Honey, These Onions Are Magic

Autumn is Lung Season - the time of year when the dryness, wind, and changing weather takes its toll on our lungs. In Chinese Medicine, Lungs are considered the ‘delicate organs’ - they have the most immediate contact with the outside environment. No where else in our body is there such easy access to our body by external invaders - environmental toxins, microscopic organisms, dust, and other pollutants in the air interface directly with our Lungs.  The Lungs are our first line of defense, literally.

In Chinese Medical theory, the Lungs are in charge of our immunity; it’s where our body’s ‘defensive Qi’ works to protect us from the ‘pathogenic Qi’ that abounds in our environment; in order to accomplish this function, the Lungs must be protected from dryness. In less esoteric terms, the Lungs work to keep us feeling healthy. When Lungs are compromised (due to dryness, etc), we tend to get sick often, have dry mouth/throat, and we pick up a nagging cough.

honey onion cough syrup chinese cough medicine

The good news is that help is here - Honey Onion Cough Syrup

In Traditional Chinese Dietary therapy, onions are considered warm, acrid, and dispersing — meaning they help to break up phlegm and suppress coughs. According to the same theory, honey is moistening, calming, and tonifying to the Lungs — meaning they relieve dry throat and cough while restoring normal Lung function.

Put together, honey and onions make a pretty sweet cough syrup that’s easy to make, super effective, and not full of chemicals. Ready to make some? Let’s go -


1 Large onion - thinly sliced into rings (I like yellow or white onions best)

Approx 1 Cup Raw honey (sub maple syrup if this will be given to children under the age of 1)


  1. Layer the onion slices in the bottom of a small pan and pour in just enough raw honey to cover the onions (you may need more or less than 1 cup).

  2. Heat the honey-onion mixture over very low heat to preserve the beneficial properties of the raw honey for 30 minutes or so. The goal is to have a nice, warm, liquidy honey that smells like onion. *Note: Your onions will soften and turn a bit brown, and the honey may darken a bit too.

  3. Pour warm syrup (onions and all) into a jar and seal.

  4. Refrigerate for best results. Honey onion syrup will keep for about 6 months when refrigerated.

  5. Take 2-4 TBS per day in order to quell cough.


You can add in ginger, garlic, or fresh lemon peel in order to boost the antioxidant benefits of this syrup.