Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup with Thyme, Lemon & Ginger

February 1, 2018
Enjoy this post? Share & Like
Follow by Email



This month on the blog, I’ve got some simple, herbal home remedies for you with ingredients you may already have in your kitchen.  Today’s recipe is a homemade Herbal Cough Syrup that features an herb that you’ve probably been cooking with for years—thyme.  While thyme might not be the first herb you think of when you come down with a chest cold or bronchitis, it is an amazing herb for supporting the respiratory system.

 Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup with Thyme, Lemon & Ginger

Traditional Medicinal Uses of Thyme

Many people think of thyme more as a seasoning than as a medicinal herb but thyme has a long history in herbal medicine.  Traditionally, thyme was used as a strewing herb.  It was thrown on the floor with other aromatic herbs to freshen and clear bacteria and viruses from the air.   Because it is strongly anti-microbial, it was also used for many types of bacterial infections.

During the Black Plague, people who used aromatic, antimicrobial herbs like thyme seemed less likely to get sick than those who did not.  In fact, it is said that thyme is one of the main herbs used by thieves who robbed the homes of plague victims.  Most of the thieves managed to escape the plague by using highly aromatic, antimicrobial herbs to protect themselves.


Fresh thyme on the counter | Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup with Thyme, Lemon & Ginger | Home Remedies for Cold and Flu | My Healthy Homemade Life | #coughsyrup #herbal remedies # home remedies # thyme # lemon # ginger #herbs #flu #colds



Using Thyme for Respiratory Support

Thyme is probably most well known as being an antimicrobial with an affinity for the lungs.  It is full of volatile oils and is pungent, warming, drying and astringent (it tightens and tones tissues.)

If you want to experience this for yourself, prepare a cup of thyme tea (using either the fresh or dried herb) and let it steep for about 5-10 minutes.  Because thyme is full of volatile oils,  keep your tea cup covered as it steeps and only steep it a short time as the oils are extracted quickly and will get bitter the long it infuses.


Thyme for the Throat & Lungs

In the mid 1600’s, the herbalist, physician and botanist, Nicholas Culpeper described thyme as “a noble strengthener of the lungs, as notable a one as grows.”   This has proven to be true;  thyme along sage (another familiar culinary herb,) are both good at strengthening the lungs.  If you enjoy sage, you might also like to try this cough remedy using fresh sage.

Thyme can be a good herb for both relieving coughing spasms (such as whopping cough) and for helping to thin mucus so it can be cleared from the lungs.   This in turn, makes our coughs more productive (in expelling the mucous) and less irritating.  It is especially good for mucous that feels “stuck.”   It can be an extremely helpful herb in supporting recovery from coughs, bronchitis, and chest colds.

Not only can thyme help the lungs, it also has a soothing action on the throat when used as a gargle and can be helpful for sore throats, laryngitis, and tonsillitis.  Simply make a strong cup of tea and use the tea to gargle with.


Thyme for Congestion

Because thyme is astringent, it is very helpful at relieving congestion.  It helps to tone and tighten the tissues, reduces any swelling and inflammation and opens up the bronchioles.

Thyme’s antiseptic qualities help to fight infection at the same time.

A couple of other herbal remedies you could take alongside of the Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup are Fire Cider, Elderberry or Immune Booster Tea and/or Echinacea Tincture .  If you also have a sore throat, try gargling with some thyme tea or spray some echinacea tincture at the back of your throat.


Fresh thyme and basil on the windowsill | Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup with Thyme, Lemon & Ginger | Home Remedies for Cold and Flu | My Healthy Homemade Life |


Using Thyme Safely:

Avoid thyme in large amounts if you are pregnant or on blood clotting medications.  Consuming normal culinary amounts is safe.


Sign up for my Free Ebook, 3 Home Remedies You Can Make in an Afternoon


How to Make a Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup with Thyme, Lemon & Ginger


Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup by My Healthy Homemade Life




Yields 1 cup

Homemade Herbal Cough Syrup with Thyme, Lemon & Ginger

An herbal cough syrup that helps relieve spasmodic coughing and helps to clear mucus from the lungs.

5 minPrep Time

15 minCook Time

20 minTotal Time

Save RecipeSave Recipe

5 based on 2 review(s)


  • 1 cup water
  • 1" knob of ginger, grated or minced
  • 1/2-3/4 cup raw honey
  • 1 lemon with peel, sliced thin and seeds removed (preferably organic)
  • around 6 sprigs of fresh thyme, up to a handful or 1 tbsp dried thyme (fresh contains more volatile oils and is best. Lemon thyme can be substituted.)


  1. Add 1 cup of water and the ginger to a small to medium size saucepan. Simmer on medium-low for 15-20 minutes until the water has reduced by half.
  2. While the water and ginger is simmering, mix and mash the lemon and honey together to release the juices from the lemon. Set aside.
  3. Once the water and ginger has reduced, bring the water to a low boil, then turn off the pot and add the fresh or dried thyme. Cover the pot for 5-10 minutes to steep.
  4. Strain the ginger, thyme and the lemon slices if desired (I usually leave the lemon slices.)
  5. Add the lemon, honey and ginger-thyme tea back to the pan and stir to combine. Pour your syrup into a glass bottle or jar and label and date.
  6. Store in the refrigerator for up to month or more.
  7. Take 1 tsp-1 tbsp every half hour or as needed. Children under 1 years of age should not consume honey.


Have you tried this recipe?   Please let me know by leaving a comment below or sharing a comment or picture on my Facebook Page or on Instagram . 

 I love hearing your feedback!   




Grab Your Free List, Top 5 Most Useful Herbs for the Home Herbalist




Culpeper, Nicholas. (1653). The Complete Herbal. Retrieved from http://www.complete-herbal.com/culpepper/thyme.htm

Herb Mentor. http://www.herbmentor.com/

Hoffmann, David. (2003). Medical Herbalism: The Science and Practice of Herbal Medicine. Rochester, VT: Healing Arts Press.

Natural Herbal Living Magazine.  Thyme issue.

The Herbal Academy of New England Introductory Course. www.theherbalacademy.com

Wood, Matthew. (2008). The Earthwise HerbalA Complete Guide to Old World Medicinal Plants.


This site is for educational purposes only. It does not provide medical advice. Information found on myhealthyhomemadelife.com is meant to motivate you to make your own health care and dietary decisions based upon your own research and in partnership with your health care provider.



Subscribe Here


You Might Also Like


  • Reply Shannon February 1, 2018 at 1:34 pm Loved this post and the spotlight on thyme, Jen! Having recently recovered from a bought of bronchitis, I’m definitely filing this away for the next time a chest cold rolls around. Thank you for this recipe!
    • Reply Jen February 2, 2018 at 11:47 am I'm so glad to hear that, Shannon! Thank you! :)
  • Reply Debbie February 1, 2018 at 2:57 pm I love this alternative to store bought cough “stuff”. Great info in here. I am pinning for a he next time someone comes down with a cough.
    • Reply Jen February 2, 2018 at 11:48 am Thank you, Debbie! We haven't bought store bought cough syrup in years because of all the ingredients. My kids absolutely love the taste of this!
  • Reply Danielle February 1, 2018 at 8:32 pm Jason hasn't been feeling well and I have all of these ingredients on hand... I guess I know what I am making tomorrow!
    • Reply Jen February 2, 2018 at 11:50 am Yay!! I'm so glad to hear you'll be making it! Boo, that Jason is sick. I hope he's on the mend soon!
  • Reply Yvette February 3, 2018 at 2:17 pm Such a cool article, I loved hearing some history of thyme! I shared it and am hoping to try make this one.
    • Reply Jen February 4, 2018 at 7:17 am I'm so glad to hear that, Yvette! I hope you find it helpful.
  • Reply Mandy February 3, 2018 at 5:11 pm I've got an annoying cold right now. This will be really helpful.
    • Reply Jen February 4, 2018 at 7:06 am Good timing! I hope you're on the mend quickly, Mandy!
  • Reply Henrie Marie February 5, 2018 at 8:39 am Thanks for sharing, great alterative to store bought.
    • Reply Jen February 5, 2018 at 9:37 am Thank you so much, Henrie Marie!
  • Reply Leigh Suznovich February 5, 2018 at 12:57 pm Oh I definitely need to make this for cold and flu season. Looks amazing and I love how natural it is compared to regular cough syrup.
    • Reply Jen February 5, 2018 at 7:21 pm I hope you find it helpful, Leigh!
  • Reply Shelby @Fitasamamabear February 7, 2018 at 11:24 am So funny, I just made a similar one this past weekend! Works sooo well!
    • Reply Jen February 7, 2018 at 5:38 pm How cool! I love how simple it is, Shelby!
  • Reply Jillian February 8, 2018 at 8:12 am I buy natural cough syrup and I think it has a lot of these ingredients in it. I love making my own stuff though sometimes so I know what is really in it. Thank you for sharing! I'll be following your blog from now on (I've been sick along my 3 year old twins for 2 weeks!)
    • Reply Jen February 8, 2018 at 10:01 am I'm sorry to hear you and your twins have been ill, Jillian. 2 weeks is rough! I'm glad you found my blog and we're so happy to have you follow along!
  • Reply Renee February 15, 2018 at 8:10 am I love your pretty bottle of cough syrup! I know we will definitely be needing this concoction soon!
    • Reply Jen February 15, 2018 at 1:02 pm Thank you, Renee! It's empowering to make your own healthy home remedies, isn't it? :)
  • Reply Renee February 15, 2018 at 1:31 pm I will definitely try this! Thanks for posting.
    • Reply Jen February 15, 2018 at 1:36 pm I'm so glad to hear that, Renee! :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe:

Enjoy this blog? Please spread the word :)