Make an herbal cough syrup to have on hand when colds, sinus infections, or flu appear. Syrups care is also an excellent way to administer herbs to children. I use maple syrup as the sweet base, as that is what I have on hand. Honey works well for people over age one (don’t give a child under the age of one honey). Both taste good and have healing properties as well.
Herbal Cough Syrup
Use whatever type of echinacea root is available. It is easy to grow. Elecampane root can be purchased or it can be gathered in the wild.
- 1 quart water
- 1 oz. Echinacea Root
- 1 oz. Elecampane root
- 1 cup honey or maple syrup
- 2 Tablespoon Brandy (optional)
Place herbs in a pot. Cover with water. Simmer, uncovered, until you have approximately 2 cups of herb tea. Strain herbs from tea. Press the herbs against a strainer to get all of the healing properties from the herbs. Heat the herbs and sweetener until very hot but do not boil. Add brandy if you’re using it. Stir. Pour into jars which have been sterilized by boiling. Apply caps. Use 2 teaspoons every 2 hours as needed for coughs.
Cough and Sore Throat Pastilles
Slippery elm is an at-risk herb, so obtain it only from ethical herb companies. Horehound is an old fashioned remedy for sore throats.
- ½ cup slippery elm inner bark, dried and powdered finely
- ½ cup horehound herb, dried and powdered finely
- 2 tablespoons honey or maple syrup
Combine herbs. Stir in sweetener. Add enough water to make thick dough. Knead with your hands until smooth. Break off ½ teaspoon-sized pieces. Roll them into balls. Dry in a dehydrator, low 200 degree oven, or in the sun. Store in a dry container. To use: Suck on a lozenge as needed for sore or dry throat. 1 drop peppermint oil may be added to the dough to provide a cooling sensation.
Herbal Steam for Stuffed up Sinuses
Most of the ingredients are probably in your kitchen cupboard. Yarrow has been used since antiquity. It is a common roadside weed. If you are gathering it, be sure to gather in clean environments. Harvest the leaves and flowers.
- 1 teaspoon dried sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon dried yarrow
Place the herbs in a large basin. Pour boiling water over them. Sit with your head covered by a towel, in tent-like fashion, inhaling the antibacterial, soothing vapors of the herbs. For extra relief and to help relieve a fever or chills, pour some of the blend into a foot bath of warm water simultaneously. Try to use the steam for at least 15 minutes. Your skin will glow from the steam and the herbal treatment.
Ear Ache Oil
Only apply this remedy in the ear canal if you are sure that the eardrum is intact. Otherwise, just apply it around the opening to the ear canal. Garlic is antibacterial. Mullein relieves pain and congestion of the tissues. Lavender oil relieves pain and is antiseptic. I have used this remedy many times. It works for people and animals.
Mullein is a wild flower. Try to make this oil in the summer with freshly gathered mullein flowers, if possible. Store it in sterilized small dropper bottles in a dark place.
- 3 Tablespoons mullein flowers, fresh or dried
- 1 Tablespoon crushed garlic
- ¼ cup (approximately) olive oil
- 3 drops essential oil of lavender
Combine mullein and garlic in a small sauce pan. Add olive oil to cover. Heat over low heat for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Strain the herbs through several layers of cheesecloth or through a coffee filter. Compost the herbs. Return the herbal oil to low heat for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Add lavender oil. Stir. Pour into small, sterilized dropper bottles.
To use: Instill 3 drops of room temperature oil to ear canal or area surrounding canal as needed to reduce discomfort. Applying a hot water bottle may also provide relief.
Respiratory Immune Tincture
Tinctures are portable, concentrated herbal medicines. They can be expensive to purchase. Tinctures are essential components to an herbal first aid kit. You can make tinctures with individual herbs and combine them as needed, or you can make readily available blends. Tinctures can last for years. They should be stored in colored bottles, in a cool dark place such as a closet. Alcohol is the most frequently used liquid, as it can extract more healing qualities of the herbs. Vinegar and glycerin are also used. Different herbs require various concentrations of alcohol for maximum herbal extraction. To simplify medicine making, use the strongest alcohol that is available. In my state, it is legal to purchase grain alcohol. Use that if you can get it. If not, use a high proof vodka.
- 4 Tablespoons Echinacea Root
- 4 Tablespoons Barberry Root Bark
- 3 Tablespoons Mullein leaf
- 3 Tablespoons Elecampane Root
- 2 cloves crushed garlic
- 2 teaspoons horseradish root
- Dash cayenne pepper
- Grain alcohol or vodka
Place the herbs in a clean Mason jar. Add vodka. Cover the herbs by 1 inch with the vodka. Run a knife through the blend to release any trapped bubbles. Cover tightly. Store at room temperature in a dark place for a minimum of two weeks. Shake daily. Add more vodka as needed to keep herbs covered. Squeeze herbs through several layers of cheesecloth. Compost herbs. Strain the remaining liquid through coffee filters or cheesecloth. Pour into colored glass jars. Store at room temperature. Label the bottles with the names of the ingredients.
To use: Take at the first sign of respiratory illness or other infections. Take ½ teaspoon in juice or water. Take ¼ teaspoon every 15 minutes until you start to feel better. Continue taking ½ teaspoon tincture 4 times daily for duration of illness. Keep out of reach of children.
Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and does not attempt to diagnose or treat any illness or disease.