Homemade Cough and Cold Syrup Recipe

Don't spend half the night awake coughing. Instead,  whip up this cough syrup with everyday ingredients that are safe for most of the family!

I have already shared my nine Natural Homemade Cough and Cold Remedies, and promised to post my recipe for homemade cough and cold syrup. I’ve made this before, and it’s easy-peasy.

I can testify that it works well in soothing a throat that is irritated from coughing. Our whole family has used it throughout the winter months when those dry hacking coughs just won’t quit.

In addition to this cough syrup, I just have to tell you that I discovered the most amazing remedy for the croupy barking kind of cough – the kind that keeps you up all night (cue crazy eyes).

Isaac had a terrible  barking cough this past winter and it was so bad that he couldn’t sleep because he couldn’t stop coughing for hours at a time (which meant no sleep for us, too. Ugh). In the middle of the night we bundled him up and took him outside in the cold air for a minute, and it stopped the cough in its tracks.

We paired that method with a spoonful of this cough syrup, and slept peacefully the rest of the night!

The Recipe:

1 large onion, diced
2/3 cup organic raw honey
1 teaspoon dried cloves (a natural pain reliever)
1 teaspoon ginger (helps loosen mucous and relieves pain and nausea)
the juice of half a lemon
a pinch of cayenne pepper* (helps loosen mucous, and raises body temp to kill off germs – can be omitted or reduced for kids)

Combine all ingredients in a small pot and heat on low. Let simmer for 20-30 minutes, covered on lowest possible heat, stirring occasionally. Strain the onion out, and store the syrup in a glass jar in the fridge.

It should last up to a month in the fridge, but be sure to use your common sense. If it looks or smells off, toss it! I would give as much as a spoonful every hour, maybe a little less for a kid. And, of course, this would not be recommended for a baby under one year, as it contains honey.


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Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or medical professional, and this post should not be taken as medical advice. Please do your own research. Material on this blog is provided for informational purposes only. It is general information that may not apply to you as an individual, and is not a substitute for your own doctor’s medical care or advice.

I'm Beth. I created Red & Honey because I'm obsessed with the wild art of wellness.

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  1. Wendy says

    I just made the recipe but I grind the onion and mixed it with all the ingredients. Did I do it right or should I start all over?

  2. Kiree Bellamy says

    Hi, i can’t use raw honey i get hayfever from it, can i use a decent organic processed honey from the supermarket instead?


  3. Cathleen Bowne says

    If you simmer for 30 min it will be perfectly safe for babies! It is only unpasteurized that is bad for babies and you can’t pasteurize honey because the heat turns it into candy. It is much safer than store bought ,although I would leave out the cayenne pepper .

  4. Desiree says

    I wanted to respond back sooner but didnt have the chance til now. I wanted to thank you for that recipe! I was amazed really that it actually worked….didnt even have to take them to the doctor!! Thanks again ill b doing this again!

  5. Desiree says

    I have a 1 an 2 yr old with a cough an cold. I just got through making this. Waiting for it to cool off to give to my children. Im really hoping it works. Thanks for the tip an ill post the outcome.

  6. Susie says

    Do you know if candied cinger can be used? I don’t think my powdered ginger has any potency beyond flavor, and candied is all I have on hand.

    • says

      Hi Susie, I really have no idea about the candied ginger. I think if it were me, I’d just leave out the ginger altogether. I’d be concerned about the sugar, since I’ve read many times that sugar decreases your immune system. The cough syrup without the ginger would still be good.

      Do you have ginger tea in the house? That would be a nice addition on the side for someone who is sick.

      Hope this helps!

  7. Cyndi says

    Im pretty sure the issue with honey would be with the raw honey, but if you buy pasturized honey, that would be ok (tho it wouldnt have the properties you want as much)… 😉 I would google it tho, or ask a doctor but im almost certain that the organic honey would be what you dont want to give to a baby! Thanks for the recipe, trying it tonight!

  8. Athan Middleton says

    Herbal tea is known to have a number of positive effects. It slows down the ageing process, helps in weight loss and is known to cure cough. It can be given to small children who should not be taking antibiotics and those who don’t like the bitter taste of cough syrup. Herbal tea can be taken in many flavors like ginger, lemon, jasmine, blackcurrant and peppermint.

  9. says

    Thanks for sharing – I gargled with Cayenne (a few shakes only) in some hot water and cured a horrible sore throat..and when I say horrible, I mean I couldn’t even swallow water! It literally worked overnight and I’m a firm believer since. If only I could give it to my kids!

  10. says

    Helpful tips. also i want to add, Cinnamon and a Lime – This is an incredible remedy on how to stop a cough that is definitely effective. Boil 2 cinnamon sticks in one cup of lime juice. The vitamin C that is present in the lime juice can boost your body’s immune system. The combination of lime and cinnamon can take out the phlegm.

  11. Christi says

    Thanks so much for sharing this recipe! I’m curious, though…is this the recipe that you used to conquer strep throat without antibiotics?

    Many thanks,

    • says

      Nope, this is more just for coughs and colds. I used this info to cure my strep throat: http://www.earthclinic.com/CURES/strep_throat.html

      I did a combo of ACV and cayenne pepper in some sort of herbal tea (I don’t remember which kind – lemon or green or mint, maybe?). I also can’t remember if I gargled or swallowed – I think both would help… gargling might not get deep enough in the throat. It totally worked. Not immediately, but within day or two I was totally cured, without antibiotics. (And believe me – it was a definite bad case of strep, diagnosed with a throat swab!)

      Thanks for commenting!

      Update: here’s my tweaked refined version of a strep throat remedy: http://redandhoney.com/the-ultimate-strep-throat-remedy-if-youre-brave-enough/

      • Christi says

        Thanks so much for your reply, Beth. After I commented, I went back to the original article and realized that this wasn’t the recipe you used and felt like an idiot for asking (but it was too late to undo the ‘bonehead’ comment-lol ). I will definitely be keeping this one in mind to use the our family encounters strep…antibiotics are not something we want to use again.

        Thanks for such a helpful blog! 😉

        • says

          Oh gosh, don’t even worry about it… we’ve all done the same, I’m sure! I hope it ends up being helpful if you do need it one day (but not needing it at all would be better :))

          Thanks for reading, and commenting :)


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