How To Make Homemade Cough Syrup

Making homemade cough syrup is easy, very effective and does not have those questionable ingredients you can’t pronounce like the syrups at the store.  The onions alone will do a great job to break up phlegm and discharge it.  If you add the wild cherry bark and licorice root, you will have an even more effective remedy for coughs!

2 large onions
Raw honey

{The herbs below are completely optional.  Their properties make the syrup even more effective, but it it works great without them.  If you have licorice and wild cherry bark on hand like I do, throw it in! :)}
2 TBS. Licorice root
2 TBS. Wild Cherry Bark

Cut 2 large onions and place in double boiler (if you have one).
Cover with raw honey at least 1/2 inch above the onions.
Add 2 TBS. licorice root and 2 TBS. wild cherry bark {optional}.

Simmer on very low heat until the onions become translucent.  If you don’t have a double boiler, you can simmer it very gently in a pan for about 20 minutes.  A double boiler is better because the pan being directly on the heat willl take more of the beneficial properties from the raw honey. Strain the onions and herbs out and store in a jar in the refrigerator up to 3 months.

Adults can take 1 Tbs. and children 1 tsp. of the syrup up to every 15 mins as needed.  Allow the syrup to slowly trickle down the throat as you take it.  If you don’t have the licorice or wild cherry bark, you can use this same recipe with just the onions and raw honey for a very effective syrup! You can also make a cough syrup out of just the wild cherry bark and licorice, but that is a different recipe.

If you’re concerned about the taste using onions, even my pickiest daughter can take this syrup just fine.  Some secrets to help your children willingly take it: make sure you add enough honey, and don’t tell your children that it’s made from onions – sometimes the thought of something affects the taste! 🙂

Once again, the things I love about this syrup are:

*No questionable ingredients
*Very effective
*You can take this remedy for coughs up to every 15 minutes if the cough is really bad, whereas store-bought medicine can typically only be taken every few hours.
*Very affordable to make

I would love to hear how this remedy works for you!

Linked To:
The Prairie Homestead    Day 2 Day Joys    Far Above Rubies    Deep Roots At Home
The Purposed Heart   Raising Homemakers    Raising Mighty Arrows
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An Original Belle      Growing Home   Time Warp Wife

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a medical professional. This post is for educational purposes only. The information has not been evaluated by the FDA and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. DISCLOSURE: This post may contain affiliate links. In order for me to support this website, my research, and blogging activities, I occasionally may receive monetary compensation for my endorsement and/or links to products or services. However, I only recommend products or services I trust.


  1. says

    This is awesome! We are the lucky carriers of the latest cold and cough circulating our little mountain! I will see if my hubby will stop after work to grab a few things, and I’ll give this a try! Thank you!

  2. says

    Thank you for posting this! I get side effects with some of the commercial cough syrups, so I’ve been looking for a good natural alternative.

  3. says

    Thank you for the excellent recipe! We usually just use honey but I’m guessing this would work more effectively? Found your link at Raising Mighty Arrows, thanks for sharing!

  4. says

    Ok, I’m a little late on the commenting, but I just found this post and had a question. My dad and I are allergic to onions, and I was wondering if there was an alternative that we could use, that would work the same. Thanks!

    • says

      Lindsey, you can make a cough syrup with just wild cherry bark and licorice root. The onions add amazing properties for coughs, but you certainly don’t want to use them if you’re allergic. 🙂 Boil 1 pint of water 1 tbsp. wild cherry bark and 1 tbsp. licorice root for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 10 minutes. Strain the herbs out and add 1/2 cup raw honey. Take up to 1/4 cup of the syrup 3 times a day. Keep refrigerated. Hope this helps! Thanks for the question! 🙂

  5. says

    My littlest guy who is 4 was up coughing all night, so I’m making this right now! I only have one onion an raw honey so I’m just going to work with what I have! Thanks so much! 🙂

    • says

      The secret is to not tell them it contains onion :). All my children and my sister’s girl love this syrup, but they wouldn’t if they knew it had onion. 🙂 You can leave the licorice out – it makes it even more effective, but works great without. 🙂

  6. says

    I am going to make this tonight. My youngest is only 13 months and is taking breathing treatments right now because of all the congestion in his little chest. Is the honey safe for him?

  7. says

    Thank you Jill!! I made the Echinacea tincture this weekend. We had to go in to the clinic yesterday because his congestion had gotten really really bad. I asked the PA what her opinion was about the giving him the tincture and she said she really liked the idea. I really really enjoy your blog and you have truly blessed my family with a more natural way to care for our bodies! Thank you so much! Many blessings to you and yours!

  8. says

    I really want to try this. One questions though, does it have to be raw honey? Especially since you’re cooking it anyway? We usually have raw honey, I’m just curious.

    • says

      If I didn’t have raw honey on hand, I would use regular honey because the onions will still be a help. Since this is fixed in a double boiler, my syrup does not actually simmer but cooks very slowly, so most of the benefits of the raw honey are there. I would use raw honey if at all possible. 🙂

    • says

      I wouldn’t worry about it being raw honey since it is simmered. Most, not all, of the beneficial properties are gone. Just use regular honey. If I were making it, I would add water to the licorice root, bark, and onions and simmer away half of the liquid. Let it cool done and then add the raw honey. Just my way though.

      • says

        I definitely believe that there are still benefits to the raw honey even after cooking it in a double boiler. When mine cooks, not a single bubble even surfaces- it just infuses the onion in the honey. But I’m sure the syrup would still work with regular honey! Thanks for sharing your opinion! 🙂

  9. says

    What is the licorice root and wild cherry bark that you use? I use licorice root for tea. Is that what you use, or is it powdered? Thanks – hopefully I won’t need this this winter, but I most likely will. 😉

  10. Faith says

    This couldn’t come across my news feed on fb at a better time. I already make a lot of your recipes and have a cough that will not quit. I made this recipe this afternoon and took some about five minutes ago. It’s the quietest five minutes we have had here all day! I did have licorice root but not the cherry bark. It’s working great so far!

    • says

      The only other thing I can think of would be food-grade vegetable glycerin, though I’ve never tried it. Glycerin wouldn’t have the medicinal properties that raw honey does, but you would still get the benefits from the onions and any other herbs you added.


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