9 Alternatives to Cough Syrup

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Guest Post by Lana Purcell

Croup has invaded my house and home and has taken over my two beautiful children and I am not a happy mama! I am not one to suppress a cough as it has its purpose in clearing out our bodies of irritants and mucous. However, as I am aware of what the children have I want to help soothe the irritation and tenderness that they have. We dont have any commercial cough syrup in the house so I depend on my kitchen for help in healing.. So what do we do?? Here are 9 alternative ways to soothe a cough… give them a go! On a side note. If you are unaware of why you are coughing and it is prolonged please see a doctor for a diagnosis before trying these remedies.

Here are some recipes and below them you can find some information on why they are so awesome. ;)

1.Lemon and Honey Tea

Slice some lemons and place into a big tea pot. Fill with hot water and add a heaped tbsp of honey. A soothing tea to provide Vit C and coat the throat. Can be drunk hot or cold.

2.Pineapple Juice & Honey

Juice a pineapple and warm on the stove.  Mix 1 tbsp of honey into the juice. Warming the pineapple juice will help the honey to dissolve. Drink the mixture warm or you can chill it or pour it over ice for if you prefer it cold. The soothing effects of the warmer option will be more effective in addressing a cough.

3.Simple Onion Syrup

Slice one large onion and layer place a few layers in a clean jar. Top with honey then another few rings of onion. Repeat till all the onion is in and covered. Leave overnight. Use as a cough syrup throughout the day.

4.Onion Poultice

To make a poultice, you can peel and slice onions and fry them until they are brown, then place the tolerably warm onions between two large, clean washcloths or handkerchiefs and put it on your chest while breathing in deeply. Try and keep on the chest for at least 20 minutes. I find plopping the girls in front of the TV gives me a better chance that they will keep it on.

5.Honey Spoons

According to Dr. James M. Steckelberg of the Mayo Clinic, taking 2 tsp. of honey may be as effective as dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in many over-the-counter cough syrups. Honey coats the throat and soothes the rawness and irritation. Honey may help reduce congestion. Although it is rare, honey does pose a risk of infant botulism, so do not give honey to children under the age of 1.

6.Honey and Hot Water

Just another warm drink to soothe the throat. A teaspoon of honey in warm water and sipped on. A nice one for kids.

7.Apple Cider Vinegar Pillow

Dr. Earl Mindell writes in his book, “Dr. Earl Mindell’s Amazing Apple Cider Vinegar.” The scent of the apple-cider vinegar may soothe and calm your throat, making you less likely to cough throughout the night. So an easy and pain free one for kids just dab the pillowcase with apple-cider vinegar before bed and cross your fingers for a good night. :)

8.Almonds & Walnuts

Almonds are warming and thermal in nature. They are well used in Ayurvedic medicine. They are used for lung conditions including coughing and asthma. The easiest way to use them is to make almond milk

Soak 1 cup of almonds in water overnight. The next day blend with 3 cups of water. Strain and blend again with some honey. Drink. 

Walnuts can reduce inflammation and pain. Also warming thermal in nature with a sweet flavour. They help moisten the lungs and help relieve coughing and wheezing brought on by coldness. Roasting them and eating them will ensure that they are safe to eat as walnuts may harbour parasites.


A traditional herbal remedy for treating respiratory ailments and coughs, eucalyptus appears in numerous cough syrups, lozenges and other over-the-counter products. A herbal steam or vapor bath containing eucalyptus oil can relieve a dry or productive cough, it breaks up mucous and fights bacteria in the lungs. Bring 4 cups of  water to a boil, remove from the heat and add 20 to 30 drops eucalyptus essential oil. Inhale the steam for at least 15 minutes with a towel draped over your head to trap the vapor.

Medicinal Properties of Pineapple

Pineapple is not just a nice addition to a fruit salad! Rich in the enzyme bromelain, research has shown that pineapple can be effective in treating inflamed lung conditions that can be caused by excessive coughing, it can suppress the urge to cough more, according to the National Library of Medicine. The bromelain naturally present in pineapple may provide similar effects for asthmatic coughs as well. A perfect weapon to have in the medicine cabinet.

Medicinal Properties of Honey

Honey is a well known and respected member of the kitchen medicine cupboard. It has a coating and soothing effect on the body. As well as its mineral and enzyme component it moistens dryness and treats a dry or hoarse throat or cough.

Medicinal Properties of Onion

Onions are pungent and influence the lungs, they promote warmth and move energy through the body. They are commonly used for the common cold & for reducing phlegm and inflammation in the nose and throat.


Hope some of this works for you!

If you have any of your own recipes that we can try please leave them in the comments!

Happy Healing XX ~ Lana

Lana Purcell is certified as a Holistic Health Counselor by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, where she trained in more than one hundred dietary theories and studied a variety of practical lifestyle coaching methods. She is certified by the Board of American Drugless Practitioners. Lana is passionate about Whole Foods and Food as Medicine. She is also a Raw Foods Coach who offers workshops in the Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria – Australia www.LanaPurcell.com

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/ERHULTXMYV7RRUHKV4ZIKHF7RQ Jen Lane

    Excellent information!  Thank you soooo much.  I love the info on pineapple, especially as it also helps asthma.  It is one of our favorite foods here, and now I feel even better about serving it often!   Also, with tons of food, chemical, and medication allergies in my family, some of these remedies will work wonders for my kids and I.  😀