Most Effective Herbal Remedy for Cough and Sore Throat

Updated on February 27, 2018
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Elizabeth Deveraux has dedicated 8 years to studying the properties of herbs, both the medicinal and edible aspects.

Local organic honey and Slippery Elm. Most effective herbal cough medicine and healer of sore throats.
Local organic honey and Slippery Elm. Most effective herbal cough medicine and healer of sore throats. | Source

It's that time of year again—the cold winter months where coughs and sore throats are the norm. Everyone knows the unpleasant tickle you get in your throat that a cough can't quite reach or that sore throat that just won't go away. In fact, you may be experiencing it now which lead you to this article! The good news is, I have the perfect remedy for you! One that will calm that tickle in mere minutes or heal that sore throat in only a couple of days. I've been using this remedy for years now and have never been disappointed. Even my husband likes me to whip it up for him at night when his dry cough is the worst. That's the beauty of it as well, it only takes minutes to prepare. No cooking over a stove to make a syrup or boiling water and waiting for a tea to steep. Plus, the clean up is just a spoon and knife!

Okay, I believe I have you sold by now. So let's move on to what is in this secret remedy. Would you believe me if I told you it only has 2 ingredients? Because it does! Honey and Slippery Elm. That's it. The miracle workers during the frozen months. Now that you know what is in it, let's look into why these 2 simple ingredients have such amazing healing powers.

Local organic honey. Natural antibacterial properties. Perfect to help aid in wound healing, coughs, and sore throats.
Local organic honey. Natural antibacterial properties. Perfect to help aid in wound healing, coughs, and sore throats. | Source


Honey has been used medicinally for centuries, everything from healing wounds to preventing acid re-flux. Many have the opinion that is is the 'healer of all diseases'. The most prominent properties would be its anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory functions which are the key factors as to why this herbal remedy works so well.

Honey goes through 3 anti-bacterial stages:

1. It pulls moisture out from affected areas causing it to dehydrate the bacteria that is trying to grow in the wound (aka sore throat). Its sugar levels are also high enough to stunt the growth of microbes (microbes are basically the microorganisms of bacteria).

2. The pH level of honey is usually between 3.2 and 4.5. Microorganisms (bacteria) need to have a pH level of at least 6.5 to grow. The more acidic the environment, the healthier the bacteria!

3. Phytochemicals are found in plants. They are chemicals that protect a plant against competitors, predators, and pathogens. Since bees collect pollen from plants this chemical is also found in the honey they make. This is one of the many factors that play into the antibacterial abilities of honey.

Because of these 3 stages, honey can effectively heal wounds, such as a sore throat. An added bonus to the healing process is that honey acts as a 'natural bandage' thanks to it's thick substance. This guarantees it can successfully accomplish these 3 stages and protect the wound from any additional infections.

It is also anti-inflammatory which helps reduce any swelling caused from a sore throat or dry cough. Because it acts as a 'natural bandage' it is able to reduce inflammation which in turn reduces any irritation. Resulting in less coughing and less pain.

Slippery Elm. Naturally encourages healthy mucus production. Calms a dry, itchy cough and soothes a sore throat.
Slippery Elm. Naturally encourages healthy mucus production. Calms a dry, itchy cough and soothes a sore throat. | Source

Slippery Elm (Ulmus Fulva)

When using Slippery Elm it is the inner bark that is harvested and used for its medicinal properties. This herb has many of the same qualities as I listed above for honey, which is why they work so well together.

The main component that Slippery Elm has, in which Honey doesn't, is a property called Mucilage. When mixed with any form of liquid, usually water or saliva, this component forms a slick gel like substance. It coats whatever it is applied to, whether it be a sore throat or a burn on your hand. If taken internally, the coating stimulates the nerve ending which increases mucus secretion. The additional mucus acts as honey would, lowering the pH level to a point where bacteria can't thrive.

Now let's talk about the health of your mucus membranes. What is their main function? To produce mucus. These membranes line everything from your nose to your urinary tract. The mucus they produce is what keeps everything lubricated, working properly, and protected. When you become sick these membranes become inflamed. They then start to over produce mucus. This would explain why you get a runny nose, congestion in your throat and lungs, and cough up a lot of phlegm when you catch the common cold.

Now I want you to take this knowledge and apply it to that tickle in your throat and dry cough. The mucilage found in Slippery Elm will help with healthy mucus production. Therefore lubricating your throat causing the dry cough and tickle to be soothed and no longer an irritant.

Cook Time

Prep time: 2 min
Ready in: 2 min
Yields: 1 serving


  • 1 tsp Slippery Elm, Powdered
  • 2 tsp Organic Honey


  1. Using a spoon, scoop out about 2 teaspoons Organic Honey (doesn't need to be exact, if you feel confident enough just eyeball it).
  2. Using a butter knife, scoop about 1 teaspoon Slippery Elm and place on top of honey (once again, it doesn't have to be exact).
  3. Using a butter knife, carefully mix both Honey and Slippery Elm together. There's less mess if you mix over the container you keep your Slippery Elm in, so anything that falls will fall into container.
  4. Use whenever your dry cough or tickle in your throat is giving you grief. Do not use more than 3 times a day for treating a sore throat. When giving to young children, cut recipe in half.


Contraindications, safety issues, concerns, harmful drug interactions and allergy precautions for Slippery Elm: Slippery elm is quite safe but because it is so mucilaginous it may interfere with the absorption of medicine if taken at the same time. Can cause uterine contractions, so best to avoid during pregnancy.

Contraindications, safety issues, concerns, harmful drug interactions and allergy precautions of Honey: Do not feed to any child under 12 months.

Always check with physician before using any alternative medicines.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

© 2018 Beth Deveraux


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