Relieve coughs and soothe a sore throat with natural homemade cough drops. These DIY cough drops with herbs are a wonderful homemade remedy to calm a cough as it may occur with a cold, minor throat irritation and scratchiness. The ingredients for these yum all-natural drops include herbs, honey, lemon juice, and spices.
You can easily customize the recipe to your specific needs. I have created a list of different herbs and spices that provide effective relief from coughs and share tips for making natural cough drops at home. Read on and get cooking!
What are the benefits of homemade cough drops?
I have a very sensitive respiratory system and easily catch a sore throat or cold. And this doesn’t happen exclusively in winter either. No summer passes without me getting a scratchy, irritated throat at least once. London and the south of England can be very windy at times, and even a light breeze can give me a chill.
I make these cough drops quite often. The ingredients consist of pantry stables that you most likely have at home and will cost you only a fraction of store-bought products.
Another benefit is that you can use various herbs and customize the recipe according to your needs. These homemade cough drops are gluten-free, can be vegan if you skip the honey, and contain no artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners, or preservatives.
What ingredients do I need to make cough drops at home?
The recipe is prepared with 2 parts sugar to 1 part liquid. The main ingredient is sugar, and you can’t skip this ingredient. I found that regular (granulated) sugar gives the best results.
Cane sugar works fine, too, but brown sugar contains more moisture than regular (granulated) sugar so it can make the cough drops a little softer. I have tried making drops only with honey, but they stayed very soft and sticky and never really set.
As for the liquid, you could use just water and add dried herbs when cooking the syrup. Personally, I prefer to prepare a strong herbal infusion by steeping sage, thyme, and ginger in hot water for a few minutes.
What are the best herbs for homemade cough drops?
As I said before, you can customise the recipe and choose between different herbs and spices to make the cough drops. Below is a quick overview of the herbs and natural additives you can use in this recipe and their benefits.
You can either use a handful (approx. 1/2 cup) of fresh herbs, 3 tbsp dried herbs, or 5 tea bags of the following herbs:
- Sage can relieve from a dry cough and is anti-bacterial. Its essential oils have an anti-inflammatory and abirritant effect on the mouth and throat.
- Thyme is very decongestant and mucolytic. It’s an excellent herb to treat productive coughs. Thyme also reduces the proliferation of bacteria and disinfects the mouth and throat.
- English plantain, also called lanceleaf or ribwort plantain, is an effective expectorant and promotes the immune system to regenerate.
- Peppermint is rich in menthol and has a soothing, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory effect. I also love the refreshing flavour.
- I don’t recommend to use chamomile since this herb has a very drying effect and therefore isn’t a good choice to remedy a dry cough or irritated pharynx.
The following spices and additives are also beneficial to ease the symptoms of a cough and sore throat:
- Ginger strengthens the immune system, clears mucus and congestion, and is pain relieving. Add 3 to 5 slices of fresh ginger or 1 tsp ground ginger when cooking the herbal infusion.
- Cloves sooth inflammation, are anti-bacterial and contain strong antioxidants. You can add 5 to 8 cloves to the herbal infusion.
- Cinnamon warms from the inside and has anti-inflammatory properties. Add 1 cinnamon stick when preparing the herbal infusion.
- Honey coats the throat and eases the scratchy cough feeling. Honey is a time-honoured way to soothe a sore throat and may even be an effective cough suppressant. For the best effect use raw honey.
- Lemon juice adds a boost of vitamin C, eliminates bacteria and gives the cough drops a refreshing flavour. If you want a little variation, use orange juice instead.
Safety tips for cooking homemade cough drops
Sugar becomes extremely hot when it’s caramelizing. To avoid burns, be extra careful when boiling the syrup. Never touch or taste the syrup while it’s hot. It’s best to keep your children and pets away from the kitchen while you make the drops
Store and gift homemade cough drops
Keep the cough drops in airtight containers in a dry and cool place. Moisture and heat will cause them to soften and become sticky. I like to put the drops in small clip-top jars, and I made printable labels to decorate the jars.
The labels come with 3 different inscriptions (“Cough Drops”, “Get well soon” and “For you”) so you can gift the drops with a sweet message that the recipient will appreciate.
Print the labels and tags
Print the labels on A4 or letter size cardstock or photo paper and cut out along the grey outline. Use as labels as or gift tags.
Free Printable Cough Drop Label
Click on the button to download your free printable cough drop labels for storing and gifting!