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Homemade Herbal Cough Drops

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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Here is a recipe from Wellness Mama that uses silicon molds.  I really prefer just making drops though I like her recipe:

Homemade Herbal Cough Drops


1 cup of water infused with herbs. I used slippery elm, coltsfoot, cinnamon, elderberry and chamomile
1.5 cups of honey
A candy thermometer (not necessary but very helpful!)
a medium size sauce pan
Silicon candy molds (not needed but helpful)


Boil 2 cups of water and infuse with desired herbs. I used about ¼ cup of each herb for a really potent cough drop, but as little as 1 tablespoon of each herb is effective. To infuse: Pour boiling water over herbs. I put herbs in a muslin bag to make straining easier. Let steep for 20 minutes and strain out herbs (or remove bag).

Pour 1 cup of the herb infused water and 1.5 cups of honey into a medium saucepan and turn on medium high heat. (save the extra liquid and mix with equal parts raw honey for a simple cough syrup)

Stir the honey/herb mixture over medium high heat until it reaches 300 degrees. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, this usually takes about 30 minutes and can be tested by dropping a drop of the mixture in to ice water to see if it immediately hardens. It should harden to the point that it breaks if dropped on the counter. You can also tell because the mixture will start to foam and separate. At this point, it is vital to remove it from the heat quickly so it does not burn

Pour into candy molds, or pour into a large baking sheet that has been greased with coconut oil or that has a silicon baking mat on it.

Let cool until it can be touched and molded and immediately and quickly form into lozenges with your hands (you might need help to do this quickly enough).

Put finished cough drops/lozenges on a silicon mat or piece of parchment paper to cool.

When completely cool, I toss in a mixture of powdered slippery elm and stevia to keep from getting sticky in humidity

Use as needed for coughing, congestion or sore throat.

Notes:  Any herbs can be used. I picked the combination above to help sooth coughing, congestion and sore throat while boosting the immune system. I get all herbs from Mountain Rose Herbs. I’ve only had these last about a week in my house because my kids eat them that quickly, so I don’t know their shelf life past a week.

Here are some suggested herbs from here:  He also gives a recipe.

Herbs for coughs

   Cypress (helps calm coughs, clear congestion, and loosen phlegm)
   Elderberry juice
   Eucalyptus (helps open nasal congestion)
   Frankincense (especially good for phlegmy cough)
   Lemon peel
   Oregano (shown to help fight upper respiratory infections)
   Peppermint (shown to help calm coughs)

Herbs for Sore Throats

If your sore throat is part of an upper respiratory infection you may want to include some of those herbs listed above for coughs, as well as one or more of the following.

The herbs in this list are also useful for sore throats due to talking or singing too much.

   Cayenne powder
   Juniper berry
   Licorice root
   Marshmallow root
   Slippery elm bark (especially good for dry, irritated throats)

This image looks like they are using something to make a mold like sugar or flour:  Then just dropping the mixture onto the sugar/flour.

Posts: 538
Location: Middle Georgia
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Good recipe!

I would most definitely include Elecampane (Inula helenium ) in the drops. It has been used as an expectorant and for gut problems since Roman times. I tried to grow some this year but the plants didn't survive the summer heat. Will try again next year in a shadier space.

It grows tall (related to sunflowers) and the roots are usually harvested in its second year.

Elecampane was described as early as 50 A.D. by Roman surgeons Pliny and Dioscorides, who stated it helped with digestion and caused “mirth” or joyfulness.  In England, it is frequently mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon writing on medicine as a common remedy for sicknesses (Grieve 1931).  However, for the most part, elecampane was generally known during the Middle Ages.  It was grown in private herb gardens by which the root was used for medicine or candied to be eaten.  In London, it was common for the sugar-coated herb to be consumed daily for asthmatic problems (Grieve 1931).  Romans and Greeks used the rhizomes, which contains high amounts of inulin, to treat intestinal worms, air passage disorders, and as an antiseptic for treating wounds (Mountain Rose Herbs 2015).

The root contains alantolactone which has an anti-inflammatory action and also reduces mucous secretions (Plants for a Future 2012). Overall, elecampane has been and is still frequently used to treat asthma, bronchitis, pulmonary disease, cough, indigestion, and heartburn where the root and rhizome are prepared as a decoction or tincture (Web MD 2005-2015).  Along with alantolactone and inulin, elecampane contains isoalantolactone, chlorogenic acid, and isoheleproline which are known contribute to its use medicinally (Wang, et al. 2015). Elecampane rhizomes contain volatile oils, which are mostly composed of sesquiterpene lactones, including alantolactone (Wichtl 1994). Elecampane is also very high in inulin and mucilage. Most herbal texts attribute the actions of elecampane to alantolactone which has been isolated and used to treat parasites (Newall, et al. 1996).  Cough prevention and soothing of the intestinal tract however, may possibly be due to the inulin and mucilage content.
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I made an oxymel, thyme/honey/applecidervinegar mix.
My pie came with a little toothpic holding up this tiny ad:
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