Herbal Cough Syrup

Cold and flu “season” is here.

I say “season” because you can get colds or flu any time of year. You are just more apt to get it in the winter, as you are munching on holiday treats, getting less sleep, less sunlight and are usually running around attending parties or shopping.

All that sugar and more processed foods combined with the stressful times leaves your body terrain less likely to ward off offenders and you get sick.

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When my family gets sick with a cough, it can last for days.

In the past, we would grab something off the drugstore shelf and administer it until the cough was gone. I had some experiences with a name brand children’s cough syrup that gave my son night terrors.

When I called the doctor, they said it was most likely from the OTC medicine, but to keep giving it to him. Yeah, I had that same look on my face!

So, after switching doctors and learning more about herbs, essential oils and herbal medicines, I no longer get the stuff off the counter for my family. I have learned to make my own cough syrups to deal with the symptoms.

This recipe contains 5 ingredients only.

They are water, honey, elderberries, wild cherry bark and marshmallow root. Honey has been used for coughs, elderberry has been used for immune support; wild cherry bark is an astringent tonic to the respiratory and gastrointestinal tracts with sedative actions on the nervous and circulatory systems.

Marshmallow root contains mucilage, which gets gelatiny when mixed with water. It serves as a soother and expectorant. Marshmallow CAN inhibit the absorption of other drugs, so use with caution if you are on any prescription medications.

To make this syrup, you need to have a scale to measure the herbs.

You don’t want to measure in cups, teaspoons, etc. because of the medicinal properties. You want to have exact measurements of each herb in this preparation. Begin by measuring out the herbs in exact amounts. You will need:

mix of herbs
  • Add the measured herbs to 4 cups of water.
  • Simmer on the stove until the water is reduced to 2 cups.
  • Drain the herbs in a cheesecloth and squeeze out the water as much as possible. You want all the herby goodness this produces.
  • Add 1 cup of honey to the infused water and stir.
  • Label and date with the ingredients used and store in the fridge.
  • Start with 1-2 teaspoons 2x a day for children and 1 Tablespoon 2x a day for adults. Can be taken up to 4x a day, depending on symptoms.

Books I recommend

The Herbal Handbook
Home Herbal Remedies
The Healing Herbs
BackYard Pharmacy
The Beginners’ Book of Essential Oils: Learning to Use Your First 10 Essential Oils with Confidence

Studies Used:

Cohen, H., Rozen, J., Kristal, H., Laks, Y., Berkovirch, M., Uziel, Y., Kozer, E., Pomeranz, A., & Efrat, H. (2012). Effect of Honey on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. Pediatrics.
Paul IM., Beiler, J., McMoneagle, ML., Duda, L., & Berlin, CM. (2007). Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine. 161:1140.


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2 thoughts on “Herbal Cough Syrup”

  1. This looks great. I don’t have little ones in my home anymore, but I do want to start stocking up my pantry with more homemade remedies for when we do get sick.

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