Tuesday, 5 July 2011

homemade cough syrup

Right now in Melbourne we're experiencing some silly windy, rainy and chilly weather. Yes, it is winter and yes I know that winter = cold.  But winter with little ones can be gruelling.  My 5 year old seems to be most prevalent to developing coughs.

I grew up with a mother who was always pulling out the home remedies for everything from a cough through to cuts and bruises. Good ol' mum!

It's funny how you grow up saying "I'll never be like my mum when I'm older" and then when you reach a certain age you realise you are just like your mum.  Well I am just like my mum.  And recently have found myself being all-nostalgic and reminiscing about my childhood.

With germs in full-throttle at our house at the moment, I thought it best to pull out this little gem of a recipe for some home-made cough syrup.  My brother and I grew up on this cough syrup, so I swear by it.  I'd never heard about it elsewhere until I googled it.  And yes, other people swear by it too!

So here's my dear mum's recipe for natural cough syrup...

  • 1 -4 brown onions (depending on how many people are sick)
  • sugar
  • clean jar with lid
Peel and slice onions, then separate the onion rings.  

Place a layer of onion rings into the jar and sprinkle it with sugar. Then another layer of onions and another layer of sugar. You get the idea. Keep going until you use up all of the sliced onion.  

Pop the lid on the jar and set aside for approx 3 hours until the onion excretes a syrup.  The sugar is the magic ingredient which extracts the juice from the onion.

Handy info:
  • Syrup keeps for 2 days (it's best when fresh, so only make up as much as you'll use in 2 days)
  • You can substitute the sugar for honey instead
  • If you don't have a jar, you can use a cup or bowl and cover with cling wrap
  • Keep in the fridge in warm weather 
  • Syrup can be taken every couple of hours if required - 1 teaspoon is all that is needed
You know the best bit about this? It super cheap to make, you can make it as soon as someone in the family gets sick and you know exactly what you're putting into your kids bodies.

My mum has also (recently) told me that in order to prevent getting the flu, I should place whole unpeeled onions around the house in bowls.  Apparently the onions absorb any sickness that is lingering.  To me this seemed a little like crazy lady behaviour, so I gave it a miss. But I have done a little research and apparently people use to do this in the early 1900's to prevent the flu. Did you know some 40 million people died in 1919 from the flu?

Needless to say, I now have onions scattered around our house.  My husband has given up questioning my bizarre actions and home made recipes.


  1. Hi, Ive got a cough currently too and Ive been looking into natural remedies myself. Just wandering how I go about taking this. Does it turn into liquid form or do I scoop through the onions or eat the onions? Sorry if this question sounds juvenile, but I really want to try it. So over coughing!!!
    Thanks a MILLION.

    1. Hi Cynthia
      The combination of onion and sugar creates a natural syrup extraction process. When it's ready you will be able to tilt the jar or bowl and scoop spoonfuls of the syrup onto a teaspoon or tablespoon. Hope this helps!


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