manuka honey for bronchitis

A Simple Soothing Onion Honey Cough Syrup Recipe

Does honey really work to soothe a cough?

Honey has been used for centuries to treat various ailments, including sore throats and coughs. Ancient civilizations such as the Greeks and the Indians have long recognized the medicinal properties of honey.

Scientific studies have also shown the effectiveness of honey in treating coughs, especially in children. A recent meta-analysis found that honey was effective in treating cough symptoms in children above 12 months of age when used within the first three days of symptoms.

Another systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that honey is likely effective in improving symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections (URTI), including reducing cough frequency and severity. The researchers also noted that honey is a commonly used and well-known home remedy that is easily accessible, affordable, and generally safe.

It is important to note that honey should be consumed in moderation, especially for individuals with diabetes or metabolic diseases. If you have any specific dietary concerns or health conditions, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional.

What type of honey can you use?

When making onion honey cough syrup, it is recommended to use locally sourced raw and unprocessed honey for its potential health benefits.

  • Raw Honey: Raw honey is unfiltered and unheated, preserving its natural enzymes, antioxidants, and potential antimicrobial properties. These beneficial components may offer additional health benefits compared to processed honey.
  • Local Honey: Locally sourced honey may contain trace amounts of pollen from local plants. Some believe that consuming local honey may help build immunity to local allergens, which could benefit coughs related to allergies. However, scientific evidence supporting this claim is limited.
  • Medicinal-Grade Honey: Medicinal-grade honey, such as Jellybush or Manuka honey, is a more expensive option but has proven high levels of antibacterial activity attributed to compounds like methylglyoxal (MGO).

Ensure that you purchase honey from a reputable source to ensure quality and authenticity.

Why add an onion to the honey?

Onions have been used for thousands of years as a herbal medicine in various cultures. Research supports the traditional use of onions to ease symptoms of respiratory tract infections.

Onions have several properties that can help relieve a cough:

  • Expectorant: Onions contain sulphur compounds and quercetin, which act as natural expectorants. These compounds help thin and loosen mucus in the respiratory tract, making it easier to cough up and clear the airways.
  • Antimicrobial: Onions contain compounds like allicin and flavonoids, which have antimicrobial properties. These properties can help combat bacteria and viruses that may be causing respiratory infections and contribute to coughing.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Onions contain anti-inflammatory compounds such as quercetin and kaempferol, which have been shown to reduce inflammation in the airways. By reducing inflammation, onions can help alleviate coughing associated with irritated or swollen airways.
  • Soothing: Volatile compounds released by onions can have a soothing effect on the throat. Inhaling these compounds may help relieve irritation and suppress the cough reflex.
  • Immune System Support: Onions are a good source of antioxidants and vitamin C, which can support the immune system.

Healing additions to boost your syrup

You can customize your onion honey cough syrup by adding additional ingredients to enhance the health benefits and add flavor. Here are some optional extra ingredients you can consider:

  • Antimicrobials for minor infections:
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – a handful, roughly chopped
  • Sage (Salvia officinalis) – a handful, roughly chopped
  • Garlic (Allium sativum) – four to six cloves, finely grated

  • Soothing demulcents and anti-inflammatories for sore, dry throats:

  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – finely chopped piece (about the size of your thumb)
  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa) & black pepper (Piper nigrum) – one tablespoon of turmeric powder with half a teaspoon of finely ground black pepper (the piperine in the pepper makes the curcumin in turmeric more easily absorbed by your body)
  • Licorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) root – one teaspoon of powdered root or two tablespoons of chopped root
  • Marshmallow (Althea officinalis) root – one teaspoon of powdered root or two tablespoons of chopped root

  • Pain-relieving anaesthetic plants:

  • Cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) – add 10 bruised cloves (avoid clove oil for children)

Soothing Onion Honey Cough Syrup Recipe

  1. Peel the onion and roughly chop it into small pieces.
  2. Place the onion in a clean jar and add the optional extra ingredients if desired.
  3. Top the onion with enough raw local honey to cover it. If the honey is too solid, gently warm it until it becomes liquid before adding it to the jar.
  4. Leave the mixture to infuse in a cool place, out of direct sunlight, for 24 hours to up to four days. If the syrup becomes fizzy, it is fermenting, but as long as it doesn’t smell unpleasant or “off,” it is safe to consume.
  5. If you need to use the syrup sooner, you can start skimming teaspoons from the top of the jar after 30 minutes of making it.
  6. When the syrup has infused, place a funnel on top of a clean jar and place a sieve on top of the funnel. Strain the syrup into the jar, pressing the plant matter with the back of a spoon to extract every last drop. Alternatively, you can leave the plant matter in the jar and consume it as well.
  7. Label the jar and store the cough syrup in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
  8. Dose: Adults can take 1-2 teaspoons of the syrup as needed to soothe a cough, up to three to six times a day. Children under ten years old should take half the adult dosage.

Remember to stir or shake the syrup before each use, as the ingredients may separate over time.

Can I give my baby onion honey syrup for coughs?

No, it is not recommended to give honey to babies under one year of age due to the risk of botulism. Honey may contain spores of Clostridium botulinum bacteria, which can cause botulism, a rare but dangerous illness.

Babies’ digestive systems are not fully developed, making them more susceptible to the bacteria’s spores. It is best to wait until after their first birthday to give them honey to ensure their safety.

What if your cough persists?

While honey onion syrup can provide short-term relief, it is important to consult a healthcare professional if you have a persistent or severe cough. They can help identify the underlying cause of the cough and determine the most suitable treatment.

Have you tried it?

We would love to hear about your experiences with this recipe. Feel free to share any combinations of ingredients you have tried and what has worked for you.

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