Homemade Cough Syrup – Abra’s Kitchen


This homemade cough syrup recipe is an effective and easy tool to reduce the frequency and severity of cough, thanks to 3 simple ingredients that have been clinically studied to do just that!

The best part is you probably already have all the ingredients in your kitchen. Lemon, thyme, and honey come together to make a tasty and powerful homemade cough syrup, free of chemicals, dyes, additives, and fillers. 

a small jar of homemade cough syrup, 2 squeezed lemons, fresh thyme, and a wooden spoona small jar of homemade cough syrup, 2 squeezed lemons, fresh thyme, and a wooden spoon

For more natural cold and flu help check out my Homemade Elderberry Syrup, An immune-supporting superhero. You’ll also love my Garlic Candy recipe for an immune-supportive edible. 

Mix up a batch of this homemade cough syrup the next time cold season visits your home. Made with simple but powerful ingredients this natural cough suppressant is an effective alternative to over-the-counter cough medicines and store-bought cough syrup. Free of artificial sweeteners, and dyes, and made with only natural ingredients this has been my natural cough solution for years. Whenever I start to feel cold symptoms, I fire up the stove to whip up a batch.  

As always, if you have a persistent cough, chest pain, or other serious symptoms, consult your physician. Natural tools such as this homemade cough syrup are meant to be health-supportive but not a replacement for professional medical advice. 

You’ll Love this Recipe

  • The chicken soup of homemade cold support. This diy cough syrup can help reduce the frequency and severity of cough and is as gentle as a cup of herbal tea.
  • Natural ingredients and nothing else. I love an effective natural remedy that avoids additives, dyes, and chemicalss. I love that making my own cough syrup means that I know exactly what I am using to help my body, plus it’s also less expensive than conventional cough syrups.  
  • Easy ingredients. Everything you need to make this recipe is easily found in your local grocery store. 

Let’s Get Better!

a bunch of thyme, a pot of honey, and 2 lemons on a white backgrounda bunch of thyme, a pot of honey, and 2 lemons on a white background

Ingredients and Helpful Substitution Tips

Detailed measurements and ingredients can be found within the recipe card at the end of this post.

Health Tip: Use the best quality organic ingredients you can find.  

Organic lemon is important because you are using the potent lemon oil found in the skin. If you use a conventional lemon you will be adding yucky pesticides to your cough syrup.

  • Honey (Raw honey is great. Raw local honey is even better) – Honey soothes the throat and coats the cough receptors. Just adding honey to a warm cup of water can help relieve and soothe a bad cough. My preference for this recipe is Buckwheat Honey because it has been shown to increase serum antioxidant capacity. One study investigated the use of buckwheat honey as a treatment for nighttime coughs in children due to respiratory infections, like colds. The study found that buckwheat honey outperformed OTC cough syrup.
  • Fresh Thyme – Thyme is an antispasmodic, with a history of treating dry cough and respiratory infections like bronchitis. Thyme also has natural antibacterial properties and as an expectorant, thyme aids in clearing mucus. Known for its antiseptic and antiviral properties, thyme is also considered effective for providing relief for sore throats and respiratory tract infections as it can fight microbial agents and relieve throat inflammation.  
  • Organic Lemon – not only is lemon rich in vitamin C but it also has excellent anti-inflammatory properties. Organic lemon is important because you are using the potent lemon oil found in the skin. If you use a conventional lemon you will be adding yucky pesticides to your cough syrup.

How to Make This Recipe

boiling thyme in a pot with steam risingboiling thyme in a pot with steam rising
  1. Place fresh thyme in a small pot or saucepan, cover with water, and bring to a boil. Reduce by half.  This is the process of steeping the thyme and allowing it to release its natural oils and elements into the hot water. 
  2. Cut lemon and add to a wide-mouth mason jar. Pour in the honey and using the back of a wooden spoon smash the lemon with the honey.
  3. Once the thyme liquid has cooled, remove the thyme and pour the reduced thyme liquid on top of the lemon and honey. Replace the lid of the mason jar and shake well to combine. 
  4. Store in your refrigerator for about a month. 
  5. You can remove the lemon pieces before storing.

Expert Tips

  • This can be made without lemon and it will last longer without lemon.
  • Even just a spoonful of honey is enough to help with a sore throat. 
  • This should not be given to a child younger than age 1 – due to the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning, honey should never be given to infants.
  • Allow the thyme to cool completely before adding to the honey! Ideally, you want to keep all of the powerful antimicrobial properties of honey intact, heating the honey will reduce the potency of the cough syrup.

Storage Instructions

  • STORAGE – This will keep in the fridge for 6-8 weeks. The more honey you use the longer it will keep. Honey is a natural preservative. Remove the lemon halves before storing.

FAQ

Is homemade cough syrup safe?

Yes, This is a completely natural recipe using only organic natural ingredients.  As long as you don’t have any allergies to this short list of ingredients, you should have a positive experience with this natural homemade cough syrup.

Does honey calm coughs better than cough medicine?

According to Dr. Pritish K. Tosh, M.D. of the Mayo Clinic,  “Drinking tea or warm lemon water mixed with honey is a time-honored way to soothe a sore throat. But honey alone may be an effective cough suppressant, too.”  In one study, honey seemed to reduce nighttime coughing and improve sleep. In fact, in the study, honey appeared to be as effective as a common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan, in typical over-the-counter doses. Since honey is low-cost and widely available, it might be worth a try.”

a small jar of homemade cough syrup, 2 squeezed lemons, fresh thyme, and a wooden spoona small jar of homemade cough syrup, 2 squeezed lemons, fresh thyme, and a wooden spoon

I can’t wait for you to try this! When you make it, snap a photo and tag me on Instagram @abrapappa or use the hashtag #abraskitchen so I can feature your photo! 

If you’ve tried this recipe, don’t forget to rate it and leave a comment below. I love to hear from people who’ve made my recipes!

a small jar of homemade cough syrup, 2 squeezed lemons, fresh thyme, and a wooden spoonHomemade Cough Syrup – Abra’s Kitchen

Homemade Cough Syrup

Abra Pappa, MS, CNS, LDN

This homemade cough syrup recipe is an effective and easy tool to reduce the frequency and severity of cough, thanks to 3 simple ingredients that have been clinically studied to do just that!

Prep Time 2 minutes

Cook Time 15 minutes

Course DIY

Cuisine Medicinal

Servings 8 servings

Calories 69 kcal

Instructions 

  • Place fresh thyme in a small pot, and cover with water. Bring to a boil and reduce by half.

  • In the meantime chop your lemon into 8 pieces and add to a mason jar. Pour honey on top and using the back of a wooden spoon macerate (smoosh) the lemon with the honey to meld together.
  • Remove the thyme from the water and allow to cool. Once cool pour the reduced thyme liquid on top of the lemon and honey mash. Replace the lid of the mason jar and shake well to combine. 

  • Remove lemon pieces from cough syrup and store in your refrigerator for about a month.

  • Dosage: Use a spoonful as needed

Notes

Expert Notes:

  1. Typically I will take several spoonfuls per day when feeling a sore throat (it tastes amazing!)
  2. Organic lemon is important because you are using the potent lemon oil found in the skin. If you use conventional lemons you will be adding yucky pesticides to your cough syrup.
  3. Not meant for children under 1 years old 

 

Nutrition

Calories: 69kcalCarbohydrates: 19gProtein: 0.2gFat: 0.05gSaturated Fat: 0.01gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.02gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.001gSodium: 1mgPotassium: 33mgFiber: 0.5gSugar: 18gVitamin A: 27IUVitamin C: 8mgCalcium: 7mgIron: 0.3mg

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