Make your own all natural cough syrup using ginger, thyme and fresh limes.

Every winter I used to get a hacking cough that I believed  was brought on by the damp moisture in the air when we lived in Virginia. 

Since moving to Maine, I still get the cough, which now seems to be caused by the dry winter air, so go figure! Regardless, my cough seems to hang on until spring.

I've been to our family physician who prescribes me cough medicine with Codeine and basically says just let it run its course. Sometimes I did just that. Other years I just drank RobitussinDM by the bottle full until the cough went away.

Then several years ago I decided I was done with conventional cough medicines and would make my own. There are lots of cough syrup recipes that call for lemons, but since I didn't have any lemons, I subbed in a lime.

I also added some fresh ginger and thyme from the garden. I played with the amount of honey a bit, to make the syrup a bit thicker than many of the recipes called for.

The resulting cough syrup not only tastes yummy and only takes a few minutes to make, but also works - and I won't worry about swigging unnatural ingredients for the next several weeks as my body slowly works its way through this. 

 Homemade Ginger Lime Thyme Cough Syrup 

Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

1 lime, thinly sliced
3/4 cup honey (Makuna honey, or raw, organic and local is best, but any kind is fine)
Generous handful of fresh thyme (read  HERE how to grow it through the winter)
Fresh ginger, sliced ( I used about a 2" piece) or dried ginger (maybe a tablespoon)
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 cups water

Place the lime slices in a pint canning jar or other glass container, pour the honey over the top and set aside. 

Soaking in the honey will draw the lime juice out, but just to be sure I like to poke the lime slices a bit with a wooden skewer or the tip of a knife to allow even more juice to escape. 

In a small saucepan, bring the thyme, ginger slices, and pepper to a boil in the water and then reduce to a simmer.

Cook uncovered until the liquid is reduced to about half, leaving you roughly one cup.  

Remove from the heat and let cool completely. 

Strain the liquid into your pint jar (your chickens will love the discarded thyme and ginger slices!), and stir or whisk well to combine. And that's it. You can pull out the lime slices at this point.

Store your cough syrup in the refrigerator (it will keep for 3 to 4 weeks) and take a tablespoonful throughout the day as needed, especially before bedtime. 

Shake the jar to redistribute the ingredients.

Why it Works

High in Vitamin C like lemons, also antiviral and anti-inflammatory, prevent colds and lessen cold symptoms 

Cough suppressant, soothes sore throats, antibacterial and immune system booster

Treats respiratory infections, boosts immune system, antiviral/antiseptic, relieves dry coughs. If you don't have any thyme, other herbs such as oregano, mint, sage and anise hyssop are also excellent for treating coughs. Brew and steep the same way as above. 

Treats common cold, thins mucus and warms the lungs, anti-inflammatory, strengthens the immune system 

Black Pepper 
Works as an expectorant, reduces inflammation, improves breathing

Note: if you are so inclined, a splash of whiskey wouldn't hurt either! That was my mom's go-to cough remedy for us as kids - lemon juice, honey and whiskey - and believe it or not, whiskey does seem to have some health benefits including being an immune system booster and antioxidant.

©2015 by Fresh Eggs Daily, Inc. and updated in 2024 for  Coop to Kitchen.  All rights reserved.