Onion Syrup Recipe {for coughs and congestion}

{I’m not going to talk about how I’ve already typed this post once and then it got eaten when I tried to save it.  Suffice it to say, this will be the Reader’s Digest version.. ;) }

Isabella woke up on Valentines morning with a nasty fever.  I’m still not sure it wasn’t partly because she was cutting molars, though, because no one else ended up with one.  However, this past Monday, the majority of us were feeling pretty puny with sore throats, coughs, and just a general “blah” feeling.

I’ve never been one to rush to the doctor or pharmacy the minute any of us sniffle.   I usually try to exhaust all the other possibilites first - rest, lots of fluids and whatever good, old-fashioned homeopathic remedies I can pull out of my bag-o-tricks.  I began to educate myself in the realm of “Dr. Mom” when the big boys were little, and honestly, it’s rare that we require a visit to the doctor now.  One of my favorite books, which is now out of print, is Natural Child Care by Maribeth Riggs.  I refer to this book over and over again when one of the Crew is feeling under the weather.  She has a wealth of information on all things herbal.  For coughs and congestion, her recommendation is the big and stinky, but extraordinarily effective ONION.

Well, it’s actually the juice of an onion, but I know that doesn’t make it any more appealing unless you’re an ogre.  I have to say, though, this Onion Syrup is surprisingly palatable.  I’ve had much worse, believe me.  Even Isabella took it with no trouble and it really did seem to quiet her cough so that she could rest.  I took it too, and it definitely helped to break everything up and make my cough more productive.  It’s extremely easy to make;  the only ingredients are honey and a yellow onion {the most potent kind}.

You can also use regular sugar in a pinch, but honey has so many antimicrobial/antibacterial properties of it’s own that I’d highly recommend using it instead.  I’ve seen many ways to make this,  including some that take days, but if you’re like me, I don’t have the foresight enough to prepare things way in advance when it comes to sickness.

All you do for this recipe is peel and chop an onion.  Place it in a baking dish and cover it with honey – probably about 1/4 cup.  {In the book that I referred to earlier, she recommends 3 cups of honey, but that is extremely excessive in my opinion.  The end result is plenty sweet enough.}  Then you cover the dish and bake it at 300* for about an hour to an hour and a half.  Resist the urge to make the temperature higher.  It’s the lower heat that brings out all of the “important stuff” in the juice without damaging it.

After it’s finished, you will see a beautiful amber colored liquid and that is what you’re after.  Take a potato masher, or a fork if you don’t have one, and mash, mash, mash to expel all of that lovely syrup.

Then pour it into a container that can be sealed and refrigerated.  This was my yield with one onion:

If you have a big family with many sick at one time, you could certainly do 2 or more.  I give my littles 1 tbsp before every meal and then again at bedtime.  For the bigger ones, it’s 2 tbsp.  Remember, honey is not safe for babies that are under 1 year so this treatment is not for them.

~Onion Syrup~

Ingredients:  1/4 C. Honey, and 1 Yellow Onion

Instructions:  Preheat oven to 300*.  Peel and chop onion and place in baking dish.

Pour honey over onion.  Cover and bake for 1 – 1.5 hours.  Using potato masher, extract liquid from the onions.

Put into a sealed container and refrigerate up to 1 week.

Dosage:  Under 12- 1 tbsp 4x a day  Adults and teens- 2 tbsp 4x a day

P.S.  Ok, so that wasn’t the Reader’s Digest version.  I’m nothing if not loquatious.  ;)


  1. Gabriela Cristian says:

    This stuff sounds amazing! Here’s a question for you–in the picture where you’re mashing the onion I can see the onion skins, but can’t see any in the jar. Did you strain the liquid, or do you give it to your kids skins and all? Or do the skins break up if you mash them long enough?

    • Hi Gabriela!  I strain the liquid, usually using cheesecloth, but I didn’t have any this time so I just held the potato masher over the onions and poured the liquid into the container.  :)

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