Last time I got sick, the constant itch in my throat as I was healing tormented me more than the hacking cough that started it all. For a while after I’d recovered I couldn’t get rid of the menthol taste or the bright red color of my mouth no matter how many times I brushed my teeth. I began to wonder if the cough drops I had been unwisely and obsessively sucking on were only exacerbating my symptoms.
That’s when I wished that I had something a little less medicated and sugary, and a little more natural. Thankfully I ran across this recipe for homemade cough drops from WikiHow, which seems almost fool-proof, although I’m going to replace the sugar and corn syrup with honey.
Photo by ladybugbkt/Courtesy Flickr
And with the priceless archive of herbal medicine at The Herb Companion, I discovered some of the best herbs to make this recipe even more effective. For instance, herbs with expectorant qualities that help loosen phlegm include aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), elderberberry (Sambucus nigra), ginger root (Zingiber officinale), mullein (Verbascum thapsus), osha (Ligusticum porteri) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris). All you’ll need is a pot, waxed paper and a greased cooking sheet.
Homemade Herbal Cough Drops
• Powdered herbs
• 1 cup sugar, or honey
• 1/3 cup light corn syrup, or honey
• 1 1/2 cups water
• Powdered sugar, for easy handling
1. Steep your preferred soothing herbs in 1 1/2 cups of water to make a tea.
2. Mix sugar and corn syrup with tea. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils.
3. Continue boiling without stirring until the mixture begins to crystallize; reduce heat. Wash away crystals from the side of your pan with a damp cloth.
4. Remove from the heat after a few minutes. Drop some of the mixture from the tip of a spoon onto a greased surface. Allow to harden and cool completely before removing. Roll the candies in powdered sugar and wrap in waxed paper for storage.
For more information on the best herbs for a sore throat, check out these past articles:
• Seasonal Allergy Help by Kris Wetherbee
• Best Herbs for the Common Cold by Linda B. White, M.D.
• Culinary Herbs and Medicinal Spices by Amy Mayfield
• Herbs to Treat the Common Cold by The Herb Companion staff
• Kids Sore Throat Remedies by Linda B. White, M.D. and Sunny Mavor, A.H.G.
And try Kathy Azmeh-Scanlan’s recipe for herbal throat drops in Herbal Relief for Seasonal Allergies.
Have you tried making your own cough drops before? What's your favorite sore throat remedy? Leave a me a comment and let me know.
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