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How I Make My Own Cough Mixture

Coughs come in many shapes and types. There is the dry cough, the ‘phlegmy cough’, the cough caused by asthma, and the summer hay fever cough. And then the worst type, the cough that won’t go away and keeps you awake at night. If we go to the local pharmacist we can find a cough mixture for just about all of the most common coughs. But what if the pharmacy is shut for good, what can we do to self-treat that cough? I’ll outline some recipes here that can help you with some of the most common types of coughs, some cough remedies that are easy to make up at home and are proven to be effective.

1. Basic Cough Formula:

If we start with a basic cough mixture, we can add a variety of other ingredients to treat the various cough types.

Honey is the key ingredient in all of these homegrown cough mixtures. Honey is a natural cough suppressant. It acts as a liner for your throat and a study has shown it to be as good as the cough suppressant drug called dextromethorphan, which is commonly used in manufactured cold and flu products. Honey also has antibacterial properties, so if you suffer from an infection, it can also help you with that.

If you don’t have honey on hand, you can use other sugary substances like molasses or brown sugar.

IMPORTANT: Before continuing, it’s important to note that you should avoid the use of honey in children under 12 months old as they can get infant botulism.


  • 1 cup of honey (alternatives are molasses and brown sugar)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • Glass containers with lids (as many as you need for the different cough mixtures)

Boil the water in a pan. Warm the honey in a pan. Combine the two to make the base. You can play around with the amounts. Make sure it isn’t too runny, as you’ll be adding more liquid when you make the cough mixtures.

Honey and water mixture.

Warm up, mixing as you go to create your cough syrup base.

The cough syrup base.

Once cooled, add the syrup to a sterilized glass container with a lid.

2. The Soothing Cough Mixture: Honey and Lemon:

This recipe is ideal for bedtime, and soothing enough to help with sleep issues. Anyone over 2 years old can use this concoction.


  • Basic cough mixture
  • Lemon zest – from 2 lemons
  • Several teaspoons of lemon juice (to your taste)
  • ¼ cup peeled and sliced ginger or ¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Boil up the ginger and lemon zest in a small amount of water for a few minutes. Strain this mixture to remove the bits. Add this strained water and the lemon juice to the basic cough mixture and mix.

3. The Expectorant (and Inflammatory Respiratory Disease) Cough Mixture: Licorice Root

This one is for that phlegmy cough. Licorice root acts as an expectorant and breaks up mucus. Licorice contains a chemical known as glycyrrhizin. As well as giving licorice its sweetness, glycyrrhizin also has anti-inflammatory properties and has been proven effective for inflammatory respiratory diseases, as this study shows.


  • Basic cough mixture
  • 1 tablespoon dried licorice root
  • 1/4 cup water

Boil the licorice root in the water and leave it to stand for about 15 minutes. Strain the licorice water. Add to the honey mixture and mix. Alternatively, you can make tea from the licorice root by boiling up the dried root in some water – after boiling and leaving it to steep for 15 minutes, strain the water and drink like tea.

4. The Cough with a Sore Throat Cough Mixture:

Thyme is the key ingredient of this cough syrup. Thyme has many healing properties including giving your immune system a boost, as it is full of vitamin C. So, this cough remedy is particularly good if the cough comes with a cold. It also has thymol, which is an antiseptic so it’s really good for a sore throat.

Remember – coughing isn’t always bad. It’s the body’s mechanism for clearing the airways, so you only need to suppress it when it becomes so irritating that it disrupts your sleep or starts to hurt.


  • Basic cough mixture
  • Sprig of fresh thyme (or some dried thyme)
  • 1/4 cup water

Pick off the leaves from the sprig of thyme and place them in a pestle and mortar. Lightly bruise the thyme to release the active ingredients. Add boiling water to the thyme and leave to steep for about 15 minutes. Decant the water or strain into the basic cough mixture and mix.

Thyme being prepared for infusion in boiling water.

Pour boiling water onto the bruised thyme. Place a lid over the thyme while it steeps to keep the warmth in.

The thyme infusion.


You may also like:

The Immuni-Tea

The 10 Plants That Help Every Part of Your Body At Once

When and Why You Should Take Propolis

Cold and Flu Cheat Sheet


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The Annoying Weed that can save your life showed: 404 requested page cannot be found. ???

I just tried it and type it in the search box on the error page. It will take you there.Scroll down. 🙂

How to store cough syrup, and what is the shelf life?

Love this site it gives such good information on the use of the herbs thank you for this

Can ingestible thyme oil be substituted for the fresh thyme?

Hi Misty,

Thank you so much for your comment.
Yes, you can substitute thyme oil for fresh thyme indeed!

God bless!

How to store cough syrup, and what is the shelf life?

[…] more acidic ones and stick to herbs like licorice, marshmallow root, ginger, fennel, and chamomile. Licorice root is even used as a cough suppressant, so you can imagine how it could soothe the […]

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