How to make natural homemade cough drops at home to soothe a sore throat and ease a nasty cough. Rather than buying the pre-made, sugar-filled cough drops from the store, you can make your own from wholesome, natural ingredients.
If you’ve ever checked the ingredients label on the back of some of the varieties of cough drops or lozenges available at the store, you may have noticed the list of chemical ingredients like artificial colours, flavours, and preservatives, or the large quanities of sugar used to make the cough drops palatable.
The recipe I share below for Homemade Herbal Cough Drops uses a combination of herbs and honey to help alleviate cough symptoms and boost immune function, helping with a quick recovery. While there is quite a lot of honey used in this recipe, it’s necessary to help form the drops into a “candy”, and to act as a preservative. You will only be consuming two to three of these drops at the most a day as well.
Unlike the “honey” cough drops you find at the store, these drops are made from real, raw honey with no other sweeteners. Plus, they’re flavoured with real, organic herbs to help provide immune-boosting properties. You can also use Manuka honey which provides antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties.
There are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind when making these homemade cough drops.
As with making candy, you have to be very careful not to burn the mixture. Stirring constantly is important. You really need to be watching the mixture the entire time in order to prevent your cough drops from turning into a pan of sticky, scorched syrup.
It’s also important that all the moisture be removed from the mixture while it’s cooking, otherwise the mix won’t be solid enough to form cough drops.
For a simple cough syrup recipe made from all-natural ingredients and proven to relieve a dry, sore, irritated throat and cough, see here.
Ingredients Used in these Natural Cough Drops
Some great herbs to include that may help to soothe a sore throat and ease symptoms of coughing include the following.
- Frankincense (particularly helpful for coughs brought on by phlegm)
- Cypress (helps loosen phlegm, clear congestion, and ease coughing)
- Eucalyptus (helps clear nasal congestion)
- Lemon (particularly the peel)
- Oregano (helps combat against upper respiratory infections)
- Peppermint (helps soothe coughing)
- Slippery elm bark (particularly helpful for dry, irritated throats)
- Juniper berry
- Cayenne pepper
Choose one or more of the above herbs to include in your homemade cough drops to help alleviate symptoms of coughing and promote a quick recovery. You can cater your cough drops to your needs by selecting herbs that provide certain health benefits.
Before we get started in learning how to make these homemade cough drops – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!
Homemade natural Cough Drops
Pick a combination of the above herbs to help sooth coughing, congestion and a sore throat while boosting the immune system.
- 2 cups water
- 1 tbsp slippery elm
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice or lemon zest
- 1 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp dried peppermint
- 1 tbsp dried oregano
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek seeds
- 1 1/2 cups raw honey
- 1/4 cup slippery elm powder, for coating the cough drops
- 1/4 cup powdered stevia, for coating the drops (optional)
- Silicone candy moulds or parchment paper
- Wax paper (for wrapping the drops)
- For the herbal tea, in a medium size saucepan, bring two cups of water to a boil.
- Add one tablespoon of each herb you’ll be using into a medium size bowl and pour the boiling water over the top of the herbs. Let the tea steep for at least 20 minutes or until the water is cool.
- Strain out the herbs using a nut milk bag and use one cup of the herbal tea for the next part of the recipe. You can place the rest of the tea in the refrigerator and save it for another batch or mix it with one cup of raw honey for a simple cough syrup.
- To make the cough drops, pour one cup of the herbal tea into a medium saucepan.
- Add the honey and heat the mixture over medium-high heat until it reaches 150°C (300°F). If you don’t have a candy thermometer, this usually takes around 30 minutes and can be tested by dropping a tiny amount (about a drop) of the mixture into ice water to see if it hardens immediately. It should harden to the point that the drop breaks if dropped on the counter. You can also tell it’s ready when the mixture starts to foam and separate. At this point, remove it from the heat quickly so it doesn’t burn.
- Pour the mixture into candy moulds, or drop teaspoons of the mix onto a large sheet of parchment paper.
- If you are not using moulds, you will need to form the mixture into cough drops by hand. Let the mix cool until it is cool enough to touch without burning your skin (this will take 10 to 15 minutes), and immediately and very quickly form it into cough drop shapes with your hands or a teaspoon dipped in ice cold water (which helps to reduce sticking).
- Allow the finished cough drops to cool and set in their moulds or on the parchment paper.
- Once completely cool, toss the cough drops into a jar with a mixture of slippery elm powder and stevia to prevent them from getting sticky in the humidity. Give the jar a good shake to cover all sides of the lozenges, then tap off the excess powder and wrap each one securely in wax paper. Place the wrapped drops in a jar with an airtight lid.
- Store the jar of cough drops in a cool, dry place and use as needed for coughing, congestion or a sore throat.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Have you made a homemade cough drops before? How were they? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,