It seems that the flu has hit many people pretty hard this year! So far, we’ve gotten by with only minor sniffles, but I’ve got some natural remedies on hand just in case!
One recipe I’ve finally perfected and am happy with is this one for homemade herbal cough drops! Most cough drops contain sugar and preservatives, and some even contain artificial colors, flavors or chemicals! Since we have one child still on the GAPS protocol, these aren’t even an option, and I wanted to find a homemade recipe anyway.
Herbal Cough Drops Recipe
After much, much experimentation and many batches of gooey messes that got thrown away (or were eaten by the kids as taffy…), I finally found a recipe I am happy with and can duplicate. I’ll also be posting recipes for herbal cough syrup and herbal tincture for cough, but these pack a powerful herbal punch and my kids love them!
Herbal Cough Drops Recipe
Ingredients for herb infused water:
- 2 cups water
- 1 TBSP-¼ cup slippery elm
- 1 TBSP-¼ cup coltsfoot
- 1 TBSP-¼ cup cinnamon
- 1 TBSP-¼ cup dried elderberries
- 1 TBSP-¼ cup chamomile flowers
Ingredients for cough drops:
- 1 cup herb infused water
- 1½ cups honey
To make herb infused water:
- In a medium size saucepan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
- Place between 1 tablespoon and ¼ cup (for a really potent cough drop) of each herb into a medium size bowl. I put the herbs in a muslin bag to make straining easier.
- Pour the boiling water over herbs and let steep for 20 minutes.
- Strain out the herbs and use half of the infused water for the next part of the recipe. Refrigerate and save the rest for another batch or mix with equal parts raw honey for a simple cough syrup.
To make the cough drops:
- Pour 1 cup of the herb infused water into a medium saucepan.
- Add the honey and heat over medium-high heat until it reaches 300°F. If you don’t have a candy thermometer, this usually takes about 30 minutes and can be tested by dropping a drop of the mixture into ice water to see if it immediately hardens. It should harden to the point that the drop breaks if dropped on the counter. You can also tell because the mixture will start to foam and separate. At this point, it is important to remove it from the heat quickly so it does not burn.
- Pour the mixture into candy molds, or pour onto a large baking sheet that has been greased with coconut oil or that has a silicon baking mat on it.
- If you are not using molds, you will need to form the mixture into cough drops by hand. Let it cool until it is cool enough to touch without being burned and immediately and quickly form it into lozenges with your hands (you might need help to do this quickly enough).
- Put the finished cough drops/lozenges on a silicon mat or piece of parchment paper to cool.
- When completely cool, I toss the cough drops in a mixture of powdered slippery elm and stevia to prevent them from getting sticky in humidity.
- Use as needed for coughing, congestion or sore throat.
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
What natural remedies do you make at home? Has the flu hit your house this year? Share below!
Discussion (125 Comments)
These look great! Where did you get the silicon molds?
You can also get them JoAnn fabric And craft stores. If you use your online coupon, you can save 50%
Carleen Beauchene VanDerostyne
I did a quick search on the internet on coltsfoot to see what it was and Wikipedia (yes, I know it’s not a great reference) said it contained a toxin that could cause a lot of liver problems in infants. Have you heard this before? I’m going to make these drops but leave out the coltsfoot for now, I think I’ll use Thyme instead. Have heard it’s good for coughs as well.
Do you plan on giving an infant a cough drop?
probably not, but I was happy to see her comment because my liver is compromised and I’m working hard re diet and herbs etc. to reverse the damage.
Anne Van Couvering
These look fabulous, thanks so much for your hard work in developing them! I will point my patients this way, if I might. One quick note: slippery elm is becoming endangered – althea (marshmallow) will serve to replace it in almost every instance.
I am really excited to try this but I have a question. How long is the shelf life for these lozenges? I would love to make a batch and have on hand but I have a feeling I may not be able. Please advise! Thanks!
They should last at least a month if stored in a cool, dry place…
I don’t see why freezing them would be a problem.
I’m in the vac seal camp…..
Get a food sealer. Store them in a cool, dry place. They should last forever! You can reseal the jar every time you use the lozenges.
Do you use the whole herb or the powdered form to infuse the water?
Either will work as long as you strain it, but I used whole herbs…
I am excited to make these all natural remedies … the only trick will be keeping my Sweetie from eating them as candy …
Where do you buy your muslin bags? And how do you wash/care for them? Thanks for all your helpful tips and recipes! 🙂
Mountain Rose Herbs… I just wash in hot water while doing the dishes and sometimes sterilize in boiling water
I’ve tried to make lozenges before…but molding them is a huge issue..BRILLIANT using the molds am going to try this before I give up.
Is this ok to use for small children – for instance, a 1 year old?
I would assume not because you don’t give any kind of hard candy or lozenge to anyone under 5 usually. That would be a huge chocking hazard.
Thanks, i didn’t realize that it comes out hard. In the picture it looks like jelly.
you can add a sucker stick, or my fave idea, use a stiff loop string like they use to use in those suckers we liked as kids
And be sure not to give a child under 1 any of the cough syrup since it has honey in it. They aren’t able to digest the possible spores found in honey yet and can get botulism.
They can have pasteurized honey, small children under 2 can’t have raw honey.
I have read that all honey, raw or pasteurized, should be avoided for children under two because the botulism spores can survive the heat of pasteurization. After age two the ph of the gut is usually sufficient to kill the spores, if there are any.
If its boiled to 300 degrees even botulism isnt going to be an issue.
You shouldn’t give honey to a child that young, it can cause infant botulism. I’ve seen some labels that say it’s okay after they turn one, but others that say to avoid honey until after they’re two. I wouldn’t risk it if I were you!!
at one time we didn’t breast feed our baby’s.. we are back to not giving the bottle.. ( thank goodness) the mothers antibodies will and has for years, been the benefit.. giving honey to baby’s allow the pollen’s to boost the immune system .. years and years ago we didnt have all of these allergy’s did we ?
Thank you, it looks good.
However, I’m not sure there’s a need to purchase the more expensive “raw” honey when you are going to boil it like this. I think cheap honey will be fine.
local honey is important for helping with allergies – i also read a scary article about imported honey having weird chemicals in it when tested. not disagreeing with you, just adding to the discussion 🙂
It is heated, so yes.
My Sam’s club now sells local raw honey, and I think I saw it at Costco last time I visited my mom.
Won’t that much heat kill the properties of the honey and herbs?
Yes the high heat completely destroys the beneficial constituents in raw honey. Pure cane sugar will give you all you would get out of highly heated honey. They don’t as of yet use GMO’s in cane. The same goes for high heat destroying a lot of the medicinal properties of herbs. I don’t mean to be disaggreeable either, just to let you know…Have been a beekeeper for years now, and also do a lot of more holostic approaches with other natural means for friends. Good luck! Oh, BTW, I add essential oils at the end of the process when the mix is cooling and it works great~
Is there any way to heat the honey not to a high degree & still work? I don’t want to loose the benefits of raw honey when heated. I do not want to use sugar either. Thank you! How do make this without heating the honey?