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Honey Thyme Cough Syrup

In the past when I have been sick I kept up with my normal activities and subsisted on cold medicine. I would try and fight the sickness instead of allowing it to pass through me. As a result I stayed sick much longer than needed and I would often get sick again soon after. These days I know that rest is key.


As a few of you know I have been tinkering around in the kitchen making herbal medicine for the last few months. I’ve developed a few tinctures and essences just for my own use to learn about the process and get to know more intimately the effects of particular plants. Towards the end of my cold I developed a cough and decided to make a cough syrup and see how it went. I am happy to report it works really well and I’ve been looking forward to sharing this simple recipe with you.

Learning how to make simple and effective remedies has been an empowering experience. As someone who spent years being sick taking loads of conventional drugs, it feels amazing to know I can create a medicine to relieve my cough. I’m not saying I’ll never go to a doctor again or take medications if absolutely necessary nor do I want to take the place of a medical professional. What I want is to learn to take care of myself on a new level and deepen my relationship with my own health. I want to become more self-reliant and this humble cough syrup is a step in that direction.


Thyme is an aromatic, savory, warming herb that supports our lungs. It aids in relieving chest congestion, coughs and indigestion. According to several studies done by Dr. Paul Lee, a professor at UC Santa Cruz, thyme has a strengthening effect on the thymus gland which boosts immune function. Thyme can be used externally as a disinfectant.

In Ayurvedic medicine thyme is considered an antiseptic, astringent and expectorant. Thyme is used to treat respiratory issues and headaches. It reduces vata and kapha. An Ayurvedic remedy for treating coughs is using a drop or two of thyme essential oil in a facial steam. This will help to clear congestion and soothe the throat.


Raw honey has a long medicinal history and is a very powerful remedy with many uses. It has many antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Raw honey has been used to treat seasonal allergies, coughs, dry skin, constipation and to enhance immune function. Traditional Chinese medicine classifies honey as sweet and neutral and associates it with the lungs, large intestine, spleen and stomach.

To receive the full benefits of honey it is important to consume raw honey. Excessive heat will strip honey of its medicinal and nutritional properties. Ayurvedic medicine has been using raw honey medicinally for ages. It is well known that cooked honey has no benefits and causes mucus. It reduces vata and kapha.

I purchase local raw honey from the farmers market. It should not be given to children under 12 months or consumed by diabetics.


Honey Thyme Cough Syrup

makes 1 cup


Ingredients //

  • 1 oz. fresh thyme
  • 3 c. water
  • 1/2 c. raw honey


Method //

  1. Add the thyme and water to a pan over low heat. Put a lid on top, slightly ajar so steam can come out. Simmer at the lowest setting possible until the water is reduced to 1 cup. This will take a while so be patient!
  2. Strain the thyme and let the tea sit for a few minutes.
  3. Stir in the honey until dissolved completely.
  4. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for 6 weeks.


Directions //

  • Take 1 teaspoon every few hours as needed to relive cough.



  • Great post! I am so glad you’re sharing these recipes with a holistic approach.
    And your photography for each post just keeps getting better and better.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • ashley

      Thanks so much Ashley! I really appreciate that. I’ve been working a great deal on my photography and your comment means a great deal to me. I hope you’re having a wonderful weekend! xoa

  • Julia

    Glad you’re feeling better. These summer colds are the. WORST! I was wondering if you could share some tips about when you start practicing yoga or any form of exercise after you’ve been sick. Do you simply follow your instincts or do you have a guideline (e.g. after sickness take one week off)? I do find it very hard sometimes to decide if i can move my body again or if it’s too soon and I’ll end up getting sick again…

    • ashley

      Thank you Julia! I agree, summer colds are just terrible! No sun at all. This is a great question. I tend to take it really slow after being sick and make sure I’m well before jumping into a rigorous practice or go surfing or anything like that. When I’m sick I stick to meditating and do simple restorative poses and continue with those until at least a week after I’m feeling better. I’ve had so many experiences of being sick and then jumping right back to an active asana practice or going for a hike and getting sick again like you mentioned. Not I rest my body for an extra week and it makes all the difference. I think it’s good to move the body when we’re sick but with gentle movements, and long holds. Some days I only do one pose for 10 minutes. I hope this helps and that you don’t get sick ;)
      Have a wonderful rest of the week.

  • Hi Ashley, that’s funny, I was thinking the same about your photography! :-) And the idea of this recipe sounds so easy and great! Thanks for sharing and get well soon! :-) Corina

  • This is genius! Hope you’re feeling better!

    • ashley

      Thanks Maja! It helped so much and I’m feeling much better now.

  • I never thought of thyme as a home remedy for cough. Great alternative for synthetic drugs. Honey has its anti-bacterial properties and sometimes cough are either bacteria/viruses. Great article and thanks for sharing.

  • dawn

    hi ashley,

    do you pick the leaves off their stems or do you leave them on and put the plant in the water to steam?

    • ashley

      Hi Dawn,

      Great question. Keep the sprigs in tact, leaves on the stem! Enjoy, it’s such potent medicine. x

  • Ashley

    This is great stuff! I just found your blog and I love it. I actually have a really annoying cough right now…and some fresh thyme growing! Question, though–about how many sprigs of thyme makes one ounce? I don’t have a kitchen scale so I’d just be eyeballing it.

    • ashley

      Just a couple Ashley! Enjoy x

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