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Homemade Cough Syrup



Homemade Cough Syrup - Dr.Axe
Conventional cough syrups can be high in sugar! Instead, try this homemade cough syrup recipe! The oils in this recipe will help to soothe the throat, boost the immune system and settle a cough! Try it today! Or, give my Homemade Honey Herbal Cough Drops a try.

Homemade Cough Syrup

Total Time: 2 minutes
Serves: 1


  • 1 drop lemon essential oil
  • 1 drop frankincense essential oil
  • 1 drop peppermint essential oil
  • 1 drop lavender essential oil
  • 1 spoonful raw honey
  • glass jar


  1. Add the oils and honey to the jar.
  2. Mix contents and then consume and swallow.

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  1. Janice on

    There used to be a syrup that my dad bought called pinex and then mixed with honey I think. Worked like a charm. It doesn’t seem to exist today, wish I knew what was in it. I would assume some pine something but I don’t know what.

  2. Alishaa Asakura on

    sugar..raw sugar organically grown is not the same as white sugar…as when we consume REAL sugar..which is not acid…it is actually good as it sloughs of bacteria and viruses that would have clung to our intestines…and cause problems…as white sugar …the bacteria and parasites love it…..

    HONEY and Brown Sugar (ORGANIC) is great if our cough is caused by bacteria…or virus of some sort but what about if our coughing and mucus build up pouring down from our head to our throat is causing the coughing…and it is triggered by allergies from toxic air~~environment pollution??? will this cough syrup work???????

  3. Vicky on

    I would like to make this cough syrup but I don’t have the frankincense essential oil. Could I replace it with other essential oil? Maybe thyme could be an option? It has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Or clove essential oil? Which one would you recommend?

    • Denise on

      I use lemon , cassia and myrrh on a spoon with coconut oil for my cough syrup. Have had great results with it! You can also use cinnamon instead of cassia and should use cinnamon for small children. :)

  4. LadyEm on

    How often would you recommend taking this cough remedy?? (I just mixed and swallowed it!) lol. hoping to kick this cough before it gets much worse. (Also did a steam tent with DoTerra’s “Breathe”, and mixed a eucalyptus, peppermint, thyme, FCO blend in a roller bottle for my chest.)

  5. Michelle on

    What would you suggest for a child under the age of 1 year? Congestion and small cough? Currently rubbing EOs on baby, On guard and Breathe by DoTerra

    • Elizabeth on

      I know this is an old comment, but I wanted to make sure to respond in case someone else is wondering. Babies and children are extremely sensitive and essential oils are powerful, even though they are natural. First of all, please make sure to dilute all oils. Secondly, I wouldn’t use onguard or breathe on a baby under 1. (I am a Wellness Advocate with DoTERRA by the way). I think that is too much for a baby. They both contain many oils and they both contain 1 or more oils that you should always use extreme caution with around babies.
      If you’d like to know what I would do (I have an almost 1 year old who just had these symptoms 2 days ago), I would use 1 drop of lavender and 1 drop of lemon and add it to 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Rub that on the baby’s feet and cover with socks. You can also rub it on the back of the neck and arount the ears and chest. If the baby has a fever, you can add 1 drop of peppermint but you need to dilute it even more because peppermind is one of those oils you want to be careful not using too much of on babies as it contains menthol.
      Please use caution when using essential oils on babies and children as they absorb them very quickly and not all oils are safe to use on them!

  6. Gina Nuenke on

    Essential oils should never be taken internally unless directed by a certified herbalist or aromatherapist. That recipe has a lot of essential oils in it and should not be swallowed. Dr. Axe, I love a lot of your natural remedy posts and follow you, but I have to disagree here. Research shows that there is no such thing as “certified pure essential oils” or “therapeutic grade” essential oils. Those are terms that were trademarked by Young Living and DoTerra. There is no agency that grades essential oils and there are many other places to find pure essential oils other than the expensive MLM companies. As long as you purchase from reputable companies who openly display the MSDS sheet for their oils and only buy steam distilled pure oils, then they are just as good and pure as YL or DoTerra’s oils. Essential oils are too volatile to be taking them internally and it has nothing to do with the purity of them. You can get more than enough good benefits from inhaling their vapors and rubbing them (properly diluted) onto your body.

  7. Drew on

    You comment on the amount of sugar in normal cough syrup but don’t mention that honey is practically pure sugar. Why is the amount of sugar in this cough syrup good, and the amount of sugar in regular cough syrup bad?

    • Gwyn on

      The Frankincense is particularly expensive from this group but it is good for so many things that you will find it well worth the investment. Depending on the company (and yes only 100% pure “therapeutic” grade) you can choose to purchase 5ml instead of 15ml bottles which also saves some money.

  8. Tiffiny on

    As for the essential oils, not all companies are pure therapeutic grade oils that you can ingest. (even if they say “100%” on them, they are technically only allowed to have 50% of the specified oil in the jar. I only know of 2 essential oil companies off hand that are pure therapeutic and that is DoTERRA and Young Living.

  9. Becky on

    With government regulations in place for our food, the requirement to put “all Natural” on a label, only requires 10% of the item be actually natural. With no government regulations in place for essential oils, we need to really do our homework. This presentation by Dr. Pappas, teaches us that lots of essential oils are adulterated, and passed off as all natural. Thank you for his knowledge, and for sharing it with us all.

  10. Rob on

    Thanks Josh. I will look into your Candida Cures, GAPS, etc later on tonight (eastern Aussie time). I hadn’t considered Maple Syrup as a sub. for Honey. Thanks for that !! Thanks for such fantastic info you provide, for those who are willing to seek. Best wishes for further success for all.
    Cheers – Rob

  11. Rob on

    Hey Josh – I’m severely allergic to both HONEY and BANANAS. Have eaten neither for more than 37 years. Also – have been almost Gluten-Free for that same duration. Recently discovering Leaky Gut Syndrome, Candida overload, etc – I’m inspired to increase my “Natural Lifestyle” as much as possible. Is there something you might suggest/prefer, as an alternative to HONEY in your HM Cough Syrup ?? I’m desperately trying to overcome the SUGAR ADDICTION too !! Thanks for any help, mate.
    Cheers – Rob

  12. Amanda Nelson on

    Yes the fake EO u shouldn’t ingest however young living is all natural from the ground to the bottle I was fortunate to watch the process myself I and my 2 yr old take oils all the time ! What an amazing gift God has given us !!

  13. Therese Owen on

    I have just begun using essential oils. I purchase mine from Young Living so I know they are therapeutic grade oils. I have been following the JJ. Virgin diet since January 2014 (20 pound weight loss). So my immune system is in great shape. I find that the purest form of anything I ingest works better for me so I stay away from highly processed foods, I started following you on Facebook because I liked the emails I received from you about the oils and natural recipes. Thanks for all the great posts and emails.
    Therese Owen

  14. Darci on

    Hi Dr. Axe,
    This sounds like a great cough syrup. I use EO’s a lot but have never made my own cough syrup. Question: why does one need a jar if just adding honey to a spoon then adding the EO’s to that? I guess I was expecting the recipe to mix everything together in the jar then take a teaspoon as needed. This sounds much easier, especially if I wanted to mix it and give it to someone.
    How young can a child be to take this? My grandson is 17 mo old and I know there are some EOs they can’t take internally or have to be very diluted.
    Thank you for all you do! I LOVE your recipes and your articles!!

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      I definitely agree! Mixing the contents in the jar before consuming it on the spoon makes sense so I clarified the directions, thanks for letting me know. I would use this recipe with kids 2 years and older.

  15. Lynette on

    If you put all those drops on one teaspoon of honey what do you need the jar for. Where’s the recipe to fill the jar?

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      I made the recipe small because I like to make up just enough to be used over 1-3 days. The jar is there to mix the ingredients in, not as much for long term storage. I think the recipe would be fine for longer periods of time, but it’s so easy and fast to make that I like to keep it fresh.

  16. coco on

    Yeah…my dad made this when we were little. Except he used rum instead of essential oils. Made you feel amazing.

    • Linda Wolf on

      :D We had “hot toddies” with water, lemon, honey, and bourbon! (Just a tiny bit though) :D Mom also rubbed mentholatum or vicks on our chest and wrapoed a warm towel around our neck. Sounds silly, but it worked!
      We didn’t have all of the wonderful information about essential oils that we do now…

  17. Tonia on

    You think this should only be made by the spoonful as needed, or mabey timeframe for making up say 5-10 spoonfuls during the need. I realize the need to stir but might help w/ family… Mabey mix up enough say for each member to have 2-3 spoons a day, I think it would work now picking your brain!

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      Making up enough to last anyone who may need it through the day is what I do. It’s so easy and fast to make! Otherwise, you could make up some and it should be fine for 3-7 days.

  18. Karis on

    That sounds like a lot of essential oils to be swallowing. Some therapists recommend never swallowing essential oils, but I know that you do personally take them internally (from several posts). What is your opinion on this controversy and regarding the limits for internal eo application?

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      Most therapists recommend not swallowing oils because most oils are not certified pure therapeutic grade. You definitely don’t want to be consuming oils that are not at that standard. The oils that I recommend not only have this grade but also do 3rd party testing to assure the quality. For any more questions about the oils, please email me at

      • Courtney on

        Therapeutic Grade is a term that you will only hear from a company because it is a company trademark, not an industry standard. When you study essential oils from a college instead of a company, that will never be the focus when considering using oils therapeutically. It is a marketing scheme in order to scare uneducated people into thinking that only certain oils are safe to use or provide results. I have taught advanced aromatherapy and have been using essential oils for over 22 years. There are oils safe to ingest and there are also therapeutic oils that are deadly in certain amounts to ingest regardless of brand because it is a matter of active constituents in the plants.

    • Donna on

      We can and do injest our Young Living oils all the time. It has saved us many many trips to the doc and have avoided so many long days in bed from sickness. We love our oils. Thank you for posting this recipe. We also add Thieves in ours. :) AMAZING oil. Karis, make sure to research the farming, seeds, distilling process before you ever purchase oils. I wasted my money for a very long time. Now I have seen true results.

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