Got a sore, scratchy throat? According to a study published in Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, researchers concluded that buckwheat honey can be very helpful for soothing throat issues. Specifically, they found that during the night kids had fewer (and less severe) coughing episodes when they took it before bed. (1)
In the study, both the kids AND THEIR PARENTS got more sleep with this simple home remedy than any other way – who doesn’t need THAT?
So what’s so special about buckwheat honey? Made by bees who gather primarily from white buckwheat blossoms, this unique, molasses colored honey is incredibly rich in antioxidants and other compounds that support healing. (2)
However, other types may be beneficial as well – in folk medicine all varieties are considered to be helpful. It’s also possible to increase the antioxidant content of lighter-colored honey by infusing it with herbs like echinacea, elderberry or acerola cherry – this pre-made organic honey cough syrup from Genexa includes all three. It’s available in many grocery stores, health food stores, and pharmacies, so if you’re reading this list and you need it right away, you can check availability here. (I’m a partner with them, just FYI.)
You’ll find my easy “go to” recipe below – it blends honey with soothing extra-virgin olive oil and astringent lemon juice/apple cider vinegar, and it’s super easy to make.
Soothing Homemade Cough Syrup
- ¾ cup organic buckwheat honey Organic raw honey and local honey will also work
- ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-4 tbsp organic lemon juice Or raw apple cider vinegar
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper Optional – Cayenne contains capsaicin, which helps reduce discomfort by influencing Substance P – a chemical pain transmitter
- Mix all ingredients together in a clean jar.
- To use, simply give it a good stir and serve either room temperature or gently warmed.
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- Paul, Ian M. et. al. (2007) Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents
- Science Daily (1998) Dark Honey Has More Illness-Fighting Agents Than Light Honey
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Sheila Kilbane, MD, a board-certified pediatrician, trained in integrative medicine. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
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How much should be taken at a time? And how often for children and adults? Thank you!!
easy recipe ideas
usually 3 times per day one tea spoon for child, and double dose for adults…
How long should be stand there after done made it before serve to child ?
I would love to get your back pain remendy.
Hi Sandy, what pain remedy are you referring to?
Great recipe! Too bad it can’t be made to have on hand. I’m okay with making it in small batches, but I’ll just have to make sure that I have buckwheat honey on hand so I can make it when I need it! Otherwise, I don’t know where I would find raw buckwheat honey! We have always done local raw honey in tea to soothe a cough. Honey is amazing at coating the throat. It even soothes a sore throat, too. I don’t know what I would do without honey. Once we get some property, we’re getting our own bees! 😛
My hubby is a beekeeper. He talked me into putting some of the hives right in our backyard. We have a tiny little yard…not even 0.25 and as long as the bees have things to eat, they don’t bother us at all. (Right now we have 7 hives in our backyard and the rest in other locations. So you really don’t have to have too much land to have a few hives. Just be sure to keep them happy. 🙂 And then you can have pollen as well. I notice a real difference in the way I feel when I eat bee pollen more than anything else I have ever tried.
Do you sell any of your bee honey, looking for local honey.
Yes, looking for local honey
How much bee pollen do you eat at a time. Do you eat it in its raw state or mix with something? Please and thank you, Susan
You can eat pollen daily. Start with a small amount 1/4 tsp. It is pollen so you must be prepared for an allergic reaction. Oncecyou are sure you have no adverse reaction you can build slowly to a tbsp or more. Be sure you pollen doesnt come from big ag fields such as cotton etc.,
Know your beekeeper.?
Just an FYI I learned from my Great Aunt. You can keep honey on hand for a long time – it doesn’t go bad! If it does “sugar” or crystalize on you, simply heat it up (sunlight is best but works by putting the bottle in warm water on the stove). It will go back to the syrupy state we all love. 🙂
I second Darla’s question. I would actually like to make this today, as I feel a cough coming on.
How long will it last if unused?? I have everything in my pantry and would love to make a batch to have on hand for my kids. Thanks!!
At least a month in the fridge 🙂
What is the shelf life for this?
At least a month in the fridge 🙂
What if I forgot to put it in the fridge and left it on the counter for two weeks…
I assume that this would still be unsafe to give to children under one year of age due to the honey. But I too love to use raw honey for sore throat, I’ve just never heard of buckwheat honey. It looks wonderfully rich.
Yea, I mention that in the post next to the recipe. Buckwheat honey has a very strong taste which not everyone loves, but it is very effective!
Can you find the honey in a store such as kroger? I am unable to buy things off the internet and would love to make some of this for my girls as they are sick right now. thank you.
My local Kroger has local honey in the produce section. Hope your girls are better real quick!
You will be able to find honey at your local grocery store, but you probably won’t find raw honey at the store.
I am confused by Becky’s comment. . . I thought this could be made and stored in the fridge for future use. Am I missing something?
Either way, cannot wait to try it! Thanks so much!
I am curious about the use of EVOO, 1) what is the purpose of it in this mixture? (I have never heard of using it in this way before.) and 2) I was under the impression that EVOO would get clumpy in the fridge? 3) none of the ingredients necessarily need refrigerating, so would it be okay on the counter?
1) It helps coat the throat and contains a natural pain reliever. 2) It will, the storage recommendations are more for long-term storage if it is not used right away. I will update the post 3) Yes, I leave mine on the counter. I think the lemon juice may have a shorter shelf life than the apple cider vinegar, but in my experience they’ve been fine for at least a week on the counter.
Love this! I do something very similar but add organic cinnamon. I’ve heard cinnamon has great healing properties too. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks!
My family has Celiac Diseas, so we can’t do buckwheat, but I’m assuming this would work with just raw local honey instead, right?
I have a son with celiac disease too, and was alarmed when I first read the word buckwheat. I did a little extra research and discovered that it is gluten free as long as it hasn’t been cross contaminated in a factory.
I guess I should read it carefully before posting lol 🙂 I see that your recipe says either one!
You can also “infuse” the garlic and ginger by heating the oil in a pan, adding the garlic and ginger to it- then let it cool and mix with the honey and lemon.
Two of my boys have terrible barking coughs I don’t have a lemon on hand but have an organic orange – might that work as a substitute? Thanks!
I also have organic limes 🙂
This is awesome! I can’t wait to make this. I am loving all of your Mama-made remedies!
My mom would make her own version, with a peppermint candy that would melt in it and a splash of whiskey. That stuff worked better than over the counter meds. She still makes it.
Wow, that certainly sounds interesting. Can you post up how she does it?
Sounds like a hot tadi (sp)
Love this, added as my favorite post!
A cough somehow slipped by our daily dose of homemade elderberry syrup and FCLO…grrr. So, I JUST whipped this up because I could no longer find my favorite all natural cough syrup (made by Maty’s) at my local store, which has a VERY similar ingredient list! So I’m HOPEFUL this will work as well or even better! One question, I used raw buckwheat honey, org evoo, and Braggs ACV, and threw in some organic ground cinnamon just for “fun” 😉 I’m confused why this wouldn’t be ok stored in the pantry for a very long time (not just a week/month) all of the ingredients in it have very long shelf lives…does mixing them together shorten their shelf life??? Thanks!
Y’all, I HAD to share! I think this stuff might be magic!! At least combined with my FCLO and elderberry syrup it is! My son’s hacking cough is GONE after only half a day on this stuff, followed by a goodnight’s sleep!! Chalk another one up for all natural, homemade treatment!! 🙂
YAY! So glad to hear that, Mindy!
How do u make ur elderberry syrup n FCLO. There r many receipes out there and I want one that I know works. Thabks so much
Feeling old just by asking but what is FCLO?
It’s Fermented cod liver oil. You can read my thoughts on it here: https://mommypotamus.com/cod-liver-oil-kids/
First, congrats on babypotamus #3! Secondly, I just made this with avocado oil because I haven’t yet made the trip to pick up newly-discovered GA-grown organic olive oil (YAY!) and don’t have any EVOO on hand, didn’t want to use the “regular” Pompeiian OO that hubby had hidden away in the pantry. I also didn’t have buckwheat honey per se, but a very dark local autumn harvest honey. Seems to be keeping the throat tickle at bay and I’m keeping it by the bedside. This is by far the most delicious cough syrup I’ve used, and I don’t worry about the honey affecting my teeth (which I’m working on remineralizing/healing gums). Thanks!!
I use a similar recipe – using coconut oil instead of olive oil, and adding ginger and cinnamon. Really does work well. 🙂
I always used plain buckwheat honey. I will have to try this soon. Knock on wood. If we get sick. 😛
Love this — my daughter has autism and we try put as few chemicals in her as possible. Right now we use straight raw honey, but this sounds great!
I was wondering if it is a half cup of ginger infused? It says 1/2 cup onion or ginger so I just wanted to make sure. Seems like it would be very spicy. Thanks!!!!
I also wondered whether 1/2 cup of ginger was the right amount. Could you clarify this for us Heather?
Amanda @ Mommypotamus Support
Meg, that’s right! It’s 1/2 cup of onion or ginger depending on what you decide to use.
Can you recommend something for babies?
My grandma used to put a plate of sliced raw onion sprinkled with sugar in the warming compartment of the oven. This made a tasty cough syrup that worked wonders. Knocked whatever bug you had straight to the curb.
If your stove does not have a warming section put oven on low setting and place plate in oven long enough for the juices to run from the onion. Hope this helps you.
Yes, I’m wondering about the amount of ginger too.
I put cayenne pepper in mine
Wendy Bateman Holm
I used this the last time I was sick and up coughing all night! It worked great. Thanks so much for sharing things like this. I’m nursing so would have just “sucked it up” and coughed all night. But I was able to sleep and get well much quicker.
Karin Fuentes Antigua
Kellsi Foster, cinnamon is also good to add
Warm steam gets nasty mucus flowing outta nasal passages too.
add garlic and it is a great thing
I’m so glad to hear that, Wendy Bateman Holm!
Amy Best Hannah
Proved this just last week with DIY. My 4-year-old and her best friend(same age, go to preschool together), were sick with coughing, lung congestion and high fevers. Heidi only had a fever for 4 days(never over 101F) and her friend had a fever for 11 days(topped at 103F and took antibiotics after a doctor visit!) also Heidi never passed it on to the rest of us and her friend Elena gave it to the whole family of 4.
Yes, and regular Chiropractic care too!
Garlic, good natural antibacterial. Warm cup of Ginger tea with some honey to sweeten. Soothing for irritated throat & tummy calming.
Coconut oil tastes a LOT better in this. Also, if you have a sore throat with the cough, the lemon can hurt pretty bad…in these cases, i just take and mix honey with cinnamon and take a teaspoon every time i start coughing. Works like a charm.
When my 18 month old had RSV and double Pneumonia a couple weeks ago i gave him equal parts onion juice and raw local honey, 1 tsp an hour until better. Knocked it out in less than 4 days. I gave it to my 12 year old son and took it myself at the first signs of congestion and we were both over it in less than 4 days.
Since Hubby and I foresee living in Haiti as missionaries in the next few years, this is the kind of thing I need to find and keep track of for living there but also for our own family! Thank you for sharing this simple recipe.
You can also take crushed garlic, put it on a wort, with yes, duct tape over it…& the wort, magically disappears. Works great on plantar wort, as well as, common wort.
My Grandma did this with honey, lemon and whiskey! I don’t know if it soothed our coughs, but it definitely calmed us down and helped us rest! 🙂
Tina Wolfe maybe this will help the cough? Saw it and thought of you all!
Thank you Kristine! If I can get him to drink it now. Ugh. Definitely keeping it for future use for us though!
Megsanity. Women, psychology and expletives.
We do this…and cayenne pepper tea for sore throats. Works amazing.
All the ingredients are shelf-stable, so this would be fine to mix and just keep on hand, right?
I’d really recommend buying local honey from a beekeeper in your neighbourhood rather than a mass produced product tho. A lot of the mass produced store bought honey’s are mainly sugar syrup with some honey waved over them
I was just thinking last night “I wonder why you are not supposed to give honey to babies? And I wonder at what age it is ok?” I would check into it.
reminds me of my mother
You can also warm(not cook-only enough heat to melt)raw honey, coconut oil and lemons juice, put them in a small candy mold and refrigerate until they’re solid again and use them as natural throat and cough drops.
Laurie Williams George
Penny- it’s 1 yr and the reason is botulism risks. I read way too many pregnancy/baby books these days. 🙂
Thanks for this, Renee McJimsey Sons! I’m actually home with her today-she woke up with fever-I’ll be going to pick up these items later today!
Penny Hilton, the reason you’re advised not to give honey under 1 year is that honey can contain botulism spores that are no danger to us, but in the underdeveloped digestive system of an infant can be deadly. It’s a slim chance of the spores being there, but the consequences if they are is too high to risk for an infant so it’s better to just avoid it altogether until they’re a bit older.
Renee McJimsey Sons
Awesome Beth Lege!!! I hope she feels better asap
Renee McJimsey Sons, do you know who sells local honey in the vermilion parish area?
Renee McJimsey Sons
If you go to the farmers market on Saturday in Erath I think they sell se there. If not, you can go to fresh Pickens in Lafayette on kaliste saloon. They have a whole selection of honey. Just read the labels and find the one that is least processed and most local. I wish I could spare some of mine (we raise bees), but I can’t until May or so
Denise Augustyniak Speck
That is correct, I believe in the old ways first!
Heather Fortna Wise
Coconut oil is preferable.
Thanks, Renee McJimsey Sons.
Worth a try! Over the counter never worked for us anyway.
Diana Colome Marin
I didn’t know about olive oil GFlove Perez, but I will add it to my mix. I keep a pote of honey, lemon juice and aloe Vera in the refrigerator and we take about four teaspoons a day
Traci Lynn Veek
Awesome! I could really use this right now.
thank you thank you!
Mahah El Mais
Thank you for this recipe! Do you warm it u on the stove in case you wanted to? Probably not too much so it does’t lose it’s rawness?
Cathy Morris Lohan
my mom always gave me honey and lemon when we were coughing
I have never had it with olive oil, BUT am willing to try!! Xoxo
Be careful giving honey to children unless you are SURE they are not allergic to bees.
Could I use manuka honey and pure organic bottled lemon juice?
Elizabeth ProfessorSprout Russell
Esther – Manuka honey has tons of great medicinal properties, so yes! Some people prefer local raw honey, which would also work. Get organic wherever possible to make sure you’re getting the best quality, too.
Appreciate everyone’s comments & ideas. I end up with upper respiratory infection then un-ending cough as a result of allergy to local pollen/plants (central TX). Thought I was doing good to try what I thought was “local” honey, lemon juice, warm water—pays to research! It IS local—but mixed with honey from Brazil & another country—-& not organic. AND local plants are what I’m allergic to. It got rid of my cough but I ended up with a painful red rash in my mouth & all the way down my throat. So time to do more research! Also appreciate comments re elderberry & FODMAP. I can tolerate some onion & very little garlic. Need to see if the local health store has the right honey and/or find someone with organic. Still don’t know how I’d react to local since what I used is not 100% local or organic. Thanks for all the good info. By the way, the label on my honey container has a caution note not to give honey to children under the age of one.
Sandy Thomasson Graves
No honey to children under 2
I thought it was 1???
I always heard it was 1. I think it is 2 for peanut products?
Mahah El Mais, you don’t have to heat it. The instructions only call for infusing the honey.
I’m 95% sure it’s one year old every source I have come across says no honey before one.
Kristen Green Byers
It before one!
I really don’t get the under 1 thing. Honestly u wouldn’t give it to a baby, but it’s been used for generations as a medicinal product and in my family and generations before hand we have used raw honey for all sorts of things.
Food is so corrupt and some ppl really have no common sense so they’ve just covered their butts and put an age down to be on the safe side.
If you are prepared to give a child under 1 cough syrup then u are better off using the honey. IMHO
This also makes a beautiful make up remover/ face cleanser. Apply and wipe with a warm wet washer.
(I use equal parts)
Rachel Holmes, do you have a recipe for your throat drops? I’d love to make some – what a great idea!
Bethany I don’t use one. Just eyeball it. You just need to be sure that the coconut oil is a greater ratio then the rest of the ingredients so it solidifies, then store it in the fridge to keep it cool which is nice and soothing.
Craig Thomas Martins
My Great Grandmother used to use this to cure almost everything. What this didn’t cover her mustard Plasters did… Pass the Cod Liver Oil! LOL!
Do not give honey to a baby, you risk them getting botulism. There is natural bacteria in honey and infants under a year should NOT have it because their immune system is immature. Honey is an excellent food and also has some medicinal properties, just not for babies 🙂
Brittney Lohn Harmon
Tracy Duffield- might be another good one to try
Keshava Das Cavenagh
Look out for the babies!
Kirsten R Wolfford
My mum used to give us honey, garlic, lemon juice & ginger
Nancy Trimble Arden
yea, thank you for a drug free way to stop that nasty cough.
Elizabeth Smith Boblitt
I’m extremely allergic to bees and can have honey, fyi
I have done this but used coconut oil in place of olive oil.
Well of course it does, it was made by God, not man. :oD
Zarbees is an OTC cough syrup with Honey being the main ingredient. I wonder if its BuckWheat honey? I’ve tried it and it has helped my kids!
I love zarbee’s
I can’t find buckwheat honey in Australia. I have replaced it with Manuka honey, which is meant to have healing properties. It has been the best thing so far to get rid of our hacking, post-viral cough.
Wonderful. So glad to hear that, Meaghan!
hi my 6months baby girly has been coughing for two days now and im not sure which medicineto give her pls help
Cynthia, I would seek the advice of a qualified professional. This syrup is not appropriate for children under one year. Hope she feels better soon.
is it safe to take if you are pregnant?
Looks like a great recipe! I’m going to try this next time someone in my family has a cough. I’m writing a post about coughs (to publish in a few days) and I’m going to link this recipe! 🙂
I have been feeling pretty lousy this week, with a horrible cough. I wrote this recipe down when I first saw it (months ago), figuring I might need it. It’s fantastic! I used 4 TBSP of Bragg’s ACV and added the cayenne for my aches. I’m so happy not to need a chemically-laden syrup. And, thrilled that the cayenne seemed to be enough to take the edge off the aches, so no ibuprofen either! 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing your wisdom.
Thanks for this Heather! Two quick questions:
Where do you find raw buckwheat honey? I’ve never seen it.
And could you substitute coconut oil for EVOO? I think my son would be more likely to take it that way.
Can you combine all the add-in’s at one or should just one add-in be in the syrup?
You can combine as many as you’d like to 🙂
What is the best way to strain the ginger?
I would like to know what is the dose of your cough syrup for the cough of my 7 year old son? Should I give him only when he has a cough or is there a fixed dose like give three times a day etc? He has dry cough because of his allergy or post laryngitis. His docs are not sure. Please reply. Thanks.
what is the shelf life for this cough syrup?
Can I give this to my 4 yrs old son? He’s been coughing and have colds as well.
How often do I give it to my daughter?
How often can I give to a 2yr 9months old? And can I consume it myself as I’m breast feeding a 11weeks old baby?
I used this for my children and myself when we both had a head cold, runny nose and a phlegmy cough. This stuff is MAGIC! Soothing, no worries about overdosing and very delicious. I used raw honey w/ lemon and I added ginger. We all got better in about 2 days.
Maybe I’m not seeing it, but how much should you administer?
I see people saying that they have used coconut oil or avocado oil instead. Any thoughts on this? Pros, cons, different amounts? I only ask because I happen to have those on hand. Thanks!
Is this safe to take while pregnant? I’m having no luck finding something for my horrible cough.
Can I add garlic, onion, and ginger instead of just one?
Yes, you can!
What oil can I use instead of olive oil? there are no high quality olive oils Where I live therefore i don’t use olive oil much sadly. Or can I just go without the oil in this cough syrup?
I added oregano oil to the recipe….another germ fighter.
This looks great for the next time my kiddo has a cough. For me, not so great, being that I found out honey was one of the issues causing huge digestive distress along with other things (have to be Low FODMAP). It’s awful being sick and not being able to digestively tolerate some of the most potent natural healing ingredients around such as honey, garlic, or onion!
This worked for my 9-year-old. Thank you!
Would this work for a 14 months baby? and how do you recommend I give it to her and how often?
Thanks for sharing this!
I see a lot of fun people asking how much to give to a child. That’s my question as well. Please provide some insight about how much and how often, my kids are 2 and 4 yr olds. Thank u!
Should I let it infuse on the counter or in the fridge?
Hi Heather, it would be really useful (to me, at least) if your posts had printable versions (a “printable” button), so that I would just print out my favourite articles easily and put them in my various ‘health folders’. I hope for it to happen. Thanks.
The buckwheat honey in the link is from europe or else where. There is no honey from the U S that is certified organic.
That said, any honey should be bought from a beekeeper you trust. The big box stores are selling cheap super filtered honey that has no medicinal value left in it.
All honey has medicinal value in its raw state .
Look at your farmers markets
I am a beekeeper and I value the gifts of the hive too much to tamper with the m.
Heather, Is there any reason that you would not add the garlic, onion and ginger together and soak in the honey? Thankyou, Margaret
What is FCLO?
Why all the “comments” with only names??? They are disturbing.
A long time ago comments from Facebook automatically showed up on the site, too. The names are people that tagged friends. I delete them when I come across them, so putting that on my list for this week. 🙂
FCLO is fermented cod liver oil. I choose raw cod liver oil over FCLO, and explain why in this post.
Thank you! I thought I knew most acronyms, but FCLO just seemed to escape my brain cells! I wondered, as I come across names in post comments all the time and they, for some reason, disturb me! Thanks for clearing up my questions! I am in the process of making cold and flu remedies, and wanted another cough recipe. I have Fire Cider brewing, made an elderberry/elderflower syrup and just finished up a few tinctures: olive leaf, oregano and a cough oxymel. I do love your blog!!! I wish raw local buckwheat honey was available here in Oregon. I dislike having to rely on honey bought online! Never sure if it is really honey! I did just order two different ones on Amazon, and hope they are true and pure. I’ll be making this as soon as I get the honey.
Most are worried about giving to children 14 months to 2 years, you can give them a lower dose like 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon at a time. If you notice when you buy cough meds that they have lower dosing for children and sometimes it depends on weight of the child. I would start with this as a guide line. I also would not use add ins for the children’s version. I hope this helps or ask a nurse who is in pediatrics.
Heather, you are truly an inspiration! Your health care recipes are reliable and they work! Well done! Thank you so much for sharing.
Thank you for this recipe it is very soothing and delicious.