Colds & Flus and the accompanying cough that goes with them, are a common household problem, particularly during the winter months. The following is a recipe for making your very own all-natural cough syrup at home. This can be used with adults or children over the age of 1 (different remedies can be used for those under 1 year), tastes better than it sounds, saves money, and is more effective than over the counter (OTC) varieties.
Why use Natural Cough Syrup instead of OTCs?
The research supports the ineffectiveness of cough syrups and other similar products. A 2010 review of studies found that there is no evidence to support using common over-the-counter drugs for cough. This includes cough suppressants, such as dextromethorphan, or expectorants such as guaifenesin, which are supposed to loosen up mucus in the airways.
In 2008, the FDA recommended avoiding the use of cough syrup in children under the age of 4 because there was no proof of effectiveness, and little research on side effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics took this a step farther, saying to avoid use in children under 6. What they did find through further study was honey proved to be mildly effective, but is not to be given to children under 1 year.
Note: If you have a productive cough (are bringing up mucous when you cough) avoid suppressing it. Coughing is important for loosening the phlegm or mucous and getting it out of your lungs.
· Slice the onion evenly. Place the base of the onion in your jar, and then pour honey in a layer over it (or cover in a layer of sugar, if that’s your sweetener of choice.)
· Continue to alternate layering the onion and sweetener. When you’re finished, cover tightly and let it sit overnight out on the counter, or for 8-12 hours.
· After it has sat out, there will now be liquid in the jar. Use a spoonful as needed to control your cough (3 spoonful’s an hour, if needed.)
· You can use both the honey and brown sugar if you like, just adjust the layering accordingly, and remember that it will be sweeter!
· If you choose to use garlic, unlike onion, there is no exact amount to put in. Start with 9-12 cloves or so roughly chopped and find your flavor balance from there. Just remember you shouldn’t use too little; otherwise it won’t work as well.
Directions for kids
· If you have a child too young to have honey, don’t despair because every single home cough remedy seems to have honey in it! The above recipe can be safely made for kids-just omit the honey and use only the sugar.
Note: This syrup should be used fresh. After you make it, you can store it in the fridge for up to 2 days. After that, just whip up another batch.
Note: This information is not meant to replace the advice of a trained practitioner. In order to formulate a proper treatment plan, you should consult with your Naturopathic Doctor or other health care provider.
Griffin, R.M. (2014) Cough Medicine: Should You or Shouldn’t You? Get the facts on cough medicine. Chang, L. (Ed.) WebMD Feature. http://www.webmd.com/cold-and-flu/features/cough-medicine-should-you-shouldnt-you
Everyday Roots (2013). Homemade Cough Syrup. http://everydayroots.com/homemade-honey-and-onion-cough-syrup
I am a Naturopathic Doctor and Doula providing care in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. I have a passion for helping people with their health issues and improving the birth experience for Moms, and their babies. I also have a life long love affair with soccer, curling, and the alto saxophone.