We Tried Making TikTok's DIY Cough Drops And Here's What Happened

There's no shortage of cough drops on the market. And the flavors are pretty amazing, too. From Halls Honey and Lemon Cough and Throat Relief to Cēpacol Extra Strength Sore Throat and Cough Mixed Berry lozenges, there's a lot to choose from. 

But with more people trying to look for DIY home remedies for almost anything, we were intrigued by something we saw on TikTok and wanted to give it a go ourselves. Shared by Armen Adamjan (who's better known as creative_explained), the video features this "plant ninja" making a simple cough drop recipe involving nothing more than lemon juice, cinnamon powder, honey, ginger, and icing sugar. 

Adamjan is known for his fast-paced and dramatic flair-driven videos, and the cough drops post didn't fail to deliver on that account. While we weren't able to exactly match his energy levels while concocting the cough drops (we tried), we followed the recipe pretty closely. It's safe to say that the drops turned out a lot better than we expected, and all in under an hour. Overall, we think the recipe is easy to make and pretty solid in terms of beneficial ingredients, so it's not hard to see how these cough drops really work. Sucking on one of these cough drops didn't have quite the same effect as store-bought cough drops with their hit of menthol, but we think this could be remedied if more ginger was added to the recipe. Here's how it went. 

How to make honey, lemon, and ginger cough drops

Adamjan starts off his video by squeezing a dash of lemon (2 tablespoons) into a sauce pan. Seemingly, he squeezes out a lemon seed in the process and asks his viewers to "save the seed [and] grow a lemon tree." We used a lemon squeezer instead so we didn't have a stray seed fall into the pan. 

Next, he adds 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, 1/2 cup of honey, and 2 tablespoons of grated ginger (which he grates using the "smallest holes"). We must confess that we weren't sure if two tablespoons of ginger might be too much, but we went with his measurement anyway (and we're thankful we did. In fact, we wish we'd added more). It's also unclear if Adamjan added all his ingredients into the saucepan while it was already on the fire, so we did the lemon and cinnamon off the fire and the rest over medium heat. 

"Bring it to boil and once it starts to boil, take it off the heat. Whisk it around until the bubbles go away. Then put it back on the heat. Repeat the process about 4-5 times until the mixture darkens and the moisture has evaporated," added the TikToker. If there was ever a bit of confusion about the consistency of the mixture, it was right here in the recipe. We didn't think 4-5 times quite thickened the mixture as much as his appeared to be in the post, so we went with 9 to 10 times instead. But that was a bad idea. The mixture got a lot darker than Adamjan's and also tasted a little bitter. 

The finishing touches and end result

According to the TikTok DIY recipe, the next step involves taking the mixture off the heat, using a teaspoon to grab some of the mixture, and pouring small drops on a tray lined with parchment paper. After dusting the drops with icing sugar, Adamjan lets them cool for 5 minutes before consuming them. 

While the icing sugar was probably only added for extra sweetness, it's not hard to see the merits of all the other ingredients when it comes to treating a cough. Ginger has anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties and has been used in home remedies for colds and coughs (like honey and ginger tea and lemongrass and ginger tea) for ages. Honey, too, has been used to treat sore throats and coughs for years. In fact, according to infectious diseases and occupational medicine expert Dr. Pritish K. Tosh (via Mayo Clinic), in one study done on children aged 1 to 5, honey proved to be as effective as dextromethorphan, a common cough suppressant used in cough medicine, but warns that "due to the risk of infant botulism, a rare but serious form of food poisoning, [you should] never give honey to a child younger than age 1." Lemon water has also been linked to soothing nasal congestion and sore throats. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that may prevent infections too. 

Lessons learned: Stick with 4 to 5 times of taking the mixture off the heat and whisking till the water evaporates. If you must go longer, stop short of 7 at the most. Add more ginger if you love the cooling sensation of your preferred brand of cough drops from the store.