How to make honey and ginger for cough?

Coughing is one of the most common symptoms when someone gets sick. It can be caused by a variety of illnesses like the common cold, flu, allergies, asthma, sinus infections, pneumonia, and more. Coughs help clear mucus and irritants from your throat and lungs, but constant coughing can be annoying and disruptive to your daily life.

When you have an irritating cough that won’t go away, you may be tempted to reach for over-the-counter cough medicines. However, these often contain chemicals, dyes and additives that can cause unwanted side effects. An easy, natural solution is to make your own cough remedy using ingredients like honey and ginger.

Honey has long been used as a home remedy for coughs. It works as a demulcent, which means it coats and soothes the throat. Honey is also an effective cough suppressant, with some studies showing it works as well as dextromethorphan, a common ingredient in over-the-counter cough medications. The honey thickens mucus in the airways, which can reduce coughing. Honey is also believed to have antimicrobial properties that can help fight infections.

Ginger also has a long history of use for treating coughs and colds. It contains anti-inflammatory compounds called gingerols that are believed to relax airways and thin mucus. The spicy heat of ginger may also suppress cough reflexes. Combining honey and ginger creates a powerful natural cough remedy without the chemicals found in many conventional cough syrups.

Benefits of Honey and Ginger for Cough

Using honey and ginger together for cough relief provides several benefits:

– All natural ingredients avoid side effects of medications
– Honey coats and soothes sore throat
– Ginger thins mucus and suppresses cough reflex
– Both ingredients have antimicrobial properties
– Honey acts as a natural cough suppressant
– Ginger contains anti-inflammatory compounds
– Easily made at home with common ingredients
– Pleasant, sweet taste appeals to kids and adults
– Safe for long-term use unlike some cough medicines
– Can be customized to suit personal taste preferences
– More affordable than over-the-counter cough remedies

The evidence supporting honey and ginger for coughs is very promising. By mixing these two ingredients into a simple syrup, you can quickly and easily make an effective cough remedy using things you likely already have in your kitchen.

Choosing the Honey and Ginger

When making a honey and ginger cough syrup, it’s important to use high quality ingredients for the best results:

Honey – Raw, unprocessed honey is best. It retains more of the beneficial antibacterial and antimicrobial compounds compared to filtered or pasteurized honey. Look for raw honey from local sources. Manuka honey from New Zealand is also a great choice due to its well-studied medicinal properties.

Ginger – Fresh ginger root will have the most gingerol, the active compound. Look for plump, unshriveled ginger root without wrinkles. Store fresh ginger in the crisper drawer of the fridge. Dried ground ginger can be used as well.

Water – Filtered or spring water is preferable. Tap water may contain chlorine and fluoride which can diminish some of the beneficial effects of the honey and ginger.

Lemon Juice – Freshly squeezed lemon juice adds vitamin C and additional antimicrobial properties. Bottled lemon juice works too.

Other Ingredients – Consider adding cinnamon powder or fresh turmeric root for extra benefits. Black pepper increases absorption of ginger’s active compounds. Cayenne pepper adds heat to suppress coughs.

Aside from the ingredients, you’ll need a small saucepan, wooden spoon, glass jar or bottle, fine strainer, cheesecloth or nut milk bag, and measuring cups and spoons. Now let’s get to making the cough syrup!

Recipe for Honey and Ginger Cough Syrup


– 1 cup raw honey
– 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger root
– 1 cup water
– 1/4 cup lemon juice
– Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)


1. Peel a 4 inch piece of fresh ginger root and grate it finely with a zester or microplane grater. You need about 1/4 cup freshly grated ginger.

2. Add the grated ginger and 1 cup of water to a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.

3. Reduce the heat to low and let the ginger and water mixture simmer for 10 minutes. This allows the beneficial compounds to infuse into the water.

4. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool slightly. Pour the ginger water through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth into a glass measuring cup. Press on the solids to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the grated ginger.

5. Add 1 cup of raw honey and 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice to the ginger water. Stir well to combine.

6. If you want to add a spicy kick, add a pinch of cayenne pepper.

7. Transfer the honey-ginger syrup to a glass jar or bottle. Store in the fridge for up to one month.

8. To use, take 1-2 tablespoons as needed to soothe cough and throat irritation. The syrup can be swallowed directly off the spoon or mixed with warm water or tea.


– Simmer the grated ginger for longer to make a stronger, more potent syrup. Up to 20 minutes.
– Can use dried ground ginger instead of fresh. Use 1-2 teaspoons ground ginger.
– Add spices like cinnamon or turmeric for additional benefits.
– If the honey crystallizes, place the jar in warm water to liquefy before using.
– For kids over 1 year, use 1/2 to 1 teaspoon as needed. Not recommended under age 1.
– Adults can take up to 1 tablespoon every 2-3 hours.
– Refrigerate after opening to preserve quality and shelf life.

This simple 3-ingredient honey ginger cough syrup takes only about 10 minutes to make. Keeping a batch in your fridge means you’ll always have a natural cough remedy on hand whenever colds or allergies strike. The combination of honey and ginger works together to coat, soothe, and calm coughs and sore throats.

The Science Behind Honey and Ginger for Coughs

Using a combination of honey and ginger as a cough remedy is backed by scientific research showing their beneficial effects, including:


– Has demulcent properties that coat and soothe irritated mucous membranes in the throat.

– Is hyperosmolar, meaning the high sugar concentration draws water from inflamed tissue, easing swelling and irritation.

– Has antibacterial and antimicrobial agents, including hydrogen peroxide, that inhibit bacterial growth and support wound healing.

– Contains antioxidants like polyphenols that may reduce coughs and enhance immune system function.

– Acts as a cough suppressant, demonstrated in studies to be as effective as common cough medicine ingredients.


– The gingerols, shogaols, and other active compounds exhibit analgesic, sedative, antibacterial, and gastroprotective effects.

– Has bronchodilation effects that relax airways and inhibit cough reflexes, as shown in human clinical trials.

– Reduces inflammation by inhibiting prostaglandins and leukotrienes, chemicals that promote inflammation.

– Thins and loosens mucus, making it easier to expel through coughing.

– Contains antioxidants like gingerols that may support immune health and suppress painful cough reflexes.

Together, these mechanisms make honey and ginger an effective natural cough remedy. The honey coats and soothes the throat while suppressing coughs. Ginger thins mucus and reduces inflammation and coughing. Both ingredients have antioxidant and antimicrobial effects for immune support.

Research suggests that honey and ginger each ease coughing on their own, but combining them may provide the most relief. In a 2018 study, a combo of honey and ginger reduced cough frequency and severity more than either one alone. The combination is likely more effective due to their complementary actions on cough and throat irritation.

Other Remedies for Soothing a Cough

In addition to honey and ginger, there are a few other natural ingredients to try for cough relief:

– Salt water gargle – Helps ease throat irritation and loosen mucus. Stir 1/2 teaspoon salt into a cup of warm water and gargle.

– Peppermint tea – The menthol has a cooling, soothing effect on the throat while thinning mucus. Drink up to 3 cups per day.

– Marshmallow root – The mucilage in marshmallow root coats and protects sore throat tissues. Take as a tea or lozenge.

– Thyme – Thyme contains compounds like thymol that relax cough spasms and reduce inflammation. Make into a tea or throat spray.

– Licorice root – Soothes sore throat and suppresses cough reflex. Use as a tea or lozenge. Should not exceed 4-6 weeks of use.

– Slippery elm – The bark contains mucilage that coats and soothes sore throat. Take as a powder or lozenge.

– Hot drinks – Sipping warm broth, tea, or water can help ease throat pain and break up congestion. Add lemon and honey for extra benefits.

These natural remedies can be used in conjunction with a honey and ginger cough syrup for maximum relief. They are generally safe for adults and older children. Of course, check with your doctor for guidance about which remedies are suitable if you have specific health conditions or are taking medications.

Are Honey and Ginger Safe for Children?

Honey and ginger can safely be used to treat coughs in most older children, but there are a few precautions. Under age one, honey is not considered safe due to the risk of infant botulism. Botulism spores can be present in honey and an infant’s digestive system may not be mature enough to handle them. Once over age one, honey can be used in moderation.

For preparing a cough syrup, use about 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of honey mixture per dose for children over one year old. Too much honey may cause abdominal discomfort. Ginger is also considered safe for children over one but use milder doses starting with just 1/8 teaspoon grated ginger in the syrup. Increase slowly as needed and watch for any stomach upset.

Check with your pediatrician about the appropriateness of natural cough remedies, especially if your child has asthma, reactive airway disease, or seasonal allergies. These conditions may require more specific treatment approaches. Caution is also warranted if the child has a persistent fever, difficulty breathing, or symptoms lasting more than one week.

Age Recommended Dosage
Under 1 year Not recommended
1-5 years 1/2 tsp honey-ginger syrup as needed
6-12 years 1 tsp honey-ginger syrup as needed
Over 12 years 1-2 tbsp honey-ginger syrup as needed

When used as directed, honey and ginger offer children a safe, natural option for soothing cough and sore throat. However, medical care should be sought if symptoms don’t improve within a few days or if fever develops.

Precautions When Using Honey and Ginger for Cough

Most people can use combinations of honey and ginger safely, but here are a few precautions to be aware of:

– Infants under one year should not have honey due to the risk of infant botulism. Honey is safe after age one.

– Those with glucose intolerance or diabetes should use honey in moderation due to its high sugar content. Monitor blood sugar closely.

– Honey should never be given to children under age one due to botulism risk. Use judiciously over age one.

– Ginger may increase bleeding risk. Avoid large doses of ginger if taking blood thinners.

– Ginger may cause heartburn or stomach upset in some people. Reduce the amount of ginger if this occurs.

– Do not substitute honey for medical treatment of coughs caused by smoking, asthma, emphysema, or bronchitis without consulting your doctor.

– Discontinue use if allergy symptoms develop or cough lasts more than one week without improvement. Seek medical advice.

– Not intended for children under age one, unless under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

As with any supplement or herbal remedy, discuss using honey and ginger cough syrup with your doctor if you take medications or have ongoing health conditions. While generally safe, the syrup is not intended to replace medical treatment if needed. When used appropriately, honey and ginger offer a well-tolerated natural approach to help ease cough and sore throat.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is honey better than sugar for a cough?

Yes, honey is more effective than regular sugar for coughs. In studies comparing honey to corn syrup and table sugar, honey consistently performed better at suppressing coughs. The viscosity of honey coats the throat, while its antimicrobial properties fight infection. Honey also contains compounds that actively suppress coughs.

2. Does honey and ginger really work for coughs?

Research shows honey and ginger are both effective at soothing coughs and sore throats. Honey acts as a demulcent, ginger thins mucus, and they both have anti-inflammatory effects. Combining the two together provides even greater relief. The evidence supporting their use for coughs is very strong.

3. How long does honey and ginger take to work for cough?

You should notice some relief within 30 to 60 minutes after taking honey and ginger cough syrup. The ginger works quickly to thin mucus secretions while the honey coats and soothes the throat. Maximal effects are typically experienced within 2 to 3 hours. For best results, take the syrup as soon as coughing begins.

4. Can I give honey and ginger while pregnant?

Yes, honey and ginger are considered safe natural options for coughs during pregnancy. Speak with your doctor about specific dosage recommendations. Use pasteurized honey to be extra cautious. Make sure your cough is not a sign of something more serious before self-treating. Call your doctor if you have concerns.

5. How long does honey ginger syrup last in the fridge?

Properly stored honey ginger cough syrup will last up to 4 weeks in the refrigerator. Make sure your jars are clean and dry before use. Refrigeration is important to inhibit microbial growth and preserve freshness. If the honey crystallizes, simply place the jar in warm water until liquefied again before use.


Honey and ginger together make a traditional folk remedy for coughs that is supported by modern scientific evidence. Both ingredients have demulcent, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can relieve coughs and soothe sore throats. Making your own cough syrup only takes about 10 minutes with simple kitchen ingredients.

Research shows honey performs better than corn syrup and sugar at suppressing coughs. Ginger’s ability to thin mucus and relax airways complements the mucilaginous effect of honey. Keep a jar of honey ginger cough syrup in your refrigerator so it’s ready whenever coughs flare up.

Of course, severe or persistent coughs may require proper medical treatment. But for mild irritation, this all-natural remedy can provide quick relief and comfort. The sweet taste appeals to children over age one and adults alike. Next time you or your family has the sniffles, try the soothing power of honey and ginger.

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