DIY Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe

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homemade natural cough syrup
Wellness Mama » Blog » Natural Remedies » DIY Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe

We don’t get sick often, and when we do, I prefer to let the body fight the illness naturally whenever possible. That being said, illnesses that include coughing (like bronchitis or a particularly bad flu season) can be exhausting and uncomfortable because they limit the ability to sleep well.

In those cases, I use this homemade cough syrup to soothe the urge to cough and help the afflicted get some much-needed rest.

Ingredients for a Natural Cough Remedy

This easy home remedy is full of healthy ingredients that naturally soothe a sore throat and boost the immune system.

Here are the essential ingredients of this cough medicine, and the healing properties of each:

  • Raw honey can help stop the coughing (as long as the children taking it are over a year old). In fact, a spoonful by itself could do the trick!
  • Lemon juice provides a necessary dose of vitamin C.
  • Fresh ginger is naturally anti-inflammatory and has an expectorant action, but ground ginger works just as well.
  • Chamomile soothes muscles, making it useful in relieving the “tickle” in the throat, plus it promotes restful sleep. 
  • Marshmallow root has one of the highest mucilaginous contents of all herbs and coats and soothes the throat. 
  • Cinnamon helps boost the immune system and improve taste.

You can find most of these ingredients in your local health store, grocery store, or on Amazon. I’ve provided links in the recipe below to the sources I use.


I’ve gotten a lot of great questions about my homemade cough syrup recipe! Here’s a few common ones:

  • Where can I find chamomile flowers? You can find whole flowers at a local herb store, Asian market, or online. You can also use pure chamomile tea bags if that’s easier. Or you can grow your own! If you want to use chamomile oil, add it after the concoction has cooled.
  • What if I don’t have marshmallow root? You can use fenugreek seeds instead, or just skip it.
  • Can I freeze small portions in an ice tray to extend shelf life? Sure, why not!
  • How long will this last? For two months in the fridge.
  • Can I add healthy additions to make this cough suppressant even more powerful? Yes! A bit of horehound, slippery elm, cherry bark extract, apple cider vinegar, turmeric, or cayenne pepper would all make great add-ons.
  • What about young children? I stick to nursing and warm Epsom salt baths for babies. Check with your doctor about using raw honey on children under 2. You can also replace the honey with maple syrup for very young kids if you’re concerned about the honey.
  • Can I add essential oils? I’d be careful, as most essential oils should not be taken internally.
  • How should I store this homemade cough remedy? In the fridge in an airtight container. A glass jar would be a great choice.
  • Is this cough syrup good for a dry cough? While this one can help, this wild cherry bark cough syrup is particularly good with dry, hot, irritated coughs. Traditionally it’s been used for whooping cough, chronic coughs, pneumonia, and bronchitis.

Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe

This easy combination of herbs helps soothe the throat to ease coughing and promote restful sleep. I only use this remedy on children who are older due to the raw honey. Check with your doctor before using with kids under two years old. If you want to be extra careful, you can also substitute maple syrup in its place.

homemade natural cough syrup
4.06 from 55 votes

Honey Cough Syrup Recipe

This soothing cough syrup uses honey, herbs, and citrus to calm coughing and sore throat. 
Author: Katie Wells



  • In a medium size saucepan, combine the water and dried herbs.
  • Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer until the volume is reduced by about half (you will need 1 cup of liquid after herbs are strained off).
  • Pour the herb infused water through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove herbs (compost the herbs!).
  • While the liquid is still warm, whisk in the lemon juice and honey.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 months.


I give 1 teaspoon to children and 1 tablespoon to adults as needed for symptoms.
Note: Anyone allergic to ragweed, marigolds, daisies, or chrysanthemums should avoid chamomile.

Note: My personal experience cannot replace medical advice. Please check with your doctor if concerned about symptoms.

Like this recipe? Check out my new cookbook, or get all my recipes (over 500!) in a personalized weekly meal planner here!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Jennifer Walker, an internal medicine physician. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

Have you ever made cough syrup? What herbs did you add? What natural remedies do you use to ease coughing? Share below!
Herbal cough syrup is a natural homemade alternative to conventional cough syrup. It contains herbs that help soothe the throat and promote restful sleep.

Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


164 responses to “DIY Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe”

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      You could stir the 1 tsp into warm water and drink it if preferred, or stir 1 tsp (or whatever dose you’re using) into your favorite tea. It would be very sweet (and very concentrated) to just drink a cupful as is.

  1. Joel Avatar

    Excellent recipe! Thank you for sharing.

    I’m wondering if there is a use for the pile of mush left over after the liquid is squeezed out? Seems like it could be really valuable for something.


  2. Dawn Xavier Avatar
    Dawn Xavier

    I have made the recipe above and had it on for over and hour and a half but when drained and added honey and lemon it is more than a cup and not thick. Can I put it back to reduce even if I have added lemon and honey?

    1. Jamie Larrison Avatar

      You need 1 cup of herb infused liquid after simmering it down. You then add that 1 cup of herbal tea to 1 cup of honey and the 1/4 cup lemon juice. So you’ll end up with 2 and 1/4 cups liquid. It won’t be thick like a regular syrup that has sugar in it.

  3. Mariah Avatar

    This recipe really helped me with my last bout of the flu. I was trying to be careful since I was pregnant and just ending the first trimester. I will definitely use it again. ?

  4. marian cronin Avatar
    marian cronin

    5 stars
    “Bronco Stop” is a big selling cough bottle here in Ireland and is a Marsh Mallow syrup infused with thyme. Soooo easy to make at home and really works. I love your site and am so grateful for all the tips. Thank you.

  5. Judy Avatar

    I’m wondering whether to buy marshmallow root powder or just the marshmallow root (dried). The link takes me to root powder. If I get the dried herb, is it the same amount as the powder?

  6. Carmen Scuderi Avatar
    Carmen Scuderi

    This recipe comes from my Grandmother to my mother to me and now to you: Cough syrup remedy,
    5 quart porcelain lined or glass saucepan with lid. 2 medium sized oranges of any variety naval are the best a lemon and a lime cut up into small pieces rinds and all and toss into the saucepan place 1 inch of tap water into the pan tightly cover and set on the stove on low heat, simmer gently for an hour. 30 minutes into the simmer, add a tablespoon of ground coffee into the mix and let simmer with the citrus. Stir frequently to keep the citrus from burning and let it reduce adding enough water to keep the mixture to one cup of fluid. With 10 minutes left to the time add a tablespoon of toasted ground carob stirring constantly to the mix this will thicken the compound. let simmer the last 10 minutes with lid on. Take off heat let cool, strain contents through strainer or cheesecloth collecting the liquid in a clean mason jar with lid. squeeze as much liquid from the solid contents of the saucepan as can be gotten. Toss the solids into the compost pile and when completely cooled, lid and place cough remedy in the refrigerator. A tablespoon for anyone over 11 yrs of age every 4 hours children older than 3 years one teaspoon same time frame. The terpenes in the citrus act as an expectorant the vitamin C helps with ridding the cold the carob besides being soothing for the throat adds a bit of protein and carbs for boosting the body’s natural defense system if too bitter for taste, add touch of honey to taste. Takes care of the cough and sore throat in a couple of days. Lasts about a week or two in the refrigerator depending on usage.
    Thanks for the opportunity to share this . . . :-).

  7. Tiffany Avatar

    I would really like to try this recipe but I am allergic to chamomile. Is there a substitute that I could use? Or should I just skip that step?

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