February 7th, 2012

Home Remedy


Today’s post is a bit of a departure. It is not focused on food or drink. There’s no stunning roast or plate of pasta. No cooling beverage. No beguiling dessert.

And yet, there is a recipe.


An easy one, too, using four items found in most pantries:

Apple Cider Vinegar,
and Cayenne…

plus some water.

And, so quick to put together, so beneficial,
I had to share it with you. Pronto!


Combined, I learned from Maggie, that quartet of pantry ingredients creates a potent remedy to some of the ails of winter: Sore throat, hacking cough, tight congestion.

Combined, they turn into a curious orange syrup that can cut through the croup.

And, the taste is really good!

Like you, we’ve been trying to duck the dreaded cold germs: wash our hands, eat well, get enough sleep, stay warm. Sometimes even the most valiant efforts get foiled.

I first mixed up a batch for Bill over the holidays, when he caught a cold accompanied by a strangling cough. The Remedy went right to work, acting as both a calming agent and expectorant.

So, last month, when I felt run down, tight with a tickle in the throat, I shook up a little Remedy. A spoonful or two seemed to break its hold, suppress the devilish tickle.


Just last night, Bill came home after a long workday. His voice was spent, and he had that dull, woozy feeling you get when the onset of a cold is trying to make its way into your head. He snatched up the little bottle, gave it a vigorous shake, and poured a tablespoonful. “Ahhhh. This is the Good Stuff,” he said.

I’m not saying it’s a cure-all, or some homeopathic miracle drug. But it did a mighty fine job taking the place of store-bought cough suppressants, expectorants, decongestants…

Wouldn’t you rather have a dose of spicy honey-cider syrup from a little jar mixed up in the kitchen than any of those bottles lurking in the medicine cabinet?

I thought so.

Stay warm. Stay healthy.
Take good care. And, if need be, take your remedy.


¼ teaspoon Cayenne
¼ teaspoon Ginger
1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an organic one, like Bragg’s, is preferred.)
2 Tablespoon Water
1 Tablespoon Honey (use a locally produced raw honey, if possible.)

Dissolve cayenne and ginger in cider vinegar and water. Add honey and shake well. Take 1 Tablespoon as needed for cough. Hoo-wee.
Note: This is potent albeit watery syrup. It also doesn’t dissolve perfectly. Always shake well before using.

If you make this in small batches as the recipe is written, there is no need to refrigerate.
If you prefer, you may refrigerate this. It keeps as long as you need it. I like to make small batches (it is so easy to mix up.) and use it up in a just a few days.

IMPORTANT MESSAGE: This remedy and dosage are for adults. I have no personal experience giving this to children, and cannot recommend it for children. Many have reported on this site (see comments) that they have had great success administering the remedy in smaller doses to their kids. This is those parents personal choice, which I respect. If the remedy has helped their family, I am grateful. But it is not my recommendation.


Honey should NEVER be given in any form to children under the age of one year, due to the risk of infant botulism–hence the remedy should never, under any circumstances , be given to an infant.

All best wishes for good health and speedy recoveries,



Blooming Daffodil, photographed Sunday, February 5, 2012. Beautiful, and the earliest I have ever had this flower bloom in my yard.

Posted in Articles, Home Remedies

829 Responses to “Home Remedy”
  1. sonya payton Says:

    Why do all the best remedies have to have honey, I’m allergic to it.

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  5. Tia Says:

    How long can you have the honey mixture in a bottle before it goes bad and do it need refrigeration.
    Thanks for you response.

  6. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Tia, You don’t have to refrigerate the mixture. There is nothing in it to go bad. Most people use it up within a week or so. Take good care, Nancy

  7. Thea Says:

    Thank you so much! This stuff is the best! Knocked my cough right out. I’ve been mixing it up for friends and family too.

  8. Nicole Jowers Says:

    Can this be made into a cough drop?

  9. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Nichole–It probably could—I just don’t know how!

  10. Cure Sickness Naturally - Top Home Remedies Says:

    […] Oils only… CLICK HERE to learn more!! Sore Throat Syrup  I found this recipe through Pinterest here MAGGIE’S COUGH REMEDY ¼ teaspoon Cayenne ¼ teaspoon Ginger 1 Tablespoon Cider Vinegar (an […]

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  13. Kara Says:

    For anyone asking if this can be administered to children…this stuff is HOT!! The cayenne pepper is still burning my lips so I would say this is not for your kids unless they’re much older and can understand why they’re lips are burning!

  14. Mary Says:

    This is the best cough remedy I have used- it worked instantly and it is so easy to make! Thank you so much! I will definitely recommend this recipe to my friends and family! Thanks again!

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  16. Lilly Says:

    I love this, and use it frequently. Lately I have been adding a quarter teaspoon of Tumeric (antiseptic) and some freshly cracked Pepper (expectorant)
    Sonya Payton, instead of Honey, you could try using Xylitol – a natural sweetener recommended by many dentists because it is antibacterial and anti fungal. Use the same amount as you would of Honey.

  17. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thank you, Lily, for sharing your insights.

  18. Glo Nel Says:

    I’m gonna try it

  19. Katy Says:

    Hi, I’m allergic to cayenne pepper. Is there an alternative I could use? I’m fairly new to home remedies and am loving the recipes and ideas.

  20. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Katy, I’m not exactly sure what to recommend–but I think that deleting the cayenne and substituting turmeric would be beneficial–although it may not have the same results. Turmeric has curative powers.

  21. Kimberly Harmon, RN Says:

    Thank you for mentioning not to give the honey to anyone under the age of one. Honey is chaulk full of good bacteria, but there is always the chance of having a germ that takes advantage of an immature immune system.

  22. Loren Says:

    I’ve just tried this and WHOOOO is it hot! After my lips and mouth stopped burning I felt my chest get worse suddenly and then ease! I’m amazed! I’m still coughing but I can breath a bit easier. How often should I have a tablespoon of this?

  23. goodfoodmatters Says:

    I would wait 4 hours, Loren.
    Take good care!

  24. Yara Says:

    Is it fresh ginger? Powdered ginger? Grated fresh? What kind of ginger?

  25. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Simply use powdered ginger (fresh grated works too, powdered is easier) take good care!

  26. Laurie Says:

    do you think apple cider vinegar is a must? I have sulfite sensitivities

  27. When Your Weekend Plans go to Shit - Life With a View Says:

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  28. Rachel Says:

    I have been hacking up my lungs for three weeks and cannot take cough medicine so I thought I would try this last night. Before I took it I was coughing so badly that I was getting sick and this stuff made my cough so minimal that I am feeling much better and actually got some sleep last night. I have been taking it every four hours or so and my cough is almost gone. I am convinced. Thank you for this recipe!

  29. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Yay, Rachel, I’m glad the remedy helped you. Take good care, Nancy

  30. Nicole Says:

    Has this recipe changed at all in the past few years? I don’t remember having to add water or ginger…just the cider vinegar, honey and cayenne pepper.

  31. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Nichole, No, it’s remained the same.

  32. Sue Says:

    Thank you for this recipe. I am in an American expat in Italy and had to use this for my daughter who was visiting and developed a bad cough. I didn’t have cayenne, but used a small amount of crushed pepperoncini which seemed to be just as good. It calmed her cough wonderfully.

  33. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Sue—very wise of you to make that substitution–which still releases the capsaicin inherent in all those hot peppers.
    So glad you had success, and thanks for sharing. All the best, Nancy

  34. Lena Says:

    I just have to thank you for posting this years ago because I have relied very heavily on it since stumbling across it. I get a lot of teasing for taking it so often, but I swear it works and I love to take it!

  35. Stephanie Says:

    Should the cider vinegar be filtered or unfiltered?

  36. goodfoodmatters Says:

    either will work, Stephanie.

  37. Stephanie Says:

    For those of you wondering about giving this to kids, you can use black pepper in place of cayenne. Black pepper is a natural expectorant. You can also use turmeric, which is an anti-inflammatory. My son won’t tolerate anything spicy but he’ll stomach this. Remember though–NO honey for infants!

  38. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Thanks for these important reminders, Stephanie.

  39. Tamera Gish Says:

    Wow!!!! Just mixed up and took a Tbsp. and oh my did it light me up. The cayenne will set you on fire! Hope it works for my sore throat, don’t want to have to go to Urgent Care in a snow storm.

  40. Kristi Wallis Says:

    My throat is feeling a little bumply this morning so I’m whipping some up now. Wondering about using ginger essential oil instead of ground.

  41. goodfoodmatters Says:

    HI Kristi, I have never made the remedy with ginger essential oil, so I can’t attest to how it would work in place of ground ginger.

  42. Natural Remedies For Coughs From Around The Web - Growing Up Herbal Says:

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  43. Peggy Says:

    I’ve been sick for 2 weeks. It’s a tight, hacking cough now. Nothing I try will quiet it down once & for all. Just tried your remedy. I didn’t have cayenne pepper so substituted chili powder. Not sure if that will be as effective. We shall see! Thanks for posting.

  44. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Peggy—Sounds like a good substitute. And, sometimes there is cayenne in the chili powder mix. Best of luck, and take good care, Nancy

  45. Darcy Canas Says:

    Can one use water boiled from fresh ginger and garlic & then add the other ingredients??

    Apple Cider Vinegar,
    and Cayenne…

    How often daily????

  46. Darcy Canas Says:

    Can one use water boiled from fresh ginger and garlic & then add the other ingredients??

    Apple Cider Vinegar,
    and Cayenne…

    How often daily????

  47. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Darcy,
    I have never tried your idea of using water boiled with fresh ginger and garlic—it could work. You can take the remedy often throughout the day–say every 4 hours. No harm. And hopefully will make you feel better! Nancy

  48. Melodie Berry Says:

    Thank you for this remedy. I found you on Pinterest. I felt awful all week.My usual go tos such as Netipot, Bendryl and I was out of my grandma’s good old fashioned Whiskey.None of my older remedies wasn’t cutting it. I tried this remedy and I feel a ton better and it’s tasty too. I want to put it on my toast Even but, I know that may be a little extreme.
    Thank you a lot.
    This will now be a part of my Remedy Arsenal.

  49. Melodie Berry Says:

    Thank you for your remedy.All week I had been feeling pretty awful and my usual go tos such as Netipot, Bendryl and I was out of my grandma’s good old fashioned Whiskey:(. Wasn’t cutting it. I found this recipe on Pinterest yesterday and I thought I should give this a try. I feel a ton better and it’s tasty too. I want to put it on my toast Even but, that probably a little extreme.Thank you.This will now be a part of my Remedy Arsenal.

  50. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Melodie—YAY! I’m so glad that the Remedy gave you relief. Thanks for sharing (and yes, it does taste good!)
    Take good care, Nancy

  51. Robyn Says:

    I added 1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice. Love this stuff

  52. Hannah Says:

    Just made this for my husband and me. Read all the previous comments so prepared ourselves and took it like a shot. WOW. This stuff is amazing. Burning sensation hits you just right. I’ve been coughing nonstop the past 2 days. Only been 10 minutes and I haven’t coughed once! So excited to get some sleep tonight. Husband said his throat is feeling better too!

  53. Dyonne Says:

    My husband has been sick with a bad cough for 2 weeks, came across this and it works so well. He’s been coughing a lot today even talking makes him cough! i gave him some 3 hours ago and he’s been quiet ever since. he loves the stuff!

  54. Hollie Says:

    You people must be whimps! LOL! This is tasty and warm. If you eat any type of hot spicy food, this shouldn’t bother you a bit. I love it, I have been using it for a few years now, and highly recommend it. So many people won’t even dare try it because it’s a “Home remedy”. Their loss.

  55. Cayenne Peppers - 6 Health Benefits & Recipes - Ever Growing Farm | Ever Growing Farm Says:

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  56. Deb S Says:

    I didn’t have cayenne so I put in a few drops Tobasco sauce and so far so good!!!!!

  57. may Says:

    hi is this safe for pregnant woman? im at my first trimester and most of the over the counter cough syrups are bad during pregnancy.

  58. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi May, I don’t believe that there is anything in this that would harm you.

  59. Chelsea Says:

    Could the honey be replaced by agave nectar? Or are the benefits different?

  60. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Chelsea, I think that you could substitute agave nectar for honey—I’ve not tried it, but it would still work, although I imagine the honey being more soothing.

  61. Darlene Says:

    Does anyone know if this will affect my heartburn?

  62. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Darlene, If you have heartburn or acid reflux, I cannot recommend this remedy for you. Take good care, Nancy

  63. Jennifer Says:

    My poor 3 yr old coughed from 8 pm till 3 am non stop. I felt so bad for her. Finally I took to Pinterest for What I had hoped was a fix! I was DESPERATE! I stumbled upon this and had I not been desperate as mentioned already, I probably wouldn’t have tried it due to the cayan pepper… Did I mention how desperate I was. i felt like a witch doctor mixing up some potion at 3 am in my kitchen. I took 1 tsp up to her and said drink it fast don’t taste it. Much to my amazement, it worked. Like almost instantly! She didn’t start coughing again till 9:30 when I gave her more. This stuff is AMAZING!! I can’t thank you enough!!!!

  64. goodfoodmatters Says:

    Hi Jennifer. Thanks for sharing your story—I am so glad that the remedy gave your child some relief! Take good care, Nancy

  65. Homemade Cough Remedy – Meddaily Says:

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