Homemade cough drops

Making your own homemade cough drops is not always a money saver compared to buying a big box store’s generic version of some brand name cough drops. But there are plenty of other reasons you might want to do it: to make use of herbs you grow yourself, to avoid the “what the heck is that” ingredients found in most commercial ones, to get a flavor you can’t find in stores, or just for fun.

Homemade cough drops

The most common online recipes use corn syrup and sugar. But if you’re looking for healthier alternatives, Homemaking Homesteader has, in my opinion, the best recipe for homemade cough drops. It also has great pictures and thorough instructions to help you through the process.

The Homemaking Homesteader recipe is not sugar free because it uses honey, so if you’re avoiding sugar in all forms, be aware of this. The honey is part of what makes this recipe so great, because unlike corn syrup, honey is in itself good for sore throats.

Don’t like horehound? You can substitute any other herb or combination of herbs in the Homesteader recipe. Since there are different types of coughs, choose the herbs or combination of herbs that are best for your symptoms.

  • Horehound: helps break up congestion.
  • Mullein: good for “chesty” coughs. Helps loosen the congestion.
  • Eucalyptus: expectorant and infection preventer
  • Marshmallow: soothing, reduces inflammation, has a nice flavor
  • Licorice: ditto marshmallow, except it also has a cough-suppressing effect, and is not recommended for people with high blood pressure
  • Thyme: a natural expectorant believed to have some antibiotic qualities
  • Slippery Elm: my personal favorite. Coats and soothes irritated membranes. Excellent for dry coughs.
  • Elecampane: expectorant and cough suppressor
  • Coltsfoot: a natural expectorant.
  • Echinacea: boosts the immune system for coughs that are cold or flu related.


  1. joy says

    I asked for marshmallow cough drops and it came up horehound
    cough drops. I can not stand anything that has anything to do
    with horehound in it. Please help me to be able to get any other kind of homemade cough drops. Thanks Joy
    email joyboren@yahoo.com

  2. SnappyLiving says

    Joy, you can take either of the recipes linked to in the article and change the herbal ingredients to whatever you want – like, marshmallow instead of horehound. I hope that helps.

    • SnappyLiving says

      Yes. How hard it gets can depend a little on the exact honey you use, but even with a thin honey it should stand up and not be runny.

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