Homemade Cold & Flu Medicine: Sweet Licorice Fennel Syrup Elixir

Fall is here! And that means a lot of wonderful things that your acquaintances likely plastered all over social media.

Fall is wonderful, yes.

But it also means cold & flu season.

Since pledging ourselves to exclusively exploring natural wellness options, we’ve been researching and experimenting, taking classes, and asking questions.

There are an unbelievable amount of natural alternatives to traditional cold and flu medications, all varying in dosage and effectiveness.

I {Rebeccah} chose to explore Licorice Root – Glycyrrhizza glabra – as a final project in my Herbal Medicine Making Class at Bastyr, and learned that one (of many!) medicinal uses is for cold and flu, and here are a few reasons why. Licorice is an:

  • Expectorant – provides upper respiratory relief by freeing mucus/saliva
  • Antispasmodic – relieves muscle spasms/pains
  • Antioxidant – prevents cell damage by hindering production of free radicals
  • Antiviral – treats viral infections/viruses
  • Antibacterial – fights bacteria & prevents future bacterial growth

Dried Licorice Root for Cold & Flu Fighting Syrup via Everything Needs Cheese

A few important notes about Licorice Root (and have you read our Terms and Conditions??), before getting started: Daily use for long periods of time has been linked to increased blood pressure. For that reason, it is not recommended to the following demographics:

  • Pregnant Women
  • Heart or Kidney Disease Sufferers
  • Those with High Blood Pressure

Now on to the fun stuff!


  • 1 oz Licorice Root – Dried
    • This can be purchased at health food stores like Whole Foods, or online.
  • 2 oz Wild Fennel Tops – Fresh (Domestic will work also)
  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1 ½ Cups Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Cognac (Brandy) – Optional

Licorice Fennel Sugar Syrup Recipe, a Natural Alternative to Traditional Cold & Flu Medicine via Everything Needs Cheese


  • Combine all ingredients but Brandy in a (covered) pot and bring to a boil.Boiling Decoction of Dried Licorice Root, Wild Fennel Tops, and Sugar for Homemade Cold & Flu Herbal Medicine via Everything Needs Cheese
  • Stir occasionally, but otherwise keep covered for 60 minutes, or until liquid has reduced by ½, to about 1 cup. Keep an eye on it as it may bubble up.
    Cheese Cloth Straining Licorice & Fennel Cold Flu Elixir DIY Alternative Medicine via Everything Needs Cheese
  • Strain with cheesecloth inside a mesh strainer. A ricer would work well also if you have one. Make sure you squeeze as much of the liquid out as possible. Compost your cheesecloth/leftovers.
  • Stir in Brandy and pour into a bottle or jar.
  • Keeps up to 6 months on the shelf, longer if refrigerated, although sugar crystallization may occur. If it does, reheat in a pot of water or microwave (without the metal lid) to create a smooth, syrupy texture.

Homemade Licorice Root & Fennel Natural Cough, Cold, & Flu Medicine Recipe & Instructions via Everything Needs Cheese

Recommended Dosage:

  • Take 2-3 TBSP daily at the onset of cold/flu symptoms. Can be taken straight (it’s dangerously delicious!!), or added to a tea, smoothie, yogurt bowl, or other food/drink.
  • For best results, spread out doses, ex: 1 TBSP in the AM, 1 TBSP in the PM.
  • Note: this particular preparation is not recommended for use with children because of the alcohol. Brandy is also an antispasmodic, which adds to the cold & flu fighting properties of this recipe, but can easily be omitted to make it kid-friendly.
  • If adverse symptoms are experienced, discontinue use and immediately contact your health practitioner.
  • Do not take for more than 4 consecutive weeks. No cold/flu should last that long anyway!

    This post contains Affiliate Links to Amazon, so you can shop easily for the necessary products. This post was also recycled with permission from a sister site: Everything Needs Cheese.

    © Landerholmstead, 2016