Herbs of the Seashore: Carrageenan Cough Syrup


Turkish towel, a gigartina

Photograph by Robert K. Henderson

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Makes about 2 cups

This recipe keeps for about two weeks in the refrigerator. You can freeze it before the brandy is added, then as you need it, melt it slowly in a saucepan and blend in the brandy. Take about 2 tablespoons of the syrup every few hours to soothe a cough.

  • ¾ cup finely chopped fresh Irish moss, firmly packed, or 1/4 cup dried (if using gigartina, increase to 1 cup fresh, 1/3 cup dried)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • Juice of one lemon, or 3 tablespoons
  • bottled lemon juice
  • ¼ cup cherry brandy (optional)
  1. Tie the chopped seaweed in cheesecloth and place in a medium-size saucepan. Add the boiling water and simmer gently for 30 minutes. Stir often, pressing the bag against the side of the pan to squeeze out carrageenan.
  2. Remove and discard spent carrageens. Dissolve the honey in the warm mixture and add the lemon juice. Cool to lukewarm and add the brandy.

Robert Henderson is a writer in Olympia, Washington, who combines an interest in history, folklore, and research. He has spent many hours scouring the shores of Puget Sound.

Click here for more seashore recipes from the original article, Herbs of the Seashore.