Calm Your Cough with These 5 Homemade Expectorants

If you're feeling congested, the best thing to do is follow the advice given to you by your doctor. You can also ask them about the use of certain homemade remedies, like these expectorant syrups.
Calm Your Cough with These 5 Homemade Expectorants

Last update: 30 May, 2022

It’s important to be able to calm a nasty cough, especially if you’re feeling congested, or are experiencing other flu symptoms. There are several different ways you can do this. One option is to make your own homemade expectorants, using common, natural ingredients, such as honey, onion and garlic.

The idea isn’t to use these remedies as a substitute for medication prescribed by your doctor – they’re simply designed as a complementary treatment. At the same time, it’s also important to maintain healthy lifestyle habits.


Expectorants are medicines with properties that help to expel bronchial secretions that accumulate in the airways. They’re often used to treat coughs, colds and other respiratory conditions.

Most expectorants are sold in the form of syrups, and are designed to increase the aqueous secretions of the submucosal and salivary glands. This plays a huge role in the elimination of excess mucus.

Expectorants syrups to calm coughs naturally

There are some natural ingredients whose composition offers similar effects, and certain relief from congestion. According to popular belief, the following recipes can be used to calm a cough naturally.

1. Honey and cayenne pepper expectorant syrup


  • 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 into 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 heat.
  • 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 steam


  • 2 liters of water
  • 10 eucalyptus leaves (optional)


  • 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, position yourself a safe distance away from the container, 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

The combination of honey and onions creates a homemade syrup that tastes great, and may help to ease congestion.


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


  • First, cut the onion into small pieces.
  • Mix it with the honey and white wine in a glass jar.
  • Let the pieces marinate for two days and consume the resulting syrup.

4. Thyme

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


  • 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 the boil.
  • When it boils, add the thyme and the spoonful of honey.
  • Let it sit for 5 minutes, then add the lemon juice.

5. Apple, honey and lemon expectorant

Green apple slices and a bowl of honey

A paste made with apple, honey and lemon is a great expectorant solution to relieve coughs. Its anti-inflammatory and mucolytic effect stimulates the elimination of mucus secretions and helps clear 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.


None of these expectorants will cure a cold or flu. However, you can use them as a complementary remedy – alongside the treatment prescribed by your doctor – to relieve congestion and calm a cough.

If symptoms continue or become worse, be sure to consult with a doctor.

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

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This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.