While there are many over-the-counter cough syrups you can take to suppress a cough, they often come with nasty side effects like drowsiness. I remember when I was younger and given cough syrups, and the next thing you know, you’re passing out from sheer exhaustion.
More often than not, conventional cough syrups are filled with unnecessary artificial colours, preservatives (like polysorbate 80 and propylparaben), sucrose, and high fructose corn syrup. I think if someone is trying to get better, they shouldn’t be consuming these outrageous ingredients!
One of the worst ingredients, by far, is dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in most, if not all, cough syrup medications. It can adversely interact with other medications, especially anti-depressants and hypertension medication (1). It works by blocking cough signals to the brain, so it works by unnaturally modifying neurotransmission in the brain (something you don’t want to mess with).
Fortunately, we can turn to nature for all of our cough-relieving needs.
Thyme Ginger Cough Syrup
Thyme is a powerful and effective disinfectant and can be used both externally (as a wash) and internally to help fight off infection. It is known to fight and treat upper respiratory infections, bronchitis, and whooping cough. This is no surprise, given that thyme flavonoids relax tracheal and ileal muscles (2), which are involved in coughing, and also reduce inflammation and headaches.
Ginger is another medical wonder, with anti-inflammatory qualities and phytochemicals that boost the immune system to help your body combat the cause of your cough. Ginger is also considered a natural antibiotic, and has been shown to be a powerful remedy against viruses that attack the respiratory system (3).
Honey is another excellent cough remedy that I use any time I have a tickle in my throat. It is naturally anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory, and is incredibly soothing on the throat. In fact, in one study, honey appeared to be just as effective as the common cough suppressant ingredient, dextromethorphan (4).
Now, time for the recipe!
– 2 handfuls fresh organic thyme (about 1/2 – 2/3 of a cup)
– 2-3 inches fresh ginger root, grated
– 1.5 cups filtered water
– 3/4 cup raw (unpasteurized) local honey
1. Place thyme and ginger into a pot and add water.
2. Bring to a boil, and then reduce heat and simmer for 5-10 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat, and cover the pot. Allow to steep for 30-60 minutes, and then strain.
4. Add honey to the liquid, and then stir to blend. If the syrup is too thick, add water to desired consistency.
5. Allow the syrup to cool and then store in a glass, air-tight container in the refrigerator (a mason jar works great!).
Adults: 3-5 tablespoons per day
Children: 3-5 teaspoons per day
NOTE: If you’re taking blood-thinning medications, you should not consume large amounts of thyme. Consult with your doctor about this recipe before taking it. Do not feed honey to children under 1 year of age.