DIY Cough Syrup with Lemon Essential Oil

This article was one of the first articles I published on Pure Home and Body, July 12, 2010! I decided to update it and re-publish it with video on DIY cough syrup that we’ve used for years. Enjoy the content and I invite you to leave a comment below.

Food Grade Lemon Essential Oil

photo: Pure Home and Body

Lemon is one of my favorite essential oils. It’s also one of the first oils I used in aromatherapy 15 years ago was lemon.  I had a recipe in my aromatherapy book for cooking, the label of my lemon essential oil however, stated “not for ingestion”.  Since then, I’ve learned why it may have been labeled for external use only.  First, it might have been the lemon oil was only synthetic, just a chemical cocktail designed to smell lemony.  The second possibility might have been an organic lemon was not used. 

Lemon oil is distilled from the rind so if any pesticides/fungicides are on the rind they will become highly concentrated in your lemon essential oil and would be harmful if ingested.   I believe more and more if you can’t eat it don’t put it on your skin!  I only use Young Living’s Lemon essential oil which is food safe.  We drink lemon essential oil in our water, put it in smoothies and I love to put it on my feet to keep the skin soft.

Lemon Essential Oil Kills Germs & Bacteria Lemon essential oil is antiseptic, antitumoral (because of the limonene content), an immune stimulant (increases white blood cells).  It is helpful for skin issues like acne and can have antidepressant effects.  Studies in Japan found that when lemon oil was diffused in an office setting it resulted in 50% fewer errors.  Jean Valnet M.D. conducted many studies on the effectiveness of lemon oil to kill many bacteria when diffused including meningococcus, Staphylococcus aureus,  Pneumococcus, diphtheria and tuberculosis.  Lemon oil is a very powerful essential oil, but it must be a therapeutic grade to fight these bacteria. Lemon essential oil is also a mucolytic, that means it helps you expectorate congestion, in the sinuses, the throat and the chest. 

We use Young Living lemon oil in a capsule to fight colds and flu.  At the first sign we take a clear gel cap filled with 3-5 drops of lemon oil and repeat every 4 hours to combat a cold.

Au Natural Cough Syrup  is a staple in our home year round.  We use our lemon essential oil  – 10-15 drops of Young Living lemon oil into a 4 ounce bottle of agave nectar.  For a cough or scratchy throat we take 1 tsp of this.  For an even more powerful cough syrup (not for kids under 6, add 1 drop of Thieves essential oil blend to the teaspoon and mix in well. Our nanny, Ruthanne has used this for years when she sings for her theater company to keep her throat clear and her vocals crisp :).

Lemon essential oil is one that I always have on hand with an extra in my drawer so I’m always prepared.  It’s my favorite gentle, antibacterial buster.  You can get your own too!

Young Living Lemon essential oil   15ml   Wholesale  $9.75   Retail  $12.83

Food Grade Lemon Essential Oil

Photo: Pure Home and Body



J Craniomaxillofac Surg. 2009 Oct;37(7):392-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcms.2009.03.017. Epub 2009 May 26

The battle against multi-resistant strains: Renaissance of antimicrobial essential oils as a promising force to fight hospital-acquired infections.

Warnke PH1, Becker STPodschun RSivananthan SSpringer INRusso PAWiltfang JFickenscher HSherry E.


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3 Responses to DIY Cough Syrup with Lemon Essential Oil

  1. Nella January 26, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    Hello, i have a question, to make the cough syrup, you mention to dilute some lemon oil into a bottle of agave, but how big is the bottle,because thebottle i buy is enormous, aprox 20oz. Please advise. Thank you!!


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