Cold and cough season sure is upon us, isn’t it?

Like many of you, we do our best to:

  1. Pump up our immune systems through real food to minimize how much we get sick in the first place
  2. Use many simple, effective home remedies to deal with illness when it does happen. We eat foods like raw garlic and fresh citrus, cut out all sweeteners, stay extra hydrated, enjoy warm herbal teas with raw honey, among other things.
  3. We turn to natural, herbal store-bought remedies when necessary.

Though I make many of my own remedies, I’ve also experimented with various types of cold syrup over the years, for those times when we get hit really bad (or when mama is too sick to make anything).

It’s slightly ironic that I’m sitting here typing this review during a week when both myself and my youngest son have actually used this cough syrup, because by golly, I’ve been feeling under the weather. I know it’s mostly the result of a lowered immune system while pregnant, and of course the simple fact that colds and flus are going around our community right now. Nonetheless, it’s never fun.

Two days ago, my cold went from being more in my head (headache, low fever, badly stuffed up nose) to my chest. Now I’ve got a sore throat and I’m coughing. A lot. My little guy woke up the other night with a bit of a wheeze and a bad cough as well. All of this was entirely unplanned, but did give us the perfect opportunity to really try out the Maty’s All Natural Cough Syrup I was sent for review.

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(Seriously, if I got sick just for a blog review, that would be real dedication. I promise, this was pure coincidence.)

What’s in YOUR cough syrup?

Now, I’m pretty picky about ingredients and I’m not a fan of most products on the pharmacy store shelves. Even supposedly “natural”cough syrups tend to have some sort of sugar and preservatives in them, or else they taste truly awful, or they don’t particularly work to promote healing.

Since we tend to just avoid over-the-counter or pharmaceuticals across the board, I wasn’t actually sure what sort of ingredients were lurking in conventional cough syrups.

High fructose corn syrup and artificial food dyes, I figured, as well as some sort of pharmaceutical intended to suppress a cough. But propylene glycol, so many nasty preservatives, parabens? I didn’t not expect it to be that bad (though really, I should have known better), nor that they would have so many possible side effects.

I was pleasantly surprised when I got Maty’s All Natural Cough Syrup in the mail and saw these ingredients (compared with several other conventional brands):

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This is really all that’s in it (other than distilled water and olive oil and a little banana flavor in the kid’s version). Nothing extra, nothing hidden.

I really love this ingredient list. If there’s going to be a sweetener, honey is the one that I would want to see (especially because honey is known for its soothing and healing properties, and buckwheat honey is a great choice in particular).

The funny thing is, when I look at the list, I realize I could probably make something very similar. Isn’t that what we natural mamas do?

That’s why I chuckled a little when I saw this in the FAQs on the Maty’s website:

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Bingo. My thoughts exactly.

I can’t tell you how grateful I was this week for the convenience of a product I could really trust, made with ingredients just like the ones I would reach for myself.

In fact, we also have Maty’s All Natural Vapor Rub, and both of those little jars got a whole lot of use, because I didn’t have the energy to do my usual thing and whip something up.

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Actually, I think that often becomes a barrier or excuse for not using something better. We know that we should use more natural, pure ingredients instead of something off of a shelf, but we lack the time and energy to make it ourselves. So we reach for something easier, something more convenient. (All the while, inwardly cringing and feeling a bit guilty about it, right?)

As my lifestyle has gotten busier over the last few years, with a growing family (in quantity and in age), more school-aged kids to homeschool, and taking on more part-time work along with my responsibilities as a mom and homemaker, I’ve had to make a bit of a shift. My focus used to be on learning how to make everything and anything myself. I wanted to control every ingredient and I wanted to do it frugally. I had more time on my hands back then, and it fit that season of my life.

These days I often feel like I have to choose a more convenient option. Thing is, my values and views about health, the foods we eat and products we use haven’t changed. That’s forced me to look for more and more alternative options, from farmers I trust, from companies I believe in, from brands I can rely on.

Now, there is absolutely a value in making and doing things ourselves. I still try to make as much as I can, and I probably always will. That personal quality control, not to mention the cost savings, is priceless.

But a number of years ago, when I was getting more and more into gardening and backyard homesteading, my husband had to really lay it down for me and let me know that while he supported my interests, this was something that he had absolutely no interest in ever taking up himself. He told me “Stephanie, I’ll never be a farmer. Never. But, if you believe in this stuff then we’ll spend our money supporting really great farmers and buying their food instead of growing it all ourselves. I’m all for that.

When it comes to some of the products we use for our beauty, skincare and home remedies, I’ve been taking that same perspective lately. I want brands making products just like the ones I’d want to make myself, so I can support them while simultaneously crossing one more thing off of my to-do list.

That’s how I feel about companies like Maty’s. In fact, that’s how I feel about most of the companies I do reviews for. All that you see is the review that goes up in the end, but what you don’t know is how carefully I check out the company before I ever say yes – I read their website, I look at their ingredients, I learn about their practices and products, and then, if I like what I see, I say yes to that review.

Bottom line on this cough syrup? I think it does 3 things really well:

  1. It soothes and reduces coughing. Does it do it completely? No, because it’s not meant to mask your symptoms. But for both myself and my 2 year old, it calmed down our coughing and soothed our throats enough that we were able to sleep decently.
  2. It boosts the immune system, naturally. One of the key points in using natural remedies is that we’re aiming to support and build up our immune system so that it can battle what we’re fighting more effectively (rather than just cover up our symptoms and hope they eventually go away). The ingredients in this syrup are all effective immune boosters.
  3. It does it with ingredients you could find in your kitchen. In other words, they’re pure, simple and safe.

I would buy this again. It’s probably the best of the various natural cough syrups I’ve tried over the years (and for that matter, we liked the vapor rub a lot, too).

Interested in trying it yourself? Find a local store that carries Maty’s products or purchase directly through their website.

What do you use for a cough? And I’m curious… where are you currently at in the balance between making things yourself and supporting brands that are making products you can believe in?

Disclosure: This post was generously sponsored by Maty’s Healthy Products. Product was also sent to me for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own (unless quoted as being directly from the Maty’s website).