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Honey Lemon Natural Cold Remedy


This safe, all-natural cold remedy can soothe sore throats and comfort you and your kids when medication isn’t an option.

a mug of honey lemon tea with lemon slices and a drizzle of honey

Is there a natural way to cure a cold?

Bad news folks – there actually isn’t a way to cure a cold (yet).  But there ARE natural cold remedies to help provide your kids with relief and help with symptoms.  Here are a few tips to help:

  • Did you know that having your kids blow their nose actually helps? Clearing out excess mucus helps your body instead of sniffling it back in, plus it can relieve a lot of sinus pressure. Keep tissues handy and make sure your kids wash their hands after they blow their nose.
  • Drink hot liquids like this honey lemon drink.  Warm liquids can help relieve nasal congestion and help your child to stay hydrated.
  • Apply hot or cold packs around your sinuses.  Heat a damp washcloth in the microwave for 20 seconds and apply.  Make sure you test the heat before applying to your child.  For cold, a small bag of frozen veggies works great!
  • Have your child sleep with an extra pillow under their head to help drain nasal passages.
a blue mug and silver spoon with honey lemon cold remedy next to a cutting board of lemon slices

Why is Honey Good for a Cold and Cough?

If you read about honey and colds there is a lot of information!  I read a research article where they gave 105 children with colds either honey, honey-flavored cough medicine, or no treatment. All of the children got better, but honey consistently scored best in parents’ rating of their children’s cough symptoms.  The researchers said that honey may work by coating and soothing an irritated throat and it is believed to have antioxidant and antibacterial effects. Dark-colored honey, such as the buckwheat honey used in the study, is particularly high in antioxidants.

Just make sure if you are going to give honey to a child, that they are older than a year. *Honey should not be given to babies younger than 12 months. *  

ingredients for honey lemon cold remedy

How to Make our Honey Lemon Cold Remedy:

All you need to make this simple drink is honey, lemon, and water!

  1. Juice your lemon (you will need about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice).
  2. Heat the water on the stove, in a kettle, or microwave safe mug.
  3. Add honey and lemon juice to the water, stirring until the honey is dissolved.
  4. Test to make sure it isn’t too hot. You can also add more honey or lemon to taste, if desired.
a mug of honey lemon drink in a blue mug with a slice of lemon floating on top

How to Help Your Kids Through the 5 Stages of a Cold

Stage 1: Onset

After about 1-3 days when your kiddo was first exposed is when you will begin to show mild symptoms like runny or stuffy nose, mild fatigue and a sore throat.  When your child is in this stage don’t ignore the symptoms – help them get plenty of rest and stay well hydrated.

Stage 2: Progression

This is when the cold has really started settling in.  Your child may have moderate congestion and a cough.  This is when it is time to bust out your natural cold remedies, honey lemon drink (see recipe below), chicken soup, soft tissues, and vapor rub.  Also zinc is part of a healthy immune system, so make sure your child is eating zinc rich foods like eggs, garbanzo beans, pumpkin seeds and whole grains.

Stage 3: Peak

Your child’s cold is in full swing.  They might have a low-grade fever, body aches, major congestion and a full blown cough.  Double up on the liquids, water, broth, juice to make sure they stay hydrated.  To relieve congestion and sinus pressure use humidifiers, hot steam from a shower, and possibly a saline nasal spray or rinse.

Stage 4: Remission

When the severe symptoms start to lesson, that is when you know your child has turned a corner.   This is a good time to stop the germ machine.  Sanitize surfaces, wash bedding, clothes, hand towels and even sanitize personal items like toothbrushes and phones.

Stage 5: Recovery

This is when your child is feeling almost 100%.  It is a good time to really get some healthy immune boosting foods into their system and back to a regular sleep and eating pattern.

a mug of honey lemon tea with a kitchen linen and lemon slices
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3.5 from 314 votes

Honey Lemon Cold Remedy

An all-natural cold remedy to soothe sore-throat and other cold symptoms when medication isn’t an option.
Prep Time5 minutes
Total Time5 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Servings: 1
Calories: 74kcal



  • Juice lemon.  You will need 2 teaspoons of juice.
  • Heat water on the stove, or in a microwave-safe mug.
  • Add honey and lemon juice to the heated water, mixing until honey is dissolved.
  • Test with a spoon before sipping to make sure it isn’t too hot.



Calories: 74kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 0.3g | Saturated Fat: 0.04g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g | Sodium: 15mg | Potassium: 156mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 14g | Vitamin A: 24IU | Vitamin C: 57mg | Calcium: 36mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword : Honey Lemon Cold Remedy


Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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Recipe Rating


I’ve been using honey-lemon for cold symptom relief for years. It does really seem to help, whether it’s the heat and steam from the cup, the soothing honey, or the astringency of the lemon (cut through mucus?), I feel better for a short time after sipping on a mug-full.

My kids ask for it when they’re sick, too.

Our family has honey-lemon-plus, too, for nighttime – make as above and add some whiskey 😉 Not for pregnant women or kids, but much nicer than Nyquil, LOL.

We’ve used lemon-honey “tea” for colds for as long as I can remember. Sooo soothing. Whenever I get a cold, that’s the first thing I crave.

I read somewhere that local grown honey is also good for allergies. Hmm….

Oh, cool. I’ve used Honey and water. I’ve used lemon and club soda before. But I never thought about putting together honey and lemon and water. Neat. Thanks for the tip.

I have used lemon flavored tea and honey, and that helps. I can only imagine how this recipe would help even more. I love simple remedies using natural ingredients that are always in my cabinets. I also love how you point out how it can benefit small children who cannot use most medications. What a great way to feel good about what you are giving your child to help give them relief.

My mom use to give this to me when I was young and I now use it on my kids. Now when they have a cough they always ask for honey. The BEST natural remedy. 🙂

Yes. I couldn’t agree more that the virus thing is so frustrating, but at the same time, I’m glad it’s not puke! But, that’s just me. I love to drink honey lemon tea when my throat hurts and if I really want it to have kick I grate some fresh ginger and sprinkle some cayenne pepper in it. What can it hurt? I also gargle warm salt water and that feels good. I hope you are all feeling better.

I tried this yesterday, it tastes soooo good. I even shared it with my daughter (she is 14 months now). I think it is a great juice replacement option, it boosts immunity for kids and if you use honey from the region that you live in, it can minimize allergies. Just FYI for all, I asked the doctor today and he said that at my baby’s age the honey doesn’t have to be pasteurized. Thank you for the recipe.

ive tried the honey-lemon-hot water mix. i’ll try the honey-lemon-whisky mix next time i have a cold!

you should try honey-ginger mix as well! amazingly soothing!

Lemonaid and honey. A lot like neo citron and it bit easier to drink since the lemonaid already tastes good. I know it’s not ideal,just suggesting it as an option for kids or harder to please patients

“The lemon provides the refreshing zing of citrus”. Well, yes it does, but the whole point of the lemon is to provide vitamin C which helps your immune system get rid of the cold. No mention of vitamin C in your post.
It’s a pity that you can’t get fresh blackcurrants at this time of year because gram-for-gram they contain 20 times more vitamin C than lemons.

Wonderful!! I made myself a double dose. I have been sipping for the last 30 minutes or so. I had a runny nose and scratchy throat (not sure if it is a cold or PMS,) and it is working already.

My aunt would make this for me when I was a little girl except she boiled cinnamon sticks with it.
It let me rest after having a coughing fit one night. Ever since then I’ve used this for my own children and grandson. No cough medicine has ever worked like this.

Add a dash of cinnamon to add a nice spice effect as well as add more nutricious benefits to help kick that cold.

I have used this Honey Lemon drink many times and if I don’t have a fresh lemon I have used Real Lemon, and this worked just as well as the fresh lemon, and I always use RAW HONEY as it has no preservatives in it. getting ready to make up some for a special friend of mine!

We use a spoonful of honey for coughs as needed but especially at bedtime. We have found as effective or more so than cough syrup. I also make the kids a tea of water, lemon, honey, ginger and a little pinch of cinnamon. Works like a charm!

5 stars
I remember, my mother has been giving me ginger tea to cure the flu and cold since childhood, in which she used to add lemon and honey. Undeniably, the tea really does wonders in healing cold and throat congestion. Other than this, I still drink it daily because this is also good for weight loss.

Can I drink the 1 cup of water, 2 tsp lemon 2 tsp honey mixture all at once?

And how often can you drink this mixture a day?

You can drink it cold- we prefer it warm for the soothing properties. We don’t generally store it- just make it as needed. However, if you want to make more to enjoy over a period of time, you could store it in the fridge.

My baby girl is 11 months 2 weeks and has a nasty cold is she close enough to a year that she can have lemon and honey as it really helps me?

I have two toddlers (2.5 & 3.5) with colds and my husband is not far behind. Can I use lemon slices with skins in boiling water instead of juicing them before hand? I understand the skins are important to use as well?

Yes you can – although the peel has a bitter flavor and your kids might not like that flavor. Definitely a taste preference.