Make Your Own Herbal Cough Syrup

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Adapted From Grow It Heal It

Syrups are useful for coating your throat and are helpful if you (or your kids) have trouble swallowing capsules or pills. Any herbal tea can be concentrated and added to a sweet base to create a syrup. Because this process concentrates the herb's active constituents, a syrup can be very effective at treating and healing a wide range of ailments, especially upper respiratory infections and sore throats.

More From Rodale News: 4 Natural Soothers for Sore, Scratchy Throats

This tasty syrup coats your throat, reduces irritation, and calms a persistent cough.

Cough Syrup

Ingredients:
3 to 4 teaspoons fresh or 1½ teaspoons dried echinacea leaf, flower, and/or root
1½ to 2 teaspoons fresh or ¾ teaspoon dried licorice root
2 heaping teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried marshmallow root
3 to 4 teaspoons fresh or 1½ teaspoons dried orange peel
1½ to 2 teaspoons fresh or ¾ teaspoon dried sage leaf
3 to 4 teaspoons fresh or 1½ teaspoons dried thyme
5 cups purified water
1 cup Sweet Syrup Base (see below)

Optional ingredients:
2 to 3 teaspoons fresh or 1 teaspoon dried wild cherry bark (Prunus serotina)
3 to 4 teaspoons fresh or 1½ teaspoons dried horehound leaf (Marrubium vulgare; this herb adds extra cough-reducing power, but also has a bitter taste)
7 drops orange essential oil
3 drops peppermint essential oil
Pinch of stevia per cup of finished liquid (optional), for sweetness

Directions:
1. If you're using fresh herbs, whir them in a blender, and if you're using dried, grind the herbs to a coarse or fine consistency. In a saucepan, simmer the echinacea, licorice, marshmallow root, orange peel, and optional cherry bark in the water, uncovered, for 20 minutes. 

2. Turn off the heat. Add the sage, thyme, and optional horehound. Steep the entire mixture for 20 minutes longer, then strain and compost the herbs. 

3. Pour the liquid back into the saucepan, return it to a boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer, uncovered, until the liquid is reduced to about 1 cup. Let it cool until it's warm and add the sweet syrup base and the optional essential oils. 

4. After making your syrup, bottle it, label it, and store it in the refrigerator. If no preservatives are added, the syrup will probably last 2 to 3 weeks. You can add a few drops of an essential oil or vitamin C powder (½ to 1 level teaspoon to 1 cup of syrup) to increase its refrigerated shelf life by 1 to 2 weeks or even longer. 

If it's impractical to store the syrup in the refrigerator, add the vitamin C powder and grain alcohol so that the finished product is 25 percent alcohol and 75 percent syrup. These additions are particularly helpful for keeping syrup viable and safe for consumption when you're traveling. Take 1 teaspoon two to three times daily or as needed.

More From Rodale News: 30 Herbs for Cold and Flu Season

Sweet Syrup Base
Ingredients: 
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Directions:
Dissolve sugar in water by simmering it for 30 to 40 minutes.


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