Why I Don’t Use Cough Suppressants {+10 DIY Cough Syrup Recipes From Around the Web}

It’s very tough on us mommas to hear our children cough endlessly, so we find ourselves grabbing a bottle of cough suppressants to lessen the miserable sound.  However, cough suppressants may not be the best option.  They may lessen a cough, but they do not help the illness.  Let me explain why I stopped using this common over the counter medicine.

  Cough Medicine

They can do more harm than good

Why Do We Cough?  Coughing is our body’s reflex to clear something foreign from our lungs.  Suppressing the cough does not take care of the problem causing the cough.  In some illnesses, suppressing the cough could even lead to pneumonia.  In making my own cough medicines, I have found them to effectively calm coughing spasms while healing the lungs and expelling the foreign substance.

They aren’t all that safe

Many cough suppressants contain dextromethorphan {DM}.  Dextromethorphan is a cough suppressant that turns off the cough reflex switch in the brain.  It can cause drowsiness, dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, anxiety, and upset stomach.  I don’t know about you, but when my children are sick the last thing I want to do is give them something that may slow down a cough, but may make them feel worse in other ways.

There are more effective options

Honey has been shown to be more effective in lessening the severity, frequency, and irritation of a cough more than a cough suppressant. (See this study as an example.)  My suggestion is to go with raw honey, as it is unrefined and contains all the medicinal properties it was created to have.  While honey itself is a great thing for a cough, adding other foods or herbs to it makes it even more effective!  I personally make a cough syrup each winter with honey and onions.  It has proven to be a very effective, inexpensive remedy for coughs and congestion!

Here are some great natural cough recipes to try from around the web!

Homemade Cough Syrup Recipe by The Simple Homemaker

How To Make A Delicious Chocolate Herbal Cough Syrup by Growing Up Herbal

Homemade Decongestant by Titus 2 Homemaker

Herbal Cough Remedy by Gwen’s Nest

How To Make Homemade Cough Syrup by Jill’s Home Remedies

Echinacea and Ginger Cough Syrup by Frugally Sustainable

Ginger and Cayenne Cough Syrup by Good Food Matters

Black Cherry Cough Syrup by Annie’s Remedy

Thyme and Mullein Cough Syrup by Whispering Earth

Onion & Honey Cough Syrup {with optional add-ins} by Keeper of the Home


Have you ever made your own cough syrup?  How do you treat coughs at your house?

FDA disclaimer for posts with info about supplements Oct 2014

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One Comment

  1. I’ve made a honey and lemon juice “tea” that has really helped my kiddos. I also make onion poultices for a really bad case. It is effective but messy! Love your idea of making an onion and honey syrup. Much less messy (and probably smells better too, lol!)

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