Homemade Cough Syrup Recipe⁣

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When a cough hits life can be miserable, especially at night when a cough tends to keep us awake. A homemade cough syrup is simple to make and can help soothe the throat and ease the urge to cough. Today I'm sharing how to make a quick and easy cough syrup from pantry ingredients. 

honey cough syrup with lemon

It should be noted that this syrup is especially handy for scratchy throats and soothing coughs, If you have a stuck cough that is dry and needs moistening or a congested cough with phlegm that could use some drying and help moving the phlegm, you may wish to add some targeted  herbs for those issues.

This recipe for homemade cough syrup is one that tends to be helpful for just about any cough as the honey, cinnamon, and ginger are generally useful for most. 

Honey is the base of this recipe as it is soothing to the throat and I find it tends to ease the frequency of coughing. 

Homemade Cinnamon and Honey Cough Syrup Recipe⁣

This is the quick and easy version made with pantry ingredients. If you want to make a herbal cough syrup, see further details below. 


2 tsp. dried cinnamon chips or 1 cinnamon stick⁣
1/2 cup honey⁣ (I use Manuka honey)
2 cups distilled water⁣
1 T. apple cider vinegar or 2 T. fresh lemon juice (approx. 1 lemon)⁣, optional

1 tsp. dried thyme leaves⁣ – may help to break up mucus if it is present
2 tsp. ginger for it's antimicrobial properties


  1. Place cinnamon and water in a pot and bring to boil. Lower heat and simmer until water reduces by half (should be about 1 cup).⁣
  2. Strain out the herbs and place in a large glass measuring cup or small bowl. Add lemon juice or apple cider vinegar and honey. Stir to combine. ⁣
  3. Store in the fridge for up to 3 weeks.⁣
  4. Take 1 teaspoon as needed. ⁣

If you'd rather not go the DIY route, check out Pacific Resources International Honey Cough Elixirs.⁣


This syrup is not intended for children under 1 year of age because of the risk of botulism associated with consuming honey. 

How to store homemade cough syrup

Store homemade cough syrup in the fridge not the pantry. This will extend the life of the syrup. This recipe will keep for 3-4 weeks in the fridge. 

Optional Cough Syrup Recipe with Onion

Another option for a homemade cough syrup is a simple version made with onion. Yes, you read that right! Onion has long been used as a traditional remedy for coughs. Onion is thought to be warming to the chest area and its antibacterial properties may be useful in reducing the likelihood of bacterial infection. As mentioned above, honey is soothing to the throat and may ease coughing. 

How to Make an Onion Honey Cough Syrup

Onion syrup can be made over low heat, but some like to let it steep in the refrigerator to keep all of the beneficial properties of the honey in tact. Manuka honey can withstand more heat than most, but still should not be simmered or boiled. 


  • 1 onion
  • Honey (approx. 1/2 cup, but you may need more depending on the size of the onion)


  1. Slice onion into thin slices and place in the bottom of a small saucepan.
  2. Pour enough honey over the onions to cover completely.
  3. Warm over very low heat until onions soften (about 20-30 minutes). 
  4. Pour into a clean, dry jar and store in the fridge. 
  5. Take a teaspoon as needed. 

If you choose to infuse in the fridge instead, place onion and honey in a jar and let steep in refrigerator overnight. This results in a a more watery mixture that may not last as long. 

How to Make an Onion Oxymel

A Honey and Onion Oxymel is another good option for soothing a cough. The only downside is that it is not as quick as the ooptions descibed above and requires at least two weeks to infuse. 

How to prepare an onion and honey oxymel:


  • 1 onion
  • 1 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 cups honey


  1. Slice inion into thin slices or chop into small cubes and place in a clean, dry jar. 
  2. Pour apple cider vinegar over the onion, ensuring it covers the onion completely. 
  3. Place in a cool, dark cabinet and leave to infuse for 2 weeks.
  4. Check jar periodically to make sure the onion is still covered with vinegar. Gently agitate the jar occasionally.
  5. Once infused, strain out the onion and save the infused apple cider vinegar. 
  6. Warm gently over very low heat and add the honey. Whisk until well blended. 
  7. Pour into a jar or bottle and close tightly with lid. 
  8. Add a label. 
  9. Store in the fridge for 4-6 months. 

Sore Throat?

While both of the recipes above are also helpful in easing a sore throat, you can find more ideas for a sore throat here: Natural Remedies for a Sore Throat


 homemade cough syrup with manuka honey and lemon

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