Homemade Cough Syrup: An Easy Recipe For A Natural Remedy

This simple and healthy homemade cough syrup recipe is easy to make and works well on sore throats and suppresses coughs.

A close up view of honey and lime cough syrup in a fido jar.

Was the elderberry syrup not potent enough to keep the colds at bay? Need a little something between congestion-fighting doses of fire cider? DIY cough syrup with the medicinal properties of lime, thyme, and ginger is probably just what you need. And don’t forget about the honey. Honey for coughs and sore throat is probably the original natural remedy.

This homemade cough syrup is effective at reducing symptoms the day it’s made. That’s something that can’t be said of many other home remedies for coughs. Make it right now and in an hour you can be cough-free.

Honey, ginger roots, and limes on a placemat.

Medicinal Benefits of the Ingredients

There aren’t many ingredients in this homemade cough remedy, but the ones I’ve chosen pack a big punch. Let us take a look at the medicinal benefits of each one.


Ginger has a very long history of use in fighting the flu and the common cold. It has powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects. Scientific research validates that fresh ginger has medicinal properties that could help ease the symptoms of a cold or sore throat.

2011 laboratory study found that ginger showed a higher antibacterial effect than antibiotics against Streptococcus pyogenes, the bacterium that causes strep throat.

A more recent laboratory study confirmed that the antibacterial effects of fresh ginger are significant.

Ginger root sliced thin on a bamboo cutting board.

Buckwheat Honey

Raw honey should always be used for medicinal purposes. Raw honey contains flavonoids and phenolic acids that have antioxidants that are destroyed with the heat associated with filtering and processing. 

Buckwheat honey has higher concentrations of macronutrients, trace elements, and anti-oxidant compounds than other kinds of honey. Just plain buckwheat honey was a more effective cough suppressant than over-the-counter cough medicine in a clinical trial.


Thyme has antibacterial properties and is antifungal, and antispasmodic. It helps to subdue a fitful cough. It’s also a wonderful expectorant, helping the body loosen and thin accumulated mucus, making it easier to cough up and expel from the body. Thyme subdues coughs and relaxes bronchial muscles.

Freshly picked flowering thyme.


Limes are packed with vitamin C, a natural antioxidant that is important for boosting the immune system and protecting against colds. Lime is reported to decrease the strength of the cold and flu virus in the body and reduce phlegm. It may also shorten the duration of an illness.

How do you make homemade cough syrup?

Ready to get started? Check out my homemade cough syrup recipe for adults and kids. One batch should get you through the whole season.

Homemade honey cough syrup with halved limes around it.
4.15 from 7 votes

Ginger, Lime & Thyme Cough Syrup

This cough syrup is effective the day its made. Make it right now and in an hour you can be cough-free.
Print Recipe
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:35 minutes
Cooling & Straining Time:15 minutes
Total Time:1 hour

This post may contain paid links. If you make a purchase using the links in this recipe, I may earn a commission.


  • 1 small Lime sliced thin
  • ¾ c. Honey Raw Buckwheat Preferred
  • ½ c. Thyme fresh sprigs, loosely packed
  • 1 inch Ginger fresh, sliced
  • 2 c. Water


  • Place the lime slices in a small bowl and pour the honey over them.
    1 small Lime, 3/4 c. Honey
  • In a small saucepan, bring the thyme, ginger slices, and water to a boil.
    1/2 c. Thyme, 1 inch Ginger, 2 c. Water
  • Reduce heat to a simmer and cook uncovered until the liquid is reduced to about half (about one cup of liquid).
  • Remove saucepan from the heat and let cool to bathwater temperature.
  • Add your limes and honey to the cooled herb broth and stir to combine.
  • Strain the liquid into a jar.


Store your cough syrup in the refrigerator (3-4 weeks).
Adults & children 10+ = 1 tbsp. as needed
Children 1-10 = 1 tsp. as needed
Not recommended for children under the age of 1.
Keyword: Ginger, Honey, Lime, Medicinal
Servings: 28 doses
Cost: 9

Store your cough syrup in the refrigerator. It will keep for 3-4 weeks. Shake before administering. Take a tablespoon throughout the day as needed, especially before bedtime. Small children should be given a teaspoon. Older children (10+) can be given an adult dose. Although I don’t heed this advice, I am required to say that this homemade cough syrup should not be given to children under the age of 1 because of botulism risk. 

Adults may choose to add a splash of whiskey or bourbon.

The alcohol dilates blood vessels a little bit, and that makes it easier for your mucus membranes to deal with the infection.

Dr. William Schaffner (Chair of Preventive Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center)

This natural cough remedy, which focuses on the power of herbs and natural ingredients, will help you fight cold symptoms and survive flu season.

How do you make homemade cough drops?

These horehound cough drops are one of my favorites. Horehound can be a bit bitter, but with the addition of honey, they’re pretty good. If you’ve made hard candy before, you can handle this recipe.

These peppermint cough drops use the power of essential oils. Please make sure to only use therapeutic-grade oil that is safe to ingest (not all essential oils are created equal). These are semi-hard drops.

If you’re a fan of real cherry, you’ll love these black cherry cough drops. My favorite thing about them is that they last a really long time and taste good to boot.

A pinterest-friendly graphic promoting homemade lime and honey cough syrup.

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