Have you heard about Onion cough syrup? Two ingredients. Zero cooking.

Layer sliced onions and sugar, wait a few hours, and you’ve got the classic all natural cough syrup for kids and adults.

Want to make some yourself? Read on.

You might be curious about home remedies, but aren’t sure how to get started. Will you need lots of strange ingredients? Maybe you’ll need to know how to cook, or have tons of empty bottles and jars around. And if you did make something, would your family actually try it? It can feel easier just to buy a natural remedy in a shop. 

Onion cough syrup is my very favorite remedy for natural remedy newbies, and an essential part of any natural health lover’s repetoire.

It uses two ingredients you already know and likely always have in your kitchen: an onion and sugar.
There’s no cooking required.

And because Onion Cough Syrup is best used fresh, you can just make it when you need it – so you’ll immediately be able to test it’s effectiveness yourself! 


Onion Cough Syrup is Ancestral Medicine

Onion Cough Syrup is an ancient remedy. There’s a good chance your great-grandmother used this herself!

In 1653, herbalist Nicholas Culpepper described using onions with sugar (or honey) for coughs in his book Culpeper’s Complete Herbal. So there’s a long, long history of using this cough syrup. 

I was introduced to this simple remedy in an herbal medicine class in London. Of course I made some that evening, and was enchanted by how quickly the layered sugar and onions turn into syrup, and how good the syrup tastes! 

Ingredients to make onion cough syrup

My mother is also interested in herbal remedies, so I told her about the syrup. She wasn’t familiar with it. But then she spoke to HER mother on the phone…

Grandma’s immediate reply? “Oh yeah, my mother used to give us that as children when we had colds.”

Growing up in rural Iowa in the early 1900’s my Great-Grandmother used simple remedies to keep her large family healthy. But what happened to this wisdom? Why didn’t Grandma continue it with her own children?

By the 1950s, the trend was to purchase pre-made foods, medicine, beauty products – any kind of ‘technological shortcut’ to show you were really living well – cake mixes, instant dinners, canned soups, and all kinds of medicines. Although Grandma also raised her children on the farm and did make many things herself, she’d lost the habit of making medicine (and much to my disappointment, sauerkraut) which her own mother had done.

This widespread abandoning of simple, effective herbal remedies occurred in many families, all around the world.

But now it’s our turn – and we can choose to rediscover and reclaim these remedies to support our health (and keep the traditions and wisdom alive!)


Why do onions help a cough or cold?

Onions (and their stronger counterpart, garlic) are part of the Allium family of plants, which are traditionally known for their immune-boosting properties, including being natural antivirals and antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and expectorants.

Peeling an onion to make cough syrup

Onion Cough Syrup is really known as a children’s remedy because it’s gentle and sweet. Of course, it can also be used for adults or elders – anyone who wants a gentle cough remedy.

If you’re up for something stronger, make the more potent version of a natural cough syrup – garlic in honey. No recipe needed here, just crush and chop garlic (crushing is important, to activate it), and then cover with honey. Let it sit for an hour, and then take by the spoonful. 

You can also just add more onions and garlic to your diet during the winter months, to keep yourself healthy. 


How do I use onion syrup?

This onion syrup is traditionally used as a children’s cough syrup.  Simply give a spoonful as often as needed to soothe coughing (1-2 spoonfuls per hour, if needed).

You MUST use this syrup fresh.  It is ready in 6-8 hours (overnight), so just make some fresh every 2 days.


How does onion cough syrup taste?

I made this syrup myself last week when I caught a cold on a plane flight.  I was eating it for a whole day and thought it tasted lovely and sweet.

A few hours later my nose unblocked.

Then I realized, wow, this really smells of onions!

In the process of making onion cough syrup.

So, my advice is:

  • If your child has a stuffed up nose, take the syrup straight.
  • If they can still smell (and taste), you might want to have them hold their noses as they eat it.

We had my 3 year old nephew hold his nose while taking the syrup and he thought it was fun and tasted yummy.  My 5 year old niece went for a straight spoonful and wasn’t too happy about it.  Experiment and see what works.

As an adult, I actually think it tastes really nice. Yes, it’s oniony, but also very sweet. Give it a try.


How to Make Onion Cough Syrup

Onion Cough Syrup Directions

You need:

  • Glass container with lid
  • An Onion that fits into the container
  • Granulated sugar (white or brown)


  1. Peel your onion. Slice it into rounds (which will fit into your jar.)

Peel and chop your onion to make onion cough syrup

2. Layer onion and sugar in the jar. It’s like making an onion parfait! 

Layer onion and sugar in the jar to make onion cough syrup

3. When the jar is full, cover it and set at room temperature for 6-8 hours until a syrup forms.

Layered onions and sugar waiting to become onion cough syrup

4. You’ll see a syrup start forming within an hour or two. Leave it until it’s fully liquid, approximately 6-8 hours.

Onions and sugar turning into onion cough syrup.

5. Ready to use! Simply eat a spoonful of this syrup as needed to soothe your cough. Store in the refrigerator. Discard after 48 hours.

Homemade onion cough syrup ready to use.

That’s it! It’s that simple to make your first home remedy.


About the Author

Amanda Cook is an author, entrepreneur, and alchemist. She helps successful women create lives of meaning & magic by connecting with the seasons. Her work has appeared on BBC Radio 4, The Sunday Telegraph, Natural Health UK Magazine, and more. Learn more at AmandaCook.me.

  1. is it possible for adults to place a few garlic in there? if so, should i just crush it and place it in there?

  2. Hi. I am a Mum of two and still use that recipe. Can’t recommend it enough for cough and cold. I’ve prepared it with sugar and honey and even added some garlic and lemon juice when the colds were worse than others and it really works magic. I will continue using it and hope to pass this on to my children …

  3. When I was a child, my mother used to bake an onion. She put the whole onion, shell and all, in the oven and baked till it was soft. She then gave us teaspoons of the broth. I remember cringing whenever I smelled it baking but, it really helped our colds.

  4. I heard about this remedy from my customer yesterday. I’ve been sick for 3 days now so I just made this. I’m taking it in the am, I’ll let ya know.

  5. A little sugar of any kind helps with hydration when taken with a liquid. Adequate hydration is necessary to loosen mucus in the respiratory tract.
    I cut sugar out of my diet about 10 yrs ago but I have noticed that I hydrate much better when I eat bread or a little sweet fruit etc.

  6. My Grandad was a coal miner in the north east and his chest always seemed to be a problem for him , He used to slice up onions and layer them with sugar in a large salad bowl then top up with water . The bowl , covered with a tea towel lived on top of a tall blue cupboard with glass doors , in the kitchen . As a boy whenever I had a cold or cough , he would give me some of his special medicine . This is one of my fondest memories .

  7. Mom (Suraiya Shaikh) used to make White-Onion with Alsi (Flaxseed) add tulsi (Basil) leaves add khadi shakhar (Rock-candy or Rock-sugar) with few pappercorns along with Licorice…….Mom used to boiled untill it come downs to 50% than she used to finally add jaggery.

    Also Mom used to keep cutted onion near my son’s pillow in round steel tiffin which has holes in it. so the adour of onion stop ur caugh.


  8. am 66 years old and have used this on my children and grandchildren as it was given to me as a child by my mum its the best thing for colds and flu also if once the onions have cried you leave them in the room they collect the germs but only for one night then throw them away

  9. Instead of sugar….use honey and let sit for at least 20 minutes. Then, take 1 tbl, if cough doesn’t go away totally within 2 minutes, take another spoonful. Cough should be totally gone. I did this for a cough that had my throat so raw I was coughing blood. Took me two spoons,and it went completely away. I still took the syrup off and on for a couple days to make sure all infection was gone. But never coughed again after the second spoon. Will never take anything else when I’m sick. Works for many illnesses.

  10. I am from Peru. I was so happy to find this recipe. I remember drinking it when I was a kid. Will try on my daughter now. Thanks

  11. I came across your site a couple of months ago when my sister asked if I could remember how our Nan made onion and brown sugar “medicine” as she used to give it to us as children. I had forgotten all about it. As I seem to remember we rather liked it as children.

    Well, I have an absolutely horrendous cold at the moment and made a batch this morning so should be ready to take just before bed time. Fingers crossed

    She also used to make blackberry and vinegar cough syrup and it worked wonders and kept for months and months!

    Thank you.

  12. My grandmother used to make onion syrup for us. She would cut up the onion, add the sugar and a small amount of water and cook it down to a syrup. I can remember many a time of sitting at the table with a towel over my head breathing in the hot vapors of this syrup. When the syrup had cooled down, she would then give me a tablespoon full. I just know that the two combined worked and worked fast. I’m doing this for my granddaughter right now. She is protesting, but I think she will feel better by morning. Love this old remedy!

  13. Hey, Im Polish and this syrop is well known in my country. There are few more versions of onion syrop, you could replace sugar with manuka honey or any honey, you can add in garlic which makes syrop even more effective, or squeeze in some lemon… Either way this syrop will boost your immune system and will ease symptoms of colds and flu…

  14. The choice between honey or brown sugar is based on if you want to drain or dry up the sinus I have heard. Honey will help drain the sinuses and the brown sugar helps to dry them out.

  15. my grand ma wouldbake an onion when soft an done she mash it up put sugar or honey in it an little bit of whiskey.stir it up good give us spoone ful.up in the mountains there was,nt drs close..it sure help us

  16. My grandmother use to make it. However she chopped the onion and put it and the sugar in a glass and turned it over on a deep saucer. As the syrup seepped out she would ta I e teaspoons full to give to us.

  17. I’m 35 and my parents are from england. They were born in the late 40’s early 50’s and their parents made it for them. Called it gypsy juice. I’m taking some now ad I am 8 weeks pregnant and meds are limited. This does the trick. I use sugar and onions. Might try garlic instead next time.

  18. Thanks for the recipe. Giving this a try tonight. Its the day before Christmas Eve and I have a terrible cough. It started last night. I know its just from sinus drainage. Is so common in my area. I do not want to be sick over the holidays. After reading all the good comments and how far this dates back. I am sure it will work.

  19. have stumbled upon here through a google search…am kinda desperate NOT to get sick with my lungs being bad. my 22 month old grandson that i take care of has a very bad, snotty-coughing-icantsleep-icantstandlife cold, and i take care of him. thanks for the recipe and the encouragement!

      1. It’s all natural. We would give the syrup to our daughter when ever she was about 6 months old.

  20. Thanks for an enlighting article which I totally have faith in as a kid and now 62 and have never had a cold or cough since I was born. Mum used to make the onion syrup since we were kids and I have been making it for my kids. My daughter is 23 years old and when she flies in to visit she will request a potion of onion juice which I make and keep in the fridge.

    Some years ago I went to visit a friend in another province and the next door neighbours son who was 8 had a racking cough ever 5 mins. On asking the mother if she sought any medical help, which she replied that she had taken him to the doctor the day before and was given some medication but it didnt seem to work. I told her about Onion syrup and she said she never heard of it so i told her I would make some and come over in 15 mins to collect some.

    She gave the boy a large spoon ful and after about 10 mins the coughing stopped and he was sound asleep! I have started using it with garlic paste, works wonders.

  21. Why use white sugar, it Donna work.
    Use Brown sugar, u get a black sludge and it works.

  22. My boyfriend made this syrup for me when I was really sick last year. It actually works really well. After an hour or so I felt a hundred times better πŸ™‚ . Now I make it whenever I feel a cold coming on. My boyfriend is half Sioux Indian and his mother was full Sioux and she made this for him all the time.

  23. Will this also help with the mucus my son can not sleep he wakes up and can not breath very good

  24. I read here on the internet (about a week or so) to make some kind of mixture w/onion in it and drop in child’s ear for a terrible earache. everyone was amazed at the results! Have you heard of this?

  25. Question, is the hole point pull out the liquid from the onion and drink it? Right?

    Well here’s a Mexican version/recipe. I use this recipe with different diners and never thought about using it for colds/coughs.

    Slice a onion – thin
    Take 1-2 lemons and saturate the onions.
    Add salt to taste.
    Let sit for about a hour or so.. You’ll know when it’s ready because onion I’ll be wilted.

    I love to just sit eat a bowl if I could, but I get strange looks. Like said I’ve never tried it when I’m sick but now I’m interested.

  26. I grew up with it in Belgium. My mom used brown sugar, I think the flavor will be a little nicer that way. It always did the trick for my coughs. I haven’t been able to convince my kids to give it a try though.

  27. Thank U for the recipe! I have one question, would this be safe to give to my 7 months old baby? Thank You in advance.

  28. my mother in law used to give hot or warm milk with fresh crushed pepper.. actually we can have warm milk with turmeric almost twice a week for getting good immunity…

  29. I am of Polish decent and my mother made this when I was a child, fifty some years ago. I not only worked like a charm, I loved the taste too. The suggestions here using honey instead of sugar, lemon and garlic are great. They are all ingredients to enhance the process.

  30. We swear by onion syrup here! I son HATES onions, but when he starts coughing he asks for it as he knows it works and I know have friends asking for the recipe. Another Great thing is I can send some to school in his lunch box as it’s not “medicine”, so at least he can get a dose while a school too!

  31. I’m suffering from cough from the month of january..!! one year is to be completed..The treatment of doctors doesn’t show any improvement πŸ™ and now i’ll try this Onion syrup πŸ™‚ hope this will work πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thank u So much πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

  32. When my daughter was about 3-4 years old(she’s 9 now)she had a really bad cold and i dont like using Advil or Tylenol for children if I dont have to because it makes them drowsy and not thier “normal” selves. I asked one of my moms friends on a “old school” remedy for colds and she told me about this remedy and I love it!!!!!! This is what I give my children for now on….And for myself also!

  33. I made this for my 2.5 year old who had an extremely persistent cough…gave her two spoonfuls before bedtime and she didn’t cough all night, despite coughing pretty much continuously for the previous 24 hours. We were amazed – I think even my home-remedy-skeptical husband came around a little bit πŸ™‚ She even liked the taste, though she is pretty congested so who knows if she would have felt the same way if she could smell, but either way I will definitely try this again! Amanda, thank you so much for sharing these ideas that saved me from being tempted to try potentially harmful medicines and also allowing my daughter to get the rest she needed!

  34. I remember my Grandma making it when I was a child except she did not add any sugar. The onion has a lot of natural sugar. She put it in bowl and sat it over the pilot light on a gas stove. I always found it was delicious.

  35. When I was little, I would get bronchitis twice a year, every year in the summer & again in the winter! No fun! Anyway, my Great-Grandmother would make me Onion Tea to help the coughing that came with it. However, she would cut an onion, put in pan, add brown sugar & water, let it boil. It was AMAZING! Not only did it help my cough, but it tasted great too!

  36. My wife just made our 2 year old this remedy and I never heard of it. I laughed a little and she thought I was ignorant. My wife is from Germany, this is a very common remedy there. After her telling me about this, I gave it a whirl on google and found this post. Ok, after reading this post, now I’m a little more convinced. Our 2 year is running around smelling like a fresh cut onion.

    Other remedies from my brilliant little German princess:

    Heat a cup of milk,honey,butter, and clove of garlic. Drink it as hot and as fast as you can. Best to drink before bed.

    Another one

    Heat a bottle of dark beer, add 4 tbs of sugar. Drink it hot, best before bed

  37. My mother made this for us as children, the recipe came from my grandfather. I have continued to make it during my adult life (I am 37 now) as I find it more effective than cough medicines. In fact, I have just made a batch to rid me of a chesty cough. I swear by it! I make it with brown sugar as I find this has a sweeter taste and is less “oniony”. Many friends and colleagues think I am crazy when I give them the recipe, I will be sharing your site with them πŸ™‚

  38. I found this article yesterday night, desperate about my cough.
    I’m portuguese, I’m 29. Mother of a 13 months baby boy. This morning, I’ve done the syrup. Let’s wait and hope I’ll get better. I’ll try it out with my baby too.
    Thank you Amanda for sharing this with…the World! πŸ™‚

  39. In addition to onion syrup, given through the day, I cut an onion in half and put it near the bed of my kids when they have a cold and start coughing for hours at night! i’ve used it since they are babies and it works fine. No more coughing and wakes up! Thanks mother nature!

  40. Hi, onion syrup was a staple in our house during the winter months. I also made it for our son who swore he hated onions and everything about them! He had such a bad cough, had taken all the prescribed cough syrup, but the cough persisted. He was getting pretty desperate for a good night’s sleep. I made the onion syrup and he was amazed at how well it worked for him.

  41. Just found your site and I love it! I will definitely be trying the onion cough syrup. In the winter I always have a jar of cut up organic lemons and ginger in my fridge covered in honey. After a day or so it makes a lemony syrup. We pour some into a cup with some hot water for a really comforting drink if you feel a cold coming on. I grew up in northern Newfoundland and when i was a little we would always have to take “wild Strawberry” if we had a upset stomach or any digestive upset. And within a few hours we were fine. It always stopped diarrhea in its tracks. It came in a small bottle and was a tincture made with wild strawberry leaves and it tasted horrible but it worked. I don’t think it is on the market anymore (I have looked) but i want to try making my own. I would like to have something natural to help when my kids say “Mom, my belly doesnt feel good.”

  42. You can chop or grate it to a fine mush then apply with a cloth covering for as long as you can stay on your back

  43. It’s a problem with infant botulism. So rice syrup or molasses may be better for young kids. The infant botulism age keeps going up I wonder if the sugar industry is involved!

  44. I always used honey instead of sugar … Yummy … Though for kids under 1, 2 … What’s the new cut off age for honey? A little sugar may be the answer though I also wonder about the immune suppression of the sugar. Maybe molasses would work, or rice syrup.

    1. The syrup is best made – and used – fresh. So if you think you’ll use it within 1 day, leave it on the counter, but up to 3 days I would keep it in the fridge. (After that I would make fresh. Not because it’s bad, but just because it will be more powerful fresh!)

  45. My cousin heard me once with a persistent cough and she told me about this one recipe that worked for her really fast. She minces one or two cloves of garlic, heats up a cup of milk on the stove to where the milk is not boiling but hotter than warm, pours the minced garlic in the milk and drinks the mixture. She told me to drink it a night and the next day my cough was gone. Other times it has taken making the mixture more than once to work, so don’t give up. I have done it up to three times a day until the cough was gone. Garlic is very powerful. Garlic usually helps me right away at the initial signs of a sore throat. Sometimes if I catch the cold in time, and take garlic 3 times a day(morning,lunch,dinner) I will not get sick at all. For a cold, I mince 2-3 cloves of garlic and eat it with honey or water and sometimes I mash it up with olive oil, put some pepper flakes and eat with bread. I can do this 3 times a day. It ends up being delicious and disappears my cold. I take it as if it was an antibiotic 3x a day. 1 day if I was just having a throat tingle. 2-3 days if I already got the cold or flu. Just some ideas, hope this works.

  46. More information on “onion cough syrup”…

    My girlfriend Theresa…whose mother is Polish…said she would heat up honey to the boiling point, then pour it over the raw onion…when it was cooled they would put some on a piece of bread, onion and syrup!

  47. I’m making the onion syrup as I’m reading this. My grandmother swore by it and she raised 8 children! I am game if it will work, already ate my garlic cloves! I’ve been sick with a sinus/respiratory infection since Feb 9th and the cough is not producing much but laryngitis πŸ™

    1. Hi Terri – good luck and let us know how you get on! Garlic in honey is the super-powered adults version of this syrup … but if you are already eating garlic cloves, you’re on the right track!

  48. i have looked for the recipe for a long time my dad made it when i was a child, finally found it on bing 85 years young, thank you all so much , my husband is driving me crazy with his cough not to mention what it is doing to him .

    1. Good day. I remember my mom putting a jug with half an onion and some suger infront of the bed. The vapour itself worked extremely well for coughing

  49. well i!ll tell you i am 79 and finally found someone who new how to make onion syrup…thanks a lot

      1. I came from a really mixed ethnic area ,N W Indiana all kinds of these recipes there. I also think that it is a Polish syrup, could be German.
        Thanks, Clint

  50. We use this recipe in Poland all the time. The doctors will recommend it as well. I have a little tweak to it – I chop the onion as then the syrup is made faster, add honey instead of sugar (real honey not that artifficial crap), chop one clove of garlic and add to the jar as well, add some freshly squeezed lemon juice. the garlic doesn’t really alter the taste but, as mentioned in the article it’s even stronger antbiotic than the onion, and the lemon improves the taste and adds additional vitamin C vital in colds and flu

    1. Hi Jarek, I love this adaptation to the recipe, I’ll give it a try! I’ve been putting limes in honey recently for a vitamin C boost, so this tweak seems to combine all the goodness into one spoonful πŸ™‚

    2. I just tried it with the lemon juice and it tastes really good. When I was a kid living on the farm my mother kept a pan of it on the pot belly stove all winter long and when one of us (5 Kids) starting coughing we got some. My sister and I still make it. I love it.

      1. The older gas cooking stoves that kept a flame for a pilot light is where my mom kept the onion tea. She would reference it to tea. She has passed , and I ‘m not sure how she fixed it. I recall the thinly sliced onions and sugar ,and I think honey. As a child I don’t recall it ever having a bad taste. We always got it or a honey & alum mixture. We never saw inside a doctors office, only home remedies. My folks were raised in Arkansas $ it was all they new. I am 63 and in good health.

      2. Brilliant I am sure all home remedies are the best. Managed to nurse my daughter to health over Christmas with a terrible cough without going to the Dr.

      3. Mine did also their pass down recipe stated to warm it up over night. When wemoved to a home with a floor furnace a pot of it was sitting in one corner of the floor grates my mother used the sugar broke up the onions and added garlic, honey and lemon the lemon can be sliced up fresh like the onion and let it steep overnight. It did not cook it just kept it warm because we kept getting spoonfuls and it did not burn us but was nice and warm.

  51. thank you for this website, I found it very interesting. I also liked this recipe a lot and will try today for my 22 month. I just wanted to give my opinion about the sugar use. I am a pharmacist/ethnopharmacologist and have been studying old plant medicines for some time. One needs to put these old recipes in perspective. until not too long ago, sugar was used in moderation. definitely not like today. Sugar itself is not a problem. The problem, like many things in life, is the amount of sugar we take every day. I don,t really see a problem with few spoons of sugar, when someone who has a balanced diet is sick. Unless the person is diabetic of course. Actually sugar cane was used as a medicine until not too long ago. Just my 2 cents… Exchange white sugar for brown one if you r worried.

    1. HI Fabi, such a good point! A couple of spoonfuls when you’re sick is not the problem, it’s the fact that we eat so much sugar on a daily basis, a lot of it hidden in our regular food! Thanks for sharing.

    2. The sOng we sang as a child was….a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down , the medicine go down πŸ™‚ mary poppings

    3. DO NOT USE HONEY FOR INFANTS!!!! They say children less than two but I know some children that got sick at 3 years old. I raise honeybees and I tell everyone no honey to children under 3. Babies digestion system has not advanced enough to handle the honey can cause severe stomach upset.

  52. so I used this remedy to help with a terrible chest cough. My buddy told me about it, and said his grandmother had passed it on to him. It is an awesome expectorant. My advice though; TAKE AT NIGHT BEFORE BED! It loosens the phlegm which can lead to alot of coughing if taken during the day. I take 2 spoonfuls right before going to bed and in the morning I feel much better.

  53. when I was young my mother used to make this cough syrup out of the onion to. But the way she make it is to use brown sugar and big jar deep actually she usually use red onion. I wander though if it will work for adults ? and does it matter if mix the sugar all together without layering it ?

    1. Hi Henry, I think it will work for anyone, but onions are more gentle than garlic (which would be the adult version). I’ve not tried mixing the onions and sugar, I’ve only done the layers. Let me know how it works if you try it.

      1. I grew up on this. My granny got the recipe from a neighbor in Germany (we called it German syrup) and she made it in a casserole dish then placed a tea towel over it and let it sit. Works just as well.

  54. I think its more simple to just eat an onion as it is ! its a little bit hard to do it, but i will know the effects tomorrow!

  55. the best cure for a cough my grandmother recipe and i tell every one about it because it works so quick almost instant is butter sugar and milk, heat together, my granny lived to be 96 and she still cleaned the chapel up until her late 90 she was amazing πŸ™‚

  56. I can remember my mom making horehound cough syrup. But, in recent years, the horehound candies have been very hard to find. I used to sneak it from the medicine cupboard when I wasn’t even sick. She also made mustard plasters. We never heard of the onions and sugar before. I just made some now as my hubby’s cough is driving me crazy.

  57. We used to make it on the stove when I was a kid. I making some now for my kids. Vapor rub on the bottom of their feet with socks at night helps also.

    1. my mom made it on the stove. She made a sort of make shift double boiler and boiled the onion with a plate on the sliced onions and a can on top to squeeze out the juice…you can make it in a few hours that way and it works just the same …..sugar, onions and just a bit of water…. when the water cooks off you have this great syrup that works better than most cough syrups that you get by prescription. you just have to give it your attention when making it…

      1. Remember my mother doing this when my brother and I was little. Than seems like she just stopped making it , time the next two came along !!

  58. I rememberd this cough syrup being made in the kitchen when I was little (72 now ) I loved it. Do you if people ever cooked it on the stove.

    1. My grandmother was part of the Germans from Russia group and came to the US from the Ukraine..when i was 8 i had whopping cough with no relief until she boiled onions on the stove with the honey..i remember that it tasted awful but was the only thing that worked for my cough

  59. This is a very common cure her in Poland. I am American and had never heard of it before but my husbands family swears by it. I make it for my kids and we all get over a cold very quickly!

    1. My wife is from Poland, and I thought she was nuts when she sliced an onion and covered it with sugar. Turns out that she wasn’t nuts, I was just ignorant. Oh well. Like they always say, you learn something every day.

      1. I thought it was crazy the first time I heard it too. I’m loving all these comments about how this traditional remedy is still in active use!

  60. My Aunty used to make a sugar and onion syrup for Colds which, try as I might, I have been unable to replicate. It tasted yummy! This was in the fifties. She also made a wonderful black ointment, a bit like Magnoplasm, (wish that were still available, wonderful stuff!). Unfortunately, she threw her recipes away, after Alzheimer’s overtook her.

  61. Dear all. I would not worry over much about sugar v honey (Or Hunny if your Poo bare). Honey is after all 99 pc sugar and some extra good bits thrown in to make it a good antiseptic and healing aid
    My Mum gave me this mixture when I was congested as a child, and it always shifted better than anything else.
    By the way thanks for the recipe I’m making some for the first time in over 50 years. I’ll try
    and let you know how it goes.

  62. I come from a large family & I remember something about my mother putting onions in a large jug with sugar & leaving it in the old black range oven overnight, next morning we line
    d up for a spoonful before we went to school that was in the 1940s..

  63. One of my neighbours – who had Asbestosis – gave me the remedy when I had pneumonia and I couldn’t shake the chesty cough. So, he sent over his wife with the remedy written down on a piece of paper for me (because he heard me some nights when he couldn’t sleep at 4am due to his condition).
    At first, I wasn’t all that convinced about it, but then, when I took my first sip, I realised it wasn’t too bad. So, since then, I’ve been making this remedy – seeing I can’t take anything with Penicillin as I’m allergic to it and so I’ll try anything to help a cold and a dreadful cough go away.
    I have tried to get my family to work with this remedy, but nobody will use it. Mum went to her doctor and he Googled it and they found it had been around for over a century and was invented around WWI due to the rationing with food stores. Amazing what people will do when it comes to looking after family.

  64. My great great grandmother made onion syrup but she used water and heat to reduce the mixture to a syrup.

  65. Can you pleas explain what exactly you do with the onion to make a poultice? how, i have 2,5 year wee boy, who is on antibiotics on and off for past thre months, it always start with litle cold in two days its a bad cough and in week goes to his ears …. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

  66. This really works my mother inlaw told me about it when my 2 year old little Doll got sick i tought she was the only one who new about this πŸ˜€ but feels better to know im not the only one doing it. πŸ™‚ i just saved this resep. so i wont have to ask her to make it again. Thanks for the big Help <3

    1. Hi!! Read about onion and honey syrup . How about grinding and sieving juice out of onions and adding honey to it instead of slicing and covering with sugar or honey?? Will it not have the same effect??

  67. I’m not all that old and I did this with my children when they were little. You don’t really use all that much sugar but I would think if you wanted to use honey instead it would work as well. The idea is that the sugar/honey draws the liquid out of the onion and makes it taste better. I also used to chop onions very fine and made a poultice out of it to put on my sons chest when he had bad colds. I didn’t have to worry about burning his skin like you would with a mustard plaster. Worked wonders actually. πŸ™‚

    1. Hi JNC…
      I think the poultice with the onion sounds like it would be very effective. I’m definitely going to make the onion and sugar..(or raw honey). I’m going to use it for a healthy syrup for daily use…I read that it can prove effective with strep and staph..that’s enough for me!

  68. Mom used to make us onion tea with honey and lemon (more like to improve the taste) when we were seriously ill. She also put something else in the tea, but I cant remember the third ingredient right now …
    This combination is seriously disgusting, but VERY effective, so suck it up and try it πŸ™‚

  69. Hi everyone, good point about the sugar! I’ll have to ask an herbalist about that…

    Lissa your suggestion of honey & garlic is right-on. That’s the ultimate cold-busing solution because honey is very soothing for the throat too. But it tastes really strong, and I think it would be difficult to get children to take it!

    The whole idea of the onion and sugar is that it’s a kids remedy because it’s more gentle and easier to swallow πŸ™‚

  70. oh hello.
    When I was a child and got neumonia my mother anything she could, so someone told her mix aguardiente or some strong liquor like vodka and put in a glass jar with 4 pieces of garlic and she did it, i took this awful liquid three times per day for a week and felt better, she also put on my chess, brown paper bag with candle is dificult to me explain the liquid part the candle, she put is in the paper bag and waitand put me when was still liquid, but this part up, for all night, i think if she put me something hot or warm worked too. Sorr my English. About the sugar, i agree with the first comments, i stop the sugar during the cold because stimulate the mucus secretion.

  71. This is such a great recipe! But I’m wondering about the sugar-is it changed somehow by the process? Generally for colds and such my first move is to cut out all sugar because it suppresses the immune system. Would honey work as well? Also, could you substitute garlic instead of onions? Hmm, honey and garlic… Will try.

      1. You should never give honey to children under 3 as it could contain harmful bacteria. Its usually not recommend!

      2. I have never heard of not giving honey to young children. Here in Western Australia, it was common to dip dummies in honey to soothe babies, in the 40’s to the 60’s. (Never mind the Dental problems as a result).
        I know all of our honey is heat pasteurised, but still…

      3. The standard I’ve heard is not to give honey to babies 12 months or younger. After 1 year, it’s fine. Of course it’s always up to each parent what to give their kids!

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