Winter is not known as “cough and cold season” for no reason. It’s one time of the year when a cold can rip through your community and attack nearly everyone you know. Since we often spend more time indoors, in enclosed spaces with recycled air, you’re a lot more likely to get sick during this season.
You can do a lot of things to help prevent colds, but once you feel that familiar tickle at the back of your throat, reach for this natural cough syrup to soothe your symptoms and help get you back to normal in a hurry. This cough syrup contains no alcohol, chemicals, or preservatives, so it’s a kid-friendly solution for a sore throat or cough. (Due to the honey, it’s not suitable for babies under 1 year of age.)
Natural antimicrobial properties in honey, onion, and garlic help fight infections in the body. They also work as preservatives to help keep this homemade cough syrup stable in the fridge for up to a week.
1. Gather your ingredients.
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) honey (preferably raw and local)
- 4 oz (1/2 cup) warm filtered water
- 1 lemon
- 1 medium onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 2 sprigs fresh oregano
2. Banish the germs with natural antimicrobial foods.
Honey – A natural antimicrobial ingredient, honey helps kill the bad bacteria that makes you sick. It also works to relax the muscles in your throat, which is perfect to combat a pesky cough.
Onion and garlic – Raw onions and garlic also help fight the sick bugs. They lose some of their potency when heated, so it’s ideal to steep this cough syrup without cooking. (A quick-prep method is included for emergencies, though!)
Oregano – This is a powerful antimicrobial herb, so it adds a healthy boost to your cough syrup, as well as enhances the flavor. Fresh sage and thyme have similar properties.
3. Pack your jar.
Slice the onions, garlic, and lemon. Herbs can remain intact, if using. Place the herbs at the bottom of the jar, with the sliced items on top. Press everything down gently to ensure that it will be below the surface of the liquid, once it’s added.
4. Add honey and water.
Pour honey over the solids, followed by warm water.
5. Steep, strain, and store.
Make sure the lid is airtight and leave to steep overnight at room temperature. Strain the solids through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth and reserve the liquid. If you’re in a huge rush, you can skip the jar and put everything in a small saucepan and simmer for 5-10 minutes until the onions just begin to soften, but your concoction will be slightly less potent.
Your natural cough syrup can be stored in your refrigerator for up to a week. This recipe yields about 8 ounces (1 cup).
6. Take as needed.
A spoonful of this natural cough syrup will help soothe a sore throat and ease cough symptoms. Because of the honey, the syrup should not be given to infants under 1 year of age, but it’s perfectly safe for older babies and children. It’s best given straight by the spoonful.
Images via Cat DiStasio for Inhabitots.