DIY Herbal Cough Drops


Most cough drops are packed full of sugar, which is counterproductive since you want to stay away from refined sugar while your body is fighting off a virus or bacteria. I’ve toyed with this recipe a lot. I wasn't 100 percent satisfied with the first batch, but since then I’ve made a lot of messes, ruined a few dish towels, and given myself a stomachache, all to arrive at this recipe that I have to say I’m pretty happy with.

These herbal cough drops can be used to treat a cough due to the cold or flu, or one due to cold weather, asthma, or allergies. A few of the herbs I use here have antibacterial and/or antiviral properties so you can also pop one of these for a cold or flu even when a cough isn’t present. Also, this makes them great for prevention as well.

The Plant Magic:

  • Mullein Leaf: A mega lung tonic that’s been used for over 2,000 years to treat conditions of the respiratory system, including cough, bronchitis, asthma, and issues consequent of smoking or pollution. Mullein leaves are covered in tiny hairs, so only add it your herbal infusion (see below) by putting it in a muslin bag to steep.

  • Marshmallow Root: soothes and moistens the mucus membranes of the respiratory tract. Especially good for dry coughs.

  • Cinnamon Sticks: Warming and soothing to the throat with antibacterial properties. Used in Chinese medicine to treat the common cold.

  • Ginger Root: Also used in Chinese Medicine to treat the common cold, ginger also has the ability to soothe a sore throat and aid in digestive upset.

  • Licorice Root: A natural expectorant and remedy for sore throats and phlegm that feels stuck in the chest.

What you’ll need:

1 cup of water
2 TBSP of each herb (you can get them here)
1.5 cups raw, organic honey
A candy thermometer
A small-medium size pot
Silicone candy molds (I got mine here)


Making your herbal infusion is the first step. Put all of the herbs (except the mullein) into a large mason jar. As I stated above, the mullein leaves have tiny hairs on them and can be uncomfortable or get caught in the throat if not strained properly. If you do decide to add them to your infusion, put them into a muslin tea bag and let the bag steep with the rest of the herbs. Once all the herbs are in the jar, add 2 cups of boiling water and let the mixture steep for about an hour. Once the hour is up, remove the muslin bag with the mullein and strain the rest of the mixture with a mesh strainer or cheesecloth.

Once your herbs are strained, it’s likely that the liquid has decreased a little bit, so add enough water to bring the herb infusion back to 1 cup. Pour that and the 1.5 cups of honey into a pot or saucepan and stir over medium- high heat, until the mixture reaches 300 degrees. This will take about 30 minutes. Once you’ve reached the desired temp, pour the mixture into your candy molds.


Store the molds in the fridge for an hour or so. Once they are completely cool, toss the lozenges in your choice of powder to keep them from getting too sticky. I used powdered ginger, but you can also use powdered slippery elm or coconut sugar.

These will keep in the fridge for 2 months, although they may start to stick together, even with the powdered coating. I doubt they'll last that long though since they're basically herbal candy.

Enjoy! xo