how to make your own herbal cough syrup

Herbal Syrups were one of the first things I learned to do when I dived deep into this world of herbalism. I found myself making all kinds of syrups and infused honeys. This recipe specifically is great as an antiviral. I thought with COVID-19 raging through once again, it would be a good time to share some ways you can protect yourself with antiviral herbs, while following smart guidelines to keep you and others safe.

This recipe only contains four nourishing, fresh, pungent herbs, that are not just immune-boosting but expectorant as well. This homemade all-natural syrup will help clear out the lungs and bring relief to the body from spasmodic coughing. 


  • 1/2 cup of diced onion, any variety

  • 1/2 cup of diced garlic

  • 1/2 cup of diced ginger

  • 1 cup of honey (slightly warmed)



  1. To a 12 oz. glass jar, add in the diced onion, garlic, and ginger. Pack down lightly into the jar. (After packed into the jar, you should have about 1 inch of space left. You can add more (or remove) onion, ginger, and garlic if needed.) 

  2. Once jar is full, slowly pour honey into the jar. It may take a minute for the honey to find its way to the bottom of the jar. You can use a wooden chopstick to help poke the honey down into the jar, helping to eliminate air bubbles as well. Continue until honey is ~1/2 inch from the top of the jar. Then seal with a tight fitting lid.

  3. There are 2 options for steeping:

    The Short Steep:
    Within an hour, you’ll notice that the honey has gotten a little more fluid or watery. After resting for about 4 hours, you can being using this syrup. Don’t bother straining out the onion, garlic, and ginger. Just use a spoon to push it back so that it can keep infusing and strengthening the syrup over time.

    The Long Steep:
    If you have the time, I recommend waiting 10-14 days to use the syrup. Just keep the jar in a warm space out of direct sunlight and let it work it’s magic. It may start to ferment a little and that’s 100% okay! You can unscrew the lid daily to let it release any gas build-up, and then screw it right back on. Give the jar a few turns upside down every day to maximize the infusion.


  4. To store this herbal cough and cold syrup:

    Refrigerator (Unstrained)
    Whether you’re using the long or short steep method, I recommend moving the syrup to the refrigerator after 10-14 days if NOT straining out the garlic, onion, and ginger. (I kind of enjoy the occasional chunk of ginger or garlic that makes its way to my spoonful of syrup.) The unstrained syrup will store in the refrigerator for up to a year, probably much longer, but I recommend using it before then.

    Pantry (Strained)
    However, you may prefer a strained syrup. In this case, after about 10-14 days, use a fine mesh sieve or strainer to strain the honey. (You may need to use a few layers of cheesecloth to ensure you get any tiny pieces of garlic, onion, or ginger.) Store the strained syrup in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid. The strained syrup will store in a dark pantry indefinitely.


For Everyday Immune Support

Like Elderberry Syrup, you can use this herbal cough and cold syrup as an every day cold and flu preventative. Add it to your morning or night routine, or reach for it when you feel a little something coming on. Being high in antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial support, this immune-boosting herbal cough syrup can help ward off the seasonal ick before it drags you under.

But if it does drag you under, this syrup can also help lessen the severity and duration of a cold or flu.

To use it as general immune support, take 1-2 teaspoons per day of this herbal cough syrup, or up to 1 tablespoon, 2-3 times per day once you start to feel a dip in your immune system.


For Treating a Sore Throat & Cough

Sore throats and persistent coughs can make life real uncomfortable. I remember traveling last Christmas and sitting in a small airport in Montana with a horribly persistent and lingering dry cough that was kind of embarrassing. It was 6am and my coughing attacks echoed through the entire airport.

To soothe a sore throat, a wet and congested cough, or a dry cough, take up to 1 tablespoon, 2-3 times per day.


Some Other Helpful Tips

Take with food. I recommend not taking this syrup on an empty stomach. While it may not bother you at all, raw onions and garlic on an empty stomach can be a little rough. You may experience mild (but very temporary) stomach upset and/or nausea. Regardless, those are never pleasant, even if short-lived. Instead of taking this syrup first thing in the morning (after fasting all night), consider taking it after breakfast and throughout the day with meals or snacks. On the other hand, it may not bother you at all; everybody is different.

You’ll want to brush your teeth. Trust me on this one. It’s raw garlic and onions. The honey can only mask so much. Depending on when and where you’re using this syrup, you may want to brush your teeth afterwards.



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