Alternative to Cough Medicine

An Alternative to Cough Medicine :: Five Little Homesteaders

I hope you are all fairing well this cold and flu season.

We’re doing pretty well over here but did have one bad bout of illness.  It was primarily respiratory in nature and was no fun, especially at night.  Three little kids hacking all night long is enough to leave a (prone to over-worrying) mother awake a good portion of the night.

Since most OTC cold medicine is contraindicated for children below 6, this illness, in particular, had me looking for a good alternative to cough medicine.

Talk to any adult (especially one who is a parent) when you have a sick kid and you’ll be sure to get an ear full about what works and what doesn’t.  They’ll tell you what their grandmother used to do and what their doctor recommended.  Their advice will run the gamut.

However, I have to say, that I think with this most recent illness, I may have cracked the code to taming the cough and it’s an alternative to cough medicine.

Alternative to Cough Medicine

There are many different things you can do to remedy a cough – some more natural than others.

– Cough Drops (herbal or not)
– Humidifier
– Eucalyptus Essential Oil
– Vicks Vapor Rub (some say to put it on the bottoms of your feet)
– Elevated Head when Sleeping
– Raw Honey (preferably buckwheat)

Each of these remedies can be great but the one on that list that I find to be the best is raw honey and more specifically raw buckwheat honey.

If you’ve ever had buckwheat honey, you’d remember it.  It is dark, rich and has a distinctive flavor.  To me, it is more like molasses than the honey I am used to.  And most importantly, recent studies have shown it to be more effective than over the counter medicine in treating coughs, especially children’s cough and especially at night.  (Note: If you are planning to use honey for its health-benefits, it must be raw honey. Heating honey (pasteurization) destroys the all of the pollen, enzymes, propolis, vitamins, amino acids, antioxidants, and aromatics.)

This is HUGE.

More Effective Than Cough Medicine

Not only is giving your child (or yourself) a spoonful of raw buckwheat honey more natural (and probably more healthy) than taking OTC medicine, it will also probably work better!  To me, this is the ultimate win-win situation.

But don’t trust me.  Trust the experts.

A study (published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine) found:

that children who received a small dose of buckwheat honey before bedtime slept better and coughed less than those who received either a common over-the-counter cough suppressant (dextromethorphan) or nothing at all.1

Researchers have also found that the nutritional make-up of dark honey (like buckwheat honey) has a greater ability to fight illness than that of light honey.2

Further, taking 1-2 teaspoons of buckwheat honey during cold and flu season may help your immune system due to the antioxidants and immune-boosting properties of the honey.3

However, here’s the challenge. Where do you find raw buckwheat honey?

I’ve found that one of the most reputable sources of raw buckwheat honey - is Mohawk Valley Trading Company - , which is located in Utica, New York.  I was lucky enough to get to try some of their raw buckwheat honey - , as well as raw summer wildflower honey, -  and  raw tulip poplar-black locust honey - .  These honeys are thicker and richer than anything I’ve ever found at the store.  Simply put, they are amazing (and yes, you can see that we “tapped” that buckwheat honey liberally before I could even get a picture).


I was also given some comb honey - to try and it is amazing.  I had never had it before and was surprised to even see it in the box – beautiful, healthy and delicious.


And now, for the best news of all, Mohawk Valley Trading Company - has generously offered to giveaway the three raw honeys pictured above (not the comb honey, unfortunately, as conditions were bad this year) to one lucky reader.  (A $45 value!)

We’re going to keep this easy, to enter:

Simply leave a comment on this post letting us know what YOUR favorite use for honey is.

(Be sure to input your entry in the Rafflecopter widget below.  It just makes it easy for me to quickly and fairly choose a winner.)

Good luck! 

Disclaimer: Mohawk Valley Trading Company provided me with a free sample of these products to review.  However, I wasn’t under any obligation to write a positive review in return for the free product.  They are also providing the giveaway product to one reader free of charge. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway -
A winner will be chosen via This giveaway ends at 11:59PM on Sunday, February 16th, 2014. The winner will be contacted by email, and will have 48 hours to respond.  There is no purchase necessary to win. This giveaway is open to US residents 1. [ ABC News Article - ] 2. [ Science Daily - ] 3. [ PRWeb - ]


Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.


  1. Oh there are so many options!! I think I would get the wildflower honey. Thanks for the giveaway!!

  2. I love to roast a banana in the oven, then open it up and drizzle honey over it. Sometimes I add pb or chocolate chips, too. Deeelicious.

  3. Sarka Ugur says:

    I used to buy Costco honey. But now I know better and I am looking for a good raw honey. Would be excited to try yours.

  4. We use raw honey for everything. I love it on toast for breakfast. Use it in tea and baking and even in our first aid kits for us and the animals. I used it to heal a wound on my husbands leg from a dirt bike accident. It completely healed it and left minimal scarring. Raw honey also helps with my seasonal allergies.

  5. I have a cold now and just started taking honey yesterday after reading about its many benefits. I would lave to try the buckwheat!

  6. I’m over 50 with a son who’s a personal trainer and is getting his degree in Kinesiology. He’s convinced me to “change my ways,” so substituting honey for my former favorite Splenda – especially in oatmeal — is among my first commitments.

  7. I LOVE this! I was just talking about buckwheat honey being a great alternative to cough medicine! I would LOVE to win some raw honey! I am in my first year of really working on a raw diet.

  8. I have been using raw buckwheat honey for a couple of years now and we’ve had no need for OTC cough medicine! We are also very intentional about using our humidifiers in the winter. Slowly, we have been weaning our household of refined sugars- choosing to only use maple syrup or honey to sweeten our foods. I love the flavor of tea sweetened with honey. My next step to try is using honey as a wound healer, antibacterial ointment.

  9. Straight up: I love it in tea!

  10. I have a recipe for a cough syrup that requires raw honey – but now I think I can just use the raw honey alone! I also love it in my tea and use it in place of other sugars in cooking and baking. I love honey!

  11. Susie Clay says:

    I always use local honey for allergy control. But love all honey!! I take it daily and give it to my family daily. Love, Love it!! <3

  12. Susie Clay says:

    love it in tea. Give it to my family daily. Love local honey for controlling my allergies.

  13. I have never heard of buckwheat honey before. I would love to try it!

  14. Sunny Nestler says:

    I make a no-coughing syrup… 1/3cup of honey mixed well with 1-1/2 tsp turmeric until blended. Add 1TB grated fresh ginger and the juice of 1 lemon (all organic, if possible). Add 1 cup of water. I keep this in the fridge and take a tablespoon as needed. You have to shake it well before you take it every time, but it really helps. Next time I’m going to add 1TB grated fresh garlic!

  15. Brenda Brown says:

    I love honey in raw granola bars, coffee, baked goods–you name it! Honey & lemon for a sore throat–yes, please. Sometimes my girls and I will have to have a spoonful just because. And beeswax is AWESOME in homemade lotions and provides the healing benefits of honey. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE MY HONEY!

  16. We use honey to wash down our fermented cod liver oil. It’s the only way my kids will take it :)

  17. My favorite use for honey, aside from eating it, is to mix it with lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, and cinnamon for a sore throat remedy.

  18. On pancakes! But I use it for everything, it’s my go-to sweetener.

  19. Nicole Coughlin says:

    Love home made cough remedies

  20. Pick me! Pick me! I love using honey in tea, as a cold cure, for sore throats, and just about anything else!

  21. Sarka Ugur says:

    Right now I am using it for my sore throat :)

  22. I use local raw, unfiltered, unheated, honey and raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar every day as a energy boosting tonic. I have started my 32 year old daughter, that had trouble sleeping, honey and vinegar to help her sleep and it works. She now sleeps the whole night through. To make the sleep aid mix 1/2 cup honey and 3 teaspoons of Apple cider vinegar then at bed time take two teaspoons of the mixture to help you sleep.

  23. We use raw honey for so many things. We love it in our homemade yogurt. We also use it medicinally, but I haven’t tried buckwheat.

  24. In hot tea. Especially when I have a sore throat.

  25. Sad to admit this, but I have never used honey for anything other than n alternative use for sugar

  26. We use raw honey for just about everything.would love to try this one.

  27. Jamie Sprouse says:

    I love putting raw honey in my green tea and drizzled on my english muffin! YUMMY

  28. I just used the last of my raw honey this would be a great help. Then again I never win these things.

  29. Angela Thacker says:

    Love honey in my tea!

  30. I love honey in tea. Hot or cold. Also to soothe sore throats. To sweeten lots of things.

  31. I love honey in baking muffins and bread.

  32. Tim Brenner says:

    My Favorite use for honey is to sweeten tea – and a close second is I use it to make my pickled beets with for my diabetic mother.

  33. i love honey in my tea and on my biscuits!!

  34. Sandy Scofield says:

    Allergy control.

  35. I like it best in my oatmeal.

  36. I love honey of all kinds but most interested in the cough suppressant so I would say the buckwheat would be my favorite; till I try the others….

  37. I love it on toast and in tea normally, then with a bit of lemon juice when I have a sore throat.

  38. Tammy Ramsey says:

    I can feel myself getting sick for the first time this season. I would live to try a more natural approach to getting better.

  39. When feeling a bit under the weather there is nothing like a cup of hot tea with a tsp of raw honey mixed in! :)

  40. Mindy Maqueira says:

    I love honey for all homemade remedies!!

  41. I use honey for my tea and in my oatmeal. And anywhere else I can.

  42. I Love honey!! I use it for burns, sore throats, or sweetener … nothing like REAL honey!!

  43. SedonaMichelle says:

    Love raw honey and used it all the time – especially for sore throats! Thanks for the giveaway!

  44. For baking and also cough remedies

  45. Amber Harris says:

    I love using honey to cook with and using it as a sweetener in my tea and for soothing sore throats with it.

  46. Amanda Falicki says:

    I like Honey in my breakfast Grits!

  47. Blackberry!

  48. Oops, i thought it said favorite TYPE of honey, lol. Favorite use? In my tea. Or on homemade yogurt. Or on fresh sourdough waffles. Or…

  49. Cecilia Vega says:

    I LOVE Honey In My Tea And On Homemade Biscuits! MMmmmmmmmmmmm! :)

  50. We use local, raw honey for everything! Baking, for coughs, to sweeten tea, on toast, peanut butter & honey sandwiches, on ice cream.

  51. Ooooh, so yummy! I love honey as a sweetener, but it’s also my favorite wound and burn healer! Favorite type?? Raw honey straight from a warm hive! Or infused with Lemon Balm!! Or spearmint!!! Mmmmm!!

  52. Valori Wilson says:

    So funny to see your post, I have that hacking cough at night and was just headed in to heat some water for a hot mug of honey, coconut oil and herbs… I use flavored (floral or fruit origin) for eating, but local honey for allergy relief…

  53. I use honey in my tea, in my morning drink mixed with acv and aloe vera. Or just straight off the spoon!

  54. I like honey in green tea.

  55. I love taking honey for my seasonal allergies. I just put it in my tea in the morning.

  56. We love raw honey in our steel cut oats or on a slice of warm homemade bread.

  57. Sarah Butcher says:

    I love eating honey by the spoonfull, on sopapillas, in elderberry syrup, or in home made marshmallows! :)

  58. I’m always looking for a new source for raw honey. Thanks for passing on this website.

  59. I like honey in raw energy bars.

  60. I’ve never known about the different types of honey. Thanks for something to research!

  61. I use honey with butter on bread, great snack!!

  62. Stephanie KL says:

    I use honey as a sweetener for baking.

  63. Jessica Woolley says:

    I put it in oatmeal, peanut butter energy balls, tea, lemonade, smoothies,you name it!!

  64. Love honey all by itself by the spoonful :-)

  65. Jennifer Wentzell says:

    My favorite use is probably in my tea. But I also live it in coffee, yogurt, any kind of baking, or on anything that needs to be sweetened up a bit. I also LOVE to use it for sore throats. Kitchen tablespoon full of honey, with lemon squeezed on top, and sprinkled with cayenne pepper. Does the trick everytime!!

  66. I am actually out of honey! We had a horseshoe customer that would give us the raw honey and we had at one point 10 of those big bears. We live in Texas and some beekeepers bring their bees to our area in the winter. They used the customers farm and he always had more honey than he knew what to do with! So… I would love some raw honey!

  67. Honey, lemon, ginger, and hot water helped me through a post-tonsilitis sore throat, and I make it whenever I feel like I’m getting hit with something. Plus it’s so tasty! I also used it this week in a chicken marinade, since I am cutting out refined sugar and wanted to balance out the spicy flavor, and it was delicious.

  68. My favorite use for honey is for cough! I have never tried raw buckwheat honey, though. I doubt it is available anywhere in my area. Would love to win some! We are actually dealing with a terrible cough right now with my 3-year-old. We are already using eucalyptus EO, but would love to win some honey! My oldest loves peanut butter and honey sandwiches! :)

  69. Lesli Langsmith says:

    I love to drink a warm honey and lemon drink every morning. It sets me up for the day!

  70. Mix 50-50 with organic apple cider vinegar and add a shot to hot water or tea as a Winter health drink. So good I make it by the quart.

  71. My husband uses it in his coffee instead of sugar. I use it a lot in baking.

  72. I use raw honey in homemade cough syrup. My kids love it!

  73. We use honey for everything, coughs & wound care. I use it to make lip balms and creams and of course eating :)

  74. What great timing – I’ve been battling a cough and sore throat the last couple of days, so I’ve been going through lots of raw honey in hot herbal tea. So soothing, especially with some Throat Coat tea!

  75. I love honey in my tea, cupcakes, and grits!

  76. I LOVE using it in herbal oxymels with Apple Cider Vingear. Not only is it not heated so it retains its healthy properties, but it makes them taste SOOOOO good! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  77. I’ve never heard of Buckwheat Honey. I tried to go to the website and purchase some for my grand kids, and myself. They were out of stock. ;(


  1. […] Five Little Homesteaders What this blog is about: Urban homesteading; challenging people to think a new about food production, consumption, health sustainability, and self sufficiency. Win : Summer Wildflower, Buckwheat, Tulip Poplar-Black Locust Honey Contest Ends : 11:59PM on Sunday, February 16th, 2014 […]

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