I don’t know about you, but it’s been a COLD winter here in Northern Virginia. Almost everyone around me, including all 4 of us in my family, has come down with something. Coughing and sore throat is a common complaint and we’re all looking for relief. I’m not a big fan of OTC cough syrups. I prefer to use natural cough remedies for myself and my family, and I figured you might want the same for your family too. In this post, I’m sharing my natural honey ginger cough syrup recipe.
Most OTC cough syrups contain Codeine- and Dextromethorphan as active ingredients. However, the American Academy of Pediatrics advices against the use of these medications in children (full report here). Here’s some of what the report says:
Plus, the long list of processed inactive ingredients in most of these products is just unappealing.
For these reasons, I prefer to go with nature’s remedies; honey and ginger.
Disclaimer: this doesn’t substitute medical advice. See your doctor to make sure you or your child doesn’t have an underlying respiratory condition or a bacterial infection that needs treatment.
Honey and Cold and Cough
Honey is an anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial agent. It soothes irritations, including the skin, mucus membranes, and internal organs.
In one study, parents rated buckwheat honey better than dextromethorphan and better than no treatment in relieving cough and improving sleep quality in children with upper respiratory infection. Another study compared three different types of honey (eucalyptus honey, citrus honey, or labiatae honey) to a placebo and found that honey results in better cough relief in children with upper respiratory infection.
Reminder: don’t introduce honey to children under 1 year old.
Ginger and Cough and Cold
Ginger has an anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory benefits. Ginger root has chemicals called sesquiterpenes that fight against rhinoviruses, one of the causes of the common cold. Fresh, but not dried, ginger was found to have anti-viral activity and can fight against human respiratory syncytial virus (HRSV).
Research on ginger is still in its infancy and most of its health benefits come from Eastern Ayurvedic medicine. Ginger works on all tissues of the body bringing balance and warmth. It’s a natural pain killer and cough suppressant. It helps break down toxins that accumulate in the organs, particularly in the lungs and sinuses. The lymph system is the body’s natural sewage system, and ginger helps cleanse lymph cells and nodes, preventing the accumulation of toxins that could make someone susceptible to weakened immune system and respiratory infections.
While you can drink warm ginger tea with honey, I found this recipe perfect for young kids who may not be comfortable with hot drinks. It’s also faster. With the cold and cough I’ve been having, I take one tablespoon first thing in the morning and right before bedtime, and it makes a huge difference.
Natural Honey Ginger Cough-Suppressant Syrup
- 1.5 tablespoons lemon zest (wash lemon thoroughly)
- ¼ cup peeled and sliced fresh ginger (not dried)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup honey (your local honey preferred)
- ½ cup fresh lemon juice
- In a small sauce pan, combine lemon zest, ginger, and water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 5 minutes on low heat.
- Strain the mixture into a heat-proof cup. Collect the water.
- In the same pan, add 1 cup honey and warm it on low heat. Do not let it boil.
- Stir in the strained lemon-ginger water and ½ cup lemon juice. Make sure they're combined well.
- Pour into a clean glass jar with a lid.
- Store in your fridge for up to 6 months.
- For children 1-5 years old, take 1-2 teaspoons every 4 hours. For adults, take 1-2 tablespoons every 4 hours.
Do you use ginger and honey for cough and cold? Do you have any other natural remedies?