Using the Humble Onion for Colds and Coughs

Many times we get comments from our ‘Commentistas’ that are so value-adding that I have to share them in a blog post. The Herbal Survivalist constantly adds value to the readers of this site and the followers at The Herbal Survivalist Spot. Here’s a homemade cough and cold syrup recipe that she shared this morning using onions! One of my favorite eats.


Homemade Cough and Cold Syrup with Onion and Honey

by The Herbal Survivalist

It comes from a book I mentioned briefly before called 10 Essential Herbs by Lalitha Thomas. This is a rare (I believe because it’s out of print) book from 1996 that my mother-in-law stumbled upon somewhere. It’s very interesting because Lalitha is not a “certified” anything when it comes to herbs, but it’s clear as you read through the book that they are very much a part of her daily life and that her own personal study and use of herbs is extensive. Personally, I’m very happy to read a book by someone who doesn’t have letters after her name but has devoted much of her life to learning a craft, and Lalitha is incredibly skilled at communicating how to use herbs in a down-to-earth way for anyone who is just learning. I love this book in particular because it focuses on 10 easily acquired herbs (cloves, chaparral, cayenne, comfrey, ginger, garlic, onion, peppermint, slippery elm and yarrow) and shows you how to treat almost anything with only these 10 herbs. Amazing!

This recipe I’m sharing comes from her chapter on Onion, which I confess I had sort of skipped over at first to read the other chapters on more “interesting and useful” herbs. The laugh is on me, because when I finally got around to reading about the humble onion, I was astounded at how useful it is! I made this recipe in 20 minutes yesterday while puttering around the kitchen making other things and Abbie and I have been using it since then. It seems to be keeping her coughing to a minimum, as well as helping to ease my sore throat and minimizing my stuffiness. I feel like it’s helping to decongest my sinuses, which is such a relief, even if it means I’m going through tissue by the boatload.

1 cup freshly chopped onion

About 1/2 cup raw honey

Plus any of the following (optional):
1 tsp. Cloves (whole or powdered)- specifically good for pain relief

1-2 Tbsp. Comfrey or Slippery Elm (dried or powdered)- Comfrey is particularly good for healing, and Slippery Elm has more of a reputation for soothing and coating the throat

1-2 Tbsp. fresh chopped Ginger root OR 1 tsp. Ginger powder- Ginger increases warmth, circulation (important for healing) and the overall effectiveness of the syrup

**You can include all of these optional herbs, but at a maximum of 2 Tbsp. extra herbs total

Put chopped onions and any herbs of choice into a small stainless steel or glass pot (not alumnimum). Add enough honey to cover the onions ( for me, this seemed to be about 1/2 a cup, though I didn’t measure exactly).

Turn the pot on low heat and slowly simmer. The honey will soften and become liquidy, and you want to keep the temperature very low while allowing the herbs to steep in the honey. It’s best to keep a lid on to help keep all of the medicinal properties of the herbs in the syrup, and just take the lid off to give it a quick stir every few minutes to ensure it doesn’t burn at all (though the temp. should be low enough to prevent this).

Give it 20 minutes of simmering, then remove it from the heat. Strain the onions and herbs out and store the remaining honey (which might have flecks of herb in it and this is fine) in a small glass jar with a lid and keep it in the fridge.

The syrup can be used as often as needed, up to every half hour. Here are the dosages:

1 tsp. for a younger child

1 Tbsp. for anyone 10 years and older

While we’re on the topic of using onions medicinally, I thought I should mention another use I learn yesterday. A commenter said that when her children are sick, she puts chopped onions in a small bag around their neck when they go to bed and in the morning, they wake up well. First I had ever heard of it, but I’ve heard stranger things. Wouldn’t you know it that later yesterday, as I was reading about onion in the book, I read that breathing the fumes of an onion will help with congestion from a cold or other illness!

Since both Johanna and I have been plugged up lately (her more at night, me all the time) I decided to chop a large onion into chunks and put it in a bowl on the night table near where we both sleep. I couldn’t quite bring myself to actually put it in bed with me, but I could still smell it, for sure! Well, last night was the best sleep I have had in a few nights and the first time that I woke up without feeling all plugged up! Three cheers for the onion!

Adult recipe additions

These additions are to be used by only an adult 80lbs or over
Herbs to add:
Cumin 1/4 tsp nutrition
Cayenne 1/8 tsp for heat diaphoretic
Slippery elm bark powder 1/2 tsp nutrition demuculant
Thyme 1/4 tsp strengthen immune system

After straining onions and syrup take warm onions in a press or potato ricer and press juices out into the honey. This is the consent rate. The good stuff.

For more great tips and helpful herbal remedies, The Herbal Survivalist provides free info and recipes at The Herbalist Survivalist Spot. Also consider ordering her e-book “Herbal Survival and First Aid” here

As always, thanks for stopping by – and follow me on Twitter if you’d like: @SurvivalSherpa.


Categories: First Aid, Frugal Preps, Herbal Remedies, Homeopathy, Natural Health | Tags: , , , , , | 19 Comments

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19 thoughts on “Using the Humble Onion for Colds and Coughs

  1. BOB

    My grandma always hung a few crushed onions in an old diaper around our necks when we started coughing. If we felt a cough coming on we would run to the woods to avoid this. She also made a plaster for our chests. She made cough syrup out of honey,a dab of butter and fresh lemon juice. All the above really worked.


  2. The indigenous people of guatemala put onion and garlic around the neck to deal with sickness as well.


  3. George L. Verge

    Reblogged this on George L. Verge.


  4. Hello Everyone:

    Getting to know your immune system is great and preparing it before hand for a seasonal change can be more beneficial than one thinks; Thus cutting and possibly eliminating a bacterial or viral flu strain. Get to know your bodies and stay healthy Juice take herbal supplements is all well and good but the most important thing is to Learn, Become aware, and know how and when to execute your medicinal solution/Plan. to rectify any issue(s)
    Here is another Prep: Preparing Your imune system for a season change.

    God Bless,
    The Herbal Survivalist


    • You rock man! Ever done much research on fermented foods for building gut flora – the gut brain axis?


      • Hey Pal,
        Great Question Fermenting is a natural and slow process to Concentration. I found this article on Cabbage Juice I love the stuff and Boy it really does work Great! and not as many think(gassy) not so for some people.
        God Bless, The Herbal Survivalist

        let me know if this is not you let me know I will dig deeper in my own books if needed.

        Cultured Cabbage Juice by Chris Gupta

        To implant friendly lactobacteria in the colon and heal damaged mucus membranes of the G.I. tract, you need to drink about 1 and 1/2 cups daily. Here is how to make it.

        Fill blender with chopped green cabbage and add distilled water until about 2/3 full. (Do not use well water or tap water). Beat at high speed in the blender for one minute. Pour mixture into bowl and repeat with two more batches. Cover with Saran wrap or similar material and let stand at room temperature.

        After 3 days, the cabbage juice solution is ready to use. Strain the mixture to separate the liquid from the pulp. Place the cultured cabbage juice in refrigerator. Drink 1/2 cup of this solution diluted with an equal part of water 2 or 3 times each day. When the supply gets low, make second batch just like the first one, except add 1/2 cup of the juice from the first batch to the second batch. This batch will be ready in just 24 hours since the starter greatly speeds the process.

        This process may be repeated indefinitely. Each serving contains several billion friendly lactobacteria. The lactic acid in the culture cabbage juice will purify the G.I. tract and kill most strains of fungi, parasites, and other pathogens. You should drink this mixture until your stools float in the toilet bowl and are odor free. When that happens, you may lower your dosage to one serving per day for maintenance


  5. Hey Survival Sherpa,

    I got an Idea how about we start to Cross network our blogs. I will put a intro page announcing this with a about Survival Sherpa profile and a tab on the top of my blog page that when a visitor come to visit from your site it will take them back to your site very easily. Just an Idea.

    Thank you and everyone for all your kind words I am here for all of you. I know times are tough and are about to get even worse. I know I have epilepsy and the meds that controlled my Grand Mall Seizure were discontinued on jan 11, 2012 with over 500 more people. If it wasn’t for the herbs I take I would be dead. I would of gone into seizure after seizure thus exhausting my Central Nervous system to the point were I would fall into CNS depression (Brain Dead) but one thing about this GUY. I do not Quit for anyone 

    Survival Sherpa this is how I am going to turn a negative into a positive through the graces of GOD.  WE will ( God & Me) cure Epilepsy  Naturally with Gods helping herbs and by his grace.

    In confidence, I could have a serious pity party if I wanted. with my Epilepsy, and the fact my mother has a type of Graves disease were she could go blind or die at any moment, My father has the onset of Cancer, My brother has a rare case of anemia, and my 42 year old Sister Rosemary Is profoundly brain damaged and cannot walk or talk she is bed ridden but she Keeps us all together not in pity but TRUE LOVE and FIDELITY to help other and ourselves. 

    But God Loves us and he makes us stronger people with suffering and I know he will never abandoned anyone. I am 49 and at the age of 13 I fell into my second comma my first coma lasted 13 weeks my second coma 6 weeks were I was given my last rites as a roman catholic 5 times. you se god never quits on us because “HE IS IN CHARGE”

    Anyhow know this I will alway be here to help you and everyone unconditionally and for free. I am going to get started on trying to put an ebook together with my research so those who are seriously interested in learning it and surviving and helping others I will give them a free copy as a gift from both of us.

    God Bless You All, Nick Carlucci, “The Herbal Survivalist”



    • Nick, that is completely weird that you mentioned the networking on our blogs. I was thinking the same thing yesterday. I wanted to add a page for herbal remedies and natural health with your info. Happy to see we’re on the same page and getting the word out!

      BTW, sorry I called you a girl…I assumed…dumb me. Our body is created to heal itself. I’m sad and glad to hear your personal story – glad mostly that you are taking control for a resilient life.

      I ordered your ebook yesterday on Kindle. I’ll get to it soon. Again, thanks so much for adding value to our lives.

      Peace and blessings on you and yours!



      • Hey Survival Sherpa, I put a direct link Button on top of every Page and every new page/Post that goes up and gets read they can very easily navigate directly back to your site. Also OI am going to start a podcast and my brother is going to try to figure out a good user friendly web based app so people can track there food storages with a alerter of upcoming expiring foods and much more. Also I am a professional Graphic artist/ Webmaster if you ever need anything you got it FREE I also have tools were if we put an ebook together one tool takes the entire ebook and converts it into a web book. I also have some powerful ebook compilers I bought as well a video tools.  Thank you for your purchase of the book Any problems or issues please let me know I will do my best to make good on it even if It is needed to send you a new copy. Or if you know someone who cannot afford it I will get them a copy free. God Bless You All, Nick Carlucci, The “Herbal Survivalist” P.S. If you or your family ever need help with and thing I am trained by FEMA, DOHS, US Army, and the Guard both national and state. I have ALOT of knowledge “FACTUAL” that will help many. That is those that do not think I’m Nuts. So Do not every be afraid just email me direct Im going to get developing a high level email encrypting tool. what is coming is pure evil and if I ever told anyone they would not believe it until I showed them the proof in 2 of my training manuals from FEMA.



  6. Bill

    I read somewhere just recently that comfrey shouldn’t be ingested but only used as a topical, any truth to that? Seems to me I remember drinking comfrey tea as a youngster, I could be wrong though.


    • My research shows that comfrey is safe to ingest. I drink comfrey tea. It’s loaded with good stuff.

      Documented use for centuries proves its value in the treatment of wounds, fractures, sprains, bruises, burns, ulcers, infections, lung problems and much more.

      For healing, Comfrey Tea is used internally and strong hot tea is used for fomentations. Poultices are made from fresh leaves and also mashed roots. Comfrey is considered to be one of the most valuable and important medicinal herbs you can grow.


    • Hello Pal,
      It can be used both internally or externally to heal any part of the body according to Dr. Shook. It also is one of the finest healers of the respiratory system.

      used as a tincture, infusion, decoction, fluid extract

      the root part of the plant is the most beneficial part to use. other than a strong green healthy leaf.

      God Bless,
      the “Herbal Survivalist”


  7. Hello Everyone, I just put together a short research Doc. on Whooping cough herbal Aids

    God Bless, The “Herbal Survivalist”


  8. Hello EveryBody Again,

    Yes I am getting to be a pest.
    But here is a simple Herbal House cleaner.

    1 pt. water 2 tablespoons Thyme
    slow simmer for 5 mins. let cool bottle and use to clean counters floors etc. THYME is a VERY powerful and natural antiseptic its O.R.A.C. value ranges from 90k-100k

    Want to make its disinfective properties even stronger add 3 drops of Pure Tea Tree essential oil.

    Have a great night and God Bless


    • You’re far from a pest my friend 🙂

      I’ve got thyme in my herb garden. DRG and I were talking about replacing our chemical cleaners with natural cleaners. This is a good start.

      Thanks for sharing the recipe!


  9. Marie

    i am here today because of onions, Lightly fried to warm & release juices made into a poultice and placed on my chest. Had pneumonia unresponsive to normal treatments as an infant. Actually this was recommended by my pediatrician.

    Blessings and grateful thanks to all.


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