Krystyn Strother


Homemade Cough Drops

Tis the season, that time of year when the weather begins to change, allergies start kicking in, especially here in the PNW, and colds become common place. I usually bring a bowl of store bought cough drops to my classes this time of year but I wanted to get a bit more DIY and personal. I also wanted to see if I could make a tasty sugar-free homemade cough drop which turned out pretty well but the ones with sugar are delicious and take less time. You'll find two recipes below, plus a list of herbals you can add. A candy thermometer can be helpful in making these but isn't totally necessary.


  • 1 cup evaporated cane juice or granulated sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Powdered sugar or cornstarch for molds and coating (prevents the stick)


  1. Prepare your molds by making a 1 inch layer of powdered sugar or cornstarch or mix of the two in a pie pan, baking dish or any larger shallow dish and creating small impressions in the powder. These are your molds.
  2. Combine the cane juice or sugar, honey, lemon juice, grated ginger, and ground cloves in a heavy bottomed pot or saucepan.
  3. Cook on medium to medium low heat to a "hard crack stage", about 15-20 minutes or longer depending on the pan and stove.
  4. Test by dropping a little of the syrup from a spoon into a blow of ice water. If it cracks, it's ready. If it's chewy, cook for a few more minutes.
  5. Remove from heat
  6. Pour the syrup into the molds you made (candy molds will also work if you have them)
  7. Allow to cool completely
  8. Mix the completely cooled drops around in the powder until fully coated. Sift the drops out and poof! There you have them!

Sugar Free Recipe

You can use the directions above or, rather than make the mold yourself you can oil a baking sheet very well or use silicon pad or piece of parchment paper and pour the syrup into little puddles to cool and then coat with powder of your choice. Check the temperature frequently as honey gets hot fast and scorches easily.


  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • Powdered Vitamin C or cornstarch for molds and coating (prevents the stick)

Herbal additions

Some great herbs (and their uses) for lozenges are:

  • Horehound - (be careful - this stuff is strong!) pain reliever, stimulates digestion
  • Echinacea - best before full onset of cold, anti-bacterial + blood cleanser
  • Peppermint - expectorant, decongestant and mild pain reliever
  • Eucalyptus - relieves congestion
  • Camphor - relieves congestion
  • Ginger - pain relieving, antiseptic and antioxidant
  • Goldenseal - antiseptic and immune stimulant
  • Licorice - anti-viral, chest and throat soother
  • Sage - good for sore throats
  • Fennugreek - expectorant
  • Juniper - relieves congestion
  • Yarrow - reduces fevers and inflammation

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