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Homemade Cough Drops (Made with Honey and Herbs)

Homemade cough drops are not only so much healthier than regular cough drops, they are better tasting too.  The ingredients used in this DIY cough drop recipe are effective and organic.  Instead of purchasing them, you will be shown how to make them ahead and store them for when a cold or sore throat hits!

homemade cough drops

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I made this particular homemade cough drops with a natural sugar source for my daughter who only will use honey for sugar. 

These cough drops are delicious but can be a little fussy because you must make sure they reach the hardening stage.  You can do this by using a candy thermometer to gauge the temperature. Also, put the cough drops into the refrigerator and store.  This hardens them and keeps them hard.

If they do not reach the hardening stage, they are still effective, just a little softer.  Adding them to a hot tea is a wonderful way to use them if this ends up being the case.  Or if you want a honey chew, pull the mixture from the heat just prior to it reaching the hardening stage.

Honey has so many health benefits for the body and this includes fighting colds and sore throats. However, the honey needs to be heated, so medicinal properties are not as potent as straight up honey.

Although this is the case, this natural cough drop recipe is still effective and uses an herbal mixture to make them even more potent.  We love how they taste and feel better putting healthier sources into our body, especially if the plan is to get better. 

This post shows you how to make effective homemade cough drops with pure, organic ingredients to fight a cough and sore throat.

Homemade cough drops- ingredients

#1  Honey

homemade cough drops

Honey consists of many helpful, healing compounds.  These compounds include organic acids, enzymes, peptides (amino acid chains), and phenols.  Phenolic acids help with oxidative stress cells, which is common in people autoimmune diseases.   This all helps with inflammation.   

A study done on 300 children between ages 1 and 5 showed the efficacy of honey on the treatment of cold symptoms.  The treatment group showed higher positive outcomes regarding fighting the cold.

Honey fights both sore throats and other cold symptoms due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant effects.  This makes honey a great solution but also a preventative measure.  A helpful spray that we swear by is this one.  Any time you feel a cold coming on simply spray 2-3 sprays of this in the mouth.  There is a child spray as well.  

It is important that you buy organic honey or from a trusted natural source that does not use pesticides on the plants the bees visit.  Also, be aware of the surrounding land practices of where you purchase the honey.

A high-quality honey Product!

#2  Licorice Root

homemade cough drops

This herb is one of the herbs we use in our homemade cough drops.  We only use a certain amount so it does not impart too strong of a flavor.  

Licorice root is very beneficial in combating colds.  It enhances the potency of the herbs it is combined with, making the other herbs in this cough drop DIY even stronger.  

Licorice root is recommended by some practitioners to relieve sore throats and coughs. This is partly because of the herb's anti-inflammatory effects.  Inflammation in the throat is soothed from the coating properties of the licorice.

Licorice Root Herbal form -You can use 2 teabags  

Licorice Root Drops form

#3  Marshmallow Root

homemade cough drops

Marshmallow root is another herb we use to make our herbal cough drops. 

This herb is helpful in relieving cold symptoms and is antibacterial.  The mucilage in marshmallow root contains antioxidants.  Also, it has soothing properties and forms a protective coat over the digestive system and throat.

This recipe uses marshmallow root powder because that is what I have on hand most often.  I use marshmallow root powder ofen by adding it to smoothies and other simple meals.

Dried marshmallow root steeped in the tea with the rosemary and licorice root is an alternative if you don't have the powder form.  

Marshmallow Root Herb

#4  Rosemary

Homemade cough drops

Due to this herb's antibacterial and antiviral properties, it is a highly effective herb in fighting cold symptoms.  It is also a safe one.

I chose these herbs specifically due to their safe to use properties with few to no side effects.

Rosemary also contains vitamins A and C and anti-inflammatory properties.  Besides fighting colds, rosemary helps with memory and focus.  So many good things come with using this potent herb.

The strong flavor of the honey is able to take on the pungent earthiness of the rosemary.  

If you don't have rosemary on hand, easily substitute thyme in place of this herb.

Rosemary Herb Bulk

Herbal Cough Drop Alternative (to Using Single Herbs)

An alternative to using the above herbs separately is using an all in one ready-made tea. Throat coat is a proven effective tea that people use to relieve cold symptoms.  This is a simple method if you prefer not to purchase herbs separately.

I have not used this method myself, so I cannot vouge for how the cough drops taste. However, instead of using all of the above herbs, throat coat or a similar tea for colds can be steeped in hot water for the same amount of time as the above herbs.

Depending on the tea bags chosen, efficacy of the herb may matter.  The fresher the dried herb, the more potent the herbal steep will be.  This will in turn effect the potency of the honey, herbal cough drops.

Storing Homemade, Herbal Cough Drops

homemade cough drops

I individually wrap the cough drops like in the picture above.  I then store them in a mason jar or something similar.  I use unbleached parchment paper to wrap them.  This keeps the cough drops from sticking together, and keeps them available for easy handling.

Again, store them in the refrigerator.  They will soften or become stickier in very warm or hot weather.  Store them on the countertop if the weather conditions and house temperature permit.  Otherwise, the refrigerator is your best bet.

homemade cough drops

Homemade Cough Drops

Prep Time: 50 minutes
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes

These cough drops contain pure, organic ingredients- honey and herbs!


  • Honey
  • Dried, Organic Rosemary
  • Dried , Organic Licorice Root (or drops)
  • Organic Marshmallow Root Powder (or drops, or dried)
  • Filtered water


  • Tea Bags, strainer, or tea sieve
  • Candy Thermometer
  • Small Pan
  • Molds (cough drops sized)
  • Storage Container for cough drops


  1. Bring 1 cup water to a boil.
  2. Take 1 Tbsp. dried rosemary, 2 Tsp. licorice root and put herbs into tea bag(s) or tea sieve if using.
  3. Steep the herbs for 20-30 minutes in hot water.
  4. Stir in the Marshmallow root after steeping. (If using the dried, not powder form, steep with the other herbs.)
  5. While that steeps, measure out 1 cup honey, and place honey in the pan.
  6. Drain herbs from the water and add 1/4 cup herbal water mixture to the pan with the honey.
  7. Cook the honey and water on low (slow boil) until a candy thermometer reaches around 300-310 degrees Fahrenheit. This takes a while.
  8. While the mixture boils, set candy molds on top of some parchment paper in case of spillage. (optional)
  9. When the mixture reaches the appropriate temperature, quickly and carefully pour the honey, herbal mixture into the molds. I pour the cough drop mixture into a Pyrex measuring cup first for easier pouring.
  10. Let the molded, homemade cough drops set until hardened.
  11. Carefully remove and store for approximately 1 month in a dry, cool place.


It is important to get your honey from a local, trusted source that does not use pesticides on their plants, or buy a high-quality organic honey.

This post showed you how to make effective homemade cough drops with pure, organic ingredients to fight a cough and sore throat.


  1. Eteraf-Oskouei, T., & Najafi, M. (2013). Traditional and modern uses of natural honey in human diseases: a review. Iranian journal of basic medical sciences16(6), 731–742.
  2. Ashkin, E., & Mounsey, A. (2013). PURLs: a spoonful of honey helps a coughing child sleep. The Journal of family practice62(3), 145–147.

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