Friday, January 7, 2011

Make your own herb cough drops

This time of year, no matter how I take care of myself the dry air begins to affect my throat.  I teach and lecture and one of the classes I do takes two full days.  As the lecturer I talk for almost all of those two days.  As a result I tend to lose my voice by the end.  I found a perfect item which works to preserve my voice and keep me from being gravel voice on Monday -- herbal cough drops.  I take them not only during the weekend while teaching but also before and after. 
Below are instructions for making herbal cough drops.  Before I move to that, here are some herbs you might want to choose, however, if you have a favorite, don’t be afraid to try it.  These are really just “candy” in disguise.
If you want herbs with expectorant qualities that help loosen phlegm try aniseed (Pimpinella anisum), elderberberry (Sambucus nigra), ginger root (Zingiber officinale), mullein (Verbascum thapsus), osha (Ligusticum porteri) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris).
Soothing herbs include lemon balm (Melissa officinalis), holy basil (Tulsi), scented geranium leaves (Pelegorium)  and mint (Menthe)
All you’ll need to make these is a pot, waxed paper and a greased cooking sheet.
Homemade Herbal Cough Drops
• about 1/8 to 1/4 cup powdered herbs
• 1 cup sugar, or honey
• 1/3 cup light corn syrup, or honey
• 1 1/2 cups water
• Powdered sugar, for easy handling
1. Steep your preferred herbs in 1 1/2 cups of water to make a tea. It is possible to use crumbled herbs instead, just double or triple the amount of herbs and strain the herbs from the tea before adding sugar and syrup.
2. Mix sugar and corn syrup with tea. Cook over low heat, stirring until sugar is dissolved and mixture boils.
3. Continue boiling without stirring until the mixture begins to crystallize; reduce heat. Wash away crystals from the side of your pan with a damp cloth.
4. Remove from the heat after a few minutes. Drop some of the mixture from the tip of a spoon onto a greased surface. Continue making drops until mixture is gone.  Allow to harden and cool completely before removing. Roll the candies in powdered sugar and wrap in waxed paper for storage.
5.  Clean-up is easy because hot water will dissolve the mixture!

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