As the cold and flu season ramps up many of us have already felt the effects of sore throat and shared some sniffles. If you choose to wait out our cold rather than running to the nearest pharmacy, you may appreciate these all natural recipes for relief of the most common symptoms of colds and flu’s.
Make your own lozenges:
Pour 1/2 cup of honey (local and raw is best) and a few drops of peppermint extract into a small pot. (You may choose to also you cinnamon or ginger in your recipe.)
Place the pot over medium high heat and bring the honey to a boil, stirring the whole time.
Use a candy thermometer to check the temperature, remove the honey from the heat when it reaches 300 degrees F.
Use a teaspoon to pour drops of the honey onto oiled parchment paper. Allow them to harden. Keep away from heat, or refrigerate to keep their shape and hardness. You can make this same recipe into a lollipop by adding a lollipop stick to each poured out lozenge, great for kids. *Children under 12months should not be given honey.
Homemade Vapor Rub
Place the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add the beeswax and heat over medium-low heat until the beeswax dissolves, whisking regularly. Allow to cool until slightly warm. Add essential oils and whisk thoroughly. Pour into a small, wide-mouth glass jar. Massage onto chest or onto upper lip as needed.
Make your own Cough Syrup:
Plus any of the following (optional):
Put chopped onions and any herbs of choice into a small stainless steel or glass pot. Add enough honey to cover the onions.
Turn the pot on low heat and slowly simmer. The honey will soften and become liquid, and you want to keep the temperature very low while allowing the herbs to steep in the honey. It's best to keep a lid on to help keep all of the medicinal properties of the herbs in the syrup, and just take the lid off to give it a quick stir every few minutes to ensure it doesn't burn.
Allow 20 minutes of simmering, then remove from heat. Strain the onions and herbs out and store the remaining honey (which might have flecks of herb in it and this is fine) in a small glass jar with a lid. Keep cough syrup in the refrigerator.
Elderberry Cough Syrup:
Bring the berries and water to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 30-45 minutes.
Mash the berries, strain and add the honey to the liquid. Mix well. Discard or compost the mashed berries.
Pour the elderberry syrup into a jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator. Keeps two to three months.
*Note: Elderberry stems are poisonous in large quantities. Sift through your berries and discard any long stems before cooking.
A tablespoon per day will keep your immune system strong. Take 2 to 3 tablespoons per day to fight flu or other sickness. For children, a teaspoon a day will keep their immune systems strong and this can be increased to 3 teaspoons a day during times of illness.
Keep in mind that elderberry syrup is made purely of berries and honey, so you do not have to be as careful as you would with conventional medicines. Elderberries are used worldwide in jellies, wines, pies and other foods. Too much elderberry syrup is likely to result in the same sort of result as too much blueberry syrup -- a stomach ache.
Elderberry extracts are considered safe for children, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems. However, this recipe contains honey, which should not be given to children under one year old.
You can substitute maple syrup (which also has its own health benefits) for a delicious alternative.
This article was featured in the December 2013 issue of South Shore and Cape Cod Metaphysics.