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. gary Avatar

    has anyone used manuka honey in this recipe? which honey will be better manuka or usual raw honey?
    My twins are coughing slightly (probably about 4 times a day) (wet cough) for last 2 months. We went through homeopathy, garlic syrup, onion syrup, steam baths with tea tree oil, pine oil and lemon oil, one of them even had antybiotic prescribed for chest infection. I’m also giving them 1 teaspoon of manuka honey a day but they are still coughing!!! I’m going to try this recipe this time but maybe someone has any idea what else I can do. My boys are 19 months old.
    many thanks

    1. Layla Avatar

      I know this is old, but I always prefer local raw honey. To me, it makes more sense to help them heal using organisms from your area. Manuka is supposed to be great, but for sickness, especially allergies, local is best.

    2. Lori Avatar

      Need to figure out what is causing the cough in the first place and remove that allergen(s). Could it be allergy to housepets, hidden mold, dustmites? I am allergic to all three. If the allergen source is not removed, the cough will never go away and eventually it could turn into asthma.

  2. Lisa Avatar

    Hi. I’m confused by the recipe. You say boil it down to half the amount or one cup, but half one quart is two cups… ?? Please clarify this for me. Thanks! Your website is very helpful to me!

  3. Mika Avatar

    Hello, great recipe!
    My son is 15 months old, after a bad coold he had he has bern coughing for 2 months. Not sure if it’s due also to teething as he just cut 4 molars each a day apart! I would like to try this recipe but I have no idea where to find the marshmallow root (powder?) and chamomille flowers?

  4. Kathryn Constantini Avatar
    Kathryn Constantini

    made this the other day, very good! it made a lot though for the short shelf life, especially that we get one cold a winter, but very much worth it 😉

  5. Yulia Pantyukhova Avatar
    Yulia Pantyukhova

    Hello! My daughter is 16 months and has cough for more then two weeks now. Can you please recommend the dosage of this syrup? I tried a few homeopathic remedies, but it did help much.:( Thank you!

  6. Lenah Avatar

    I used mint tea instead of water and 1T spoon of Honey, and 1/8 cinnamon, and ginger since that is all i had on had and just smelling the concoction i started to breath better and my throat seemed to ease up on my deep chest cough, i love the taste of it! i only made enough for one cup so i hope i did the honey and cinnamon in good amounts! but it taste great and seem to be working! Bottoms up!! Thank you Wellness Mama *Katie (also isn’t mint a healing herb as well, do you know exactly what it does, i knew but i have forgotten what they where:)) And by the way i just drank it, it was delicious! the only thing i had a problem was since i didn’t stir it a lot and just sipped the ginger and cinnamon dropped to the bottom and it was yummy but had a texture in stead a smooth tea AT THE END. But like i said i made it as a tea with some herbs and spices added in:)

  7. Sabie Katt Avatar
    Sabie Katt

    I was thinking about substituting Calendula for Chamomile. What do you think?

  8. Kaz Avatar

    I found your web site through Facebook and really appreciate all of the information you share here. I just made this syrup, according to the recipe, last night. I made it for my 21-month old who is obviously too young for OTC cough remedies. She loved it and did seem to sleep a little better–not as much coughing overnight, either. What a relief (for her and me!). I am wondering, though…do you think the efficacy of the syrup would be the same if my reduction ended up as 2 cups and not 1? I did increase the amounts of honey and lemon to 2 cups honey and 1/2 cup lemon juice so as to maintain the same ratio of these items to the amount of herb reduction. (I inferred from the recipe that I would need to simmer-boil for about 30 minutes before the reduction would yield about 1 cup of liquid, but even after 45 minutes of simmering (on med/low heat) my reduction was at 2 cups! Did anyone else have this happen to their reduction? Should I have simmered on a higher heat, perhaps?)

    1. cathy Avatar

      I just made this fir yhe 1st time & im thinking I didnt cook it down enough either. Seems a little more lose than a regular cough syrup.

  9. Vivian Ledford Avatar
    Vivian Ledford

    Word of warning! If you are allergic to ragweed, you should avoid chamomile! Ragweed and chamomile are from the same family!

  10. JB Avatar

    If one uses raw honey should one only add it at the end. wouldn’t heating it up destroy the benefits of it being raw?

    1. Amber Avatar

      It says to boil the herbs and water, simmer down. Then you let it cool to only warm before mixing in the honey and lemon juice 😉

      I had to read it twice too though as had the same thought.

    2. Amy Avatar

      I usually put my mixture in the fridge to make sure it’s completely cool before adding honey.

  11. ed Avatar

    Garlic, Ginger, Lime juice and Honey, sometimes cannabis and pimento berries as well

    1. Ellen Avatar

      5 stars
      In what form would you use cannabis? I doubt I’d find any around here unless I “knew” someone anyway but am a great believer in herbal power and cannabis is just barely coming into its own. If the people cared enough, really cared, they’d just raise their voices and say, HELL NO, to those who think they have the right to dictate every detail of our lives.

      If you could give further details regarding the cannabis, I would appreciate it. 🙂

  12. Bryan Rose Avatar
    Bryan Rose

    any answer as to the amount of marshmallow root and chamomile if using powdered/tincture form?

    1. Charmaine Taylor Avatar
      Charmaine Taylor

      No answer yet, I’m researching and it looks like powdered is not recommended. That said, I’m going to make it with the powdered Marshmallow root I bought this morning. Halve the recipe above with half of the amount of Marshmallow root.

  13. Timea Krausz Avatar
    Timea Krausz

    may i ask, how often do you need to give this to a child? also, how do you give this to a child who refuses taking i? my daughter is avery stubborn child.. 😉

  14. Daniya Jackson Avatar
    Daniya Jackson

    Hi, do you think i can use the marshmallow root tincture in a finished product?

  15. Devan De Lynn Bounds Avatar
    Devan De Lynn Bounds

    Thank you so much Katie for your wonderful and helpful remedies!!! From one mama to another mama I greatly appreciate them all 🙂

  16. Lucy Avatar

    Hi Katie! I made this recipe today because my husband and I have not been able to shake a cough for a couple of weeks. Love it!
    It took a couple of hours to cook down the mixture. I hope that’s ok.
    I made a couple additions that I had on hand: 1/4 cup red clover flowers, 1/4 cup blue violet leaves and 1/4 cherry brandy with the ingredients used after the mixture cooled. Oh, and I added another cup of raw honey (we keep bees, so why not?).
    Here’s what I love about natural remedies – they don’t work like store bought! You just start to feel healthier, symptoms subside, you can take as needed and as long as there are no allergies, no dopey side-effects.
    Thank you for all you do <3

  17. Terry Ann Stevens Avatar
    Terry Ann Stevens

    gargle apple cider vinegar and salt. you wont be able to stand much, but it doesn’t take much. It will kill the cough for a couple of hours

  18. Theresa McDermott Cassidy Avatar
    Theresa McDermott Cassidy

    I’ll have to try ths one. I usually make my own using:
    1 tablespoon honey (non pasturized)
    1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
    grated garlic clove
    grated ginger root
    1 tblsp squeezed fresh lemon juice.
    Add hot water and stir well.
    I usually keep stirring in between drinks as the good stuff tends to settle on the bottom.

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