How to make your own cough syrup

This article explains how to make your own natural cough syrups at home from kitchen herbs and spices.

by Monica Wilde

Cough syrups vary widely. Some shop bought ones are little more than glycerine and flavouring, and clinical studies have shown that honey is often just as effective as a throat soother. Herbs have antiviral and antibiotic qualities and can be added to antimicrobial honey, with antibacterial coconut oil, to make your own. 

If you have a persistent or very thick cough though, do try one of our Napiers cough syrups like our Cut a Cough, practitioner strength 1:1 herbal extracts with high concentrations of the active ingredients, to really knock coughs and congestion on the head! 

Simple Honey and Lemon Cough Syrup 

Mix together 

  • 50 ml organic coconut oil  or extra virgin olive oil 
  • 150 ml organic honey (unpasteurised is most nutritious) 
  • 50 ml organic freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Heat them until just before they come to the boil and pour into a sterilised bottle. This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Take a teaspoon 3 or 4 times a day as required. 

Very Sore Throat Herbal Cough Syrup 

Mix together 

  • 150 ml organic honey (unpasteurised is most nutritious) 
  • 50 ml marshmallow root syrup 
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) organic freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 35 ml (2 tablespoons) coltsfoot juice 

Heat them until just before they come to the boil and pour into a sterilised bottle. This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Take a teaspoon 3 or 4 times a day as required. 

Blocked Up Herbal Syrup 

Mix together 

  • 200 ml organic honey (unpasteurised is most nutritious) 
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) organic freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 35 ml (2 tablespoons) plantain juice 

Heat them until just before they come to the boil and pour into a sterilised bottle. This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Take a teaspoon 3 or 4 times a day as required. 

Cough with a Cold Herbal Syrup 

 Mix together 

  • 200 ml organic honey (unpasteurised is most nutritious) 
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) organic freshly squeezed lemon juice 
  • 35 ml (2 tablespoons) thyme juice 

Heat them until just before they come to the boil and pour into a sterilised bottle. This will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Take a teaspoon 3 or 4 times a day as required. 

Mucussy Herbal Cough Syrup 

  • 2 sprigs of thyme 
  • 1 stick of cinnamon 
  • 1 chilli pepper, lightly scored (optional!!) 
  • 1 small onion (peeled and cut into quarters) 
  • 1 clove of garlic (peeled and crushed) 
  • 50 ml organic coconut oil  or extra virgin olive oil 
  • 150 ml organic honey (unpasteurised is most nutritious) 
  • 50 ml organic freshly squeezed lemon juice 

Put the thyme, cinnamon, chill pepper, onion and garlic into a small saucepan and pour over the oil and honey. Heat to just below boiling, then remove from the heat, cover and leave to infuse until completely cool ( a few hours, or overnight if you prefer). Strain and keep the oil/honey mixture. Back in the saucepan combine the mixture with some fresh lemon juice, pour into sterilised bottles and seal. Will keep in the fridge for 3-4 weeks. Take a teaspoon 3 or 4 times a day as required. 

Ginger and Elderberry Flu Tea 

Ginger is fantastic as it is active against many gram positive and gram negative bacteria. It is also one of the best home remedies for helping to reduce inflamed or infected tonsils. It is quite spicy so combines well with honey and elderberry syrup to keep it soothing. I like elderberries as they have been shown in clinical studies to be active against many strains of flu. Plus the syrup or extract tastes great too, which is helpful when your children are feeling under the weather. 

  • One small piece of ginger, grated (about 3 cm in all directions) or a tablespoon of chopped dried ginger
  • 250ml (1 cup) water 15 ml (1 tablespoon) lemon juice 
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) elderberry extract  or syrup 

Put the grated ginger in a small pan, cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer gently for 5 minutes. Cover and allow to cool to warm before straining into a mug. Add your elderberry extract and lemon juice. Drink 3 cups a day at the beginning of a cold or flu episode as a hot toddy. This amount just makes one cup so triple the quantities to make enough for a whole day. 

Tips
  • You can sterilise bottles, jars and lids by boiling them, heating them in the oven or putting them on the hottest cycle of a dishwasher. 
  • To make your own herbal juices, run the fresh herb through a wheatgrass juicer. 
  • If you don't like the taste of fresh garlic try AllicinMax. Just 1 capsule contains concentrated allicin enzyme equivalent to about 7 heads of garlic! 
  • Instead of thyme, you can try sage (great if there is fever or high temperature) or substitute with rosemary
  • Honey is not recommended for babies under 1 year old. 
  • For a persistent or chesty type of cough try Napiers Lane's Cut A Cough
© Napiers Herbals Ltd 2014 • Edinburgh and Glasgow • Herbalists and Medical Botanists since 1860
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