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Onion Syrup ~ home remedy for coughs

Whilst studying herbal medicine my children were toddlers and I fondly remember applying my new found knowledge and herbal manufacturing skills in helping my little ones every day ailments. This was a time before I had shelves bursting the seams with herbal liquid extracts. Instead I had my much adored herb garden.

This is one of the many simple recipes that helped me through many cold and drizzly winters on the Atherton Tablelands. My little ones took this homemade medicine easily and always recovered quickly, coupled with warm cuddles, good sleep and a hearty chicken or pumpkin soup.

Herbal Onion Cough Syrup


1 x finely sliced onion (ensure not to remove too much skin to keep flavonols)

1 cup of local raw honey

Few sprigs of fresh thyme


Add all ingredients to a small pot (pouring pot is helpful). Heat on low and gently cooking slowly until onions are soft. Strain syrup into a glass jar, allow to cool and seal. One teaspoon per serve up to x 3 daily. Short term use is suggested (2-3 days), teeth brushing post administration is also recommended.

Nutritional and Herbal information:

Onion (Alium cepa) has a whole host of goodness including richness in flavonols such as quercertin and polyphenols attributing to anti-viral, anti-microbial and anti-histamine actions. Additionally the sulphur containing amino acid cysteine found in onions attribute to the mucolytic action, breaking down excess mucous from coughs and colds therefore useful as an expectorant. Used homeopathically Allium cepa is beneficial for dampness found in most colds and flus and is indicated for profuse clear nasal discharge, frequent sneezing, hayfever and red irritated eyes, like one has been chopping onions!

Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) a delicate herb most fondly grown in most herb gardens used for the delicious flavouring to soups, stews and even desserts. Used straight from the garden medicinally or in liquid extracts Thyme is a respiratory and urinary antiseptic, respiratory anti-spasmodic, anti-microbial, antitussive, astringent, carminative and expectorant. These valuable actions for colds and flus make it most useful to help coughs from bronchitis, pertussis, asthma, laryngitis and tonsillitis. Used in a liquid extract mix or as a gargle, tea, or syrup as mentioned above.

Honey as we know innately as mothers and fathers can ease a dry irritated cough. Honey has over 200 substances that include beneficial amino acids, vitamins, minerals and enzymes. Honey also contains flavonols such as quercetin as well as hesperitin. Additionally they have valuable antioxidant properties such as vitamin C, superoxide dismutase, glutathione and ellagic acid all in which have a powerful therapeutic synergistic affect. What is most interesting is that clinical evidence is now supporting our age-old cough remedy. One trial found marginal difference in cough syrup as opposed to administration of honey! In fact the children had a decrease in their cough symptoms by up to 87% in the honey group. And the wonderful news is with no side affects as shown in the group who took over the counter medication experiencing insomnia, drowsiness and hyperactivity. The World Health Organisation advises the use of honey for coughs also!

Please ensure when dealing with medical situations to have your child assessed by a General Practitioner. This information is not medical advice.

Stay tuned for more helpful home remedies and healthy naturopathic hints for you and your family.

Winter blessings,

Jaunita May ~ Your Family Naturopath

0423 866 959

Ref:, Onions

Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 1 July 1996, Therapeutic Values of Onion (Allium cepa L.) and garlic (Allium sativum L.), Augusti KT

IOP Conference, 2018, Mucolytic Activity Test of Shallot Extract by in Vitro, D A Deswati et al

The College of Family Physicians of Canada, Dec 2014, Honey for treatment of cough in children, Ran D. Goldman

Phytotherapy Desk Reference, Michael Thompson, Hanni Gennat

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