Amish Cough Syrup, also known as Snake Juice, is an old-fashioned homemade cough syrup recipe that is used to help calm coughs, soothe sore throats, and curtail congestion. While the origin and original recipe of this kitchen pantry remedy is a mystery, many of its ingredients have been used for decades, even centuries, to cut the common cold short. Amish Cough Syrup is an easy and inexpensive 5-ingredient syrup that will help you and your family conquer colds all year long.
Medicinal Benefits of Ingredients
Lemons are rich in antioxidants vitamin C and flavonoids. The combination of these two powerful nutrients helps support the body’s natural defenses and promote health and well-being. Containing natural antiviral and antibacterial properties, lemons are reported to weaken cold and flu viruses, reduce phlegm and shorten the length of illness.
Considered to be one of the most powerful natural antibiotics, onions are an immune-boosting superfood packed with vitamin C, zinc, selenium, and sulfur compounds that ease cold and flu symptoms mucus, and throat irritation. Vitamin C, as mentioned above, helps fight off foreign invaders that pose the risk of viral and bacterial infections. Zinc prevents viral cells from multiplying and lodging in the mucous membranes of the throat and nose. Selenium helps lower oxidative stress in the body, reduces inflammation, and enhances immunity. And lastly, sulfur compounds help fight the production of mucus in the airways.
Honey is a centuries-old remedy used to soothe common cold symptoms due to its many anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. It is a mixture of amino acids, vitamins, and minerals, like iron and zinc. Studies have shown honey, specifically, manuka honey (1), may suppress cough and sore throat symptoms even better than diphenhydramine, a common active ingredient found in over-the-counter cold medications.
Blackberry brandy has been a longtime trusted cold fighter for several decades due to its antibacterial components coming from its high alcohol content. What makes blackberry brandy a famous old-timey tonic is its antioxidant activity produced by the copper that is used during the distillation process. As the fruit wine goes through column distillation to become the beloved spirit, copper produces a by-product of vitamin C – our favorite infamous immune-boosting vitamin.
The key cold-fighting ingredient in peppermint schnapps is surprisingly not alcohol, but menthol – an ingredient found in several plants and herbs, including peppermint, basil, and sage. What started as a popular herbal medicine, menthol quickly gained the attention of medical doctors who began conducting experiments on it as early as 1885. Today, menthol is recognized as a type of drug therapy for treating symptoms of the common cold. Menthol is an effective decongestant and expectorant. Not only does menthol help shrink swollen membranes in the nose to make it easier to breathe, but it also loosens mucus in the lungs and respiratory system to alleviate coughs.
Amish Cough Syrup Recipe
- 1-2 onions
- 2-4 lemons
- 1 pint of honey
- 1 pint peppermint schnapps
- 1-pint blackberry brandy
- Slice the onions and lemons.
- In an air-tight glass container, create alternating layers of onions and lemons.
- Pour the honey over the layers of onions and lemons.
- Pour both liquors over the onion, lemon, and honey mixture.
- Close the container and let the mixture sit at room temperature for 3 days. After 3 days, the cough syrup will be ready to use.
- Peppermint Candy: If you want to veer on the safe side and cut the alcohol measure in half, swapping out the peppermint schnapps with peppermint candy is a safe alternative that still gives you all the benefits of menthol. Add about one cup of crushed peppermint to the blend.
- White Horehound: If you’re not a fan of mint, you can swap out the peppermint schnapps or peppermint candy for horehound candy. Horehound is an herb that has a slightly bitter taste, often described as something between root beer and black licorice. Like menthol, it helps to regulate breathing and aids in digestion.
- Pineapple: Several studies have discovered the benefits of the anti-inflammatory enzyme bromelain. It helps to thin mucus in the sinuses and chest and actively soothes sore throats for up to 6 to 9 hours. Pineapple contains ample amounts of bromelain. Add a pint of pineapple juice or opt for cut-up pieces of fresh fruit to add to your lemon and onion layers.
Storage and Shelf-Life
The best way to store your Amish Cough Syrup is by keeping it the smallest possible air-tight, sealed container you can find. You want to keep as much air out of the container as possible. After allowing the mixture to ferment at room temperature initially, you can either keep it somewhere cool and out of direct sunlight between uses or store it in the fridge if you prefer to drink it cold. Your homemade Amish Cough Syrup will last for 6 to 12 months when stored properly.
Some sources recommend adults (18+ years old) take 1 tablespoon of Amish Cough Syrup every 4 to 6 hours. However, at this time there is not sufficient information and/or research to determine an appropriate range of dosage of Amish Cough Syrup. Be sure to consult your pharmacist, physician, and/or another healthcare professional before using Amish Cough Syrup for medicinal purposes.
- The above recipe for Amish Cough Syrup is high alcohol content, so if you have any alcohol sensitivities, this may not be the homemade cough syrup recipe for you.
- Ingesting too much peppermint may lead to mild gastrointestinal symptoms and discomfort. Some minimally toxic symptoms experienced included gastroesophageal reflux, heartburn, nausea, vomiting, allergic reactions, and/or diarrhea.
- There is a lack of studies and evidence on potential food-drug interactions with this recipe of Amish Cough Syrup. If you are taking any medications, seek your healthcare professional before use.
In addition, if you fall into any of the following categories, you will want to avoid ingesting this recipe of Amish Cough Syrup or seek your healthcare professional before use:
- If you have a food allergy to citrus.
- If you have an allergy to foods from the allium family – onions.
- If you are pregnant or breastfeeding.
- If you have any known health problems. Recipe adapted from themilkmanswife.blogspot.co.uk