Saturday, October 17, 2009

Homemade Herbal Cough Drops

Here is another MAKE-IT-YOURSELF recipe using herbs and aromatherapy. I do love to make my own medicine! This is a project that the kids can help with! The advantage of homemade cough drops is that they are free of dyes or unnecessary ingredients or additives. They are all natural, and they work!

Being able to grow the herbs to use to make your own medicine is also rewarding. But, if you need to buy them, that is okay too, just make sure you are using organically grown herbs! Here are a few sources for organic herbs:
Mountain Rose
Click here to buy Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils

First of all you will want to choose which herbs and Essential Oils to use in your cough drops. There are many to choose from. Here are my favorites:
  • Horehound has been used for decades for coughs and bronchial irritations. It is great for breaking up congestion. Use the dried herb.
  • Peppermint contains menthol which helps soothe the bronchial tubes, and helps ease sore throats. Use either the dried herb, or Essential oil.
  • Spearmint is similar to Peppermint, use either the dried herb, or Essential Oil.
  • Ginger is soothing for upset tummies, warming and great tasting, use either the dried herb, or Essential Oil.
  • Fennel is soothing to irritated throats and helps relieve coughing fits. Use the dried herb or Essential Oil.
  • Mullein will help soothe the bronchial and lungs, and ease coughs. It is extremely gentle. Use the dried herb.
  • Thyme has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It is very useful for treating coughs and colds. Use the dried herb or Essential Oil.
  • Marshmallow is very soothing and will help dilate bronchial tubes, making it easier to breathe. Use the dried herb.
  • Slippery Elm is very soothing to a raw, scratchy throat, and is used to help relieve inflammation of the bronchials. Use the dried herb.
  • Korean Mint is used in the treatment of chest congestion and headaches. The leaves and stems are antibacterial. Use the dried herb.
  • Lemon has antiseptic-like properties and contains compounds that have been studied for their effects on immune function. Use the Essential Oil.

You can mix and match the herbs and Essential Oils you might have on hand, or what you are growing in your garden. Or use a little bit of each! There is no exact recipe, so don't be afraid to experiment according to your own preferences and needs.

You will need:
  • 4-5 drops of each Essential Oil that you are using
  • 1 cup dried herbs or 8 herbal tea bags (I love Traditional Medicinals throat coat)
  • 3 cups boiling water
  • 3  1/2 cups granulated sugar or brown sugar
  • Candy thermometer

First you will want to steep the dried herbs or tea bags in the water. Let the herbs steep for about 30 minutes. Strain well using a tea press or cheesecloth if using loose herbs. Add Essential oils if you are using them.

Next add sugar/brown sugar over medium heat and bring to a boil slowly, keep stirring constantly. When the mixture reaches 290 to 300 degrees and pulls apart in threads it is done. Remove from heat.

Now you can then proceed to pull the mixture, and make little balls. Use wax paper to store them. Or you can reuse a tin from other cough drops or mints.

another MAKE-IT-YOURSELF project.

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