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Soothing Throat & Cough Drops Recipe

It was the morning of my mother-in-law's 50th wedding anniversary and vow renewal ceremony, and she was suffering from a horrible, barking, persistent cough that was threatening to ruin her big day. I was running to the local grocery store to grab a few forgotten items and she asked me if I could find her a cough syrup that didn't contain Dextromethorphan.

Little did I know that every single cough syrup on the shelves contained this toxic ingredient that has many known side effects such as blurred vision, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, slowed breathing, psychosis, seizures, and even coma. I was disheartened to find that even the children's remedies all contained this ingredient.

Finally, hidden on the very top shelf I found an all-natural cough syrup that contained two ingredients: honey and elderberry. It was made for very young children, but I intuitively knew that it would help her. If you've been here before, you know that I love a good ol' fashioned honey remedy. I've written about my love of Manuka honey a few times including here and here.

I told my mother-in-law to triple the dose of this children's medicine, and within minutes the silence in the room told everyone that it was working! Since then, I've been on the search for other all-natural remedies that could soothe a nagging cough or a sore throat. I tinkered a bit with a few recipes I found online and finally settled on my own creation of a homemade, natural throat drop recipe.

There are many benefits of this recipe including its ability to:

  • Soothe a dry or itchy throat

  • Relieve a sore and irritated throat

  • Naturally suppress a cough

  • Help break up phlegm and mucus

  • Settle an upset stomach

Natural Ingredients

These drops taste delicious, are non-toxic, healthy, and safe enough for everyone over the age of one-year-old. First, let's break down all the main ingredients in this recipe:

Raw Honey

The main ingredient in this recipe is raw honey, which is known for its cold-fighting superpowers. Honey can also help to soothe a sore throat. Some studies have found that honey is more effective at relieving coughs than over-the-counter cough syrups!

When it comes to using raw honey for at-home remedies, I always prefer to use Manuka Honey. If you can't afford Manuka or you're in a pinch, you can substitute it with a raw, unpasteurized honey, preferably from a local farmer.

Please note that not all Manuka honeys are created equally. When using Manuka for medicinal purposes, you want to make sure that it contains plenty of the main antibacterial component called methylglyoxal (MGO). Most store-bought Manuka's have less than 30mg of MGO per kilogram of honey, which isn't going to help you very much.

You want to shop for a raw honey that contains a MGO rating of 30 or higher. Personally, I strive for 100+ MGO when I buy mine. Manuka Honey is not cheap, but I promise you, a high-quality Manuka is worth the investment. Here's two brands that I have personally used: Manukora and Comvita.

Essential Oils

Citrus properties, such as those found in lemons and oranges contains antibacterial and antiviral properties that are commonly used to treat coughs and colds. They also help to break up congestion and mucus.

Clove is known as one of the most powerful antioxidants on the planet and is a powerhouse against respiratory issues and infections. It has a gentle numbing property which can help to ease throat and mouth pain.

Ginger, a warming herb, helps increase circulation, reduce inflammation, and helps boost your immunity. It is especially helpful at soothing sore or irritated throats and relieving coughs.

Cinnamon bark is another common ingredient used to help increase healthy immune and respiratory function. A simple google search on each of these ingredients will show you all the ways in which these ingredients have been studied for their antiviral, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial characteristics.

If you're in need of essential oils, I've created a custom shopping link with these 5 oils already added -- just for you! Click here to access these incredible oils at 25% off.

Vitamin C Powder

Vitamin C powder (also known as ascorbic acid) is another powerful antioxidant that can help to strengthen your immune system. According to Healthline, "vitamin C helps encourage the production of white blood cells known as lymphocytes and phagocytes, which help protect the body against infection." It can also help the body speed up its recovery time from illness.

The Vitamin C powder mixed with powdered sugar gives your throat drops a "sour candy" flavor, which is a big hit with children and adults alike. Dusting the honey drops with these two ingredients also helps to keep the candy from sticking to the molds and to each other.

Natural Honey Cough & Throat Drop Recipe

These cough and sore throat drops will calm and soothe your airways. The honey will suppress a nagging cough while the essential oils will work to boost the immune system and provide pain relief.

  • 1/2 cup distilled water

  • 1/2 cup natural honey

  • 2 drops Lemon oil

  • 2 drops Orange oil

  • 1 drop Ginger oil

  • 1 drop Clove oil

  • 1 drop Cinnamon oil

  • Optional for dusting: 1 tablespoon ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) powder

  • Optional for dusting: 1/4 cup powdered cane sugar

  1. Combine honey and water in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Watch the mixture closely and stir frequently until it begins to boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the side of pan where it will not touch the bottom or side. Continue boiling until the honey/water mixture reaches 300°F on the thermometer and is bubbly.

  2. Once the mixture hits 300°F immediately remove the saucepan from the heat and stir until the foam and bubbles reduce. Allow the mixture to cool for 5–10 minutes, or until the consistency becomes thick and syrupy.

  3. After the mixture has cooled for several minutes, add the essential oils, stirring to combine.

  4. Dust a candy mold with ascorbic acid powder and/or powdered cane sugar. Pour the honey mixture into molds and allow to completely cool at room temperature. (Note: Do not put in the refrigerator or freezer to speed up cooling time as it won't harden properly.)

  5. Once completely cool, remove from the molds and dust again with ascorbic acid powder and/or sugar to keep the drops from sticking together.

  6. Store in an airtight container in a cool place or the refrigerator. Use as needed.

Best Bets and Tips

Probably the most important tip that I can share is that you're going to want to watch the saucepan of honey very closely as it can scorch rather easily. Because we're only heating the mixture on medium setting, it will take a while to reach temperature. So, have some patience and plan on staying very close to your stovetop and mixing frequently. A candy thermometer will also help to ensure you don't overcook the honey.

If you don't have a candy thermometer, don't worry. You can still make this recipe; you'll just have to use a little intuition as to when your mixture is ready to take off the burner. It will start to get very bubbly and foamy when it's ready to be removed from the heat. You can also drop a small bit into a glass of icy cold water. It should form a solid ball. Once it's cool, bite into it... if it's chewy, it's not quite ready yet. If it's hard, like candy, then it's good to go! This means it will hold its shape really well for you.

Unless you have a special candy-making saucepan, you're going to want to run your pan under hot water to clean. Do not, I repeat... DO NOT let the mixture in your pan get cool or else it will take an eternity to clean. Rinse it promptly with the hottest water that you have to make cleaning up easy.

Finally, I think these drops work best with a candy mold. But, if you don't have one, I think you could spread this mixture out on a baking pan lined with wax paper. Once cooled, you should be able to break the recipe up into bite-sized pieces that can be sucked on. I also think a lollipop mold for small children would be a great idea to help prevent choking.

I hope you've enjoyed this recipe!

With love,



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