How to Make Cough Syrup With Honey

Updated February 21, 2017

Honey has been used as a cough syrup for generations. A study conducted at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, showed that honey was more effective than Dextromethorphan for relieving sore throats, for reducing the intensity of coughs and for promoting restful sleep in children. Dextromethrophan is a cough suppressant ingredient commonly found in over-the-counter cough medicines. The possible side effects of dextromethrophan include but are not limited to difficulty breathing, dizziness and hallucinations. Barring an allergy to honey, there are no known reactions to honey cough syrup. Note: Honey should not be given to children who are under the age of 1 as they have underdeveloped immune systems that are susceptible to illness from botulism spores found in some honey.

Pour 1/2 cup of honey in a small saucepan. You can use any type of honey that you desire. The study at Penn State College of Medicine in Hershey, Pennsylvania, used buckwheat honey. It is not known if any one type of honey is better than another.

Add 1/2 cup of water to the small saucepan.

Heat the honey and water over low heat. Stir the mixture frequently. Allow the mixture to simmer for 15 minutes or until it has slightly thickened. When done, the mixture should resemble the thickness of maple syrup. Remove the saucepan from the stove burner and allow the cough syrup to cool for 1 hour.

Pour the mixture through a funnel into a glass bottle. Put the cap on the bottle. Store the honey cough syrup in the refrigerator.

Administer 1 tsp of cough syrup orally, three times a day.


Straight honey can be used undiluted as a cough syrup. Heating the honey with water produces a syrup of a thinner consistency that is easier to swallow. This is a basic honey cough syrup recipe. Some people like to add lemon juice, onion juice or tea to the recipe. When adding liquid, adjust the recipe to maintain a 50/50 ratio of honey to liquid.


Never give honey to a child who is under the age of 1. See a doctor if the cough does not subside in 3 days, worsens after 3 days or is accompanied with fluid in the lungs, dehydration or other serious condition. This article is for informational purposes only and is not meant to act as or replace medical advice.

Things You'll Need

  • Honey
  • Water
  • Small saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Funnel
  • Glass bottle with lid
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