Grandma’s Homemade Cough Syrup

Homemade Cough Syrup

So, I’ve done a few posts on natural cold remedies recently.  Homemade vapor rub & shower soothers. You should be able to tell now that this time of the year is the worst on my family’s sinuses.

In any cold fighting arsenal, you need something to treat that cough.  So, I wanted to share with you my Great Grandma’s homemade cough syrup.  She used it on all of her kids, grand-kids, and on me…and now I make it myself.  It’s so-so-so simple with just 3 all-natural cough busting ingredients.

Olive Oil: Making a homemade cough syrup using olive oil will help you combat your cough as well as reduce reduce inflammation in the throat.

Honey:  Honey helps with coughs, particularly buckwheat honey. In a study of 110 children, a single dose of buckwheat honey was just as effective as a single dose of dextromethorphan in relieving nocturnal cough and allowing proper sleep. You can use any type of honey you have on hand though.

Lemon: Because everyone knows that lemon & honey is the one of the best throat soother combinations.

Homemade Cough Syrup - Just 3 Simple Natural Ingredients that you probably already have in your pantry.

Grandma's Homemade Cough Syrup

Yield: About 1 cup

Grandma's Homemade Cough Syrup


  • 3/4 cup raw organic honey
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 lemons - juiced


Add all ingredients to a small pot over medium heat until steaming. Remove from the heat & let it cool. Place it into a mason jar or other container with a tight fitting lid. Store it in the fridge for 3 months, or on the counter top for 1.5 months.


Use by the teaspoon or tablespoon, as needed.

Stir & warm before using

Use as soon as you feel a cold coming on.

Also great for allergies



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Authored by: Crystal Light Faulkner
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  • Morticia

    If you add some onion to the mixture as you are simmering it, it will help alot, too. While it does alter the taste, onions have powerful anti-sickie properties. Also, when anyone in your household gets sick, chop up an onion, put in a bowl and set in general living area. The onion will attract all the germs, etc. to itself and help clean the air. My family and friends swear by this trick.

    • Crystal

      I would have never thought of that – thanks so much for the suggestion! :)

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  • Jamie St.Clair

    Do not give anything with honey in it to children under 3 years of age, it causes botulism in the intestines of young toddlers and infants. Also Yes Morticia, onion in Very, very good, and even if the kids hate onions they will love the flavor of the mixture but don’t chop them up cook them quartered and remove the solids that are left from them. My son hated onions and still does, but can handle the syrup for the cough and cold.

  • Daniella H

    Honey is not considered safe for children under one but at that age no medicine natural or not is for infants so honey over age 1 is not going to cause botulism we have an all natural honey children’s cough syrup store brought that states so. Will definitely make this though that crap costs per $6 to thanks for the recipe

  • Jill

    My grandmother would boil the onion put the onion on a saucer and put a coffee cup over the onion. then she would put honey in the saucer. the onion would then seep into the honey and that’s what i would be given for cough medicine. she was a nurse and my uncle was a doctor and the entire family used this when we had colds !

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  • Bodz Gutierrez

    is this safe for baby age 1 year and 9months old???

    • Kate

      No. Honey is not safe for children until the age of two due to the bacteria in it. Molasses can be a suitable substitute though.

    • Sara

      Yes. You can give honey after the age one to a child.

    • JB

      Yes, as long as your child is not under the age of 1, it’s safe. But if you’re really worried about it, always consult your pedi and follow what they say.

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  • debbie grandma

    how long does the cough medicine last before you can not use it any more

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  • Meg

    Thanks for sharing, It’s pinned on my board :)


  • chelsea

    they do make pasteurized honey, would that not kill any bacteria?

    • queenie

      No, it’s not the same. Pasteurization kills off all existing bacterias. Raw honey has the beneficial properties that you need, if using honey for health purposes…

  • Kaila Resendiz

    I added cinnamon because its known to be a natural antibiotic and some vanilla extract becauwe its an anti flamitory for the soar throats

    • Holly

      how much cinnamon and vanilla extract did you put?

  • fezzabeall

    Why do you recommend evoo over just olive oil? Curious since you are cooking it anyway and I’m thinking it’ll lose it’s cold press properties from heating anyway. Plus it’s more expensive.

  • Cameron

    if you dont mind care about taste, add 1 tsp ginger and 1/2 tsp of cayenne pepper(or less if you cant handle the heat but it’s an expectorant so deal with it)

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  • christina

    an elderly neighbour passed on her mother’s cough rememdy, I have used it a few times when my kids were little (they now in late twenties), it is very simple….. peel and cut onion in half. sit on a plate cut side down, sprinkle with 1 tsp brown sugar and microwave approx 1minute. the onion juice mixes with the sugar. squeeze as much juice as possible out of the onion into a medicine cup (i used to get approx 10 – 20 ml. let it cool and drink it. One of my girls had bad croup one night and this stopped it in its tracks!!!! safe and natural remedy.

  • Health Guru

    We found a video for Grandma’s Cough Syrup and wrote a review!

  • Christy

    What, no whiskey? My grandmother’s (and her aunt’s) cough syrup called for whiskey, not oil.

    I don’t remember honey as a baby, but I know I teethed on whiskey and a silver spoon.

    • Trina Mechling

      My grandma always made a cough syrup with whiskey, honey, lemon & horehound candy.

  • Dragnsmoke

    I thought when you heat honey it loses it bacterial potency….

    • Crystal

      My grandmother always heated it slightly, but if you have any concerns over this – you could always just not heat it and whisk it really well to combine.

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  • scottbb

    Why store it? Why not use it right away?

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  • shir natur-ohpath

    i use with slice of onion +few cups of honey [not with olive oil ]and wait untill the honey become more diluted in the riaction with the onion =halp in dry cough

    • shir natur-ohpath

      few spoons not cups sorry

  • Diane Muszynski Kwietniewski

    @Christy my gramma’s was wiskey lemon and honey no oil

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  • Meg

    Just tried this and while it didn’t really help my cough but it did soothe my sore throat and it tastes amazing. I think the addition of whiskey would help my cough, alas I have none ;)

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  • Janette

    Does antone know if this is safe for a 7 month baby im asking because of the honey would agave syrup be a safer option?

    • hdkrazee

      The agave syrup would not have the medicinal qualities of honey, but giving it to a 7 month old isn’t a good idea. Their immune systems usually aren’t developed enough to handle the possibility of botulism.

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  • mkeith

    can you lemon extract instead of lemon juice

    • Crystal

      Hmm, I’m really not sure. Grandma always used pure lemon juice. You could definitely try it, I don’t see where it would hurt.

  • Carolyn Sells Smith

    I can remember as a child my mom would get a large onion, and bake it in the oven. When it was done she would squeeze and break up the onion and put the hot onion in a thin cloth and while still hot, put it on my chest, to break up congestion.

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  • Alina023

    Never heat the honey over 70 degrees celsius. It becomes toxic for the human body!

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  • Shannon

    Can I not heat this and it still work? I hear raw honey is better for you.