Its that time of year where coughs and colds and flu tend to dominate so I make sure I have a decent herbal remedy for the chest, throat and lungs ready to help.
Rather than take a cough medicine that simply suppresses the cough reflex, try this recipe for a cough syrup that contains herbs that focus on the causes of a cough (antibacterial/viral, expectorant, mucilaginous, soothing) and can help to speed up healing whilst easing symptoms. The herbs in this mix target their magic to the lungs, chest and throat and can help with most types of cough arising from infection whether they be chesty, dry, hacking or tickly. It has been tried and tested over a good few years now and is also quite palatable for children. You can experiment with your own choice of ingredients of course but this is the formula that seems to get results …..
To make 1 litre of cough syrup you will first need a rounded tablespoon each of the following dried herbs : aniseed, balm of gilead buds, elecampagne root, marshmallow root, wild cherry bark and half a tablespoon of liqourice root. Add these to a large sturdy pan with 500ml of water plus another 50-100ml of water (to allow for evaporation on cooking). Bring to the boil and simmer very gently for at least half an hour. I like to put the lid on and then leave this to steep overnight but a few hours steeping is more than enough.
Strain off the liquid through a fine fabric such as muslin etc and wring out as much as possible to extract the maximum amount of liquid. Put this liquid back in the pan and now add a rounded teaspoon each of dried herbs of mullein leaf, thyme and white horehound. Bring to the boil, leave it bubbling for a few seconds and then turn the heat off and put the lid on. We don’t want to boil the leaves and loose the essential oil content. Again, I like to leave this for a good few hours.
Strain off the liquid in the same way as before and por the liquid into a large measuring jug. You should hopefully have around 500ml of liquid remaining. Add the same amount of vegetable glycerine and a tablespoon of slippery elm powder. I also like to add a few drops of cayenne tincture and lobelia tincture too.
Decant into a bottle and shake vigorously to mix up all the ingredients. This will keep for a good 6 months if you store it somewhere cool or in the fridge. Dosage varies but a general guide is one teaspoon in a little water up to 5 times daily for adults, 1/2 tsp up to 5 times daily for kids aged around 7-12 and 1/4 teaspoon up to 3 times daily for under 7’s.
*I don’t recommend giving to very young children (under 1), pregnant women or anyone taking prescribed medicines.
Read more about causes of cough and other healing suggestions using herbs, foods and natural healing techniques on our main website.
You can also buy our cough syrup kit which contains all the ingredients you need to make half a litre (500 ml) of cough syrup.