Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup

Violet Leaf Honey Cough Syrup Recipe

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know how very much I LOVE using violets. Not only are the flowers so pretty to look at each spring, the entire plant is edible and is helpful in a variety of ways.

In my last post that referenced violets: Violet Leaf Balm, I mentioned the skin soothing and lymph moving qualities of this amazing plant that makes it helpful for skin irritations and mild cases of fibrocystic breast disease.

Today, I want to show you how to make an easy syrup that is useful for coughs & respiratory afflictions.

Interestingly, violets have also been studied for their anti-cancer benefits, and seem to be especially effective against oral lesions. Of course, none of these statements are FDA approved and a home remedy that works for one person will not always work for another, so approach any herbal concoction such as this with an open mind and the caveat that it may or may not work for your situation.

This is a very gentle syrup and ideal for children, however, please remember that the American Academy of Pediatrics does not recommend honey for children under twelve months old.

One more note: violets have mild laxative properties. This may or may not be a welcome side-effect, depending on the symptoms of your cold.

This recipe comes from Making Plant Medicine which is a wonderful book that I have referenced a zillion times. I HIGHLY recommend this book if you want to make your own herbal remedies.

Some links on this site are affiliate links; I only recommend products I personally use and enjoy. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

straining violet leaf infusion into a glass measuring cup

Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup

  • fresh or dried Violet Leaves
  • water
  • honey (raw is preferable, raw & local is ideal)

The basic syrup formula is 1 part violet leaf decoction to 2 (or 3) parts honey.

To Make Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup

Gather your violet leaves, or use dried, and place them in a jar. If you don’t have violets growing locally, you can order organic leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs. (African Violets – the houseplant – are NOT true violets and should NOT be used as a substitute.)

I like to make smaller batches of this, so fill the jar no more than 1/3 full.

Pour cold water over the leaves, place in the refrigerator and let soak all night.

In the morning, simmer this mixture for 15 minutes then strain the liquid from the leaves. You will have a strong green-tinged tea or decoction.

Measure out a small amount of the liquid. (Save the leftover violet leaf tea to pour in your bathwater. Also, there have been reports that violet leaf tea soaked cloths, held on the back of the neck, can help relieve headaches.) I used 50 ml of the violet leaf infusion for this batch.

Next, you’ll want to stir in twice as much honey. Some herbalists like to add three times the amount – that is a personal preference that is completely up to you. I added a little over 100 ml of honey, because that was how much I had left in my opened jar.

Over very low heat, gently stir the honey and decoction together until it is fully incorporated. At no time should this simmer or boil – you want to keep the heat under 110 degrees F so as not to destroy the benefits of raw honey.

Pour into a sterilized jar and cap tightly. Store in the refrigerator. Shelf life is around a month. Stirring in several tablespoons of vodka or brandy (or an herbal tincture) will help preserve the mixture much longer.

Label your new creation so it won’t get mixed up with your other home remedies!

a jar of violet leaf cough syrup

How to Use Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup

Dosing is 1 to 2 teaspoons for children, 1 tablespoon for adults up to five times per day, as needed.

You can further mix this with tinctures upon dosing, if desired. For example, I often use a ginger tincture for my kids if they have a tummy ache. Instead of mixing with a spoonful of plain honey, as I often do, I can mix the tincture with a spoonful of this honey syrup as a kind of double punch in trying to knock the symptoms of illness out.

Nothing in this post or on this site is to be construed as medical advice. For questions or concerns about your health, please consult with a qualified health care professional.

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Jan Berry is a writer, herbalist, soapmaker, and bestselling author of The Big Book of Homemade Products, Simple & Natural Soapmaking, and Easy Homemade Melt & Pour Soaps. She lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains with her family and a menagerie of animals, where she enjoys brainstorming creative things to make with the flowers and weeds that grow around her.

  • rhonda says:

    Are you talking about pansies, like little johnny jump ups? Not big fat african violet leaves right?

  • Whiskey Rose Cough Remedy | The Nerdy Farm Wife says:

    […] I mix this with generous amounts of honey to cut the burn, but individual dosing will vary depending on tolerance. You don’t have to be overly precise – I use a kitchen tablespoon to measure it out. Start with one spoonful of honey mixed with one spoonful of cough remedy. If needed, add another spoonful of either honey (to cut the burn more) or cough remedy (for a stronger dose.) You can take this every hour or two, or as needed. I treat this strictly as a grown-up remedy, not for kids! Also, please don’t take before driving! For a non-alcoholic version, simply omit the alcohol and lemon and use all honey. (Another good non-alcoholic cough remedy is Violet Leaf & Honey Cough Syrup.) […]

  • Bex says:

    Oh I can’t wait to try this! I was looking last year for a way to sooth my 2 year old’s cough without actual meds from a pharmacy. She had a light cold and a scratchy cough – nothing serious. But I couldn’t find anything to just sooth her throat. I’m pinning this for future reference :)

  • Susie Earning-My-Cape says:

    This is great! I always try to go to a home remedy before turning to medicine. This looks like a good one to have on hand. :-)

  • Kathy Mormino says:

    This should be an easy sell to my little ones when they’re feeling under the weather, thanks for sharing on The Clever Chicks Blog Hop! I hope you can link up with us again next week (tomorrow!).

    The Chicken Chick

  • KarenLynn@Lil'SuburbanHomestead says:

    We are bee keepers and I like the idea of using honey for a home remedy. We already make lemon tea and honey toddies for sore throats but this remedy looks worthy of some investigation. Thanks for the share!

    • Jan says:

      Hi KarenLynn! My father-in-law, who lives next door, is a bee keeper also. I am liberal with the honey when it comes to dosing out home remedies! It’s great stuff! :)

  • Teresa says:

    This sounds like a great home remedy.

    • Jan says:

      Hi Teresa! It’s really good for little kids who might not like the taste of other home remedies. (my mom’s onion juice mixture for my asthma, when I was a kid, comes to mind!) :)

  • Lisa/Fresh Eggs Daily Farm Girl says:

    I hope I can persuade you to come link up to my Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest this week:

  • jenifer hurley says:

    Wow can this be done with any herbs?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Jenifer, yes you can use other types of herbs. This is just basically a simple herbal syrup made with honey! :)

  • How to: Create Custom Soaps From A Single Recipe The Nerdy Farm Wife says:

    […] after the blooms are gone, the leaves hang around and are most useful. (See my Violet Leaf Balm, Violet Leaf Honey Cough Syrup & Sweet Springtime Violet Jelly recipes for more ideas of ways to use fresh violets.) Violets […]

  • Sweet Violet Velly (Jelly) : Arcadia Farms says:

    […] Honey and Violet Leaf Cough Syrup […]

  • joan berry says:

    need to try this remedy but no idea to get the violets from could you please help and thank you for sharing !!!

    • Jan says:

      Hi Joan! I have a clickable link to Mountain Rose Herbs above in the post – written right under the recipe:

      “Gather your violet leaves, or use dried, and place them in a jar. If you don’t have violets growing locally, you can order organic leaves from Mountain Rose Herbs.”

      The link clicks to:

      Then you can scroll down to “V” then pick “Violet”.

      You might also be able to ask around friends & family & see if anyone has any growing around them (depending on where you live.) Even though the flowers are only around a short time in the spring, the leaves stay a long time and are great to harvest at any time.

      Hope that helps! :)

  • Susan Raffensperger says:

    Can this be frozen or actually canned so you have it for cold and flu season?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Susan, I haven’t tried either way, but you could always test it out and see! You could also dry your violet leaves while they’re out and just save them for winter, then you could make up a fresh batch to have on hand for flu season. In my area, violet leaves stay around until frost – so if that’s the case for you too, you could wait to pick and dry them to ensure optimal freshness later in the year.

  • Erin says:

    Can these herbal remedies be sold in get well gift baskets with slaves and tinctures? Does this fall within the guidelines of the insurance companies? Does it need/Will it take a small amount of preservative like those sold at some of the bulk herbal websites you’ve mentioned?

    • Jan says:

      Hi Erin! I’m not really sure about that – I know there are a lot of FDA regulations to follow when selling & you can’t make certain health claims. I only make these types of remedies for myself and immediate family; I’m afraid I’m just not sure what hoops you have to jump through to be able to sell to others. I wish I could help more!

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