pineapple juice for cough
Does Pineapple Juice Really Help with Cough?  |    Source:

Pineapple juice for cough? This might seem surprising to some but pineapple juice has been a topic of discussion when it comes to finding natural ways to relieve cough. But why is that? Is this just grasping at straws for a homeopathic remedy?

What Does the Research Say About Pineapple Juice For Cough Relief?

Truth is, we have very little scientific studies done on this topic.

The claim that pineapple juice is helpful for a cough originates from this review article. The review discusses the various natural substances that naturally help treat tuberculosis, a disease hallmarked by a severe cough. It mentions that pineapple, in a combination of a little pepper, salt, and honey, helps clear the mucus in the lungs in tuberculosis patients.

This review is not directed towards studying pineapple specifically for coughing. Rather, pineapple juice got a single mention in this particular review with regards to clearing mucus/cough. Some online publications have claimed that because this review was about tuberculosis patients and not specifically about the relationship between cough and pineapple juice,  it is misleading to say that pineapple juice helps with a cough.

Coughing is usually associated with some kind of infection, pathology or irritant, so it is argued that the source of the cough matters very little and that the mechanisms used to aid in cough relief can be applied to many conditions that may lead to coughing. 

So, What Does That Mean? Does Pineapple Juice Help with Cough?

Pineapple juice for cough
Pineapple Juice Might Help With Cough   |   Source:

As with many natural remedies, more research is warranted to explore the specific mechanism of pineapple for this use. There is supporting information indicating further research may be worthwhile.   

There is some evidence regarding a substance called Bromelain, which is found in pineapple, to be effective in providing relief against a cough in cases of pneumonia, bronchiectasis, chronic bronchitis, etc. These are some major diseases, all producing heavy amounts of sputum, and if bromelain can help relieve cough in these conditions then we can assume that it's a promising component for the treatment of cough in general. 

You may be familiar with the action of bromelain without realizing it. It helps to break down protein chains which is why many marinade recipes call for pineapple juice. The bromelain found in pineapple helps to tenderize the meat.

There is another study from 2016 which studies two groups of people; one group was served a combination of pineapple extract called Bromelin (possibly containing Bromelain) and honey while the other group was given only honey.

According to this study relief from cough was observed after 30 minutes of consumption in both groups. The group that was given a combination of pineapple extract and honey showed marked improvement in more participants when compared to the group given only honey.

Both of these studies showed that pineapple was effective against cough. There is a question about whether you would get the minimum dose of bromelain required for cough relief through pineapple juice or not.

Bromelain is used to reduce inflammation after surgery, especially sinus surgery. It is also found to be effective in conditions like joint issues, cancer, respiratory issues, digestive issues, wound healing, etc. This bromelain is produced by pharmaceutical companies and therefore it contains a specific amount of that is required to produce the desired effect. With pineapple juice, we are not exactly sure about how much bromelain we are consuming.

The bottom line is, pineapple does contain bromelain, and so it might be effective against your cough.

What Other Things Can Naturally Help You With Cough?

If you look at the recipe of the concoction mentioned in the first review article it becomes clear why that juice mixture might have worked well. Each ingredient has been shown to help with cough relief.

The review mentions pineapple juice with a little bit of pepper, salt, and honey being helpful. Pineapple juice, as we have already established might help with a cough. Now let's explore the other ingredients mentioned.

1. Pepper:

The review article does not stipulate which pepper they used, but both black pepper and cayenne pepper have active ingredients that help with a cough.

Cayenne pepper is rich in Capsaicin, and it is effective against a cough. It works by suppressing the cough reflex, especially an unexplained cough caused by an unspecified irritant.

If you have an unexplained cough, oral consumption of substances rich in capsaicin (like pepper and chili) for 4 weeks might help. Capsaicin capsules are also available for purchase.

Similarly, if black pepper is more readily available to you, you can use that instead. Black pepper doesn't contain capsaicin. It contains another substance called piperine. Piperine is also proven to have an antitussive action.

2. Honey:

Honey is also quite popular when it comes to treating a cough naturally. Honey is a well established natural cough reliever. In fact, it may even be better than Benadryl for relieving cough. It's no surprise why most of the home remedies for cough include honey.

It has a pretty fast onset of action; around 30 minutes. One to two tablespoons of honey before bed might take care of the cough If you have sleep disturbance because of constant coughing.

Although, avoid giving honey to infants, as they have a risk of developing infant botulism if the honey is somehow contaminated with a bacteria called Clostridium botulinum.

3. Salt Water Gargle:

Salt is, again, quite popular when it comes to home remedies for cough. It is effective and there is a specific science behind why salt works.

Salt makes the water a hypertonic solution. Basically, when a hypertonic solution comes in contact with a cell, it pulls out the water from the cell. as the saltwater is more concentrated when compared to the fluid present in the cells. To understand the tonicity of a solution better, you can follow this article.

So, how does this help with a cough?

When you have inflammation in the throat, the cells in the throat swell due to the collection of fluid as a result of inflammation. This swelling results in throat pain that is commonly associated with a throat infection. When you gargle with warm salt water, the salt pulls out the water from the cells, reducing their size, and thus reducing pain and inflammation.

Moreover, the warmth of the water loosens up the mucus and thus promotes easy expulsion.

Saltwater is therefore a very cheap and effective solution for a cough. This would also be helpful if you want to prevent throat infections and upper respiratory tract infections.

4. Ginger:

Ginger is yet another effective natural solution to combat a cough. Ginger has antibacterial, as well as anti-inflammatory action, and is helpful against painful pharyngitis.

You can prepare a simple cup of ginger tea by cutting ginger into thin slices and letting it steep in water for 10-15 minutes. Add a little honey for added benefit.

5. Herbal Teas:

Herbal teas can also be used for your sore throat and cough. You can read about the various teas helpful for the sore throat here.

Pineapple Juice Recipe For Cough

pineapple juice recipe for cough
Prepare a Pineapple Juice Mix at Home for Cough   |   Source:

We explored some of the naturally effective ingredients that might help with cough and may even be available in your kitchen right now. You can use these items to prepare your own juice mix for a cough.

You can use a store-bought pineapple juice or prepare fresh pineapple juice at home. Get 100% pure pineapple juice if buying from the store.

You will need:

  1. A half teaspoon of salt
  2. One to two tablespoons of honey
  3. A half teaspoon of pepper of your choice
  4. One 6 ounce glass of pineapple juice

Combine these ingredients and consume this drink up to twice a day, or whenever you have throat irritation.

You can also add water steeped with ginger in this drink, or completely replace pineapple juice with ginger tea in this recipe.


While this natural remedy has little supportive research, it also comes with little to no risk of trying out in order to relieve your cough. If you are going to drink pineapple juice as a natural remedy to cough, it is recommended that you consume pineapple juice mixed with other ingredients that are known for relieving cough. This should give superior results when compared to consuming pineapple juice alone.