Homemade Cough Syrup

This homemade cough syrup works well for most coughs. It’s quick and easy to make, but needs to sit overnight before it’s ready to use.

Like so many whole foods, raw honey and the juice of raw onion both have properties that help us to heal. This recipe uses the honey to draw the good medicine out of the onion to make a syrup. Then you remove the onion pieces. Some kids may not like this, but it is so easy to make that you don’t have to invest much time to find out if yours will like it.


  • 1 medium sized yellow onion
  • 1 or 2 cups of raw, unfiltered honey (amount depends on size of onion)

You will also need a glass container with a water tight, screw lid to hold the mix, like a mason jar. Do not use plastic..

In a pinch you can use the cooked honey that is what most grocery stores sell, but the cooking destroys some of the healing properties of the honey.

  1. Thinly slice a medium yellow onion.
  2. Lay the slices in the glass jar.
  3. Pour or spoon the honey over it a few times until you have loosely placed all the onion into the container.
  4. Fill the container with honey up to the level of the onion or a little higher.
  5. You will see that the onions actually shrink as their juices are drawn into the honey. After it sits overnight (or about 8 hours), strain out the onion pieces CAREFULLY. The onions will tend to stay clumped together.

Makes about one cup of syrup. It lasts at least a month if kept in the refrigerator. Dosage: Take as often as you wish. A spoonful once every hour is not too much. There is no drug here, just healing elements of nature that people have lived with safely for years.

However, there is a lot of sugar in it, and sweet things can interfere with your immune system. Not what you want when you are sick. So take it only as needed. If you use it before bed, remember to rinse out your mouth afterwards to remove the sugar from your teeth, perhaps using a salt water gargle.

We also offer a recipe for another home-made cough syrup that also helps sore throats. It takes a little longer to make, and uses more, different herbs (no onion), but it is a great syrup for sore throats also–which this syrup does not address much.

Thanks to Dr. Mary Bove, the famous herbalist. Though I am not sure, this recipe is probably from her excellent book An Encyclopedia of Natural Healing for Children and Infants.