Herbal cough and cold care ranges from off the shelf products like Traditional Medicinals Gypsy Cold Care to a mix of homemade recipes tailored to your specific symptoms. The sore throat syrup has a mild licorice taste that is quite palatable. I think even kids would take it without a fuss. The cold and flu herbal tea recipe below has more of a kick.
Cold and Cough Care Sore Throat Syrup Recipe
Adapted from Rosemary Gladstar's “Cough-be-Gone and Sore Throat Syrup”
In Rosemary's book, she lists the ingredients as follows:
- 4 parts fennel seed
- 2 parts licorice root
- 1 part cinnamon bark
- 2 parts slippery elm bark
- 2 parts valerian
- 2 parts wild cherry bark
- ½ part ginger root
- 1/8 part orange peel
To make 1 quart of herbal infusion, Rosemary recommend 2 ounces of herb mixture to one quart of water. To get roughly the right weight, I used 2 tablespoons fennel seed, 1 tbsp licorice root, 1 tbsp, slippery elm bark, 1 tbsp valerian, 1 tbsp wild cherry bark, 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon bark, 3/4 teaspoon ginger root and 1/4 teaspoon orange peel. All measurements were a little generous so I had enough to get 2 ounces.
Over low heat in a heavy bottom pot, simmer the herbs and water until it is reduced by half, so that you have one pint of liquid.
Strain the herbs out of the liquid, rinse chunks out of the pot, return the liquid to the pot.
For each pint of liquid, add one cup of honey. You may go up to a one to one ratio for a sweeter syrup (1 pint honey to 1 pint liquid).
Heat gently and mix until the syrup is well blended.
Add a small amount of brandy, if desired, to help preserve the syrup and act as a relaxant.
Remove from heat, bottle and label. This syrup should last for several weeks, even months, if refrigerated. (Most herbs have preservative qualities.)
Rosemary suggests taking 1 to 2 teaspoons every hour or two throughout the day, or as needed for cough.
Cold and Flu Tea Recipe
Adapted from Healing Naturally by Bee
For one mug of tea use:
- 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger (spicy, warming, immune balancing)
- 1/4 teaspoon stevia leaves (or to taste )
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped sage (spicy, antihistamine)
- 1/2 teaspoon chopped thyme (spicy, antibiotic, antiviral)
- Juice of half a lemon (sour, vitamin c)
- A dash of cayenne pepper (hot, immune enhancing) [optional]
Place herbs in mug and cover with boiling water (leave enough room for your lemon juice). Cover and steep for 5 to 10 minutes. Strain herbs, mix in lemon juice and sip slowly. The warmth and natural antihistamine action of the herbs is great for congestion and runny noses. You can adjust the amount of the herbs a bit to taste. I was a little generous with the cayenne in the photo above – too hot for me! *Note: I had originally listed larger portions of the herbs, but with the dried herbs, I think these amounts will probably be better for most people. You can use more to taste.
Longer steeping will give a stronger brew, but if you leave it too long it may become more bitter, so no more than 15 minutes is recommended. Covering the tea while it's brewing will help to trap “the good stuff”. 🙂
You may also find our other Cold and Flu Remedies useful, including:
- Make Homemade Elderberry Cough Syrup with Juice or Dried Berries
- Easy Homemade Cough Drops for Treatment of Sore Throats and Coughs
- Immune Boosting Herbs in Finger Gelatin
Originally published in 2012, updated in 2017.