I searched out my recipe for cough syrup this morning and made sure I have all the necessary ingredients if I need to make a batch. At the moment we’re all healthy and I hope we stay that way, but yesterday we took one of our little dogs to the vet for shots and everyone we had contact with over there was SICK. The receptionist had a terrible cold… the vet had a cold… as did the technicians… someone was coughing all the time we were there. We must have been breathing in more germs than air.


It’s too bad the people at the vet’s office don’t believe in natural remedies because this homemade cough syrup would take care of their coughs very quickly. The recipe comes from a wonderful little paperback book called Herbally Yours by Penny C. Royal. I haven’t needed to make this cough syrup very often because thankfully we almost never have colds or coughs, but I have thought it was wonderful stuff ever since one year when we were all very sick with the flu and couldn’t stop coughing. Store-bought cough syrups hadn’t helped at all… this homemade cough syrup did.

1 tablespoon cider vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon honey
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and store in the refrigerator. The book says to take one teaspoon of the syrup at intervals as needed. (We have always adjusted the dosage according to the age of the person and the severity of the cough. And of course, because of the sharpness of the vinegar, ground ginger, and cayenne pepper, and because there is honey involved, this would not be a cough syrup for very young children.)

I like that this cough syrup contains only “food” ingredients, but the best thing about it is that it WORKS.

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Made some this morning and have taken it twice. I was coughing really bad and I’m not coughing as much. I really think this works. Thanks for sharing this.


Oh boy!!!!! That stuff sure does bite. But I agree I think it works too. I have made this for years and swear by it.


DH came home from a business conference with a bad cough and no matter what we thru at it he couldn’t seem to get rid of it. I read your blog post a couple of days ago and decided to give your recipe a try. Now DH says to tell you he’s convinced and so am I. Now he only coughs once in a while, that horrible hacking cough he had is *GONE*! Thank you thank you thank you. I love the rest of your blog too.


This really really works,its wonderful!

Mary B.

Thank you, Shirley, so much for posting this! I have been using it for more than a year now. It works better for coughs than over-the counter cough medicine. But even better,if you take a spoonful when you feel the very first symptoms of a cold coming on (i.e. that scratchy throat feeling) — it prevents it! I follow your recipe except leave out the water. Even my husband, who won’t eat food with cayenne, is happy to take it. I’m convinced it has saved us many times from getting a cold. Something about this mixture creates a hostile environment for the viruses, I’m assuming.


How long would this keep in the refrigerator? Thank you.

Shirley (Choosing Voluntary Simplicity)

Marlies, the syrup will keep in the refrigerator for a few days. I wouldn’t leave it longer than that… but the recipe makes such a small quantity, you will use it within that time span if you are following the recommended dosage of a teaspoonful as needed.


This is amazing. I have had a horrible cough for nearly a week, made this up and after the first dose my cough was greatly reduced. Thank you!


This is amazing stuff! I have been sick with a cough for over 2 weeks. I have tried everything and my cough got worse. After sleeping very little for night after night, I tried your natural cough syrup. For the first time in 2 weeks I slept through the night. What a relief. It only took one dose. The next morning, I am still not coughing as much. I would not have believed it if I had not experienced myself. Thanks so much!