Calm Your Cough with These 5 Homemade Expectorants

October 4, 2018
Expectorants help expel bronchial secretions that accumulate in the airways. They're great for treating colds, coughs and other respiratory problems. Learn how to make 5 great, natural expectorants right at home!

Expectorants are medicines with properties that help expel bronchial secretions that accumulate in the airways.

They’re often used to treat coughs, colds and other respiratory conditions characterized by congestion, phlegm and uncomfortable symptoms that prevent normal breathing.

To be more specific, expectorants increase the aqueous secretions of the submucosal and salivary glands. This plays a big role in the elimination of excess mucus.

While most are sold on the market in the form of syrups and pills, there are also natural ingredients in which their composition causes similar effects.

In today’s article, we want to highlight the 5 best expectorants you can make right from home the next time you have a cold.

1. Honey and cayenne pepper syrup

Cayenne pepper, a jar of honey and ginger root

Homemade syrup with honey, ginger and cayenne pepper is a natural product with expectorant and mucolytic properties that contribute to calming coughs and congestion.

It’s suitable for all ages and can be used as a treatment for colds, asthma, and bronchitis.


  • ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar (62 ml)
  • The juice of one lemon
  • 3 tablespoons of natural honey (75 g)
  • 1 teaspoon of ginger powder (5 g)
  • ½ teaspoon of cayenne pepper (2 g)


  • Pour the apple cider vinegar in a pot and mix it with the lemon juice, honey, and ginger.
  • Stir everything with a wooden utensil and let it simmer over a low heat.
  • Stir in the cayenne pepper and, before the mixture boils, remove it from the fire.
  • Once it cools down, pour it into a sterile glass bottle.
  • Consume one or two tablespoons a day.
  • You can mix this dosage in a glass of hot water to make it easier to consume.

2. Eucalyptus vapors

Eucalyptus is one of the best plants with a mucolytic and expectorant effect that controls coughs and the swelling of the respiratory tract.

The vapors that it releases when it’s added to an infusion are an excellent remedy for congestion,  headaches and breathing difficulties.


  • 10 eucalyptus leaves
  • 2 liters of water


  • Put the eucalyptus leaves in a pot with water and let them boil over a low heat for five minutes.
  • When ready, cover your head with a towel and inhale the fumes that come from the mixture.
  • Try to do it at night, just before going to bed.

3. Honey and onion syrup

Two onions, a lemon and a jar of honey

The combination of onions and honey creates a homemade syrup to improve the symptoms of respiratory conditions.

Both ingredients have antibiotic and expectorant properties that facilitate the elimination of accumulated viruses, bacteria and phlegm.


  • 1 ½ cups of  onion (300 g)
  • ½ cup of honey (150 g)
  • 1 glass of white wine (200 ml)


  • Cut the onion into small pieces and mix them with the honey and white wine in a glass jar.
  • Let the pieces marinate for two days and consume the resulting syrup.
  • Take two or three tablespoons per day.

Read also:

Use Onions to Fight Coughs Naturally

4. Natural tea expectorants

A little thyme with honey and lemon results in a natural tea to relieve coughs, sore throats and excess mucus production.

Its expectorant and anti-inflammatory compounds help to dissolve mucus secretions to facilitate their expulsion.


  • 1 cup of water (250 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon of thyme (5 g)
  • The juice of ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (25 g)


  • Bring the water to a boil. When it boils, add the thyme and the spoonful of honey.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes and add the lemon juice.
  • Drink it two or three times a day.

5. Apple, honey and lemon expectorant

Green apple slices and a bowl of honey

A paste made with apple, honey and lemon pulp is a great expectorant solution to relieve coughs in both children and adults.

Its anti-inflammatory and mucolytic effect stimulates the elimination of mucus secretions and clears the airways.


  • ½  a ripe apple
  • The juice of ½ a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon of honey (25 g)


  • Cook the apple and mash it until you get a puree.
  • Mix this with the lemon juice and honey, and consume the mixture twice a day.

Choose the expectorant treatment that interests you most and follow the recommendations on how to take it to relieve your cough or cold.

If you have persistent symptoms, ask your doctor.

  • Paul, I. M., Beiler, J., McMonagle, A., Shaffer, M. L., Duda, L., & Berlin, C. M. (2007). Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.
  • Cohen, H. A., Rozen, J., Kristal, H., Laks, Y., Berkovitch, M., Uziel, Y., … Efrat, H. (2012). Effect of Honey on Nocturnal Cough and Sleep Quality: A Double-blind, Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study. PEDIATRICS.
  • Gruenwald, J., Graubaum, H.-J., & Busch, R. (2011). Efficacy and Tolerability of a Fixed Combination of Thyme and Primrose Root in Patients with Acute Bronchitis. Arzneimittelforschung.
  • Malhotra, S., & Singh, a P. (2003). Medicinal properties of ginger (Zingiber officinale Rosc.). Natural Product Radiance.
  • Barceloux, D. G. (2009). Pepper and Capsaicin (Capsicum and Piper Species). Disease-a-Month.