Make your own delicious homemade herbal cough syrup! Syrups can be a great way to get kids (and dare I sensitive adults too!) to take medicinal herbs. This particular recipe is wonderful for sore throats, deep coughs and in some cases, asthma.
Most of the ingredients are easily sourced from local grocery stores, and health food shops. As I have mentioned before, Southern Light Herbs is a wonderful local and organic medicinal herb grower that is stocked in most health food stores.
You will need: 2 tbs dried thyme 2 tbs Fennel seeds (Store in the refrigerator to protect these oil-rich seeds from oxidisation and rancidity) 1 tbs Echinacea root (angustifolia or purpurea) 1 tbs licorice root 1 tbs cinnamon quills - crush with a mortar and pestle. 1 tbs cardamom pods - crushed with the back of a spoon. ½ tbs fresh ginger root grated ½ tbs poppy seeds 1/8 tbs orange peel – sliced or grated. Brandy - optional.
Sweetener options: Vegans can choose vegetable glycerine, which provides both a nutritious and and an excellent medium for herb extractions. Maple syrup is another delicious and mineral rich vegan sweetener. Vegetarians and omnivores can choose honey for its antibacterial soothing activity.
Combine the herbs in a heavy bottomed saucepan and cover with 1250ml cold water. Gently bring the herbs to a simmer and continue to simmer for 30mins. Strain out the herbs and put them in the compost. Measure and pour the tea back into the pot, and continue to simmer until total liquid has reduced by half (625ml) or until the desired consistency has been reached.
Turn off the heat and add 1 cup of sweetener per 500ml of tea. Keep stirring until the sweetener has completely dissolved. Many recipes call for a 1:1 tea to sweetener ratio because they come from the days when refrigeration was uncommon. This ends up far too sweet, and detrimental to the desired therapeutic effects as excess sugar can have a depressive effect on immune function.
Once the syrup has cooled, a small amount of brandy may be added as a preservative and mild muscle relaxant. Use 6-8 tbs of Brandy for every 500ml of syrup. Adding Brandy can make your syrup last for up to a year in the fridge.
Another optional extra that can be added to the syrup is Peppermint, Anise, Cardamom or Ginger essential oil. You must ensure you have 100% food grade essential oils. Use a TOTAL of 5 drops per 500ml*.
* Just add one drop of essential oil at a time and taste after each drop. Essential oils are incredibly concentrated and can easily over power your syrup, or even cause harm at higher doses.
Pour your syrup into clean bottles, label and refrigerate until needed.
I always love to hear feedback, so please don't be shy. Let me know what you think.