All Natural Cough Syrup with Echinacea, Licorice and Honey

Make a powerful, immune-boosting cough syrup for a fraction of the cost of the natural ones you buy in the store with not a single gibberish-sounding ingredient in sight. And, if you’re not happy taking over-the-counter medicines that do little to relieve your cold and leave you wondering what the heck you just put into your system instead, this recipe is for you!

Homemade Natural Cough Syrup with Echinacea, Licorice and Honey

Battling the sniffles, a cough, colds and the flu is never fun – those viruses aren’t easily knocked out by over-the-counter medicines (that are full of all kinds of wacky junk) but I have had success over the years with herbal remedies like zinc and Vitamin C. Of course, rest, fluids and a healthy diet are not to be minimized as powerful natural remedies.

So I’ve been anxious all winter long to make my own herbal cough syrup to also help with a cough. For some reason, I picked the end of winter to start trying but am now glad I did. I actually couldn’t have picked better timing – it’s like someone knew I was whipping it up in my kitchen and then sprinkled cold virus dust all over my family just to prove to us it would work. And that it did – it worked to greatly reduce cold symptoms for me and my kids.

I started the weekend feeling yucky – drained, stopped up, coughing and knew a nasty cold was coming. My oldest son felt the same. We’ve both been taking the syrup 2 to 3 times a day (2 tablespoons at a time) for several days and our symptoms are much improved. I did miss a dose yesterday and noticed I wasn’t feeling as well, so I took it again this morning and voila! My nose started clearing up and my energy started to return.

I was inspired to make this recipe from two different sites – Crunchy Betty and Mountain Rose Herbs. I basically combined the two recipes because I wanted the immune-boosting power of echinacea combined with the mucus-expectorant power of licorice.

Homemade Cough Syrup with Echinacea and Licorice Root from Mountain Rose Herbs

I like to buy my herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs because it is certified organic and I trust their quality.

Benefits of:

Echinacea Root 

Echinacea is a flowering plant with nine different species. It’s most popular common names are the purple cone flower and black-eyed Susan. It is the one of the most popular herbal products in the U.S. and has been used for centuries to boost the immune system and heal wounds, including by Native Americans. According to WebMD, “studies have shown that it increases the number of white blood cells and boosts the activity of other immune cells.” (more info)

Licorice Root

Licorice is a potent anti-viral and anti-inflammatory agent, making it perfect to battle the cold and flu. Did you know it is even effective to reduce swelling of cold sores and ulcers? (source) It’s also sweeter than sugar, so it adds nice flavor to this cough syrup.


Honey is antibacterial and packed with antioxidants  – if it is raw, unheated and organic. Heating honey turns it into pure sucrose (source). The darker the honey, the better as it contains more of those healing properties. Honey is added in this recipe as a cough suppressant, as it soothes and moisturizes the throat, and to aid in fighting off bacteria. And get this – honey has actually been proven in medical studies to be a BETTER cough suppressant than over-the-counter drugs:

In a study that involved 139 children, honey beat out dextromethorphan (a cough suppressant) and diphenhydramine (an antihistamine) in easing nighttime cough in children and improving their sleep. (source)

Pretty cool, eh? So, let’s make this stuff!

Homemade Cough Syrup - Simmer the Herbs and Sift


Echinacea, Licorice and Honey All Natural Cough Syrup
Author: Sara – My Merry Messy Life
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
A tasty and effective recipe for an all-natural cough syrup that actually works to boost the immune system and suppress a cough.
  • 1/2 cup echinacea root
  • 1/2 cup licorice root
  • 3/4 to 1 cup honey (raw, organic, local honey is best)
  • 4 cups distilled water
  • 1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 2 tbsp. fresh ginger root, minced or finely chopped
  1. Place the echinacea, licorice, cinnamon and ginger into a pot of 3 cups of distilled water.
  2. Heat water until boiling, then reduce to a simmer for 45 minutes (the longer it simmers the more goodness you’ll get out of the herbs). Reduce the water by half.
  3. Sift out the herbs from the water by using a French press or cheese cloth.
  4. Pour into a jar and let it cool until warm.
  5. Add the honey and stir.
  6. Take 1-2 tablespoons 2-3 times a day at the first sign of a cold or flu and continue taking as needed.
About Sara McFall

Sara is the owner and founder of My Merry Messy Life, which started in 2011 as a way to chronicle her journey to a natural, chemical-free lifestyle and to share her passions of mothering, real food, homeschooling and crochet. She is a mama to three precious and energetic little boys and wife to a university professor who loves to sing, dance ballet and ballroom, and live simply and naturally.


  1. questions?
    how do you store it and how long can you keep it?

  2. Hi Sara, I just wanted to clarify a point regarding honey. As someone who works with honey a lot – heating or warming honey is fine, it’s when you boil honey that you lose most of the beneficial qualities. And thank you for the recipe for the cough syrup! It’s very similar to the one my mother always used, but she didn’t have the licorice. It’s a really nice addition and seems to make a difference with my kids.
    Have a great day.

  3. Katie Catton says:

    Was also wondering about storing and how long it is good for?

  4. is it 3 cups water or 4?

  5. Is this ok for a one year old to drink before bed ? If so, how much?

  6. When you say a splash of Vodka do you think a couple teaspoons is enough? Someone else asked this but did not see an answer. How young can a child be to give this to please?

    • Yes, or even just a teaspoon is fine. Well, it is not safe for babies under a year because of the honey, but I do think it’s pretty safe for toddlers and older, but I don’t want to speak as if I’m a doctor, so I’d check with your pediatrician if your child is young.

  7. Honey is best for coughing

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