Monday, October 29, 2012

Medicine chest building ~ cough drops

You will find even your children will enjoy sucking on them!

Directions: Place powdered herbs (recipe below) in a bowl and moisten with enough water and honey
(or maple syrup, vegetable glycerine, etc) to make a sticky paste.

Add a tiny drop of essential oil, such as peppermint or wintergreen to the mixture and mix in
well. Too much essential oil will ruin the recipe, so be conservative.

Thicken this with additional slippery elm bark or comfrey root powder. Add additional herbs to
form into nice smooth ball kind of like bread dough.

Roll into small round balls the size of pills. You can roll them again in slippery elm bark powder
or carob powder for a nice finish.

Place your pills on a cookie sheet and dry them in a very low oven (even just having the pilot
light on will work) for several hours. You could also leave them in the sun for a day if you don't
have a problem with animals and bugs. If you choose not to dry them you will need to store the
pills in the refrigerator.

Strep throat drops

These are excellent for sore and/or strep. throats.

1 part licorice,
1 part comfrey root powder,
1part slippery elm powder,
1/2 part echinacea powder.
1/8th part goldenseal powder

Adjust flavors to suit you!

******

First of all you will want to choose which herbs to use in your cough drops. There are many to choose from.
Peppermint- peppermint contains the volatile oil menthol which helps soothe the bronchial and help eases sore throats.
Spearmint- just like peppermint but some think it works even better!
Ginger-soothing and great tasting.
Horehound- horehound had been used for decades for coughs and bronchial upsets. It is a great herb for breaking up congestion. It contains murubiin which stimulates bronchial secretions.
Thyme- thyme is another great herb that has antiseptic and antibacterial properties. It is very useful for treating coughs and colds.
Mullein- mullein is an herb that will help soothe the bronchial and lungs. It is extremely gentle and effective. IT will help ease coughs.
Marshmallow- marshmallow is very soothing and will help shrink inflamed bronchial making it easier to breathe.
Slippery Elm- like marshmallow this herb is used to help relieve inflammation of the bronchial.
Fennel- fennel is soothing to irritated throats and helps relieve coughing fits.

You can mix and match what herbs you might have on hand or what you are growing in your garden. Or else use a little bit of each! There is no exact recipe so don't be afraid to experiment according to your own preferences.
First you will want to gather your supplies. You will need the following ingredients to make herbal cough drops;


Herbal cough drops

1 cup dried herbs (mix and match according to your preference and what you have on hand)
3 cups boiling water
3 1/2 cups brown sugar
2 teaspoons peppermint extract if desired
Candy thermometer
First you will want to steep the dried herbs in the tea. I like to make it nice and strong and steep for about 30 minutes or so. Strain well using a tea press or cheesecloth.
Next add brown sugar over medium heat and bring to a boil slowly. be sure to keep stirring constantly. When the brown sugar herbs mixture reaches 290 to 300 degrees and pulls apart in threads it is done. At this point remove from heat and add the peppermint extract if desired.
Next you can then proceed to pull the mixture like taffy and make little balls. Or the easiest and fastest thing to do is spread over a cookie sheet. When the herbal mixture it hardens you can then break into pieces. Use wax paper to store them. They will keep for awhile.

******


Cough drop lolipops for small children

1 cup honey
candy therometer
Loli sticks and mold

Put honey in a sauce pan cooking over low heat stiring constantly. Bring to a boil. Put in a candy therometer and continue to stir until it reaches 300 degrees. Remove from heat and pour into molds and insert sticks. allow to harden

*****



These were made as simply as possible with herbal tea and sugar. That's really all you need.

But if you want to get fancy, you can use a blend of sugar or substitutes, food coloring, additional flavors, and custom blend your own herbs.

Some great herbs (and their uses) for lozenges are:
  • Horehound - (be careful - this stuff is strong!) pain reliever, stimulates digestion
  • Echinacea - best before full onset of cold, anti-bacterial + blood cleanser
  • Peppermint - expectorant, decongestant and mild pain reliever
  • Eucalyptus - relieves congestion
  • Camphor - relieves congestion
  • Ginger - pain relieving, antiseptic and antioxidant
  • Goldenseal - antiseptic and immune stimulant
  • Licorice - anti-viral, chest and throat soother
  • Sage - good for sore throats
  • Fennugreek - expectorant
  • Juniper - relieves congestion
  • Yarrow - reduces fevers and inflammation
I also used powdered sugar to make my candy molds, and to toss them in so they wouldn't be so sticky. If you have candy molds, these work just as well!

Finally, a well-calibrated candy thermometer makes this task almost effortless! To make sure it's accurate, check the temperature of a cup of boiling water to be certain it registers 212oF (100oC). If it doesn't, make note of the difference.

  • Herbal cough drops are condensed herbal syrups, the primary ingredient of which is typically honey or brown sugar Any type of sugar can be used, and sugar works better than honey for creating hard candy. The mixture will need to be cooked until most of the water has evaporated to form a thick syrup, which will harden into herbal cough drops as it cools. A thickening agent, such as cream of tartar, can be added to facilitate hardening but is not required.
  • Like any candy, homemade cough drops require careful attention when cooking. Boil your herbal infusion and sugar mixture to form syrup, then use a candy thermometer to bring the herbal syrup to 300 degrees. The candy should form a hard ball when dropped into cold water.
  • Homemade cough drops can be made from the condensed herbal syrup either by pulling the condensed syrup and rolling into balls left to cool on a cookie sheet or by pouring the syrup into a shallow pan and cutting the cough drops after the syrup hardens. In either method, either grease the pan or line the pan with parchment paper to easily  remove the herbal cough drops once they're cool. Dust the finished product with powdered sugar to make the surface less sticky. You can also use nonstick or silicon molds specifically designed for confection making, and simply remove each individual cough drop from the pan after cooling.

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