Ginger Lemon Honey Tonic for Colds & Flu

This Ginger Lemon Honey Tonic is one of the easiest, tastiest cold and flu remedies around!

jar with honey, lemon slices, and pieces of fresh ginger, making a tonic for a sore throat remedy

Raw honey helps fight infection and soothes inflamed tissue; fresh lemons are full of healthful vitamin C and antioxidants (plus, they taste great!); and fresh ginger root helps fight the sore throat, cough, lung congestion, chills and stomach-ache that often accompanies the flu.

Everything you need to make this remedy can be purchased at your local grocery store.

Ginger Lemon Honey Tonic for Colds & Flu

Directions to make:

  1. Slice lemon thinly, remove seeds.
  2. Cut a one inch piece of fresh ginger root into several small slices.
  3. Pour a small bit of honey in the bottom of a jar.
  4. Add a lemon slice, then one or two chunks of ginger.
  5. Pour a layer of honey to cover then add more lemon and ginger.
  6. Repeat layers until you near the top of the jar. Finish off with a thick layer of honey.
  7. Cap with a plastic top (or layer of plastic wrap between metal lid and jar) to prevent corrosion.
slices of lemons, fresh ginger root, and a jar of honey

Directions for use:

  1. Take by the spoonful as needed for sore throats, coughs, colds, and flu symptoms.
  2. You can also stir into hot tea, water, or lemonade.
  3. Store in your refrigerator for around a month. For longer preservation, stir in 3 to 4 tablespoons vodka or brandy per cup of syrup.
  4. Honey should never be given to children under 1 year old.




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  1. I just read this somewhere else and have been making this the past few days for my cold! I love it. I made an orange and clove one as well, which is just amazing.

  2. What about adding some cinnamon to the mix, I take a tsp of honey with 1/4 tsp of cinnamon. To help with a cold works great! So though the added cinnamon would work with this too?

  3. I just finished making my elixir with the honey (local), lemon and ginger. Couldn’t help but to stop and dip some ginger slices in the honey and eat it up! One word to describe it, DELICIOUS! Not to forget to mention that my breath smells fresh and my hands too! Thanks for posting this recipe.

  4. Initially I thought it was a remedy my grandmother taught me as to help kick a cold before it starts.
    Although similar, her remedy & I have been using for past few years is to first make a tea from fresh ginger by slicing or grating a small piece. Add about 16 oz water to ginger in a sauce pan or put the ginger in a tea infuser and add boiling water. After brewing for about 10 minutes strain any ginger sediments, pour into a mug and sweeten with honey and add fresh lemon juice to taste. Drink a couple cups as soon as you feel that achy feeling like a cold coming on and it will nip it before it gets started.

    1. Hi Rhonda, Not a dumb question at all – I wondered the same thing myself before! I’ve seen a few recipes where people use ginger unpeeled, but I like to peel it first. Scraping the outer layer with the side of a spoon works great for this purpose!

  5. What a super great idea, Jan.(As I sit here suffering from something.)
    I was once food poisoned by old lemons, thought I was going to die. Are you refrigerating this elixir? How long do you think this is good for?

    I LOVVVVE your website. It’s not too wordy, easy on the eyes, and so very cute!!

    1. Hi Sandy,

      I do refrigerate this and only keep it for up to a month. (You can add a few tablespoons of vodka or brandy to make it last longer.) I’ve actually found some shoved into the back of my fridge before that was at least six or seven months old and it still looked and smelled great. I’ve heard of people keeping it for months at a time, so it’s quite possible it was still good. I’m a little germ phobic sometimes though, so threw it out to be safe.

      Thank you for the kind words about the web site and I hope you are feeling better soon! :)

    2. Sandy, I know this is late in replying but this tonic can last months – up to one year if refrigerated. As with anything else, if it smells or looks “off” don’t use it!
      This tonic can also be kept in your pantry as the citric acid in the lemons and the honey itself act as preservatives. (all natural! can’t beat that!)
      If kept in your pantry, the shelf life isn’t as long, maybe 6 months at most.
      Make sure it’s not sat in direct sunlight.
      I have been making this for years and have never had a batch go bad.
      Oh and the longer it sits, the more apt it is to turn into a marmalade, which is much easier to use!

  6. Okay, good. Refrigeration is what I too was thinking, Jan.

    Can you stand another compliment? You replied back within 24 hours! I have posted comments and sometimes questions on people’s blogs, youtubes, and websites that NEVER reply back. You are reliable. I LOVE that about you already.

    1. Aw, well thank you! :) I sometimes take a day or two (or more!), but I do always try to respond to anything that makes it through. (I get lots of spam and sadly, sometimes good comments get lost in the abyss of spam filters.) It’s a pet peeve of mine when someone doesn’t reply to a query or comment- not just on blogs but in real life! It’s a matter of good manners and respect for the other person. Thanks again and I hope you have a terrific New Year!

  7. You stated above, “… it is a pet peeve of mine when someone doesn’t reply to a query or comment”. ME TOO!! Which is why I just had to compliment you. It is common courtesy and respectful manners (which is going by the wayside).

    When I was younger and would visit my dad he would have a stack of snail mail from friends from all over the country correlated in a row sitting on his desk.

    He would teach me: that when he had some free time he would sit down and respond back to each and every handwritten letter from his friends. It was an on-going event. I’ve never forgotten that.

  8. Thank you for these awesome ideas. I got a really good deal on ginger at the supermarket and peeled their skin off, then stuck them in a ziplock to store in the freezer and I just grate a piece as needed. They’ve stayed super fresh and only cost me a DOLLAR for about 4 pieces of ginger. Love that!

  9. I never seem to have fresh ginger on hand when I need it so for this recipe I am going to try fresh candied ginger from our local farmers market. I really need a honey & lemon remedy tonight!

  10. Hi, this recipe sounds delicious :-) I was wondering do you strain out the ginger and lemon? Do you let it sit out for a certain amount of time before refrigeration? Thanks

    1. Hi Victoria! You could strain the lemon and ginger out after a week or two, or you can keep it in. I assemble it and put it in the refrigerator right afterwards. It will still liquify nicely in the cold. :)

  11. This is a great recipe! Thank you. I’m going to make it right now. Have been taking everything I know of to fight off a flu, bronchitis, pneumonia or awful virus for the past 5 days.

    1. Hi Greta, I’m not sure, but I don’t see why it couldn’t be. I would let it infuse for several days to liquify before straining out the lemon and then freezing. Not knowing the outcome, I’d just freeze a small portion for a week or so, then thaw and test the consistency, taste, and so forth. Maybe use ice cube trays so you can thaw by the dose?? It’s a great idea – I hope it works out for you!

    1. Hi Maria, Ginger acts as a natural blood thinner on its own, so if you combine it with a prescription it might make your blood too thin – leading to easier bruising & increased risk of bleeding. Culinary amounts are usually fine, it’s just a precaution though for those with serious medical conditions to ask their doctor first, since it’s always better to be on the safe side when combining herbs with medications.

  12. I would like to know how long you have to let this mixture sit before you start taking it…
    do you have to stir it before taking it…??
    tank you for the info

    1. Hi Bunny! Ginger has its own blood thinning properties so if you take large doses of it on top of a prescription blood thinner then that might cause problems. (It should be okay to eat ginger in foods – like gingerbread cookies, ginger ale, etc.) If you’re on a blood thinner though, it’s always a good idea to check with your nurse or doctor before taking ANY type of herb. They might say the amount in something like this is too small to worry about and tell you it’s okay to take, but it’s better to be safe and ask first.

  13. My husband has the dreaded man cold and has been away for a week. He’s home tonight and I have a jar of this waiting for him. It has worked great with the littles this week so I hope it works for him too!!

  14. I’m lazy….do you have to peel the Ginger ? Great recipe, I just like to drink it, don’t have to have a cold. Thanks

    1. I think you could scrub your ginger up well and use it peeling and all. (At least I’ve heard of others that have done that – I haven’t personally tried it.) It is a tasty drink, I hope you enjoy it!

  15. This recipe is delicious, as cited by so many others. And such a simple idea. I’m not sure I’ll be able to keep mine for long as I can’t help dipping into, cold symptoms or not :-)

    1. Hi Wendy, I’m glad you liked the recipe! I have to agree with you – I catch myself “taste testing” quite often when I have a batch going in the refrigerator! :)

  16. My wife makes me a tea with lots of ginger and brown sugar. Spicy hot! I love it. I get “sick ” often, & just have to have it !


  18. I have seen a number of recipes with honey, lemon, and whiskey as a remedy. Do you think substituting whiskey for the brandy or vodka would work? I’m assuming any alcohol will have the same effect, but I thought I’d ask.

    1. Hi Emily! Yes, you’re exactly right – whiskey, brandy & vodka are often interchangeable in home remedy recipes.
      There’s no alcohol in this recipe, though I think you could definitely add some to the mix!

  19. I made this right after reading it. It’s my new favorite thing! SO delicious, I could sit down and eat a whole jar of it!

  20. Could this be canned? I love canning! I would not feel like making this while ill…but could it be made ahead and preserved? You are very kind and I love your site, God Bless you:)

  21. I made this last year — and just this week strained out the ginger and lemon (yes, it was in the fridge waiting all this time) — and then I was making a toddy with this honey, bourbon, and hot water just now when I saw your email today that referred back here! Delish.

  22. I have been making this for years. I have started making an oxymel for the last few years – I use organic lemons so I can use the peel (zest) and I now grow my own ginger. My daughter and son-in-law started keeping bees this year. Now the only things not “home grown” are the lemons and vinegar (I know, I know, I could also make my own vinegar).

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