How to Make Mullein & Honey Cough Syrup

mullein cough syrup

Mullein is a beautiful large plant that thrives in disturbed areas. Mullein is also full of medicinal and beneficial components like mucilage, flavonoids, iridoids, sterols, and sugars.

Mullein as a Medicine

Medicinally, mullein is traditionally used for lung and bronchial ailments such as coughs, asthma, congestion, and colds. Additionally, it is thought that mullein has anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. This is a great plant to have on hand during the cold season!

During one of Wolf College’s Herbal overnight camps, the campers had the opportunity to use their new herbal knowledge to treat a lingering wet cough. To make a soothing cough syrup, we harvested some mullein leaves and flower, as well as some blue elderflowers (Sambucus cerulea). The cough syrup had a gentle floral flavor and the addition of honey made it a great-tasting natural medicine.

Ingredients for Mullein & Honey Cough Syrup:

  • Mullein leaves and flowers (and please note that because mullein loves to live in disturbed areas, we have to be careful to check for pollution or other contaminants before harvesting; in addition, the seeds contain several compounds (glycosidessaponins, coumarin, rotenone) that are toxic to fish, and have been widely used as piscicide, so just stick with the leaves and flowers which have little (if any) scientific study but as-yet little (if any) toxicity reports.
  • Elderflowers from blue elderberry, de-stemmed and rinsed (all elder stems, leaves and seeds contain cyanide-inducing glycosides, so absolutely remove all stems and leaves, and note that before preparing medicine, wine, jams, syrups and other products, either strain the seeds, or heat (simmer) the berries to neutralize the glycosides)
  • Organic honey (can’t go wrong with that:)

Cough Syrup Directions:

First, make sure that the plant materials are clean and dry, and again, the elderflowers should be completely de-stemmed.

Next, we need to make a hot infusion. In a medium pot, bring water to a boil and steep the mullein flowers, elderberry flowers, and the mullein leaves for 10 minutes.

Alternatively, you can make a cold infusion: 1 oz of leaves and flowers in 1 quart of water for 4 hours.

When ready, strain the infusion through a strainer bag, and place the infusion back on the stove.

On a low simmer, stir in honey until dissolved. The affected person can also stand over the infusion and breathe in the steam for help with congestion and croupy cough.

Let cool before consuming. Don’t forget to label with the name, date, and ingredients!

Store in the fridge.

Dosage: Take like a ‘regular’ cough syrup – 1 teaspoon every 3 or 4 hours

For more information on herbal medicine, be sure to check out these posts:

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  • Tuesday Classes focus on Herbal Medicine & Plant Crafts in the autumn season, followed by Gardening & Cooking Wild Edible Food Plants in the spring.
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Learn how to confidently identify plants using their unique family patterns in this in-depth video by author of Botany in a Day, Thomas Elpel.

*** For educational purposes only.  This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.  We recommend that you consult with a qualified health care practitioner before using herbal products, particularly if you are pregnant, nursing or on any medications. ***

*** Please read our Honorable Harvesting Guidelines before harvesting any plant material.  The final guideline is of utmost importance:  “Never put anything in your mouth unless you are 100% sure it is safe to ingest.” ***

Hannah-Staff-Photo-300x225Hannah began her apprenticeship at Wolf Camp in 2013 and graduated as a lead herbal instructor in 2014. Hannah graduated from the University of Oregon in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Foreign Languages. She has her own blog, where she writes about her love for crafts, animals, plants, cooking, and the outdoors:


  1. I am looking into herbal medicines for personal for healing.Right now I have bronchitis and looking for herbs for mullein tea. I was wondering where I can buy elderberry flower.


    1. Hi Jade. Hoping you are feeing better. We like but of course only use herbs, especially for things as serious as bronchitis, under the direction of a naturopathic physician. Hoping you can find one in your area. Be well and best wishes!


    2. The buddahteas brand mullein tea tastes really good and seems to open up the lungs as good as fresh, I think they roast it or ferment it or something. It’s good with milk and honey.


  2. This is perfect? I’m making my own herbal medicine cabinetc thank you?


  3. My Grandmother made a syrup of mullein, 2 inch piece of white oak bark and brown sugar. Do you know of this and the amounts? I had asthma and it kept me from having serious attacks as a child. Can’t remember amount of leaves she told me.


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