Kid-Friendly Cough Syrup |

Kid-Friendly Cough Syrup

guest March 4, 2014

By Nicole Walters, Guest Writer

My 3-year-old, 1-year-old and husband all approved the taste of this cough syrup. I’ve also found it to be helpful with all of them.  It’s especially helpful with a congestion-related cough.

Why I created it


The last two winters (she’s only three) my daughter has gotten a cough that just stays and stays. Think months. Eventually I take her to the doctor and we use a nebulizer containing a steroid breathing treatment for a few days and it finally goes away. She recently got a cold or a virus and now her cough seems to have settled into that same pattern – for three weeks now. It gets hard for her to sleep due to coughing. She’s thrown up from coughing so hard. I can’t take her anywhere without people thinking I’ve brought a germy child around them.


Obviously, this cough is rough on her and I don’t want her to feel bad. I’d prefer to avoid the medicine route if we can, so I’ve been trying to find some natural cough remedies that will at least allow her to rest at night and give us time to see if it will go away without other treatment. After trying a few different things (warm water with lemon and honey, a spoon of coconut oil, some honey, nettle tea, and so on) I settled on this recipe as the best for us. It incorporates some of the better elements, I know why each ingredient is helpful, and it tastes so good she keeps asking for more.


The Components


Lemon Juice

Lemons are good for detoxing the body, in this case from an illness. They are also high in vitamin C, which is immune boosting. It is naturally anti-viral and anti-inflammatory. It’s also good for breaking up mucus that may be on the throat causing the cough.



Honey, especially raw honey, is well known for its many benefits. It is antibacterial, antiviral, and full of antioxidants. If you’re careful with only slightly heating this and you buy local raw honey it should help even more with an allergy related cough due to honey’s ability to help arm your immune system for dealing with local allergens.


Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has many amazing properties, but the important ones here are the anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory properties. All these make it perfect for fighting winter colds and viruses. It has even been shown that coconut oil can bolster the immune system by improving white blood cell counts, which directly fights viruses and infections.

Together this syrup fights inflammation, bacteria, and viruses while soothingly coating the throat and breaking up mucus.


DIY: Kid Friendly Cough Syrup



  • 4 Tablespoons Lemon Juice
  • 1/3 Cup Honey (Preferably Raw)
  • 2 Tablespoons Coconut Oil



Step 1: Place ingredients in a small pot and gently heat on a very low temperature, just enough to melt the coconut oil and warm the honey to mix easily.


Step 2: Stir well.


Step 3: Pour into a small jar and store in the refrigerator.


Note: For the long term, you should store it in the refrigerator, but I do leave it on the counter for a few days when there is illness in the house. Keep it near the stove or warm crock pot (I use mine often for making broth when sick). This will keep the coconut oil liquid. Otherwise the coconut oil will solidify, and you will need to melt it again before administering each time.


Administer it whenever coughing occurs. You can give multiple teaspoons as needed. Honey is not recommended for those under 1 year of age, but there is also some disagreement on that. Read more at Why Babies Can Eat Honey (Sometimes).



We’ve also added a bit of oil of oregano into the syrup when fighting off something pretty bad. 

Oil of oregano is an amazing natural antibiotic. Here is a recipe for a Double Infused Oil of Oregano.


Cayenne pepper or Apple Cider Vinegar can also nicely break up the mucous causing many coughs.


Ginger and Garlic are also great for helping soothe cold symptoms.

How do you treat coughs at home? What other things would you add?

This is the writings of:



  1. Just made this, hope it helps our coughing children!


  2. I don’t know how good it would taste but add Cinnamon. Maybe nix the lemon if adding cinnamon.


  3. Thanks for the recipe! I hope your bub gets over having croup quickly!


  4. This sounds wonderful! One thing you may want to mention though is that you cannot give a child under one year honey since it could give them botulism :/


  5. I am making this for my little guy who has had lots of coughing and congestion. Would you add the apple cider vinegar directly too this mixture? What portion would you think would be good?


  6. Dayna – I would add about a tablespoon of ACV for my kids, you could always start with a lower amount and add more as they tolerate it. My kids like sour. Or you could easily sub some of the lemon juice with ACV.

    Amelia- I did mention that honey isn’t recommended under 1. 🙂


  7. Great remedy for kids’ coughs. Added more powerful ingredients that stops cough easily. Thanks for your tip..I prepare it at home….


  8. Use Maple Syrup in place of the honey or Karo Syrup for kids under 1 YR OLD


  9. I made the above recipe and added 4 drops of Theives Oil and 1 tbs of Turmeric. Still tasted semi-sweet but Theives is great at fighting viral and bacterial infections common with the cold and the Turmeric is an immune booster.


  10. The flu has hit our house so I whipped up a batch of this for myself and my 18-month-old. He doesn’t love it, but certainly doesn’t mind it, but he slept well last night for the first time! I’m sitting here drinking echinacea tea with a tablespoon of this stuff mixed in and I have no idea yet how well it will work, but it is DELICIOUS! I did sub 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice with ACV.


  11. I made a cough syrup similar to this but added (to a cup of honey, 1/4 c lemon juice) 2tsp tumeric, 1/8 tsp black pepper and crushed a clove of garlic. Little kids didn’t like the garlic, the older ones didn’t mind. But it did help kick my cough.


  12. Stumbled in this in Pinterest. Keeping it for future reference since my son is sensitive to red dye 40 which appears to be in all kids cough meds! Thanks!


  13. On average, how long has this taken to work for everyone?


  14. I was wondering if it had to be coconut oil? Can Extra Virgin Olive oil be used as a sub?


  15. Thank you so much for sharing, I just made this for my 8 year old son. He has a dry cough that has lasted for about 4 days, I bought over the counter medicine but it just works for 4 hours. So we are trying your remedy 🙂 I gave him 2 teaspoons is that enought??


  16. Wanted to thank you for this recipe. My 12 year old normally hides when I reach for the cough syrup. Short of forcing it down his throat I’ve always had a difficult time getting him to take any kind of medication. This recipe saved us a lot of stress!!! After trying it he now reaches for it when he feels he needs it. Its doubly nice since I no longer have to worry about over medicating him, he gets as much as needs when he needs it. I can;t thank you enough for this recipe!!!


  17. Oregano oil tastes awful. But I take it neat, one drop on my tongue every couple of hours till I feel better. I have to feel really horrible to resort to it.


  18. If refrigerated, do you have to melt it all over again if it’s needed then refrigerate again?


  19. Thank you, thanks you! It’s 5am and I have been up with a coughing child for 4hrs and I have tried everything! I had all ingredients on hand and made this Her cough stopped within 5 min. I could cry, I’m so happy. Too late to go to bed, but at least she can rest.


  20. Can I use lemon essential oil instead of lemon juice if I don’t have any? If so how much should I use?


  21. it is possible that a cough that lasts all winter, mainly at night is an allergic reactiom to the down or feathers in the blanckets and pillows. my friend’s son allmost had surgery before she realised by chance this that was the reason for the cough. (english is not my first languge so sorry for the mistakes)


  22. My 10month old son has developed a little cough and what I believe is a sore throat as he sounds a little horse. Trying this remedy and giving him Vitamin D doses daily. If this doesn’t work, were going to try large doses of vitamin C and this syrup. By the way I mixed 4 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 tablespoons coconut oil, and 1/2 cup Maple syrup since he cannot have the honey. We will see if this knocks it out! Also, since it is September and still warm in the afternoons, I am going to try to get him to sweat it out. Going to put warmish clothes on him until I get home from work at 5pm. Will keep you updated!! Thanks again for this recipe.

    My son is 100% unvaccinated and don’t feel the need to take him to the doctor just yet. Trying to avoid medicines from the doctor!


  23. […] You run to your child’s side, but what do you choose? An over the counter medicine or an herbal alternative? Do you even know where to start building a home herbal apothecary, or herbal medicine […]


  24. Amazed at how effective this is! Just brilliant!


  25. This is delicious my grandson helped me make it and was delighted to take it. He’s 4. We just did it. I don’t hear any coughing. We’ll see in the next few hours.


  26. I tried using an immersion blender to try to keep the coconut oil from separating. I hope it work because heating it up to mix it every time then waiting for it to cool enough for a stubborn 4 yr old to take it is kind of a pain. On a positive note it did work for the cough.


  27. For the one that wants him to sweat it out word of caution
    Check in on him often . I did that and being a new mom i put him to bed usually just go to bed myself but something told me to look in on him
    He was convulsing, poor thing fever went sky high
    So becareful when trying to sweat it out.

    Im going to make this magic potion tommorrow, granddaughter is coughing all night. I will let ya know if it worked, i cant wait.


  28. How much do you give your 1 year old?


  29. […] to worry about making small sized cough drops. So, instead, we have cough syrup. This recipe from Modern Alternative Mama works great at soothing throats with its lemon juice, local honey, and clove […]


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Hi, I’m Kate.  I love medical freedom, sharing natural remedies, developing real food recipes, and gentle parenting. My goal is to teach you how to live your life free from Big Pharma, Big Food, and Big Government by learning about herbs, cooking, and sustainable practices.

I’m the author of Natural Remedies for Kids and the owner and lead herbalist at EarthleyI hope you’ll join me on the journey to a free and healthy life!

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