DIY Natural Cough Syrup Recipe

Make a powerful, immune-boosting natural cough syrup recipe 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 Recipe with Echinacea, Licorice and Honey

OTC Medicines Only Cover Symptoms

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 natural 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.

This Natural Cough Syrup Actually Works!

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.

With this recipe, you'll get the immune-boosting power of echinacea combined with the mucus-expectorant power of licorice.

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

Learn About the Ingredients in this Natural Cough Syrup

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 Natural Cough Syrup - Simmer the Herbs and Sift


Echinacea, Licorice and Honey All Natural Cough Syrup

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5 from 3 reviews

A tasty and effective recipe for an all natural cough syrup that actually works to boost the immune system and suppress a cough.

  • Author: Sara – My Merry Messy Life


  • 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 4 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.



  1. Hi,

    Thank you so much for the recipe. I’m planning to make this syrup today/tomorrow. First I have to dehydrate my freshly harvested echinacea root. That process will take probably 12 hrs or more. So tomorrow I’ll make the coughing syrup. I won’t use the honey because I’m a vegan. Instead of the honey, I will use coconut nectar (raw and organic).

    I do have three questions:

    1) The ingredients list says I need 4 cups of distilled water. The recipe says 3 cups.
    What is the exact amount of water I have to use?

    2) Can I also use mineral water instead of distilled water?

    3) Can I use the fresh root in the recipe along with the dried Licorice? And how much fresh root do you think I have to use then?

    I would like to hear from you!

    Love from The Netherlands

    1. Hi Helena! How lovely to have a reader from the Netherlands! That is wonderful! We are moving to Germany from the USA in 2021, so we will be neighbors! I love that you’re going to harvest your own echinacea. I think mineral water should be fine. And yes, you can use the fresh root along with the dried licorice. I’m not sure how much you’d need, I’m guessing, double the amount of dried? I’m not totally sure. Sorry about that typo, it should be 4 cups in both places. I’ve fixed it now!

  2. Hi Sara,

    That’s great to hear you’re moving to Germany. Where are you going to live?
    I’m now going to make the syrup! I’ll let you know when it’s finished!

    Thanks again for the great recipe and who knows we’ll once meet!

  3. Hi again,

    I jyst made the syrup and the taste is y great! I liked it better without the coconut nectar, but that is because I don’t really like any sweet taste. As a Dutch woman I love the salty licorice taste, so next time I wil make a decoction without the sweet taste just for gargling. My partner though really loved the sweet taste!

    Thanks again for the recipe!


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  5. My daughter has had croup and a barking cough for a few days now. I tried to take a nap with her yesterday and she was coughing every few minutes (but was able to fall asleep, unlike me….lol). So, I made this recipe (I substituted the fresh ginger for 1/2 tsp. of ground ginger) and gave 10ml to her twice last night. She slept all night long and had maybe one cough! I highly, highly, highly recommend this recipe!

    But Sara, do you know approximately how long this will stay good in the fridge?

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