Mint-licious Herbal Cough Syrup For Dry, Irritating Coughs

Mint-licious Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe | Growing Up Herbal | A minty herbal cough syrup for dry, irritating coughs.

Kids come down with coughs for all sorts of reasons. Wouldn’t it be great to have a tasty, effective cough remedy that you could quickly make and have on hand in about an hour? I think so.

Today I’m sharing my recipe for Mint-licious Herbal Cough Syrup. There are tons of great cough syrup recipes in books and on the web, but this one is a favorite of everyone in my family because it tastes good and helps to sooth sore throats and dry, irritating coughs.

Get the recipe below then keep reading to learn about the herbs in this recipe and the kind of coughs they help!

Minty-licious Herbal Cough Syrup Recipe



  1. Place 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
  2. While you’re waiting on your water to boil, grind your licorice and marshmallow in an herb grinder to chop it up further. You’re looking for something between the chopped root you bought and a fine powder.
  3. Once water comes to a boil, turn heat down to a simmer (water is steaming, not boiling). Add in herbs and simmer for 30-45 minutes until water is reduced by 1/2.
  4. Strain and compost herbs through a thin cloth or coffee filter. This may be difficult as the licorice and marshmallow will thicken the liquid, causing it to look slimy. Do the best you can at straining it.
  5. Allow 1 cup of decoction to cool until close to room temperature. Add in 1/2 cup of raw honey (maple syrup for babies under 1 year) and 1/2 tsp. of peppermint extract for additional taste and preservation.
  6. Bottle, label, and store in the refrigerator.


Syrup will last up to one year refrigerated.


1 TBSP as often as needed for adults — 1 tsp. as needed for children (1/2 tsp. as needed for children under 5)

In my opinion, this is where I feel cough remedies fall short. The dosing either isn’t large enough or frequent enough. If you’re concerned about getting too much sugar, you can always use glycerine instead (although I’m not a huge fan of having that on the teeth) or you can simply skip the syrup part and drink it as an infusion. The point is… take it… and often.

Extra Tip:

If you or your child has a sore throat, a great way to use this syrup is to warm up a cup of water and add your dose of syrup to it. Slowly sip on it until it’s gone before making another one!

What Kind Of Cough Does This Cough Syrup Help?

Did you know that not all cough syrups help all coughs? That’s right… especially when it comes to herbal cough syrups. The reason is that there are a lot of different kinds of coughs and a lot of different herbs that help with coughs.

Some coughs are dry while others are wet. Some are caused by an irritation while others are the result of a virus or bacteria. Some are spasmodic coughs while others are weak. Each cough has its own characteristics and its own “needs” so to speak. The goal is to match the right kind of herbs to the kind of cough you have.

This cough syrup is used mainly for dry, irritating coughs. These kinds of coughs can be the result of environmental irritants and allergies or as a result of post-nasal drip from the common cold or sinus issues. It will also work for coughs caused by bacteria or those that are slightly productive.

What Makes This Herbal Cough Syrup Work So Well?

The herbs used in this syrup are a combination of demulcent, antibacterial, astringent, and stimulant herbs as well as soothing honey which, if raw, provides the body with additional antibacterial properties as well.


Licorice is an amazing demulcent herb. Not only does it taste great, but it has broad-spectrum antiviral and antibacterial properties (glycyrrhized version only), it stimulates the immune system, and it increases the potency of other herbs that it’s combined with.

For the most part, licorice is a safe herb; however, it is not to be used singularly (as opposed to in combination with other herbs) in large doses or for long periods of time (longer than 4-6 weeks) as it can lead to severe side effects. It is also not indicated for those with high blood pressure or kidney disease.


Marshmallow is another demulcent herb that’s well-known for soothing the tissues, but it also has some other great properties. It contains germ-fighting, immune boosting, and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals.


Next you’ve got the antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties of sage. If there’s any infection setting in, sage can aid the body in fighting it off as well as reducing any inflammation that may be in the throat. Astringent herbs, like sage, help to tighten and tone the tissues which can be helpful in coughs that produce mucus. Many times astringent herbs can be drying to the tissues so having the moisture from the demulcents helps to counteract that.

Sage is a safe herb, but it shouldn’t be used in large doses as it contains the phytochemical thujone which can cause dizziness, rapid heartbeat, hot flashes, and convulsions.


Lastly you’ve got the stimulant properties of  peppermint. Stimulants many times act as catalysts to the other herbs in a formula, helping them to be taken in by the body and used properly. They also increase circulation which helps the immune system by getting white blood cells moving around the body.

Peppermint is also high in volatile oils, one of which is menthol. Menthol is well-known for its use in calming coughs, but beyond that, the constituents in peppermint have also been shown to kill certain bacteria and viruses and deaden pain which is fitting for dry coughs as they tend to be more irritating to the mucous membranes.


Honey is one of those well-known cough remedies as it helps to coat the throat and keep a dry cough at bay, but beyond its soothing properties, it adds in some antibacterial properties to the remedy as well. Just be sure to not add it in when the liquid is too hot or you’ll destroy a lot of the benefits of its raw state.

Peppermint extract is used to help preserve the syrup thanks to the alcohol content which also helps to calm coughs. It also adds in some additional flavoring as well.

So there you go. An herbal cough syrup that you’ll love, your kids will love, and your dry, scratchy throat will love. Enjoy!

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  1. Linda says:

    Your an angel, my husband has a leftover dry cough from a bronchial infection (which he ha recovered from). I ordered some dried herbs online, but there are so many recipes around, I jut couldn’t nail it down to which one to use, but yours looks perfect. Bless you and thankyou – Linda

  2. Anne says:

    If you need to avoid the licorice, do you just omit it or replace it with a different herb. If so, which herb? Thank you so much for all the information you share.

    • Meagan says:

      If you can’t use licorice I’d personally leave it out, double the marshmallow to 2 TBSP., and add in 1 tsp. of thyme as it’s antimicrobial. That should take care of the cough and keep the formula balanced. HTH!!

  3. Earth Zen Mama says:

    This is wonderful. I am always looking for natural remedies and this recipe is one I will keep for future use. I am loving everything you post. Thank you for this blog!

    Come over and check out my blog: earthzenmama.com Thanks!


  4. Annie says:

    What do you suggest for the wet kind of cough? My daughter has one of those….thanks!!

  5. Heather says:

    I’ve learned that peppermint can dry up your milk supply and stimulate labor. Would this be contraindicated if breastfeeding/pregnant?

    • Meagan says:

      I’d say yes, just to be on the safe side, but you could replace the peppermint with another flavorful, stimulating herb instead.

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