This cough syrup recipe was kindly sent to me by Louise from Thornbury, South Glocestershire, UK. She has been making it since attending a herbal remedies course in Bristol a few years ago. The recipe is taken from Hedley & Shaw’s book, Herbal Remedies: A practical beginner’s guide to making effective remedies in the kitchen
Louise says that… “It’s really good stuff and clears a heavy cold in a matter of days. I always keep a bottle handy in the fridge and it keeps for ages. I have even given some to colleagues in work.”
The combination of herbs is said to be soothing, antiseptic, antibiotic and expectorant. The aim of the syrup is to thin out mucus and help open up the bronchi. It is recommended by Hedley & Shaw to help relieve deep restless chesty coughs, tightness from colds and sore throats.
I made a batch this week, it tastes wonderful. There are several ingredients but all are easy to obtain and the method is really quite simple. Some of the ingredients contain strong volatile oils so this syrup should be taken in small quantities for a short period of time and should not be used by pregnant women.
Sterilising storage bottles
Remember that your storage bottles need to be sterile, to prevent contamination and prolong the life of your potion. This is best done just before you set to work with the herbs as if left until the last minute there may no time to do it properly.
- Clean the bottles/jars thoroughly with hot soapy water and a bottle brush,
- Let them drip dry
- Sterilise them (with lids/caps off and the openings facing upwards) in a warm oven (about 110 oC) for about 10 minutes. Beware that plastic caps or lid liners will melt and burn if left in too long.
- Turn off the oven and leave them in there whilst you make the potion and get ready to pour. If you need to leave them waiting in the oven for a long while, loosely fit the caps/lids when cool enough to handle, to prevent contaminants getting in.Some people find that cleaning them on a hot dishwasher cycle also does the trick.
(Makes approximately 350ml)
Not suitable in pregnancy or for babies
15g dried thyme (NL: Tijm)
8g dried sage (salie)
8g dried chamomile (kamille)
2 teaspoons fennel seeds (venkelzaad)
1 teaspoon aniseed (anijs)
20 cloves (nagelkruiden)
2 garlic cloves (knoflook teentjes)
Pinch cayenne pepper (cayenne) or ground ginger (gember)
450g locally sourced honey
- Put water and chopped herbs into a pan and bring to the boil. Cover with a tightly fitting lid.
- Turn down the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Cool a little, strain through a fine mesh seive, pressing with a clean wooden spoon to extract the goodness.
- Discard the herb and keep the liquid.
- Return to the heat and simmer slowly, uncovered until reduced to 200ml (making a decoction).
- Add 450g honey, dissolve and simmer for a few minutes, stirring all the time, until of a syrupy consistency.
DO NOT OVERHEAT as the syrup will burn.
- Cool a little before pouring into sterilised bottles.
- Label (date made and contents) and keep refrigerated to avoid fermentation.
Best kept in a corked dark glass bottle, as a screw topped bottle may explode if fermentation takes place.
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