Medication to Break Up a Mucous Cough

Updated November 21, 2016

You are miserable. You are coughing up mucus, your throat is sore and everything hurts. Lying in bed seems like a good idea, but you would like some medicine to break up the mucus in your cough.

So you go to the drugstore and see all the medicines that promise to cure your mucus cough. Your head begins to hurt because there are too many choices. The list below, however, will take your headache away, because these medicines have been used for decades to thin and loosen mucus.


Guaifenesin, the generic name for Mucinex, is in the class of drugs known as expectorants and is the gold standard for thinning mucus. It is available over the counter and the typical dose is 600 milligrams every twelve hours. Other dosages are available and your doctor will recommend the right dosage for you. When taking this medication, you must drink plenty of fluids. If you have drunk enough, your mucus will become thinner and easier to cough up.

It is important to remember that guaifenesin is often combined with other drugs such as cough suppressants and decongestants. Make sure you know the ingredients in all the medicines you are taking. If you have any questions, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil has been used in folk medicine for centuries as a decongestant, cough suppressant and to soothe sore throats. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, peppermint oil can also be used to thin and loosen mucus.

Peppermint oil can be found in health food stores across the country. Rub three drops of peppermint oil on your chest and you will be coughing up thinner mucus in no time.

Mullein Oil

The University of Maryland Medical Center, also recommends the herb mullein. Mullein was traditionally used to treat respiratory infections and has been found to thin and break up mucus. Mullein oil can be taken internally, but the seeds of this plant are poisonous. Talk to your doctor about the amount you should take.

Eucalyptus Oil

According to, eucalyptus oil is used to loosen and thin mucus. Scientific evidence, however, is lacking, but many people swear by it. Talk to your doctor about how much you should take. It is important to remember that eucalyptus oil should never be used on children or infants.


Always speak to your doctor before you try the above remedies. Both over the counter drugs and herbs have side effects and can interfere with the other medications you are taking.

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About the Author

Theresa Bruno began her writing career as a librarian in 2008. She published an article in "Indiana Libraries" and has written many book reviews for "American Reference Book Annual" and "Reference and User Services Quarterly." Before becoming a writer, Bruno received a bachelor's degree in history/religious studies from Butler University and taught American history at Ivy Tech Community College.