The cold & flu virus is back in town, and I plan on knocking it out the natural way- with herbs and soothing homemade cough drops!
I have yet to see cough drops that aren't packaged in plastic. Making cough drops at home is easy peasy and gives the maker a chance to be creative with the herbs of their choosing.
I chose to make my cough drops with elderberry, lemon balm, and slippery elm. Coltsfoot, mallow, peppermint, horehound, sage, and thyme would be great choices as well. I am able to find these herbal ingredients in bulk. If you don't have access to bulk herbs, it's nice to add lemon, honey, ginger, and cayenne to hot water to soothe the throat and help boost the immune system instead. Or, check out my simple honey lemon cough syrup recipe!
Purpose and Use
- cough suppressant & oral pain releiver
- used for cough due to cold
- used for occasional and minor irritations due to sore throat and/or mouth.
Elderberry Cough Drop Recipe
1/2 cup water infused with elderberry, lemon balm, & slippery elm (2 tablespoons each)
3/4 cup raw organic local honey
A dash of cornstarch or slippery elm powder
The Steps: 1. Make an herbal tea infusion with the elderberry, lemon balm and slippery elm bark. I put my herbs in a muslin bag, add the hot water, and let steep for 20 minutes. 2. In a sauce pan on medium heat, combine the honey and the tea and stir on on the stove for 20-25 minutes, or until the mixture comes close to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Careful not to burn the mixture! The mixture will become very foamy, but keep stirring. If you do not have a candy thermometer, add a drop of your mixture to ice water and see if it hardens. If it does, remove the mixture immediately from the heat and pour into molds or make drops on a surface dusted with slippery elm bark or cornstarch to prevent sticking 3. The drops will begin to cool quickly and you can form them into any shape you desire, I left mine alone. If using a silicon baking mold, pop the cough drops out once they have almost hardened and roll in slippery elm bark or cornstarch to keep them from sticking to one another. 4. Store in a mason jar in a cool dry place or in the refrigerator.
Hot Tip: Instead of using 2-3 rolls of toilet paper or tissues when stemming a runny nose, I cut up an old shirt and keep the scraps in a jar to blow my nose. These homemade cloth tissues are re-usable and washable! " But Eva, that wastes water." a reader might comment. My response to this is that it takes thousands of gallons of water and trees to make toilet paper and tissues, so by reusing my own at home, I'm not only preventing waste and diverting it from the landfill, I'm also saving water - lots of water. If I'm on the go, I bring my handkerchief with me.
About the Ingredients:
Elderberry: Sambucus nigra is part of the honeysuckle family, but you may have heard it called black-berried, alder, elder, elder black, boor tree, bounty ellanwood, or elkhorn. Elderberry has the amazing ability to promote sweating, which is supportive for breaking a fever. Elderberry can improve immune function, stimulate circulation, and has been extensively studied regarding it's effectiveness against flu viruses, colds, and sinusitis.
Slippery Elm: Ulmus rubra is part of the elm family, but you may have heard it called Indian elm, moose elm, red elm, or sweet elm. Slippery elm coats and soothes the mouth, throat, and stomach. It also provides relief from a scratchy throat.
Lemon Balm: Melissa officinalis is part of the mint family, but you may have heard it called balm, bee balm, cure-all, dropsy plant, garden balm, melissa, honey plant, or sweet balm. Lemon balm has anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties and also provides a serene sedative effect to help relax the body and nervous system.
Honey: Honey coats and soothes the mucus membranes in the thraot and has anti-bacterial properties. Honey can also help ease and soothe irritation caused by coughing. Using bee products supports the continuation of bee farming, and we rely on the bees to pollinate the planet.