback: Home Remedies for Runny Nose in Babies | GoMama 24/7

  30. Avatar

    Is Eucalyptus oil safe for a 1 month old baby? My baby does not have cold or cough but due to changing weather conditions I want to keep her away from possible infections. Pls advice what all other things can be done to improve her immunity power?

    • Sapana

      I can not comment on if Eucalyptus oil is safe for a 1 month old baby. As when its about a very young baby, a medical practitioner only should comment on that. Talking about immunity, its the breastmilk which is all required to do that. Your balanced diet will ensure your baby’s immunity power.

  31. Pingback: Why Does A Baby Refuse to Breastfeed? | GoMama 24/7

  32. Avatar

    I have heard about this Ajwain potli from my cousin. She said this is the best remedy to treat cough and cold in babies. Please suggest whether it is right or not.

    • Sapana

      Ajwain potil is effective and safe too. Dont make smoke of Ajwain and also dont feed Ajwain Tea etc. A simple warm potli near baby (Not in touch with skin)

  33. Avatar

    Is steamer good option for a baby of 06 months? Please suggest the best home remedy for 06 months kid. He is suffering form sever cold.

    • Sapana

      a 6 months old may not be comfortable close to the steamer like an adult. Hold him on your laps or on shoulders and keep steamer/vaporizer close to you. Or the best solution is to use the humidifier at night.

  34. Avatar

    Hi Sapana,
    My baby is of 11 months. I am confused whether to used home remedies suggested for 01 year baby or remedies suggested for 06 months baby. Please suggest the best home remedies for cold.

    • Sapana

      You can use both but avoid the oral remedies of which the ingredients are not yet fed to your baby. E.g. Turmeric etc if you have not yet given to your baby, its not right time to check if its ok or not. Soups etc are ok as most of vegetables etc you might have already fed to your baby.

    • Sapana

      You should not feed cow’s milk to a baby below 1 year old. You can try feeding turmeric milk: a pinch of turmeric in formula milk or expressed breast milk after baby is 9 months old. Please note, turmeric is known to induce body heat if take in excess. so go easy on it for baby.

  35. Pingback: How to Avoid Cold and Cough in Babies and Toddlers? | GoMama 24/7

  36. Avatar

    Very informative article Sapna! Even my mom used to recommend me Ajwain whenever my baby was suffering from cold and cough. Ajwain is indeed very helpful in this situation.

  37. Pingback: This could be the Reason of Your Child's Cold & Cough | GoMama 24/7

  38. Avatar

    will the steam be helpful to a 1 month old baby? I am worried it is safe for my baby. Or should I go for nebulization at her pediatrician?

    • Sapana

      A 1 month old baby may not cooperate to take steam. You may carry the baby on your shoulder and keep the steamer behind you so the baby will get the steam easily. If that also doesn’t work then try the humidifier at night. Nebulisation to such a young baby can be given by pediatrician only. But if its not a severe cold then no need of nebulisation.

  39. Avatar

    hi, my baby is 10 month old, having cold and dry cough. not sleeping at night continuously have dry cough in sleep.

    Please suggest.

    • Sapana

      Hi Devi,
      You can try these 2 safe remedies
      1. Use hot humidifiers as mentioned above with Eucalyptus oil. The moisture in air will help ease breathing and reduce dry cough.
      2. Make baby sleep in an elevated position explained here.
      Baby might be suffering from any allergy. Keep stuffed soft toys away from baby. Also dont let baby play on carpets.
      Doctors consultation is must.

  40. Pingback: What Causes Stomach Ache in Children | GoMama 24/7

  41. Avatar

    where can i buy an inexpensive steamer or humidifier in India? i live in a small city. thnk you for the information

    • Sapana

      Hi Punita,
      Doctors consultation is must but other than that these 2 things should help: Steaming or got for hot humidifier in room specially at night. And 2nd is if the child is having trouble breathing specially while sleeping, then give a slight slope to the body, head on higher side, like explained here

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